Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
Fame-craving political consultant
David is a short-haired man of average height and build in his early 30s. His features aren’t unattractive, and he has a winning enough smile, but there’s a years-accumulated bitterness and dissatisfaction behind his eyes that turns off many people. He alternates between formal businesswear and black turtlenecks, depending on whether he is trying to be thought of as “artistic.”
David Hansen was born to a middle-class suburban family in Raleigh and checked off all the boxes to have comfortably unremarkable life: 3-but-not-4 point high school GPA, varsity without trophies in the Lincoln-Douglas debate team, B.A. at a local non-Ivy public university, boring internship at a company where his parents knew a middle manager, and a hirable but not extraordinary resume. His attempt to stand out by double majoring in journalism and political science was the butt of jokes. “Everyone knows that’s useless in the real world.”
David spent a fifth year at college anyway because both fields promised a path towards what he craved: recognition. He worked as a political columnist reporting poll numbers and election forecasts that never made the front page. A few political junkies learned his name after enough years, and David felt vaguely but increasingly dissatisfied by it all. He piddled away most of his twenties before surprising his friends and family with the news that he was moving to New Orleans. He’d heard stories about the city’s (and state’s) colorful history and legendary corruption, which would be so much more exciting to report on than boring Raleigh’s. There’d be real opportunities to make or break the system there. He also liked the state of race relations in the 60% African-American city and figured being black could only help, too.
The Times-Picayune looked over his resume and hired him for a middling position. His writing earned a steady paycheck and the occasional “nice job” from his boss and co-workers, but never admiration. The huge corruption scandal never materialized. Everyone seemed quite blase about how former governor Jameson probably fathered scores of bastards with his political opponents’ wives, or how Archbishop Malveaux has packed equally many relatives assorted public offices, or how the Pavaghis hire the Mafia to kill migrant workers and dispose of the bodies, or how an unelected “voodoo king” is practically mayor of the poorer sections of the city, or how… David eventually tuned it out too, but grew more and more bitter as his 30th birthday passed by. His girlfriend, a secretary at an aerospace company who he liked but didn’t love, dropped increasingly obvious hints about kids and marriage proposals that left him feeling empty.
His prayers were answered on August 23rd when a tropical depression intensified into a tropical storm over the Bahamas. Five days later at 10 A.M., then-Mayor Ray Nagin ordered the first-ever mandatory evacuation of the city, calling Katrina “a storm that most of us have long feared.” David couldn’t have been more elated. He knew how corrupt and incompetent the local government was. He fully expected them to bungle things and make countless peoples’ lives miserable, and proudly told his shocked girlfriend that he was staying behind to cover the story of the decade. He’d have a worm’s eye view of every second. And once he exposed them all, all those greedy, corrupt, selfishly lazy politicians who didn’t give a damn about the common man, once he tore them down and his name was fire, forget the Picayune. The consequences on elections would be enormous: he could make the jump from obscure journalist to highly-sought and highly-paid political consultant. Maybe he’d even run for office himself. Then it would be his name in the headlines.
His girlfriend slowly told him other reporters were covering the story too (why wasn’t he going to the “hurricane bunker” with the literally dozens of other Times-Picayune staffers staying behind with sleeping bags in the photography department?), and that he was making a hell of an assumption about how it was going to turn out. When David triumphantly declared the world was finally going to give him the recognition he was owed, she told him he was crazy. The sound of the slamming door and car’s revving ignition couldn’t have made David any happier. He pulled up a chair and gleefully waited for the storm to hit.
He didn’t anticipate how hard it was going to. No one did. No one anticipated the breach of the levees. No one anticipated the knee-deep water around the superdome, the Ninth Ward residents stranded on their houses’ rooftops, the bodies littering the streets, the complete collapse in technological infrastructure and breakdown in civil order that reverted the city to a pre-industrial state, or the neighbors helping neighbors that made for less sensational news. The scale of the disaster completely overwhelmed every local, state, and federal emergency response plan. The consequences on politics, on the economy, on demographics, on more things than David could even begin to imagine, would be enormous. After the War on Terror, it was the story of the decade. David would get a worm’s eye view of every second.
He’d also get to be one of the story’s victims.
David’s Uptown apartment building was on high ground and didn’t suffer more than superficial wind damage from the hurricane. It was also just as without electricity and running water as anywhere in the city. When David realized he didn’t have more than a week of food in his dead refrigerator, he dialed 911 and got no answer. Streets all over the city were impassable. Stores and emergency rooms were closed or being looted. No one was coming. No one was in charge. His girlfriend had already taken their car.
David dumbly left his apartment and wandered the streets for hours, too stupefied to think of anything besides getting that “worm’s eye of view of every second.” He thought he’d seen Katrina’s worst when a man he stammeringly approached for help pulled a gun at him and yelled to get away.
He was wrong.
Night fell. David was huddled in his lightless apartment, crunching down half-frozen chunks of supermarket sushi he’d stuck in the freezer to keep from spoiling, when the door burst open. He had no time to even see who was there before a dark shape smashed him against the wall, spilling soy sauce down his shirt, and ravenously tore out his throat. He’d barely processed he was dying when the light beams pierced his eyes. A squad of camo- and armor-clad men with assault rifles (National Guardsmen?) riddled the roaring phantom with bullets, spraying hot blood all over his gape-mouthed face. David launched himself across the room for dear life, screaming as he smashed through the window and fell three stories. He hit the ground with a crash, sprang up, and ran for dear life. He didn’t think about why the fall, his throat, or the gun wounds didn’t slow him down.
All that mattered was the terrible thirst.
By astronomically dumb luck, David somehow managed to survive the rest of Katrina. It didn’t take him long to realize what he was, but he had no idea there were other vampires besides the one who had “made” him. Part of David was horrified by what he’d become. The other part of him reveled in it: here, at last, was the big break he’d sought.
