Dex was not afraid of the dark. Dex knew that the dark was simply the absence of light and all that. It wasn’t the dark that scared him as a kid. It was vampires. Of course to most, Dex still was a kid, but in his mind he was the budding hero of an important, dangerous adventure. He had skills, and he knew how to use them. He also had suspicions, a lot of them. As a younger kid, though, Dex had been plagued by a crippling fear of vampires. He would cry at night, and refuse to go to sleep. Not because he was afraid something would happen to him in the night, no. He worried for his hemophiliac father. He was little then, and weak. His aunt and uncle could both fight anything that came their way, as far as he was concerned. He couldn’t even fight the kids at school that called him uncreative names. But Dex was smart. He could make things. It started small when he was in grade school, learning effective ways to research for papers, and learning programming languages on the side. Children learn languages faster, after all. Then he began making small programs here and there, to test his skills. One of his first was a simple semi-random number generator. He found it deep and troubling how things that seem random often aren’t. He was 8. Next he began toying with actual electronics, convincing his dads that he was just interested in robots (which he was) but actually interested in how to control electronics. He found limited success in specially programmed IR and UHF remotes. At the same time, he programmed himself a simple brute-force hacking software. It was terrible slow, but worked if he was patient enough. He was 10. Of course, he still cared about all of the things that other kids did. His grades, and more importantly, who his friends were and who didn’t like him at school. His parents taught him to stand up for himself, which gathered him a few friends, but a few enemies also. The difference for Dex was that when he went home, he wasn’t just playing Minecraft. He was playing Minecraft while researching ways to find people. Find information on people. Find information on vampires. That’s when he found the forums. People like him, but probably older and sadder, all talking about their fears, and even more than that their evidence and their plans. Of course he got as much info on all of them as he could before participating. He started replying, he started getting responses. Vampires were real, and much more than that, people fought them. There were ways, there were options and Dex was going to help. Dex was going to help his stupid aunt and uncle who never told him anything. They probably thought he wouldn’t figure it out but they clearly underestimated the expertise of the great DexMachina. Who was 12.