“We are back talking to Monica the commander of the space mission to Kepler 186. Why don’t you tell us a little about Kepler 186,” the host prompted me.
“Kepler 186 is a star system about five hundred light years from Earth. We’re heading to the fifth planet out. It is slightly bigger than Earth so higher gravity but we think has a chance at being human habitable.”
“How habitable are we talking? Sunny tropical beaches?”
I chuckled. “Not that sunny. At noon, Kepler 186 is barely brighter than our sun is at sunset.”
“Sounds like a perfect place for vampires.”
“That’s something we’re going to find out. We honestly don’t know if it’s just our sun that will burn vampires or any sun.”
“The scientist at the space agency haven’t run tests? Have they tried using sun lamps?” The audience laughed.
“Ha, no most of the testing with sun lamps was done a couple of hundred years ago.”
“Was that when vampires became public knowledge?” she asked.
“Not exactly. There have calls to go public since before I became a vampire. I saw several during my first century but they always got shot down by older vampires afraid humans would try to exterminate all of us. It was a valid concern so no one went beyond suggesting we go public.”
“IDs?” the host asked.
“Yep. In 2234, the Global Identification System changed its encryption schema and made it virtually impossible to create new fake IDs. It was common at the time for vampires to change identities every forty to fifty years. Suddenly it looked like we were going to be locked out of human society and forced back into haunting abandoned buildings. Without the appearance of legal identification, we couldn’t own property, we couldn’t have jobs, we couldn’t receive mail, we couldn’t travel. It was the end of the world for us. Then someone suggested we go public. This time the idea wasn’t shot down right out of the gate. There was a year long debate weighing every possible pro and con. And in the end, enough of us said yes.
“I wish I could read those comments.”
“Actually you can. Someone compiled the discussion into a book after we were recognized as full citizens in 2262. It’s titled Road From Out the Coffin. Horrible title but the content is good.
“How did that lead to scientists running tests on vampires?”
“Right got sidetracked for a second. Basically, some of us revealed ourselves to doctors around the world and let them run whatever test they wanted on us to prove we weren’t vampires. Of course, they got odd to weird results back but couldn’t prove we weren’t vampires. With this wide range of doctors saying “I don’t know what these people are but they aren’t normal human,” we went to specialized labs and continued the cycle. We wanted scientific proof that we, vampires, existed. After several years, everyone was stumped on how our bodies worked but we had detailed reports that they did. Then began step two: petitioning the World Government to recognize vampires as legal citizens with all the rights and protections that entailed. We wanted to be people, not monsters anymore.”
“Is that how people saw you? As monsters?”
“It was ingrained in society. Except for some novels written during the early twenty-first century, vampires have been portrayed as blood sucking murderers. We were that at one time but over time we stopped killing and even stopped having to forcibly take blood from people. That was probably what helped our case the most.”
“You had blood donors?”
“Actually yes. In the 2100’s, some vampires established a worldwide blood bank.”
The host’s eyes widened. “Wait, the World’s Blood Bank is run by vampires?”
“Well, not anymore. It started as a small front to get people to donate blood that was then sold to local vampires on the side. It worked so well that they got vampires around the world to invest and opened a network of vampire controlled blood banks under the name World’s Blood Bank. Then a couple of years after they had started a series of hurricanes and tsunamis and an earthquake devastated local blood supplies around the world. Someone in a hospital somewhere remembered hearing about The World’s Blood Bank and called up to request some blood.
“There was mild panic online that our blood supply was going to be exposed. The vampires running the blood bank decided they couldn’t not help. They had been collecting world wide and felt like they had plenty to spare. Then more requests came and then more. It seemed like the whole operation was going to collapse but then people started donating in mass. Their false image as a blood bank for the world became reality. The vampires set up a corporation to control the blood bank’s finances and set up a board of doctors to monitor day to day operations. They set up small private clinics around the world that could request blood and distribute it to local vampires. Our detractors tried to use this against us, calling us leeches on the world’s blood supply but all the vampires in the world use less than one hundredth of a percent of the blood used in hospitals around the world.”
“Wow. I just donated blood last week.”
“You’re welcome. Well, we’re almost out of time so do you have anything else you’d like to say about the Kepler 186 mission? What do you hope to learn or see?”
“I hope it is habitable. Earth is going to be here for a long time but humans might not. In the last five hundred years I’ve been alive, I’ve seen several man-made ecological disasters. Humans are getting better at cleaning up their messes but it just takes one mess too big to clean up to wipe us out. Too many eggs in one basket. So we’re heading out to find new homes for humanity. This is just the first of several vampire led missions to distant stars. We’re the first wave because we can sleep must of the hundreds of years it will take to get there. The hope is that by the time we get there and can send a message back new forms of transport will have been developed. My greatest hope is we arrive at an already populated planet.”
“You’re giving up your life for humans?”
“A few decades ago a conversation started about what would happen if all the humans died and only vampires survived. The discussion ranged from creating human farms to cloning blood to creating synthetic blood. There are many ways we could keep living if you wiped yourselves out but none of us want that world. Several of us were already in the space program and we suggested finding more worlds for humanity and us to live on. It seems very selfless but really we don’t want to be alone with only each for company.”
“Thank you, Commander Monica, for your time and service.
“Thank you for having me on.”
“That’s all the time we have today. Thank you for watching and don’t forget to donate blood.”
The show’s theme music blared one last time as the audience clapped.