Leon's eyes snapped open when one of the phones in his desk began ringing. He swung his legs off the desk and rummaged through the upper drawers, digging beneath reams of papers and portfolios for the offending handset. His hand closed around the cell after the fifth ring, and he groaned at the sight of the caller ID. Leon activated the speakerphone and dropped the handset on his desk, crossing his arms behind his head.
"Hey, Maximo. What's up?" Leon tried. He really did. But the tone of apathy mingled with disgust that usually infected his voice whenever speaking with Maximo was simply too ingrained for him to suppress completely. Fortunately, the little Nosferatu was one of the most socially oblivious beings he'd ever met, and Leon's subtle displeasure sailed over his head like the space shuttle. Maximo's horribly screechy, nasal voice was actually improved by the crappy speakerphone's staticky distortion.
"Hey-hey, Leo! What's up, man, how ya been? Night been treating you well? Cool, cool, look dude I can't talk too long right now I'm on my way back to the Warrens but I figured I'd stop off and give you a call before sunrise, didn't want any pryin' ears listenin' in on this, you're on a clean phone, right? Sure, sure, yeah, right, anyway look I found something I figured you might want to have a look at, it's your kind of thing, right, I mean usually I'd take it to Nathan or something, I mean I know he's my primogen and all but I think it might be a little smarter to keep this out of the courts for a little while, you know what I mean? So anyway you've probably heard about the new fiends in town right, I mean we already know about that shit that went down between you and those Sabbat assholes downtown, nice work by the way, anyway about the fiends, they're cooking some new kind of drug, the Kine are going fuckin' nuts over it, it's like meth on heroin on PCP on crack, hyper-addictive and cheap as shit, word is its got some kind of new chemical additive but nobody I know has been able to nail it down yet but get this man, get this, been a lot of ODs lately the cops are linkin' to the new stuff, they're callin' it 'Haze', police reports indicate that the vics are almost all bums and club kids but look look look, here's the thing, one of my boys got a hold of a few autopsy reports and get this, all the vics showed evidence of serious alterations in neurochemistry and brain structure, get it? Huh? Do ya? Do ya get it? Same kinds of things that happen to Kine after they've ingested Kindred vitae, man, or at least it's really, really freakin' similar. Figured you should know, dude. Ohhp, I gotta go, nice talking with you, Leon, bye!"
Before Leon could get a word in edgewise, Maximo was already gone. The entire 'conversation' took less than a minute. Leon felt out of breath just listening to it, and wondered-not the fist time-if it was possible for one Kindred to have two bloodlines. He was nearly positive Maxi had a little Malkavian in him. The phone beeped off and he rolled the Nosferatu's words around in his mind, considering the new information.
'Haze'. The idea of using Kindred vitae in street drugs was nothing new, but it was extremely disturbing, not to mention the danger it posed to the Masquerade. Kine that ingested vitae directly experienced a sort of mental and emotional link to the donor(s) and thus became ghouls, but those that got hold of it indirectly often suffered severe psychological and emotional trauma. Their minds strained under the stresses of the unformed link, and they usually fell into a deep, mindless rage or depression. The presence of additional drugs only worsened the symptoms, leading to anything from catatonia to uncontrollable homicidal tendencies. It was exactly the kind of thing that could alert the Kine to the Kindreds' existence, and exactly the kind of thing the Tzimisce would try.
'Probably some young new fiend, out to make a name for himself. Max was right; I'll wind up getting sucked into this eventually. May as well start hitting it now.'
He looked back up to the maps on the wall, a familiar feeling of disappointment and self-disgust welling up in his gut. 'Sorry, Veldana. Looks like our hunt will have to wait a little longer once again...'