When Secrecy Fails

In my last post, I talked a little about secrecy in vampire settings, how various different authors approached it, and how I’m approaching it in my Blood for Blood setting.

The big question that I’ve so rarely seen broached in vampire literature is, what happens when that veil of secrecy fails?  And I don’t just mean for one particular vampire, or in a community, but big-time?

Think of how much surveillance goes on now, between satellites, security cameras, traffic cameras, and cell phone cameras.  Unless vampires don’t show up on film at all (including, oddly enough, their clothes), then they’re going to be captured on film.

Eventually, they’ll be captured on film doing something inhuman, something that blows their cover.  Now, we’ve seen this kind of thing before: I’m thinking of the Highlander: the Series episode in which a man catches Duncan on tape and uses it to blackmail him.

But what happens when the camera that captures them is hidden and automated, not one held by a somewhat obvious human.  And what happens when the human is too smart to try to clumsily blackmail beings he doesn’t fully understand?

Ultimately, the secret will come out.  Technology pushes forward, the world moves on, and not even an immortal can stop it.

So what then?  Well, there seems to be a couple of options.

Equal Rights: this is the path Charlaine Harris took in her Southern Vampire Mysteries (True Blood) series.  The vampires move to democracies, reveal themselves and play on human decency, calling for equal rights.  This is the best path for vampires with the humility to “lower” themselves to be humanity’s equals.

Manipulation from the Shadows: the vampires try to infiltrate governments, letting those in power know (and possibly mesmerizing, bribing, and/or blackmailing them into acting in vampires’ best interests), while keeping the general populace largely ignorant of the existence of vampires.  This depends on the same government that can’t keep its private documents out of Julian Assange’s hands being able to maintain a truly conspiracy that would make faking the moon landing look like rigging the vote for high school prom queen.  Good luck with that, Drac.

Conquest:  this seems a natural option for vampires too proud to ask for equality, and too savvy to gamble their fates on a single Wikileaks post.  But how?  Depending on the setting, vampires could be anywhere from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,000,000 (on a planet of 6.9 billion, that means anywhere from 6,900 to 6.9 million vampires).  At any rate, being outnumbered at that level, and disadvantaged during the day, makes outright war problematic.

So, perhaps a combination of the two?  Infiltrating government, using a MacBeth gambit to take over?  Maybe stealing a adjacent few third-world nations, preferably ones with corrupt, rather than fanatical, governments?  Maybe trying a Skynet solution to thin humanity’s numbers?

There’s a lot of room for drama here.  As the vampires face inevitable discovery, some will bury their heads in the sand, some will argue for radical withdrawal and secrecy, some will argue for conquest, some will argue for coexistence, and some will take matters into their own hands.

What if when the worst people advocate for the best solutions?   What if the good ones advocate the worst solutions?  What if the best are caught up in denial, or too afraid to act?

We’ll see…

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