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1899, Tunguska...

The Halfling(Actually quite tall.) walked to the main square and stopped. At the centre, Candiru wiped some of the blood from his mouth.

"You pulsar. You didn't have to kill them."

"You said that about the rest of your species. I know that you could not let me live."

The Halfling took the former Human, and laid it on the slab.

"Humans will have this Great Wall, Candiru."

"But Vampires run it."

"I remember other Walls when the three carbon-based bipeds could work in peace. You even married a human, didn't you? Everywhere else, Vampirism is regarded as the highest of honours."

"Everywhere else, we burn in the sun. Here, the Fourth Brood conquered that weakness. I am more than a Vampire."

"You can still die!"

"Really? Well, you will murder the last of us. Shall I dispose of my prey?"

With a heavy heart, the Halfling reached for its laser-rod.

19th October 1957, Pravda Central Office...

If the Western powers had been listening to the conversation(Indeed, they probably were.) they would have heard a careful script of bluffing and half-truths regarding the perenially late Premier Candiru. Once the annoying business of factual information was safely disposed of, they could converse freely about an enemy of both superpowers. Klystrom had remotely heard of him before, when he was being chased by a pack of dogs and security officials. The Man From The KGB pointed out a large number of cheap, lurid paperbacks about Dragons and Monsters, with repeated mention of a "Dr. Drake". He also claimed that xenological life had visited the Earth(Quite forcefully and briefly. In 1947. At a town named Roswell.). Obviously, the aim was to destroy him.

9:00 20th October 1957, Ace of Spades Hotel Lobby...

In the land where days were dark and nights were bright, the last Dragon/Monster/Vampire/Xeno expert on Earth quietly wrote his next book as CODEX thugs loudly ejected an uninvited guest.

"Not through the window! Mr "Ace" needs his rest!"

They dropped the relieved man, who fled for the revolving door as Klystrom entered.

"Hello, Wyvern. I'm Hanna Klystrom. About the interview?"

"Don't be offended if I fail to shake your hand or in fact cross the room. I have recently lost a rare and highly radioactive lump of Unbibium."

"OK."

"Please don't try to shout."

In this rather awkward interview, the first question was:

"Why do you have the psuedonym Wyvern Rex. and live in a hotel?"

"It helps with shady dealings."
"How do you get the telescope time to find pyramids on Mars? Who cleans off the crayon afterwards?"

"If you had actually read The Real War of the Worlds you would know that they were built by the Magfusion corporation several centuries from now as their Orion Arm headquarters. They have a cactus outside the main fusion works. Their motto is 'You can't stop progress.'. Things can change. After all, when I saw you in February reporting on Candiru, you were blonde."

"I think that you could be mistaken."

"I doubt that."

"So, your next book."

"Yes, Soviet Superweapon Secrets Revealed! The Truth About The Projects Above Top Secret Part Three!"

"Very good. Who tells you this?"

"Well, Candiru used to-" Klystrom neglected to write that. "but these days CODEX must suffice. Have you got jet lag?"

"No, I don't think so."

"And your religion?"

"Well, atheist."

"We can continue this later."

She did not see Wyvern for the rest of the day, but sometimes heard a voice shouting "Mr Ace!".

20:00 20th October 1957, Ace of Spades Restaurant...

Wyvern clutched the flask in his coat pocket and hummed Jerusalem. There was only so much "later" into which "this" could be extended. He felt the symbol on it, and recieved no comfort. Hanna was already there, having avoided the pack of waiters.

"Would sir like to order anything for oneself sir?"

It was the way in which they made it sound like "cur".

"No, no, I have got to check this manuscript to meet the deadline."

"Would sir be interested in any beverages for sir?"

"Just water."

A clear head was vital. He wasn't going to have one.

"Starters were thirty minutes ago. Where were you?"

Hmm. How to avoid saying: Reading your notes, which are somewhat unflattering as regards my books, with the help of a forged key.

"Just on business."

Please reality, don't let her order the steak.

"I will have the steak."

Back to the book: It has been known for some years that ballotechnic devices were a major component of Soviet nuclear plans...

Wait until she is distracted, pour the contents of the vial into the "beverage" and wait.

"So crystal domes on the moon?"

"Actually, the retro themed The Eagle Has Landed hotel at the Apollo 11 landing site."

"You would have thought that import costs would have-" The whole bottle was in. "removed the benefits of 'cheaper' out-system work."

"Magfusion really kept it in the black."

"And these 'Dragons'? What are they, helium gasbags?"

No, still sharp as ever. Don't say that!

"Well, that would count as an outcompetion in Darwinian terms. Very light bones though."

"I see that you've done barrotechnics."

"BaLLotechnics."

"Alright. Well, that part is wrong."

"Why?"

"We always have it 20% lower than the actual figure. Did-ahem- did you hear about that failed remote-viewing test we did?"

"No, this is mostly about warheads. Go ahead if you want."

"Well, it started off with Lycanthropes. The idea was that both forms were-what's the word?"

"Mentally linked?"

"Yes."

The plan had failed.

"Would you mind writing the corrections in here so that I can extend the deadline for another month?"

"Certainly. Where are you going?"

"Sorting out deadlines."

01:00 21st October 1957, Ace of Spades Hotel...

Well, Mr "Ace"'s party had gone with a bang. Wyvern hardly believed his luck when Mr "Ace" accepted the explanation that he had to dispose of Spencer Blake.

"Good luck, Spencer."

"Hello? I have finished those annotations."

Wyvern stepped out neatly and adjusted his neck armour.

"What's that?"

"This is a 20,000 watt arc lamp. If I turned this on, it might short-circuit before it destroys you. The question is, do you feel lucky?"

"No?"

The lamp flashed on and failed. Throwing it aside, the Halfling reached for its laser-rod.

"We use these to put pathetic creatures out of their misery."

The blade scythed down, hacking through the handrails, before swinging upwards and failing.

"Your inability to die is quite strong. Shall we talk?"

"Yes."

"Do you feel jet lag?"

"Yes. Exactly. You have adjusted to a nocturnal lifestyle and the Circadian rhythm is self righting. You seemingly exibited no reaction to the garlic-spiked Holy Water which I added to your drink, or for that matter your silver necklace. Also, you did let your hair go black, psychological I expect."

"And you suggest that I am some sort of Vampire?"

"Yes. Unfortunately, at some point I will have to slay you. Ancient curse, as detailed in Fallen. I can soften it."

"How?"

"Well, I can give you about eight centuries. After all, I oddly fail to dislike you, even if you are INCREDIBLY fussy and vain, as well as critical about my books."

"Well, what do I do?"

"Stop eating solids. They make you a little drunk. And be prepared to find a new job every couple of years."

Reluctantly, she walked back to her room. He reached into his coat and removed a handgun. Oh yes, Ace would need it soon enough. The next few decades would be...rather busy. First stop Dallas.

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