Jane Heckman

When we first meet Jane Heckman in Vampires of the Scarlet Order, she’s a physicist working on military-grade nanotech at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. During the course of a test, she awakens the vampire Rudolfo who was mentioned in the post about Mercedes Rodriguez. It turns out that Rudolfo has been sleeping in a cave underneath Socorro Peak for nearly 400 years. Ravenous after his long sleep, Rudolfo kills both of Jane’s graduate students. Outraged that her students have been murdered, Jane decides to hunt down and destroy the vampire.

Consummate scientist that she is, she researches the legends surrounding Rudolfo. Armed with both a cross and a crossbow, she begins her hunt. She finds Rudolfo at the cave where she conducted her test.


    She followed Rudolfo to the bunker, keeping some distance. The facility was well guarded but the bunker was not locked. Rudolfo let himself in and sat. Jane, still holding the cross, sat facing the vampire. “A woman who is a natural philosopher,” pondered Rudolfo. “You must be truly remarkable.”

    “I like to think so.”

    Rudolfo grinned at her self-assuredness. “Why did you come to seek
    me out?”

    “I was curious. I wanted to know if there really were such things as
    vampires.”

    “I am a lonely creature, just now learning about your world. I have
    been asleep a very long time.” Rudolfo leaned forward and gazed into the woman’s eyes. His voice turned velvety, seductive. “As a natural
    philosopher, a physicist, what is your passion?”

    “My passion?” She blinked at the sudden change of subject, then
    pursed her lips. “My passion is the natural world. As a physicist, I can imagine how the world works at the deepest levels.”

    “Indeed.” The vampire looked at the cross. “Would you please put
    that thing away? I have no need to kill you tonight.”

    “Have you already killed tonight?” Jane forced an even tone, though
    the bile rose in her throat as she questioned why she’d come out to the facility all alone.

    “Would it be so horrible if I had?” Rudolfo sat back, folding his arms. “I am a vampire, I know how the world works at the deepest levels. I have no need to imagine. I can move faster than any human, I can hear more, see farther.” He reached over and touched a computer monitor, inclining his head as she reluctantly set the cross to the side. “There’s more. I have seen history itself unfold.”


Soon afterwards, Rudolfo turns Jane into a vampire. She is both horrified and fascinated by her new existence. She wants nothing more than to destroy Rudolfo, but she knows he’s the only one who can help her understand life as a vampire. Again, she falls back on her training as a scientist, and sets out to document her experiences. She writes in her journal:


    As a vampire, I find my outward appearance is very nearly the same as it was when I was human. At the time I became a vampire, I was a woman of 42. Admittedly, some of the changes I record are qualitative: My skin has become smoother and more taut, yet somewhat more pale, taking on something of an alabaster quality. My eye color seems more vivid. My lips seem fuller and a brighter shade of red.

    My senses also seem to be improved. I can hear fainter sounds and see more distant objects. Looking up at the night sky, I am able to distinguish the rings of Saturn, something well beyond normal human ability. I should emphasize that my vision does not seem to magnify objects. I simply seem to have improved resolution, as though there are more rods and cones in my eyes. Perhaps an eye test with a qualified optometrist would be in order.

    I appear to have acquired the ability to sense the thoughts of others and to project my own thoughts into the minds of others. Though various studies have been made, I know of no study that has definitively demonstrated the existence of telepathy in humans. I also know of no satisfactory hypothesis describing a mechanism for telepathy. Perhaps further study of this ability with vampires would yield better results than it has with humans.

    I have become stronger. It is much easier for me to load my crossbow than before I became a vampire. I can now easily subdue and feed upon human males that I estimate to be two and a half times my weight. Because I was neither a violent person nor the subject of an attack prior to becoming a vampire, I do not know what I was capable of as a human. However, I strongly suspect I was not capable of such a feat of physical prowess. More quantitatively: My canine teeth now extend approximately 0.125 inches below the neighboring teeth. In spite of what is shown in many vampire movies, my canine teeth do not retract, they are fixed much like those of a dog.

    * * *

    “What an unflattering comparison,” muttered Rudolfo.

    Turning around, I scowled at him. “What do you mean? Dogs have
    long canine teeth. It’s a reasonable comparison.”

    “So do cats,” he said, grinning wistfully, displaying his own fangs.
    “And I would say you have feline grace and charm.”

    “If you don’t stop interrupting, you’ll see what a bitch I can be,” I
    growled.


You can read more of Jane’s observations (and Rudolfo’s commentary) in Vampires of the Scarlet Order, available as:

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One thought on “Jane Heckman

  1. […] then marches into New Mexico with Don Juan de Oñate then disappears. We next see him when Jane Heckman wakes him up in the twenty-first […]

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