When the human world found out about the supernatural, it wasn't the violent revelation that one may expect. It started technology more advanced, allowing scientists to discover the energy signatures given off by open inter dimensional portals. While at first confused by the readings, it was a quick step to track those signatures back to their geolocation and discover the portals themselves, and the existence of other worlds. At that time otherworldly beings, and the foreign creatures that traveled between worlds was a marvel to unveil, but not exactly unexpected. By the time they turned their gaze to the hidden creatures of earth origin, like vampires, humanity had stopped getting surprised.
At the first undeniable proof of the supernatural, the Department of Supernatural Creatures, or DOSC, was created to identify, document, and research this previously unknown side of the universe. New government positions opened up for occult experts and seers. A new supernatural “census” was declared, sending DOSC agents across the country with sophisticated supernaturally tuned trackers, chasing down every blip to document. If the creature was friendly, they were signed up for government checkups and given an official supernatural security number. If they were determined to be hostile or killing humans, they were put down.
It was only a matter of time till the DOSC discovered Angel Investigations, and called Angel in for his first checkup.
“Ok Angel, just the a bit more of the check-up and a question or two and you will be free to go.” said the broad shouldered DOSC agent. His sleeve rode up as he grabbed the clipboard the nurse left on the table. Angel continued to sit on the exam table frowning. The vampire watched as the lanky nurse, Jacob his name tag said, open a new package of dental tools.
“You're not actually going to put those in my mouth are you?”
The nurse smiled. “We have to get a good look at your teeth, maybe see if there is any sort of dental care that needs to be done. That has to be pretty important for a vampire right?”
Angel eyebrows furrowed and his frown deepened.
“There is no need to look so worried” the DOSC agent spoke up. He leaned back against the wall as he flipped through the pages on the clipboard. “Now, it says here your two hundred and fifty?”
“Give or take a few years.”
“That’s pretty old for a vampire.”
“Not really.” Angel replied, shifting in his seat.
“Well, you're certainly the oldest we have on record. Most of the ones we come across are less than ten years old.”
“Fledglings. Violent and cocky?”
“That about covers it.”
Angel nodded and watched the nurse snap on a pair of thick rubber gloves. “Can't imagine they were very interested in being here.”
“No. They weren't.” A few seconds of silence pass. “We were wondering… well you seem pretty put together. Do all vampires calm down as they age?”
“Gain more control over themselves, become less violent.”
“Ah” Angel scratched at his hair. “No, well yes control but” He looked at the wall. “The whole protecting people thing, that's just me.”
The nurse hummed and picked up a dental mirror. “Ok now, lie down and let me see your fangs.”
There are many documents on the nature of vampires, but the more data the DOSC collected, the more they seemed not to add up. While the majority of vampires seems impulsive, violent, bloodthirsty (both literally and metaphorically), and ran on more instinct than thought, others deviated from this norm. For example, most seemed to not be able to feel the emotion of love, while a few loved so greatly that they would rather die than live on past their mate. Another: on initial interaction with a DOSC agent, most vampires snarled, boasted and challenged verbally, and lunged at the agent. A few, instead, remained calm and talked quietly, attacking only when the DOSC agent got close enough to grab, or even just make a distraction and slunk off into the night.
But why are there such differences between vampires? Dr. Kimble, in her breakthrough paper on vampire genetics and reproduction, showed that personality traits in a fledgling are inherited in a similar way to how humans inherit their genes from their parent. In the case of vampires, half of the new fledglings traits are inherited from the human personality they used to be, and the other half are inherited from their sire. Any trait or emotion that is not inherited are discarded entirely.
Furthermore, Dr. Kimble point out that not only are traits inherited, but that some traits are dominant over others. Violence and aggression show up commonly among vampires, a dominate trait, but love and empathy are recessive causing them to rarely show up in a population.
In another paper, Sire bias and its influence on vampire populations, by Dr. Agrai, it is pointed out that there is also a nurture aspect to a fledglings personality. First of all, a sire gets to choose which human they will to turn into a fledgling, which allows the sire to pick out a human that is more likely to pass on desirable traits to the new fledgling. In general, a sire seem to desire a fledgling with the same traits they do, so a violent sire is likely to choose a violent human to turn, in hopes this will result in a violent fledgling.
