Chapter 5: Evade and Escape
The Alpha command thundered through the bond. “All Betas and above meet in the main cavern immediately. All others begin packing for evacuation.”
Gary looked at Renee who was gingerly getting up. “Come on,” she said, “You’re second in command now that you’re my mate.” Pulling on a loose dress, she led him from the bed she had been recovering on.
Gary asked, “Honey, are you sure you are up for this?”
“You should know the enemy doesn’t care if you are up for it or not, you just have to deal with it.” It was weird considering that he was now hoping they could evade the same people he was in league with just a week ago, but much had changed, including him. He was now stronger, had better eyesight and smell, healed faster and could change into a powerful wolf at will. He had a Pack he belonged to and an Alpha who was wise and a good friend to him. Most importantly, he now had a woman he would spend the rest of his life with. She was quick to pick up on his arousal as he undressed her with his eyes. “No time for that, let’s go.” Hand in hand, they walked out to meet the other leaders.
They joined Derek, Amanda, her squad second in command Andy, and two other squad leaders, Rich and Barry, in a small circle near the entrance to the cave complex. Derek updated everyone on the scout’s reports; the paratroopers were still consolidating their camp in the next valley. Aircraft patrols were constant.
Gary gave a deep sigh. “They won’t stop until they find me or my body. We haven’t lost a pilot yet... I mean they haven’t... fuck. It’s not like I can just let them rescue me, they’ll shoot me as soon as they figure out you changed me. Then they will level this whole mountain because you did.”
Derek considered this for a moment. “There is one advantage, I don’t think they will shoot so fast if they think you might be a prisoner.”
“No, and they won’t carpet bomb you back to the stone age either. Although, looking around this cave you’re halfway there!” The men and women laughed a little, something that the last five years had missed. “The real problem is that they will have the whole area under continuous surveillance using every asset at their disposal. Satellites, drones, aircraft. If they haven’t found you yet, they are probably using the paratroopers as scouts- they will dig in on mountaintops and use nightvision scopes and binoculars to search, plus they can send patrols to look at anything that doesn’t look right. If they spot a cave entrance, they’ll be all over it.”
Amanda looked worriedly at him, then asked, “So should we abandon this cave and move farther in?”
Gary shook his head. “I don’t think it would do any good. They are going to surround this whole mountain range and shake it until I fall out, and kill anything else they find. It would be impossible to get the whole pack out of here under this kind of surveillance, and when they find you the whole might of the US military will descend upon you.”
“What about if we go out in small groups?”
“More of you might get out, but they would make pretty short work of you. If a quarter of the Pack made it to safety it would be a good day. They would just see if I was with you, and if not they would kill you. It would be a turkey shoot.”
Derek thought about this a little more. “Well, we could hole up here and wait it out. We have enough food to last a few weeks. If we used the loose rock in the cave and pile it in the entrance, sealing ourselves in, we could disguise the cave entrance without exposing ourselves to the aircraft above.” After some discussion, this plan was adopted. Derek sent the new plan to the entire Pack, and people started to gather stones and bring them to the front of the cave where one of the elders supervised making it look like a rockfall.
Gary brought up the biggest problem with the plan, though. “You can hide for a while, but they will keep looking until they find me. The only way to give you a real chance is for me to lead them away from here. I have to make a break for it, then draw them in to me. Do you have any of the equipment I had when I was captured?”
Andy left for a minute and came back with a bag. “We kept a few things, but we took all the batteries out so they couldn’t be tracked.” He handed the bag to Gary who pulled a few things out. A cheap flip cellphone, some flares, and then his face lit up. “Ah, my Prick-7!! Perfect!” There were a few raised eyebrows, so he explained. “It’s my AN/PRQ-7A Combat Survivor Evader Locator Hand-Held Radio. It’s a walkie-talkie on steroids- over the horizon, secure satellite, voice and text message and integral GPS. When I turn this on, everyone will know exactly where I am.” Thinking about it, he said, “So, I figure I go ten or fifteen miles due east, then turn it on to draw their attention. Head northwest another 10-20 miles and then another signal. That will lead them away from here and make them think you are off to the southeast. I need to go in wolf form, though- how do you carry stuff that way?”
Andy showed how the bag had a couple straps that could be used to attach it to a wolf’s back. “Put in on loose enough it stays on during the change, or have someone put it on you in wolf form.”
“I’ll do that for you,” said Renee. “I just found you, there’s no way I’m letting you leave without me.”
“Honey, I need you to be safe. I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to you.”
“I couldn’t either, that is why I’m going with you. I also know these woods and have been surviving out here for years. I can show you how to evade the patrols and aircraft. We need to be together if you are going to make it.”
Derek hated sending them out, but he also knew that both of them were right- as long as Gary was there they were all in danger. “What will you do if you can get away from them?”
“I have to find a way to stop this. I have a few ideas, I just need to find someone in my old life who can help. Come on, Renee, we need to get ready. Derek, we’ll leave in 30 minutes, that will give you time to fill in most of the entrance and give us a good run before sundown.”
Renee looked up at him. “Why wait thirty minutes? We could leave now.” The predatory glare he gave her shivered her to her now wet core. “Because I’m not leaving this cave until I’m properly mated to you. Back to bed, love, I have something for you!” They quickly stole away as everyone else snickered, in all the stress of war they all understood the draw of the mating.
Renee practically ran back to their room but a wolf loves a chase, so Gary was close on her heels. As soon as she reached their alcove her dress went flying and she leaped into his arms just as he got his jeans pushed down his legs. “No time for you to undress, I need you NOW” she whispered as she ground her wet sex onto his already hard member.
