The Mountain...

Many scores of years did the First and Last Vampire sleep, in that dark mausoleum of his kind. Outside, his species were slain at the hands of monkeys and Xenos and forced by President Crook to test near-lethal experimental starfighters. He did not think, for thinking is a concious act, but as the toxins dispersed he touched the minds of others, including the still-living youngest, who he had only briefly seen through his now useless right eye.

Pacific Space Elevator...

Though Central Galactic was mainly covered in the beautiful spires of humanity, some ugly outcroppings of rock remained. India Tower had just incinerated Uluru, so to recapture their lead Pacific Tower were working double shifts to power up the graser-beam against The Mountain, with construction teams already moving in through specially built streets. Even the most ardent anti-speciesist would then be forced to admit that no other xeno had conquered an entire planet. Well, eleven planets, counting the dwarfs. Mercury and Venus were just automatic stations full of crops and animals after they had been mined dry, Mars was the industry world, the gas giants were skimmed for metals and anything else was fed into a Leviathan as fuel. A workable,co-operative system of government.

"Tech, have you got the lead in place ? "

"Yes sir. Just extracting the control rods, sir."

"The Mountain has population 10, 000, though they are just Lycanthropes. The orders are that it should be demolished for Hive Block CLXV expansion. Any protests ? No ? Fire at will, Techie. "

The lancing bursts made contact.

The Mountain...

Candiru thought for a moment that the end had come at last, a joyous thought quickly dispelled by the protective field systems of the former Soviet bunker activating. The enraged creature ran for the now unsealed exit before the field could give way. Eight hundred years had taken their toll, along with the gamma rays of course.

Hive Block CLXV...

Candiru, viewing the world through his good eye, saw a very different place. Stretching thousands of metres into the sky were the Hive Blocks, full of many different kinds of life. So much so, that the gravity of Earth had been increased enough to make walking difficult at this level. Candiru regretted being two metres tall. Painfully stooping, he dragged himself through rows of identical dwellings.

"Szkelby? Luna? "

The realisation that he was alone finally hit him.

"Blake? Spencer? "

A Scorpid Drone stepped out.

"Tunguska? "

A chittering click synthesized as:"This way. You need a back support."

"Thankyou.", he said, adding under his breath, "and oddly for someone who coped without a respiratory system for millenia, oxygen."

He followed the path he had last walked, now under the dull Unbibium glare.

Local Goverment...

Candiru, in spite of the gravity, ran towards his statue.

"The three wise monkeys. Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil."

He traced the acid-rain damaged inscription along his withered fingers. Across from it, another monkey was taking down the Local Goverment sign from Candiru's office and scraping it across the bland ferrocrete without a care for its history.

"Wait ! My sign ! "

"No longer. Some swooper duo from Habitation Block VI want it for their levipad."

"No, no. I worked here for five centuries until 1957. My sign." he said, slowly and carefully to indicate that although as a monkey you would have no idea of the history, he as a bat was the real owner.

"No. Their sign. Newbies should be at the Atlantic Tower, a free mag-lev goes there in a few minutes."

Atlantic Tower...

Candiru stepped off the mag-lev and relaxed as his back returned to its former shape. Looking around, he took a free genetic tester fom a stand and printed himself a chip.

"DNA not recognised. Report to local office for details."

Candiru walked off towards the lifts.

Deep Hyperspace...

"The orders from Draco are essentially get out of there."

Hanna Klystrom was trying. Somewhere in hyperspace, her crescent-shaped Belial Fang had been ambushed by the Dark. Regretting the day upon which she fired at that biomechanical starfighter in Andromeda, the vampire emptied the final chamber into a seemingly unresponsive cruiser. Well, the capital ship was not there now.

"Impossible, I'm afraid. You just shake one of them off-" Her right blaster was blown off, along with part of the undercarriage. "and then more appear. These things must live in hyperspace. Nothing else could get-". Another pause. "Left blaster now. Fuel running out."

President Crook watched with interest.

"Any sign of the attackers markings ? "

"No. Well, I may as well give you and them something to watch."

Spinning in a gracile pirouette, the stricken craft pointed itself at the enemy Capital, bringing its nameplate into view. Crook pressed the remote destruct button. There were some things that his people were not allowed to see.

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