David wasted no time in making the most of his new powers. He could read people’s minds and snare their hearts with a glance. It was all-too easy for someone with his decade of insider knowledge and professional experience to catapult himself to media darling status, though he was endlessly frustrated by how seemingly every major outlet’s recording and photography equipment couldn’t capture a good shot of his face. People still couldn’t get enough of David as he railed against the incompetence, corruption, and gross negligence of government responders. Offers for political consulting gigs (and a lot more besides) began pouring in: David turned down them all when he announced he’d run for elected office. City council sounded nice before he made the jump to mayor, and from there, senator or governor. Maybe even president, with his powers. It’d take time even with those, but—well, he’d see how much older he actually looked by then.
David lucked out twice that the city had been all but emptied of vampires. Abraham Garcia, who’d remained in the city and been torpored during the violence, would not have taken kindly to his meddling with the Times-Picayune. His grandsire Maxzille sensed his existence through their blood ties, tracked him down, and promptly nipped his Masquerade-threatening activities in the bud. She took him under her wing, taught him what he was, and inducted him into the Anarch Movement. If she hadn’t done so, it’s almost certain that he’d have been found out by Donovan, Caitlin Meadows, hunters (perhaps the same ones who’d killed his sire Anne), or the Krewe of Janus, and met a far less kind fate.
Maxzille was mistaken, however, that her grandchilde sought to expose government corruption for altruistic reasons. When David realized where power in the Camarilla truly lay, he did a complete about-face. He promptly foreswore his grandsire, repudiated the Anarch cause, and fled into the arms of the Invictus.
That’s when he learned, to his chagrin, that his blood would sharply limit his potential within Kindred society. Maxzille had mentioned the concept of “generation” in passing, but told him the Movement held itself above such “prejudices” and hadn’t explained the full vagaries. The First Estate, however, was far more concerned with a would-be member’s blood purity. David, as a Kindred twelve steps removed fron Caine, was the weakest-blooded descendant of Pearl Chastain’s in the entire city. His many-times grandsire was uninterested in accepting him as a vassal within her domain and would not even deign to grant him audience (after all, his sire and sire’s sire were Anarchs; the blood does tell). He toyed at the thought of joining the Lancea et Sanctum, who were the city’s dominant covenant. An interview with Father Malveaux left him terrified for his unlife after the hellish-eyed albino declared his faith lacking and threatened his immortal soul with suffering eternal.
David would probably have fallen into the orbit of Antoine Savoy, but had the (mis)fortune to be found by Randolph Cartwright first. The Nosferatu oil magnate lent David a handsome sum of money to get “settled in” and brought him before his liege lord Pierpont McGinn, who had the very same thought regarding the neonate’s probable future allegiances. The Ventrue had him swear an archaic-sounding “feudal oath” he didn’t completely understand, and when his benefactors also offered to induct him into the Invictus, it seemed like a better deal than he’d get anywhere else. In short order, David found himself hopelessly indebted to the older vampires, who treated the weak-blooded neonate like garbage and gleefully exploited him for everything he was worth. It was hard to say which was worse: where McGinn reviled him for the color of his skin, the Ventrue at least assigned him tasks (however soul-numbing) with actual purpose, like abducting victims and disposing of corpses. Cartwright’s prejudice appeared limited to calling him “boy” a few times, but the monstrous Nosferatu didn’t appear to even want anything in return for his money beyond humiliating his debtor and watching him suffer.
Observing that many of the Invictus’ leading Kindred were Toreador like he was, David sought to earn their respect and improve his position by expanding his political writing to more “artistic” areas such as poetry. Adelais Seyrès, who knew the hapless neonate’s story and found it amusing (McGinn was her lover), gave him a particularly vicious public dressing-down for the mediocrity of his work and his “pathetically transparent scrambling for favor.” The Rose Clan have since largely written him off as a poseur. David blames his lack of artistic respect on the “Anarch taint” of his grandsire Maxzille, but seems all-too quick to leave the room when she’s around. Most Anarchs believe he’s terrified of her, and hold him in contempt as a cowardly sellout who “didn’t even get paid for selling out.”
For all David’s powers and ambitions as one of the undead, he appears consigned to another existence of unimportance and mediocrity.
David was once an Elysium regular, but has not been seen at Kindred gatherings since around the trial of John Harley Matheson.
• 5. Unknown sire
• 6. Pearl Chastain (e. centuries ago)
• 7. Accou Poincaré (e. mid 18th century)
• 8+. The Santiago brood (e. varies)
• 8. Avoyelles Desormeaux (e. mid 19th century)
• 9+. The Lafayette brood (e. varies)
• 8. Marguerite Defallier (e. late 19th century)
• 9. Abraham “Bram” Garcia (e. mid 20th century)
• 10. Maxzille “Max” “Zilly” “Zillah” Babinfeaux (e. mid 20th century)
Anne Sommers (e. late 20th century, d. 2005)
• 12. David Hansen (e. early 21st century)
• 9. Aniyah Bailey (e. early 21st century)
• 8. Veronica Alsten-Pirrie (e. early 20th century)
• 9. Amaryllis DeCuir (e. early 21st century)
Bruno Courtet (e. late 18th century, d. early 20th century)
• 8. Katherine Beaumont (e. early 20th century)
Pablo Gallegro (e. early 20th century, d. late 20th century)
Rayisa Kostenko (e. late 20th century, d. 2005)
Barthélemy Lafon (e. early 19th century, d. 2005)
Valentine St. James (e. early 19th century, d. 2005)
• 9. Lisette Toussaint (e. mid 19th century)
• 8. Pietro Silvestri (e. early 20th century)
• 7. Adelais Seyrès (e. late 19th century)