A Hellsing / The Shadow crossover story
by Elsa Bibat
Disclaimer: Hellsing was created by Hirano Kouta, and is copyrighted by Gonzo/Pioneer LDC. The Shadow was created by Walter Gibson; its characters are copyrighted by Conde Nast Publications. Doc Savage was created by Lester Dent (a.k.a Kenneth Robeson), Conde Nast Publications, and Bantam Books.
Dame Integra Wingate Fairbrooks Helsing, hereditary Knight Commander of the Protestant Order of the National Knights of Hellsing, savored the taste of her cigar as she looked over her mail. After weeks of incarceration, and subsequent weeks of preparation, Hellsing was finally back to operational capacity. The "very thorough" fake investigation orchestrated by the Queen and MI5's infamous Diogenes Club had cleared her of all wrongdoing and made her a free woman. The Helsing Institute was still not in full operating capacity, although it was well on its way. The London "earthquake" had quickly overshadowed the Tower incident and had made possible the reactivation of Hellsing's military arm. Also, Ferguson's act of sacrifice made it possible for the institute to be cleared of any wrongdoing, once the proper "spin" was put to it.
She was actually thankful for her arrest. Her weeks of imprisonment had given her a chance to review what had gone wrong in the entire fiasco. Punctuated by Alucard's annoying visits to offer his blood to her, her isolation had given her several ideas to make sure that there was no repeat of the incidents that had lead up to the Institute's near dissolution.
Already the Hellsing mansion was experiencing several upgrades in defensive equipment. Cameras had been set around the perimeter, along with some rather nasty surprises that Walter had concocted for the unwary. The main gate and driveway were studded with traps, along with the mansion itself. A repeat of the Valentine assault would not be tolerated.
She had also called in several favors. The Diogenes Club was willing to help her Institute get on its feet in exchange for a few favors and a loan of her "special" agents every once in awhile. They had already helped her expand her investigative division and enabled it to do its own investigations independent of MI5's bungling. Diogenes had always despised its bloated bastard creation, now its parent organization, and they were quite glad to help. The Club was also doing some politicking for her. It was an arena that she had despised before her incarceration, trusting to the Queen's mandate. Her blind spot would have to be filled eventually, but before that she trusted Diogenes enough for the job. They were like her, in a way, dedicated to Queen and Country in heart and mind, unlike some of those idiots on the Round Table.
General Hannay, a family acquaintance, had helped her with a selection of new officers and troops for her military arm. Personal screenings and complete background checks were required. She had somehow managed to get the Institute to full battalion strength with people she could trust. The new commander, a sturdy fellow by the name of Makepeace, was smart and tough. He was leading a squad right now for a shakedown strike on a ghoul building in West End.
She also had some help from Walter's old friends. An elite Hellsing team like the institute had during World War II would not be remiss right about now. She had ordered Walter himself to find an apprentice. There would be a bit of difficulty in finding the sort of "unique" individuals that would comprise the new "Sword of Hellsing", as the unit had been called, but it would all be worth it in the end.
Integra's instincts told her that Incognito was just the first strike. Alucard had mentioned that the demented vampire had a human master. Her ruminations on that fact had led her to assume that something big was coming, and the institute was not ready for anything like this. The thought had galled her at first, but one learns to swallow pride inside a prison cell, no matter how well one is treated. Ten years under her leadership had stagnated the Helsing legacy, and had almost led to its demise.
Well, when you fall down, you get up and try again, harder and wiser the second time around. Integra let a wry smile appear on her lips as she looked over more of the official memoranda. Everything was coming together.
Hellsing was going to war, and whomever was behind the FREAKs was going to feel it. She'd probably have to reopen the mansion's torture chambers after all.
Sifting through the dross of official mail, she came upon two that made her frown. Opening them made her frown even deeper. She looked up from her desk. Walter, overprotective ever since she had been released, was standing at attention by the door.
Six hours like that. The man was incredible.
"Walter, could you explain this?"
The cadaverous butler arched an eyebrow as she held up a rectangular piece of paper. "A cheque for two million dollars, madam."
"I know that, Walter. But what is this…" Integra looked back up at the cheque. "Cranston Group? What is this Cranston Group that it gives us two million US dollars?"
"I would hazard to guess that it is for the same reason the Clark Savage Foundation gave us a cheque."
"Ah, yes… The other generous donor." Integra looked down at the second piece of rectangular paper she was going to inquire about. Then she realized something. Returning her gaze to her butler, she resumed her questioning. "You were expecting this?"
"They are old friends of the institute. Your grandfather met their respective founders. I was privileged enough to meet them also. Doctor Savage and Mr. Cranston were quite a pair. I believe you yourself met the Doctor when he visited eighteen years ago."
Integra leaned back into her chair and furrowed her eyebrows.
Eighteen years ago… A white-haired bronze giant of a man visiting her father about some exercise regimen and a serum…
"Yes… yes… I remember him. Mother held him in great esteem, didn't she?"
Walter nodded. "Lady Parvati was an old associate of his. She also held Mr. Cranston in high regard, although she was a bit wary about him. They had a great respect for the Helsing legacy and your family. I would assume that Doctor Savage's and Mr. Cranston's inheritors take interest in our current state."
"You knew they were sending two million dollars apiece?"
"That was the same amount that they gave after the war, madam. The need for adequate resources, they said, in our particular field of endeavor."
"Then they know of our mandate?"
"That I am quite sure of, madam."
Integra steepled her hands before her as she considered the two items before her. Four million dollars. She was loathe to admit it, but Hellsing had been quite strapped for cash lately. The upgrades and repairs had taken quite a bit out of the institute's annual budget. She had even been forced to draw from personal funds to supplement it. Four million dollars would go a long way. Integra settled back into her chair. But four million dollars also meant a big favor. She hadn't been paranoid enough the first time around. The money could be bait hiding a very sharp hook. Her gaze returned to Walter.
"Do you think these friends of ours have an ulterior motive for these generous donations?"
Walter's lips quirked into a wry smile. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, milady?"
Silence ruled as both master and servant considered the question.
To be continued.
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