I hate this room. They could do more to make it comfy, but then again it’s a conference room. I shouldn’t expect much.
Gloria sighed as she made her way around the oak table to one of the executive chairs closest to the whiteboard. There was a slide projector on the far end and every place at the table had a booklet held together by a plastic cover and slide. The first page had Armin’s mugshot.
“This is going to be interesting,” Lorn growled as he took his place next to Gloria.
“Yeah, I remember the first time we had one of these with him as the focus. I thought Dinny’s artery was going to bust.”
Lorn chuckled, “There was a pool.”
One by one everything from vampires to werewolves and other supernatural beings filed in and took their seats. The murmurs started as soon as they picked up the booklet which was followed by head shakes and various noises. The murmuring stopped when a nine-foot sasquatch entered the room. His tailored suit made the ponytail and manicured hands look in place. His tawny beard was well-kept and hung only three inches from his chin. His mustache hid his top lip. His green eyes were scanning the room.
“I see all of you know who we are here to discuss.” He had a bracelet on his left wrist which translated his guttural noises, whistles, and clicks, “It seems many recovery teams believe he is back in this region, and I have dispatched an investigative team to a location where many youths have gone missing. We also have another issue that is not in the booklet, ferals.”
Moans did their rounds as heads turned toward the door as Ajay and Jade entered the room. Ajay had a stack of folders under his arm, and Jade’s expression was stern.
Dinny motioned to the last two seats at the table, “If the two of you would not mind taking the last two seats, we can begin.”
Everyone’s gaze shifted back to the sasquatch once all the seats were full, “We do not need a repeat of events from the first time Armin showed himself. We need to find him and sanitize him. Ferals like him will only keep creating pups and causing chaos. As of this morning’s reports, there are 15 new pups, 5 of which are ferals.”
Krystal raised his hand, “We cannot attribute all of them to Armin. He does not have a history of siring feral pups.”
Nods of agreement broke out. Dinny raised his hand stopping the heads, “I did say we have someone investigating. The only thing can do in the meantime is get blood samples from the new pups to see if the viral markers match. We still have his markers in the database. So far we’ve had five matches, one of which was recovered by Gloria.”
Gloria’s eyes flew up from the booklet, “Angie?”
Dinny nodded as he walked toward the projector and continued the briefing and answering questions. After an hour of the briefing, Dinny answered a few more questions and then lent the floor to Ajay and Jade.
Ajay handed out the folders as Jade made her way to the front of the room. She turned to address the room as Ajay changed out the slides and turned on the projector. It was a comparison of two blood samples.
“As you can see, there has always been a clear difference between full pups and ferals. It can be seen in the viral load.”
The slides were changing as she spoke, each one showed and described a treatment used for feral pups, “We have tried many techniques to cure ferals, most of which ended with putting them to sleep. There is one method that has not been tried.”
Dinny’s eyes tightened into slits and he spoke through gritted teeth, “Please, tell me you’re not going to suggest what I think you are.”
“I see no reason rebiting the pup will not work. The lack of viral load is what makes them feral. If we were inc-”
Dinny shook his head and cut her off, “No, this is forbidden. I will not allow this.”
“You’re not even listening. It’s the only thing we have not tried.”
Ajay chimed in, “I have run tests on blood samples from feral pups, and the results are positive. I don’t see why you are against it. Aren’t we in the business of helping them?”
Dinny glared at Ajay, but the doctor continued, “I’ve been the subject of your stare before,” Ajay’s eyes turned amber, “If we can find a way to help vampires walk in the sun and control their bloodlust, we can help ferals without putting them down.”
Dinny sighed, “I am getting the impression you will not let this go and will go behind my back to do it anyway.”
Both Jade and Ajay stood firm without expressions.
Dinny’s shoulders slumped, “Fine, but ONE failure and your project is done. You are to give me daily reports, no excuses.”
Jade nodded, “Thank you.”
Dinny looked at Ajay, “Aren’t there ferals you need to be tending?”
Ajay made his way out of the conference room and to the first treatment pod.
The treatment pods were reminiscent of padded rooms from psych wards in hospitals and old mental institutions. There were designed with scratch and bite-proof materials. Sooth music was piped in along with lavender and geranium essential oils. In the worst cases, like Cody, the geranium was replaced with jasmine. Cody was sitting cross-legged with his eyes closed and scratching his skin with a light touch.
“How are you doing, Cody?”
His eyes popped open, “I am doing better than yesterday. I don’t know what that smell is but it’s helping me not be nutty and hyper.”
“That’s a combination of lavender and jasmine. I am glad it’s helping. I have a question for you.”
Cody stood and walked to the window in the door, “Shoot.”
“If there was a chance we can help you be more in control would you be up for it?”
Cody looked excited, “What do I have to do?”
“We need a couple of blood samples. Miss Jade would like to use her blood to see if mixing your with hers could help your wolf half be less feral.”
“Sounds good. I’ll try anything that will help me feel more normal. I don’t like being this way.”
“I know you don’t. I will be right back.”
When Ajay returned, he motioned for Cody to step away from the door, and he entered with blood collection equipment, “Let’s get started.”