Monday, February 18, 2008

Vampire Servants

         – Or –
Why would a human work for a blood-sucking creature of darkness?

It would be easy to say it is all mind control. Far too easy. Mind control is like the fantasy sonic screwdriver. Can't explain why a person would do such a thing? Mind control! Or crazy.

But seriously, real world horrible people have ways to make humans do what they do. And I think they're more satisfying than the "applied phelembotium" or "handwavium" answers previously referenced.

First off vampires need people inside the conspiracy, after all they feed on blood and if they're not going to just make everyone forget using super mental powers then the human knows... or is dead. As I've discussed previously the vampire cannot kill everyone he feeds on or it would stand out like a statistical sore thumb not to mention bringing down the wrath of the local community. Even in downtown DC. But we've got two problems with one solution now. Naturally if you want to limit how many people know that you're a vampire you're going to use your mobile happy meals as minions as well at least some of the time.

This idea gave me the metal tool to attack the problem of a vampire finding a minion and gave me four possible answers to the problem. First off people do crazy risk seeking things all the time for thrills or the pleasure. The vampire bite has been portrayed as pleasurable starting with Dracula. And even if the bite was not a good feeling a certain number of people would have the crazy idea the flirting with death would be neat, just look at the fascination with mass murderers and the groupies they can get even when in prison. Even without unearthly beauty they could end up with a fair number of (probably useless for most tasks) people wanting to be their Renfields.

Secondly there is good old-fashioned flattery and lying. "I've been looking for someone like you to spend eternity with." This exact sort of falsehood was used to good effect by the vampire in Vampire Tapestry by Suzy Mckee Charnas. Nearly everyone is susceptible to subtle flattery of the, "you're special" sort. Especially if backed up by wonderful presents 'proving' the vampire's devotion. Of course those presents are going to be recycled once the vampire gets what it wants... Hey if it works for high school cads trying to get into a girl's pants it should work for a vampire. Even better since past 'paramours' might not be in any sort of a position to clue in the present object of 'affection'.

Third, people can be pretty callous if they're not the ones getting the short end. No different than working for the mob, really. But it would be harder than a mob to set up for a variety of reasons. First off there is the fundamental lack of advancement problem for the inner circle who know about the vampire. The boss is never going to get old and retire unless someone helps it along. For some people this is just fine as it would represent security in an uncertain business. Heck, if somehow the human could verify that the vampire doesn't 'tie up' loose ends at the end of employment it could represent the ultimate in job security.

Throw in a little bit of moral ambiguity, excuses for their behavior (I only kill people who deserve it), and it starts to become reasonable in my mind as to why someone would be working for a vampire. Even if it is perfectly obvious to the vast majority of the population that they're evil, cursed by god, and all the rest.

Next time, the implications of going it alone or teaming up.

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