Hi everyone, Kris here. Today, we continue our journey down the rabbit hole that is the Department for Special Defence. Enter The Pain; a masked man of mystery with vampiric powers. Hero or villain? Time will tell.
By Kristina Blaise
Begin entry. Oh, do I have to say that every time? Sounds so weird. Just…ugh. Destroys the flow of the writing. That’s not any good. I’ve wasted enough time already, though.
My name is Doctor Sam Mason, Department for Special Defence. My security clearance is Charlie Class. I’ve also had something of a history of being exceptionally efficient at tracking specific targets of the DSD, ones that they have for whatever reason viewed as being too dangerous for regular personnel. It is for this reason that I have been bestowed permission to write a report on the recently apprehended specimen known as “The Pain”, better known by his emergency code designation “Cronos Black”. As goes with all of my reports, this is for DSD eyes only, and only DSD agents with a clearance level of George or higher are permitted access to this report. Any lower-class personnel need only refer to the basic protocols outlined by their supervisor for instructions on handling the specimen.
The Pain has been wanted by the DSD for around 120 years now. Reports of an individual with The Pain’s powers first started surfacing some time after the American Civil War among working class British people. While stories of vampiric individuals have exist for as long as anyone can remember, The Pain is a special case. Normal vampires tend to feed on blood, while The Pain doesn’t. Rather, The Pain seems to feed on the…well, the life force, the very soul of his victims. Crazy, I know, but there is a bit of science behind it.
“…To be regarded with extreme caution…”
The Pain’s abilities seem to work by forcefully degenerating his victims’ body on a cellular level. By doing this, he seems to subsist on sapping away bioelectric energy that his own cells use to fuel his bizarre healing factor (as everyone involved in the subject’s initial containment breach will remember). For this reason, The Pain is to be regarded with extreme caution. We have a couple of tips to offer for dealing with him, however: direct skin contact seems to be the only way he can use his powers on someone, and should you decide not to get on his bad side, he will not meet you with hostility.
The Pain’s always had a thing for eccentric dress sense. Lately, he has been favouring a slightly ragged brown pea coat, leather gloves to cover his hands when he does not want to use his powers, a wide brimmed hat, and—perhaps strangest of all—a bird mask not unlike those of the Commedia dell’arte character Scaramouche or 17th century “plague doctors”. Quite the dapper fellow, I assure you. Another garment he never seems to be seen without is a balaclava-like face cover made of coarse black fabric. When asked to take it off, he expresses great anxiety and hesitation to do so, and if pressed he will become exceedingly irate and attempt to attack using his powers. As such, we don’t ask him about it. Those who have caught glimpses of the face beneath the covering have described it as being “horribly disfigured”, “rotted away”, and even “corpse-like”.
Man or Monster?
The Pain’s tragically long life can most likely be owed to his regenerative healing factor, which he must constantly fuel with new victims in order to maintain his strength. Deprivation of new victims causes him to become weak, lethargic, and, at worst, violently ill. Because the DSD is unwilling to simply go out and find more people for The Pain to consume, we have instead found that he can be kept healthy using a special intravenous medication. The Pain is to inject this medication three times a day. The exact formulation for the drug is classified, but it is believed to be fabricated from a sample of the substance left behind by the subjects designated “Odin Blue”. That stuff, yeah. It’s proving to be pretty useful once the lab chemists remove the hallucinogenic components. Well, let’s be honest, the hallucinogenic components could also be exploited in various fun ways, couldn’t they?
The few times I’ve conversed with The Pain have been largely uneventful, but he has on occasion divulged some interesting factoids about himself and the circumstances of how he gained his powers. I’ve copied the transcripts below for your perusal:
The First Encounter
“Hello. My name is Doctor Sam Mason. You must be the one who calls himself The Pain. Any reason why you chose that name? I’ve always been curious.”
“Just…suffering. So much suffering.”
“The suffering of yourself or those who you use your powers on?”