Bias continues in populations where the sire raises the fledgling rather than abandoning them (another possible inherited trait). These more attentive sires will nurture and encourage traits in their fledgling they think are ideal, and discourage any trait that deviates from that idea. In extreme cases the sire will even cull a fledgling that displease them, allowing the sire to move on and turn a new fledgling rather than continue spending effort raising their current one. Due to the fact that most vampires show and desire violent and aggressive traits, siring a fledgling that feels love or empathy could be enough for that sire to cull the fledge. In this case, the sire may even perceive that the fledgling has been “made wrong” and is deformed by inheriting unwanted, gentler, traits.
All of this research together lays out one clear fact. That a calm, loving, sympathetic vampire is possible to create. Such a vampire could also sire and nurture more of the same.
It’s a bit like gene introduction into a population. Completely eradicating a population of anything, animals, vampires, is incredibly difficult. Instead new genes are introduced to help minimize problems. This can be anything from making wheat more resistance to aphids, to salmon that grow at a increased rate. As the genetically modified population reproduces, the percent of the population with the gene rises. Continue with the culling of the population without the gene, and the percentage rises even further. The question the DOSC is asking; with enough generations, can “good” vampires become the norm, instead of violent ones?
Surprisingly, the vampire known as Angel already had a government file. During World War II, a broken off government black ops group known as the Demon Research Initiative, or DRI, had actually discovered and began studying supernatural creatures without ever notifying any other government group of the discovery. With the rise of the DOSC, the modern warped and misguided Initiative was disbanded and all of their records taken by the DOSC. According to the records the DRI discovered Angel living passively among humans, and then proceeded to coerce him into invading a submarine at the bottom of the ocean. The documents detailed the baffling operation note one interesting thing. During the operation Angel had to sire a fledgling, the submarine mechanic, in order to get the submarine to shore.
This fledgling, Sam Lawson, was tracked down by the DOSC, who noted that he had unusual traits. For one, he was greatly distressed about the fact that he was a vampire, stating that his sire “made him wrong”, “abandoned him”, and that Lawson “was a monster”. Upon further questioning, Lawson revealed though he had killed many humans before, but it “made him feel nothing”. It was the ultimately decided that though Lawson had become crazed from his abandonment by his sire, that the fledgling did in fact inherit some passive and moralistic recessive traits. Whether or not he was capable of empathy and protectiveness like Angel is, and that those traits had just not been nurtured properly, is unclear. What is clear is that Lawson expected Angel to raise him, a trait he had to have gotten from Angel, and that Angel had successfully passed on recessive traits to a fledgling.
(The DOSC agents reviewing the situation also note that the most likely reason that Angel abandoned Lawson was not due to the fledgling not meeting Angels standards, but due to the heavy handed involvement and stressors of the DRI agents. A theory supported by the fact Angel ran away mid mission and went underground for fifty years.)
“So I understand that you are the... Watcher assigned to this vampire?”
Wesley frowned and looked up from his book to the young woman standing in his office doorway. She wore a suit jacket with a slightly rumpled skirt, and floral stockings. It looked like she would be more at home at some sort of office then in a supernatural detective agency. In her hands she held a glossy black folder that just barely that almost covered up her lanyard and name badge. DOSC Science Representative Kimberly. He started to reply “That's not exactly-”
“And that Watchers are a human group dedicated to the teaching and guiding of creatures dedicated to the cause of good?”
“Well it’s a bit more specific-”
“So I should talk to you then about Angel’s health and future medical accommodations?”
“ Well no...”
Kimberly frowned, running her fingers along the edges of the folder. “If I don't speak to you,” she asked “then who do I speak to?”
Wesley pushed up his glasses “Well… I'd imagine you speak to him.”
She huffed and walked farther into the office and sat down in the chair across from Wesley. She gently placed the folder she was holding on the small bit of free space left on Wesley’s paper research covered desk. “Well I do believe speaking to him is important, that can only be part of the discussion.” she replied “If it is not immediately clear, I am from the Vampire Genetics Department of the DOSC. We're dedicated not only to the health of and well-being of vampires who can get along in a human society, but also to increasing that percentage rather than just rely on an elimination approach.”
She opened the folder and pulled out a few thick stapled research papers. “We would really like your cooperation and assistance as we figure out exactly how to do this. I have some research documents I think that you might like to look at, and a potential initial plan. If there are other people you think that would like to speak on this matter, perhaps your own mentor or close associates, we would like to speak to them as well.”
