Chapter 15 of Martha’s Children, and the Vampire Bureau’s star

Sherlock Kammen may now be a vampire, but he’s still a detective, and detectives rely on building up information to support their plans and actions. In chapter 15 of Martha’s Children, “Aye, marry, I’ll be gone about it straight,” Kammen works his network of sources and contacts to solve his problems. But one of his contacts takes Kammen by surprise with a problem she wants him to solve!

You’ll note there’s a new banner up this week. Now that Martha’s Children has been the ongoing serial for many weeks, it was time to change the banner for the blog to reflect this. However, I have restored the old Dragon Lady banner to that tale and its two related stories.

Chicago police wear a badge they call a star, which in 1969 was the same style that had been used since 1955, and which would be replaced in 2002. You can see some examples here. Vampire police were a radical change to the existing department, so they got a distinctive badge with several of the elements redesigned to reflect their peculiar and occult nature. Among other things, both the star itself and the images from the city seal were reversed (as well as altered), as you can see here:

Star # V 13, Vampire Bureau, Chicago Police Department (1969)

Star # V 13, Vampire Bureau, Chicago Police Department (1969) – E. J. Barnes

The painting is by E. J. Barnes, who reserves all rights, including copyright. And it is featured in the new banner.

Ned and his fellow vampires aren’t wearing this badge yet in the story, but it’s coming!


About Brian Bixby

I enjoy history because it helps me understand people. I'm writing fiction for much the same reason.
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7 Responses to Chapter 15 of Martha’s Children, and the Vampire Bureau’s star

  1. suzy beal says:

    I love the Vampire Badge. Way to go, E.J. Barnes!

  2. Judy says:

    I love the Vampire Star too!! Ditto on good going EJ Barnes!! Though I do miss her Dragon Walking Stick! Question though as reference the general public when these badges are seen….will they think Vampire Bureau are those hunting the vampires rather than being the vampires? While this new force may be out only at night, they will be seen.

    • Brian Bixby says:

      The walking stick can still be seen as the banner on DLS pages. I didn’t know until this week I could use the “featured image” feature to put different banners on different pages.

      Historically, while the Chicago cops seem to have loved the 1955 series stars, they were hard to read at any distance, between their small size and simple metallic finish. So, oddly enough, people misunderstanding what they read is not a major concern, since they won’t be able to read them from very far!

      But you raise a very good point: the designation “Vampire Bureau” is ambiguous, as it could mean staffed by vampires, as Ned intends, or the people who maintain order among vampires by hunting and policing them. Ned chose the term for political reasons: he was making a claim that the vampire cops as a group were on par with the other major organizations in CPD.

      There’s more to it than that. But you’ll have to wait until the badges are introduced for the next piece of the explanation.

  3. crimsonprose says:

    I imagine there is a logical reason for the dog/wolf/coyote/fox in the cage/bathing-hut but not being privy to such arcanities, could you please explain. And pass on to Ms EJBarnes that I greatly admire her artwork. You are lucky to have her to personalise your blog.

    • Brian Bixby says:

      One can’t always count on logic in what might as well be called American heraldry, but that particular feature I can explain. The bathing hut is actually a shield representing the United States, hence the 13 vertical stripes representing the 13 original states. The wolf represents the vampire’s ability to transform into said creature.
      I’ll pass along the word to EJB, who I should note was also consulted on the banner this time.

      • crimsonprose says:

        I did wonder if the ‘dog’ symbolised the police’s oath to ‘hound’ the criminal, or some such. Thanks for answer. I like the cool blues of the banner; gets away from vampire-red.

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