Disclaimer: I own only the characters not mentioned in Blade or Blade 2, the rest belong to New Line, Marvel, David Goyer, etc. Ziodex Industries is borrowed from Underworld, which belongs to Danny McBride, Kevin Grevioux, Len Wiseman, and Sony. No copyright infringement intended, please, do not sue me. Savvy?

Author's note to be included in the first chapter, along with cast list for the story.

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PROLOGUE : DIRTY LITTLE SECRET

It always amused Ulric how Damaskinos treated him as though he was unaware of vampire culture, ignorant of they ways and methods. It was like dealing with someone who thought you could not hear or did not understand the language they were speaking.

But tonight Ulric found something else amusing. The fear emanating from the aging vampire. It hang around him like an invisible fog, the scent intoxicating and thrilling, but Ulric kept his usual calm, almost bored demeanor. He was enjoying Damaskinos' show of trying to pretend he was just as confident as his rival.

"So, while I think you for your offer to lend assistance in this dangerous time, you can see we do have the situation well in hand," Damaskinos finally ended his small explanation. His pallid, green-tinted skin, with blue veins showing through, was damp with cold sweat as he waited for Ulric to reply.

With his usual nonchalant smile, Ulric came off confident, self-assured, handsome, and in his prime. Which he was, though most had no idea the truth of that statement. His light brown hair came to his shoulders, almost straight except for the slightest wave. The lower half of his face was covered by a neatly trimmed beard, and his gray, not quite silver, eyes were had an old wisdom to them.

When he smiled, one got the impression he was either highly amused by some private joke, or he was thinking how easily it would be to rip out your heart.

Standing at full height, he was at least six feet, most likely a few inches over, his frame slender and muscular, with broad shoulders and long limbs. He wore elegant, old fashioned clothes, yet somehow always seemed sharp as any normal businessman. Even now, in nineteenth century style garb, with his long, black cane, he seemed current and imposing.

His right hand traced the pattern of the cane's handle, pure silver, shaped like a wolf's head, canines bared. The eyes were tiny rubies, which were exposed between his fingers. The silver went down five inches before meeting the black wood of the cane.

Ulric had noted long ago that Damaskinos always displayed the slightest sign of discomfort around the cane, so he had made it a habit to bring it along with him to these meetings with the vampire overlord.

"That is truly good to hear. But should anything happen, let me know. I do wish to be informed, to know if there is ever any threat to my kind," he finally replied to the vampire. He rose from his seat, bowing his head to Damaskinos. "Best of luck to the team."

"Many thanks to you, Sir Ulric," Damaskinos said back, standing as well as Ulric followed the lawyer familiar as he led Ulric back to his transport.

Melantha waited outside the Hummer, her long, midnight blue dress flowing in the wind. She smiled when she saw Ulric, though he could catch the faintest glimmer of contempt when her eyes spotted Kounen. She had never been fond of the lawyer.

"Good day to you, Sir Ulric," Kounen said softly before turning and walking back into the Caliban headquarters, home to much more than just the usual genetic projects and pharmaceutical experiments.

Ulric grinned as Melantha kissed his cheek once he reached her side. They both got back into the car, and Richard quickly turned the engine on, all of them ready to get back home.

Melantha turned her head to face Ulric. "So, how did it go?"

"Just as predicted. Damaskinos held to the story that Nomak was born that way, a normal vampire for the most part until just recently, when something triggered his virus to evolve and change him to another, completely different being," Ulric replied. "He says they have the situation under control, with the Blood Pack and Blade containing and killing off the Reapers swiftly."

Richard shook his head up in the front seat, smirking slightly. "Bullshit," he muttered.

"Yes, and it was obvious, even if I knew nothing pf the truth. Damaskinos was nervous, very nervous with the subject, his every word guarded and obviously thought out with care." Ulric grinned wolfishly. "I believe he nearly panicked when he found out I knew there was a problem at all."

Melantha growled softly. "Vampire bastard. Has the audacity to believe himself higher and wiser than our kind," she said with a scowl. "I do not know how anyone could ever object to showing the vampires once again which of us has more power."

"I know, my love," Ulric told her. He kissed her forehead, one arm wrapping around her shoulders as she let her head rest on the side of his chest. "But now we finally have found something that angers even the pacifists to war. We will reign publicly again soon," he assured her.

"Good."

***

Eli Damaskinos did not like surprises. He did not like being afraid. He did not like worrying. Right now, that's all he was facing. More surprises, more reasons to fear, to worry. It had been bad enough when Jared had turned into that creature he was now,.

Now his rival and most powerful enemy knew about the Reaper Strain, if not its origins. Still, Ulric had resources. That meant Damaskinos' people had a lot of cleanup work ahead of them this afternoon.

Because he was not about to allow Ulric to find out the truth concerning the new virus. It would be the downfall of the vampire race, even if Ulric did spare some of them. They would be nothing more than slaves, lower than humans even.

Over Damaskinos' dead body only would any such thing happen.

He was starting fear though, that this was not an improbable occurrence if he did not take care of any loose ends, any links to the truth that still existed on paper or in computers.

As soon as Kounen had returned from escorting Ulric out of the building, Damaskinos gave him his orders. "Go tell Faris to see that any and all evidence that Nomak was ever here is erased, destroy any leftover documents that concern the Reaper Strain," he told the lawyer. "I cannot have Ulric finding out what Caliban has really been doing."

Kounen nodded. "Of course," he replied before turning and leaving through another door. At least the lawyer was obedient, even if he did question Damaskinos' methods.

***

Nomak looked around, staring at all of the Reapers surrounding him, snarling and snapping at each other as they waited for sunset. He sniffed the air, his eyes unable to find the source of the strange smell he caught whiff of. He determined which direction it came from finally, and he jumped down from his perch, ignoring the surprised shrieks of the mindless crowd.

He headed down one of the tunnels, still sniffing every so often. He had never known such a smell. He could hear footsteps now, breathing as well. Whatever this being was, it was not human or vampire, not even a mix. Not Reaper either.

Wary, Nomak crawled up the wall of the tunnel, staying near the top as he went farther down, closing in on whatever was down here. As he crawled toward the scent, the sounds grew louder, and now he heard a voice, faint, speaking in another language before quieting again.

Abruptly Nomak stopped, hissing softly as he caught another scent, familiar this time. Vampire. Daywalker. The Blood Pack and Blade were in the tunnels now, and from the sound of talking in the same, foreign language by the others, they knew of the latest arrival as well.

He was about to turn, leave the strange beings, when their voices got a lot louder, and he heard them reaching the tunnel he was in.

"Jared Nomak?"

The male voice, thick with a Russian accent, spoke loud and clear from the end of the tunnel and Nomak's head snapped down so he could see the owner of the voice.

It had been a while since anyone called him by his first or whole name, and it had been months since anyone had called him Jared before he went to the blood bank. But to hear some unknown, but obviously humanoid being say it was confusing as well as surprising. Perhaps the confusion was why he nodded, despite his mind telling him to crawl away, quickly.

"Well, that makes this job a whole lot easier," said female, American voice, and Nomak could make out two more bodies next to the first, but the black attire they were and the dark lighting kept him from making out their faces.

"What are you?" he whispered, then heard the sound of shrieking. The vampires and Reapers were fighting now it sounded like. That was when he felt the sharp sting of a needle in his arm. He looked over, his vision already clouding as he saw a dart in his arm. Apparently, these people did not want him going anywhere.

Before Nomak could even try to figure out what the strangers were or wanted, he blacked out, falling from ceiling to the wet, dirty ground with a loud thud.