Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Since the question of Putin's health has been evoked repeatedly :

What follows is the "Putin" sub-plot of a collaborative parody vampire novel I participated in, in 2009. The main theme is a plot by a Californian vampire start-up aiming for world domination.

Perpetual Darkness - an extract
The Board's ordinary business was expedited in a perfunctory manner. Everyone was restless; they were all on standby, awaiting the results of the Davos mission.

If the mission was successful, it would be probably a week before Mirka could get back with labelled bags of organic material; another couple of days to brew the serum; and then they could finally go into action. There was no way to know how many samples would be recovered, or which world leaders would fall thus into their power. There was, indeed, no formally defined process to assign Directors to victims; but all assumed that the well-defined informal pecking order would prevail, with their Chairman, Master Valeriu, having first pick.

Valeriu sensed the restless mood and decided to take the bull by the horns. He made a game of it. They brainstormed a list of names, in three columns : Political leaders; business magnates; top journalists. He stopped the count at forty prime victims. Then he took an anonymous poll : who would be your first choice?

After the count, there was a rare moment of levity when it turned out that, of twenty-three directors present, seventeen wanted Putin.


That same afternoon in Davos, Peter Brown also had a rendezvous with Milos and Laslo. He interrogated Laslo about his sample collection methods, and smiled with approval when he explained about his helpers. He enumerated a number of high-value targets, which Laslo undertook to give the highest priority to.

"And our number one target is Vladimir Putin", said Brown.

"No way!" said Laslo. "I've talked to the permanent staff about him. Apparently, every year, he brings his own staff, chambermaids and everything. Nobody gets near him. He doesn't even use the hotel's toilets : he craps into a sort of potty thing, and they ship it all back to Russia."

"Wow, that's weirder than Howard Hughes!" said Milos.

"No, it's sort of rational paranoia", Laslo continued. "It seems the CIA pulled a trick on Brezhnev in the seventies : they cut into the waste pipe from his room, collected a sample of his shit, and diagnosed the liver disease that eventually killed him. Putin doesn't want to be diagnosed, it seems."

"What are all these samples for, anyway?" asked Milos anxiously.

Brown smiled broadly. "It's a research project. We wish to discover whether, as we suspect, a large proportion of world leaders have vampire ancestry. We need to analyze biological samples to do that."

"Then why do you want me to add stuff to their food?" Milos pursued.

After an almost imperceptible hesitation, Brown replied : "It's a biological agent that will react in a certain harmless way on the metabolism of a person with vampire ancestry, and leave traces in samples taken afterwards. It will greatly enhance our capacities of detection and analysis."

"That's great!" said Laslo enthusiastically. "I'm proud to contribute to the project!". Milos kept his own counsel, but accepted the bags of blood Brown handed over to him.

The town was already buzzing with business magnates, power brokers and deal-makers. World leaders were mostly expected the following afternoon, in time for the inaugural dinner.

Shortly after nightfall, Hank and Mark Davidson met with Peter Brown in a different café on the outskirts of Davos. Brown was terse and businesslike: "As our direct-action operatives, your mission is to obtain biological samples from high-value targets which we can't access by other means. But your first duty is to avoid detection. Even at the expense of failure in your assigned missions. And in the event of your being captured or killed, it is imperative that there be no connection to myself or to the Organisation. Any compromise of my status as official invitee would be disastrous."

Hank realised that Davidson was seething with anger. Understandably so : Brown was apparently treating the two of them as equals, and as his inferiors; whereas Davidson was a fellow Director, and chief of the Security section of the Organisation. In Davidson's mind, and perhaps in that of Brown, his status as a mere Coffer put him perpetually in a position of inferiority, and resentfully on the defensive.

"Master Petru, there is no need to lecture me about security imperatives. Indeed, it would be well to defer to me on the subject. Give me the list of targets, and let me deal with the matter."

"Of course, Master Mirka." said Brown, with a forced smile. "I treat with you as an equal. But you must understand that, in this mission, there can be only one operational commander."

"Indeed", Davidson concurred. "However, for security reasons, I think it would be unwise for us to meet again at Davos. There are police, soldiers, cameras everywhere. Iancu and I will execute our missions without any further reference to yourself. I believe this will be the most effective strategy."

"Fine", said Brown, realising he had been out-manoeuvered. "Vladimir Putin is our highest value target. Our local operatives do not have access to him." He outlined what was known of Putin's domestic arrangements. "Over to you, Master Mirka, to devise the plan to get what we want from him." On the one hand, Brown realised, if the Putin mission succeeded, he would have difficulty claiming much credit for it. On the other hand, if it went sour, then he would carry no blame.

