|Fear drives more of human behavior than we like to admit. When we choose not to counter it with reason and logic, it will be the impetus needed to justify behaviours we would otherwise find abhorrent. Far too many people stop thinking when they are afraid and become a danger to themselves and those around them. Vampires are more than monsters who create fear, however, they attract the afraid. Their invulnerability and power calls to humans who cannot stand to have either. Thus, they emulate, follow, or join them, becoming the predator and making prey of those around them. It is a system that feeds itself and can only end in chaos if it is not controlled. We are already at war with each other in every corner of the world. We would never survive what would come if vampire power was for the taking. That is why we hunt. That is why we must protect. That is why we give up our lives. We will save humanity from more than just vampires, but from themselves.
Protecting The Innocent
There are many groups of vampire hunters around the globe. Some are independent forces raised from frustrated people ready to defend their neighbours. Others, like the Alley, are divisions of their country’s Armed Forces. With three bases across Canada, and several smaller installations, the Alley has chosen to a unique path from other hunter organizations.
The Cessation of Hostility Treaty was introduced by Descendant Vincent Kama and accepted by the Alley’s Board of Generals – with a lot of modifications. The treaty dictates a code of conduct for the vampires in the country, and calls on the most powerful of their kind to govern them. Those vampires unable to live by these tenants must either be taken down by their own, or their information given to the hunters to take care of.
This agreement has worked in the Alley’s favour. By not killing indiscriminately, they avoid the repercussions other hunters experience. Descendants do not rise en masse – sometimes coming in from other countries – to return the favour, and the Magnate stays clear of them. More importantly, the Alley’s knowledge of vampire powers has grown exponentially as vampires turn on their own in their plays for dominance, hoping to entice the Alley to do the dirty work for them.
Stripped From the Real World
Being Black Ops means the Alley stays as far from the view of Innocents as possible, and the government that created them will deny their existence. Troops who operate within the civilian world are often dressed just like them, only with subtle body armour and weapons under their clothes.
Depending on the threat level, patrols dress the same as those they hide within or in whatever level of armour suits the risk. If the threat level is high enough, the Alley will authorize the use of the graphine-plated battledress and high-tech helmets that enhance the operator’s vision and hearing. The uniform, while essential in protecting their troops, is known to raise alarms in the civilian population. Permission to expose Innocents to their special gear comes with plans to control public concern through media and misdirection.
The result of an Innocent becoming exposed to the reality of vampires is more severe. If the Innocent has perceived usefulness to the organization, they will be conscripted. They do not get the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones. The moment they are recruited, they are dead in the ‘Real World’. For those the Alley cannot use, their memories are wiped; an almost cruel process that strips the subject of their loves. Gone are the memories of moments that made life worth living, as well as the truth of what they witnessed. If nothing else though, those who have suffered at vampire hands will be free of the trauma that would have otherwise destroyed their lives.
Staying Alive and Sane
To vampire hunters, prime physical and mental health are the difference between staying alive and dying at the hands of a formidable enemy. Most troops are restricted from entering close-quarters combat with vampires unless it is three-on-one. Regardless, sometimes hand-to-hand combat is unavoidable and every soldier must be in the condition to defend themselves, other vampire hunters, and any Innocents in the area.
Beyond physical conditioning, troops are required to get a minimum of six hours of sleep per night, receive light therapy, and attend quarterly assessments by one of the Alley’s psychologists. Living in the world of the impossible takes a toll on anyone, not to mention the affect of living by night. The Alley will do everything it can to protect the investments they’ve made in every soldier working for them and protect them to the best of their ability.
The Alley houses their troops in multi-dwelling apartment units within each base’s main complex. It is often the only building above ground. Operators are typically paired with three to four others who have been selected specifically for their compatibility. Sometimes these pairings are used to help modify a soldier’s behavior through positive leadership and enforcement of proper living standards.
Vampires are not born with the inherent ability to influence the minds of humans, an ability known as Intrusion. That power comes with time and practice. Still, Intrusion is one of the most common abilities among vampires and, unlike many other powers, is not clan specific. Intrusion allows vampires to alter memories of their victims, make them carry out desired actions, or – less commonly – program them to react to specific stimulus in a designated way. In most bloodlines, this power does not require eye contact, but the vampire must have their target in sight.
Part of the training vampire hunters go through is to learn defense against this ability. The Alley teaches all of their people, regardless of whether they are active in the hunt, to identify when a vampire is attempting Intrusion. If they cannot stop it, the training at least allows them to alert other hunters. Specially trained and certified operators carry injectable sedatives to render Intrusion victims incapable of carrying out a command, if needed.
Knowledge of how to resist Intrusion is thanks to Lieutenant Wolf who, before she was brought into the Alley’s fold, had been trained to by Paragon vampire William MacGregor to protect herself. Though the power in her blood has allowed her to block every Intrusion to date, no one else has been as successful as she.
There are rumours, albeit vague and confusing, of Mass Intrusions – Intrusions performed on groups of people simultaneously. Hunters worldwide are not sure if this is anything more than vampires boasting about powers they don’t have, or if it’s something to take seriously.