“Frankly, dear Doctor, I’m at a point where I feel as if it no longer matters. I feel myself hurt, I feel hurt in the hearts of others. All I’m good for is hurting.”
“You express remorse for your actions, yet you seem to have no qualms about murdering others for your own sake. I’ve seen your work. Human beings are nothing but another snack to you, huh?”
“I have never killed anyone who wasn’t deserving of being brought to justice. I must kill to live, so I have attempted to target those who are wicked and evil of heart.”
“And who made you judge, jury and executioner of this sort of vigilante justice?”
“Someone must act as scalpel to cut away the cancer on our society, doctor.”
“This is…not a philosophical matter I feel like debating right now. I’ve got nothing more to say to you. I hope you enjoy your stay here, in the comfort of your cell.”
“So be it. You realize, of course, that you cannot keep me in your prison forever.”
“Yeah, well, obviously you’ve never tangled with the Department before. Good night.”
“Now then, Pain. It’s obvious that you have abilities that are beyond the usual spectrum of human ability. You can somehow degenerate living cells and metabolize their energy to rejuvenate your own. Care to explain?”
“Yes, I can see why that might make for an interesting story. Likewise, I can see why that’d be something you’d have…ah, questions about. Well, where to begin? It would’ve been…I think perhaps 1840? Yes, that was when I was born. My father was an affluent factory owner. This high social status, however, did not come with a complimentary moral compass, unfortunately. My first victim. There’s nothing like discovering you have extraordinary talents at such a young age. Quite the experience. I am still not sure where they came from. I just woke up one day with these abilities. Maybe it was genetic.
“…British soldiers spoke very highly of the young officer called ‘The Pain’…”
“During the Great War, I resolved to utilize my powers for the good of the crown. I think that may have been where I earned my name. Lot of death out there in No Man’s Land. I supposed that goes without saying. Yes, British soldiers spoke very highly of the young officer called ‘The Pain’. The name stuck, though I think it’s been so long that I can’t say for sure if I can attribute it to them.”
“We knew about your service record. The name on all the files seems to have been crossed out, but your usual alias shows up quite a lot in our files. You were a hero at Passchendaele.”
“I’m not sure that’s the right word for it, but thank you. Anyway, the war ended, and after that was the Depression. You’re usually never strapped for work when you’re eating people’s souls, of course. Made a killing looting corpses, coupled with the occasional strike-breaking gig.”
“Spoken like a true, blue-blooded capitalist.”
“You Americans must love the sound of that, then.”
“Moving on…in World War 2 you crossed paths with our very own Special Task Force a few times. Care to tell us about your experiences with them?”
“Not now. I’ve spoken enough. I grow tired. I have to rest.”
“…What happened with STF?”
“Pain, you promised me you’d tell me about STF. You know, in World War 2. What happened with STF?”
“Captain Rav and I defended a bridge in northern France against heavy Nazi opposition. That’s all you need to know.”
“No…I think we both know that’s not true, isn’t it? Here, what do you think of these…?”
(At this point I slid some photographs from the STF archives across the table. He looked at them for a while, then put them down, visibly distraught going by his body language)
“So they kept some souvenirs of that nastiness. Can’t imagine why.”
“Why don’t you ask them yourself?”
“Don’t be stupid, there’s no way they could’ve—“
(The remaining transcripts are classified and only the STF themselves or Able-class personnel can open them. Security code Sail-Peter-Oboe-Peter-Sail)
In conclusion, the Pain is a dangerous specimen, though not on par with something like Abaddon White (I don’t even want to think about that one or what he might cause). Above all, the difference that separates the Pain from most of the DSD’s watchlist is that he can be reasoned with. In other words, while he is a maverick who views the world according to a very strict and black-and-white moral compass, he could eventually become an ally. This is good. We’re gonna need all the allies we can for what’s coming. This has been Doctor Sam Mason, Department for Special Defence, signing off.