Wesley pulled over the document and started flipping through the pages. He studied some of the diagrams and projection charts with concern. “If I didn't help you I imagine you would just go through with this anyway?”
“Well,” Kimberly smiled, “We really would appreciate your help, but yes if you did not see to assist us in our goal, then we would have to rely on our own experts rather than yours. I think if you look over the documents you'll see that our plan is reasonable. Please,” she gestured to the folder, “take your time.”
She stood up and continued “My number is there on the first page. I'll contact you on Thursday if I do not hear from you sooner.” Kimberly paused, “Do you know how many violent fledglings there are? How many genocidal demons? Were trying to do something to actually better this world.” She nodded and left the room, her heels clicking against the Hyperion's marble floor. Wesley pulled the file closer and began to read. He blinked, pausing over a line, before his eyebrows furrowed. He started to read in more earnest, taking notes in the margins.
Three days, 7 hours, and 32 minutes later the members of Angel investigations, minus Angel who slept most of the day, we're arguing with the Sunnydale crew over the research documents at the LA library.
“It just isn't right” declared Gunn “You can’t force a guy to have kids, and how is more vampires supposed to make less of them? Angel isn't gonna have anymore fledges if no one makes him.”
Wesley shook his head and leaned back at the table. “It is actually quite clever,” he began as he explained the research and how traits can spread over a population. Giles flipped through the younger watchers notes as he listened, nodding every once in awhile as he followed along. Willow and Fred tried to peer over Wesley's and Giles respective shoulders, and Xander snarked about “mini dead boys” being a terrible idea to the growing annoyance of both Cordelia and Gunn, even though Gunn technically had agreed with him earlier.
Buffy sat at the table with her arms crossed and a frown on her face. She listed to the racket around her, butting in every once in awhile with a snappish remark. She finally closed her eyes and took a breath, before leaning forward and staring down the two watchers. “Lay it on me straight,” she said, “Do you really think this is a good idea, given all the things that could go wrong?”
“Well,” Wesley faltered, “I think it’s worth considering, what if it goes right? I mean, Angel is...old, and though he like to act like each battle is his last, its would be more… healthy to have someone who will still be around... later on.”
Buffy scoffed. “Someone who isn’t me.”
“Newsflash,” Cordelia broke in “Not everything is about you.”
“Yes, well,” Wesley tried to continue “I wasn’t trying to say that”
Giles spoke up “All the research adds up. This is possibly one of the biggest jumps in our understanding of vampires since the eight hundreds, when the Watchers Council discovered ways to temporarily subdue vampires for the first Cruciamentum.” He paused, then took off his glasses and begun to clean them with a cloth. “Not that the slayer trial was a particularly, good use of that knowledge. In this case, however, I believe that we could do much good here with this research- for society and Angel both. Consider, any new relation of Angel’s couldn’t be as bad a Drusilla.”
“Don’t speak too soon.” Buffy replied.
There was a moment of silence, then Gunn said “He has seemed kinda lonely lately.”
The mood seemed to shift to something more considering, and the group began to discuss along a new train of thought. If they wanted to encourage Angel to have a new fledgling, or several, how exactly would they go about it?
Wearing down Angel was both hard and easy. Hard, because at first he would not even hear them out. Walking in, still a bit groggy from sleep, Angel stopped short when he saw the gathering in the lobby of the Hyperion. After demanding to know what was happening; a vision? An apocalypse? Angel became defensive when he finally figured out they were there to talk about him. Angel bristled when Gunn got tired of beating around the bush and bluntly brought up his fledglings, and nearly flashed fang when Giles awkwardly asked if Angel ever thought about having more.
It was easy though too, because the group had already thought through all of Angels possible protests and has research clippings and anecdote to counteract them. He grimaced and paced as they worked their way through the conversation. Angel’s fists were clenched, and he only stopping his pacing to twirl around and snap out another reason why having another fledgling was a “bad idea” and that “they had all lost their minds”. In the end though, Angel found his arguments failing him. More and more his protests were more emotion than fact. When Giles pointed that out, Angel paused, breathing heavy as though he actually needed to breathe, and looked between the faces of the group. Fred, Wesley, Buffy- his gaze snapped to the floor, unable to stand their loving hopeful faces. Angel’s shoulders slumped. He walked over to a couch and collapsed into it.
“Ok,” Angel said as he leaned back against the stiff cushion, rubbing his face with his hand. “I’ll do it.”