The approach to the hotel was fairly easy, much easier than Hank had anticipated. Davidson had plotted it out well, he realised; it was physically challenging, with fences to vault and walls to climb, but not very risky for someone of his calibre. He had to be very careful with the timing; Davidson had determined the pattern of military patrols precisely, and his safety margins were slim.

The real danger was the random patrols which supplemented the regular ones. But Davidson was lurking in the shadows, ready to cover him in that event.

Likewise, entering the hotel wasn't all that hard. Laslò had given him some useful clues about how to work around the alarm system. Once inside, he took off his grey overall, and headed for the Russians' suite in his bellhop uniform.

There, he had a stroke of luck. He had all the necessary material and skill to pick the lock of the suite, or to force it if necessary; but it would have taken time, and might have attracted attention. But the door was ajar, and he glided through. The suite was big, and apparently empty. He found the legendary potty, and collected the precious sample with distaste. He had almost reached the suite's exit door again when a door opened, and a young woman emerged from a small office.

Startled, she addressed him in Russian, then in English : "What are you doing here? It's off limits, surely you know that." She's probably feeling guilty about leaving the door open, thought Hank. Good looking : perhaps she's waiting for a lover? Do I have to take her down? A quick decision was required : he knew he could do it without fuss, and would do her no lasting harm. He would get away OK, but there would be an investigation, and who knew the consequences? Better try to bluff his way out.

"I'm sorry. I saw the open door and ... I thought you might be waiting for someone. Why not me?"

She grinned at this, and seemed to weigh his proposition. Oh Christ, he thought : what if she says yes?

"Run away, little boy. The important people will be back soon. Another time perhaps." Hank winked at her, and made a graceful exit.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 11:39:15 AM EST
Davos, continued

Back outside in the snow, he knew the job was almost over. And he realised that the time for decisions was near.

He had never thought much about politics. His loyalty to his vampire kin was automatic, unquestioning. Being asked to kill for them had been a true test, a borderline moral dilemma which circumstances had allowed him to sidestep. Mere burglary he had no moral qualms with. World domination? Most of the directors seemed to be decent enough people. On balance, they would likely do a better job than the incumbents.

But his brief contact with this other crowd, the vampirologists of the WHO, had perturbed him more than he cared to admit. Ordinary enough people, but they were making their own decisions; like fish swimming freely in a sea of possibilities, weighing freedom and responsibility, making moral choices. He realised that he had been an ant all his life, marching in a column, never straying from the path determined for him, never imagining that he might take initiatives on his own account.

Checking his watch, he waited before crossing the last open space before the security perimeter fence. Once the scheduled patrol had disappeared, he set out across it, walking fast but noiselessly in the snow. He spotted Davidson a hundred yards off on the other side of the fence, at the arranged meeting point. Suddenly Davidson waved him back, but it was too late.

"Halt! Hands in the air!" First in German then in English, a two-man security patrol intercepted him, close to the security fence but still on the wrong side. Still in the closed security zone.

Play dumb again, though Hank. What am I doing here. Nothing much. The gear I'm carrying is a giveaway, though. It's not looking good.

He waited patiently, hands held high, as the Swiss soldiers closed on him, automatic weapons at the ready but not actually pointing at him. Nice touch, he thought.

As they came to a halt facing him, a couple of yards away, one of them made a quiet choking sound, then slumped. Garotted by Davidson, who had approached soundlessly, invisibly behind him.

The second soldier brought his gun to bear and opened fire as Davidson sprang at him. He was almost stopped in mid air by the impact of four or five powerful bullets, but landed on his target, his knife plunging downward in an arc, over the soldier's body armour, through his throat into his heart.

As they sprawled in the snow, Davidson face down on top of his victim, Hank suddenly saw things more clearly.

All this for a hunk of shit, he thought wonderingly. A doggy bag of Putin pooh. He slipped the ziplock bag out of his pocket, and threw it away as far as he could into the snow.

We never finished the novel, but logically, Putin is the only major world leader who escapes the vampires' biohack, so it would have been up to him to save the world.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Feb 27th, 2022 at 11:47:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 03:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny, I found a declassified paper on remote diagnosis of Brezhnev, but they don't mention the sewer hack.
I wonder where I read it originally

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 28th, 2022 at 05:15:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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