Good morning. We’re talking today with Sebastian Newcombe and Dr. Melanie Lipton from Phantom Shadows.
As I am sure you all remember, Bastian is the former leader of the vampire army, who has since learned that he was actually an Immortal Guardian and not a vampire. He has since that time begun training to fight with, rather than against, the Guardians.
After the defeat of Bastian’s vampire army, a few of the vampires surrendered and are currently working with the Guardians to find a cure for the madness which will eventually affect the vampires infected with the virus; and the lovely Dr. Melanie Lipton, who is in charge of the medical team trying to find that cure.
Thank you, Bastian and Dr. Lipton, for taking the time to speak with us today about your very important work here. Dr. Lipton can you give us a brief description of the virus which affects the vampires and what it is you are working on right now?
Melanie: Of course. Both vampires and immortals are infected with a very a rare symbiotic virus that first conquers, then replaces their immune system and lends them increased speed, strength, and regenerative capabilities, as well as an unfortunate photosensitivity and a need for blood. Vampires are humans who have been infected with the virus. They suffer progressive brain damage that causes them to rapidly descend into madness. Immortals are gifted ones, men and women born with advanced DNA, who have been infected with the virus. Their advanced DNA bestows upon them special abilities like telepathy or telekinesis, and protects them from the more corrosive aspects of the virus so they don’t go insane. I, along with my colleagues, am searching for a cure for the virus or at least some way of preventing the brain damage and madness the virus causes in humans. Until we succeed, I’m seeking a way to suppress the psychotic breaks that unexpectedly grip vampires.
Bastian: She’s also looking for an antidote for the tranquilizer our enemies have developed and used against us.
Melanie: Yes, I am. Immortals now possess a vulnerability they never have before. Their enemies have found the first drug that actually affects them, so I’m trying to find a way to combat it. Immortal Guardians can’t fight and defeat their enemies if a dart containing this new drug can drop them in their tracks.
I have also been speaking this morning with those vampires, Joe and Cliff, about their input into this project. They have not only been filling me in on the amount of work going into solving this vampire madness, but they have been giving me quite the earful of the gossip around here. It appears in this case, the walls really do have ears.
Melanie: *laughs* Yes. Vampires’ hearing is almost as acute as immortals’ and, since their apartments are here, they hear . . . pretty much everything that happens. Network headquarters has become something of a 24-hour reality show or soap opera to them and helps keep the boredom at bay.
They speak very highly of you, Dr. Lipton, and the work you do.
Melanie: I couldn’t do it without them and wish I were helping them more.
Bastien: You’re a tremendous help to them.
Melanie: No, I’m not. It’s a terrible thing, watching them struggle every day to keep the madness at bay. They’re good men.
Bastian: They are. And they’re far better off under your care than they ever were with me.
They also talk about your dedication Bastian; about how often you come in to speak to Dr. Lipton about their progress and how much time you spend hanging around in Dr. Lipton’s office.
Bastian: Yyyyyes. Well, Cliff and Joe were members of my army. They’re like family to me. I’m only . . . keeping up on their progress and Mel – Dr. Lipton is the best source of information, since she works so closely with them.
Melanie: Very convincing, Bastien.
They say, a gruff exterior hides a heart of gold – or at least, would you say that, Dr. Lipton, since you appear to spend a great deal of time talking about Bastien whenever he’s not here visiting the labs?
Bastian: No, it doesn’t.
Melanie: Yes, it does. Heart of gold. Bastien has a real soft side.
Bastien: What? No, I don’t. I’m a bastard. Everyone says so. It’s why everyone hates me and wants me dead.
Melanie: You’re just misunderstood.
Bastien: I waged war with the Immortal Guardians.
Melanie: Exactly. Misunderstood.
Bastien: War isn’t . . . Never mind. And she doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about me.
Melanie: Actually I do. Cliff, Joe, and I gossip about you constantly. Quit trying to cover my butt.
Bastien: I’m getting a headache.
Dr. Lipton, the rumor mill is also buzzing that you might also be a gifted one? Is that true? Have you ever thought about becoming an Immortal Guardian yourself?
Bastien: Who’s buzzing about what?
Melanie: I swear this place is worse than a sewing circle. For a secret network, this building houses very few secrets.
Bastien: You just confessed to gossiping about me.
Melanie: Admitting that there IS a problem isn’t the same as saying I’m not part of it.
Bastien: *points to the notepad on which their answers are being recorded* Could you, perhaps, leave that part out of it?
Maybe you too would have an interesting gift, say like Bastian’s empathic abilities–how he can sense what someone is feeling with just a touch. Like how Bastian is touching you right now, Dr. Lipton, and how it would give him insight about what you are currently feeling.
Melanie: Bastien’s gift can sometimes be frustrating, because as long as he’s touching me I can’t hide what I’m feeling.
Bastien: Works for ME.
Melanie: BUT, sometimes I can use that to my advantage. *sends Bastien a sly look as she presses her shoulder more firmly into his arm*
Bastien: *sucks in a breath and gives Melanie a heated look as his eyes begin to glow a vibrant amber* You don’t play fair.
Melanie: *winks* Because I’m playing for keeps.
Well, thank you again for talking with us today. We look forward to reading more about your work together in Phantom Shadows.
Melanie: Thank you for the interview.
Bastien: Yes, thank you. It was a pleasure meeting you.
Melanie: *smiles* See? Heart of gold.