The year is 2025 and it’s been twenty-two years since the director of the Investigations Division of the Office of Supernatural Interdiction and Research (OSIR) forwarded a new vampire case to the director of the Interdiction Division, also known as Department 7.
The Office of Supernatural Interdiction and Research (OSIR), a secret organization within the United Nations, maintains a database of suspected vampires and ranks them according to levels of confirmation from 1 to 5. A level 1 ranking indicates an initial suspicion, whereas a level 5 ranking indicates validated and confirmed identification of vampirism. Prior to the new case recently submitted to Director Asambe, there hadn’t been a level 5 vampire listed in the database since 2003. The last level 5 vampire listed in the database was confirmed destroyed by OSIR agents in Sunnydale, California in 2003. There are currently six level 4 vampires, however, listed in the OSIR database. Agents from the Invesigations Division maintain close surveillance of these individuals in an effort to identify possible evidence leading to a level 5 classification. Once an individual has been confirmed as a level 5 vampire, the information is passed to the director of the Interdiction Division for the development of a mitigation plan.
Ongoing surveillance by the Investigation Division of suspected vampire activity has seen declining budget allocations over the past decade, as it becomes more difficult to confirm and validate classification levels higher than 3. Consequently, the sudden appearance of a level 5 case being sent to Director Asambe’s office out of the blue represents a dramatic departure from the usual routine. The details of the case are considered highly sensitive and have been classified as level 4 security matters, a step beyond the normal top secret security level of most of the office’s cases.
The agent list for this case is a foregone conclusion for many staffers in Department 7 and will probably consist of a team of specialists without the support of tactical operations in order to further reduce the likelihood of public exposure of the operation.
“Good afternoon, agents,” Director Asambe said as he entered the room, his deep baritone losing some of its usual calmness and casual courtesy. “This one is hot,” he said tapping his finger on the surface of the touch sensitive table display and projecting a holographic image of an elevation map of Eastern Europe. Moving his hand over the image, Director Asambe rotated and expanded it until it centered on a remote, mountainous region of northeastern Romania about 8 km north of the village of Frumosu. The agents immediately recognized the location as a region notorious for viral strains of lycanthropy.
The agents were shown segments of video uplink from the helmet cameras of a team of OSIRs hunters that began as a search for a single SE
but quickly erupted into chaos as they were ambushed by numerous creatures, some of whom fired automatic weapons clutched in animal hybrid hands. Within seconds the cameras were dead, along with the hunters. Four well-trained and well-equipped hunters led into an ambush that their recon intelligence hadn't seen coming.
Director Asambe paused for a moment to allow the agents to digest what they'd just seen. Then he tapped another button. The projected video panel was replaced with a slowly spinning holographic image of the Earth which showed a composite display of real-time weather patterns. Moving his hands over and through the image, the director brought it around to display the region in question--a small, densely wooded valley nestled between mountains on all sides--only something was strange. Except for the immediate vicinity of the of valley, the surrounding mountains and hills were clear of cloud cover and fog. "This image was taken at noon today," the director said. Waving his hand over the image, it changed. More scattered clouds appeared but the exact same fog formation appeared over the valley. "This one at noon yesterday." The director didn't need to remind these agents that there was no natural explanation for this kind of fog formation. "The last image we have of this region without fog is here," he said, waving his hand several times through the image to bring up the desired time sequence. "This was taken three months ago. Since then, satellite records confirm that this valley has been covered in continuous fog, and here's the bad news."
Director Asambe made sure he had everyone's attention before completing his statement. "That fog absorbs every method of electronic surveillance that we throw at it. Nothing gets through it. We only got the uplink video that we did because they were still at the edges of it. The people in Analysis think we may have an authentic planar convergence on our hands, a convergence that just happens to center on the site of a medieval castle that local legend says belonged to an obscure fellow named Count Strahd von Zarovich.