“I wanted to make this perfect for you but this will have to do,” he whispered back.
She wrapped her arms around his neck as she pulled herself up and positioned herself, reaching down with one hand to grab his long shaft and guide it into her. He devoured her moan with his lips as she sank down onto him, pausing just a moment as her barrier was torn aside. Slowly she took more and more of him as he drove her passion ever higher by grasping her breast with his right hand and flicking his thumb across her erect nipple. She paused to adjust to the invasion, but soon the pain was gone and the pleasure remained. The sensation sent heat surging down to her clit, which was erect and sensitive as she started to lift off and sink down again.
Gary walked forward until her back was against the cave wall, and grasping her firm ass with both hands he took over the thrusting. It was hard, fast and desperate, a long awaited completion they both needed. Renee was crying with joy as her senses were overwhelmed by her first time making love. She leaned back in his arms against the wall as he attacked her breasts with his lips, sucking like a man possessed as she screamed her approval. He pounded up into her, and she ignored the pain and the soreness and focused only on the smell, taste and feel of her mate as they approached the moment her wolf was waiting for.
Her eyes started to roll back in her head as the pleasure built to a peak. She leaned her head back, exposing her neck and bringing his wolf forward. The wolf knew exactly what to do, and as his teeth slightly elongated he focused on the area between her neck and shoulder, licking it in anticipation. She screamed as her orgasm hit, screaming again as he bit down hard on the junction. The coppery taste of her blood sent him over the edge, and with a loud grunt and a final thrust he emptied his balls deep inside her.
Her wolf recovered enough to see his head back, and without hesitation she surged forward and clamped his shoulder under her jaws as his blood filled her mouth. Finally stilled, they gently licked each others mating bites closed, and she wrapped her arms around his neck while he continued to cup her fine ass.
“Holy shit.” Gary smiled, “I love you.”
Renee said, “I love you so much,” but without saying it. Their mate bond had opened, now they could speak directly into each others minds in human or wolf form. The bond had voice, but it was so much more. They could share emotions, sensations, thoughts and images directly between them.
Gary could feel her inner muscles caressing his erection, but he could also feel how her canal was stroked by his cock. Sex before was amazing, but this was well beyond that, he could feel both sides and knew exactly what she was thinking and feeling with the bond open. Gary had to stop and just revel in the feeling of connection he had, and Renee was breathless with the completion of the mating she had dreamed of.
A few minutes later, his cock had slipped out and he gently set his mate back on her feet. He would have loved to have set her down and ravished her again and again, but there was a threat to the Pack and they needed to leave. They gathered their equipment, some light clothes and some dried food in their packs and walked out to the entrance of the cave. The pack had made a rockfall at the entrance, leaving just a small opening at the top.
Derek put one hand on his sister’s shoulder and the other on Gary’s. “We put a couple rocks just outside, we need you to cover the opening and make it look natural. Then get out of here as quickly as possible. Do you have a plan beyond drawing them away?”
Gary smiled. “I do, but I’ll need some help. We’ll see if it works. We will keep in touch with the bond, you guys lay low until this blows over. I want a place to come back to in a few weeks.”
Renee hugged her brother and Alpha, then they both hugged Amanda. No one said it, but they knew it might be the last time any of them saw each other. The last five years had seen no lack of tragedy, but they were intent on surviving as a Pack and sometimes hard choices were made. That was why Derek was letting them go on what was probably a suicide mission, it was their best chance at evading the troops and the Pack always came first.
There were handshakes and hugs all around as they made their way to the exit, but no tears and no goodbyes. Then they were outside, the new rocks were in place and the cave entrance was dark. More rocks were brought in to further seal it, and bear urine was splashed along the top in case the troops brought dogs with them. The Pack retreated to the far end of the cave to wait and hope.
Air Operations Command Center, Cheyenne Air National Guard Base
General Thaddeus Martin was leaning back in his chair, watching the icons on the projected map that showed the location of the ten thousand troops and over a hundred aircraft now involved in the search and rescue operation. Every road down to the most overgrown logging trail leaving the mountain area was covered by at least a platoon of infantry. Every ten square miles there was an Airborne or Ranger unit doing surveillance and sweeps. Enough manned aircraft, drones and satellites were in the area that forward air control was one of the biggest headaches, there was only so much room to fly. If a mouse farted in that area, one of his assets would detect it.
There was no way to hide.
His greatest fear was that Capt. Johnson had been spirited out of the area before they knew he was missing. The were wolves were smart, they would know they would be coming for them so they either dug in or bugged out. He really hoped it was the first option because then he had a chance.
The media coverage didn’t help. Most of the war had gone on below the radar, very few losses on their side and no cameras on the other side so people didn’t care. That all changed when a good looking young pilot was shot down. He avoided most of the coverage, but the press conferences each day were packed. He didn’t have much to tell them, just to promise his parents and the country that every asset at their disposal was being put to use.
10 miles East of Pack Cave
“I think this is a good spot, my love,” said Gary over the bond. The two were running through the forested lower mountains at high speed. In any other time, the joy and freedom of the run would have led to some hot mated pair sex, but he pushed that thought back.
Renee did too, but her emotions betrayed her arousal. They had come to a thick wooded area above a narrow, rocky ravine with a small stream at the bottom. There was no good landing spot nearby and plenty of hiding places. “I’m going to change. We need to head north to northwest next, so find a good hide up that way while I set this up.”
As Renee picked her way up the mountain, Gary in human form pulled his AN/PRC-7 radio out and inserted the battery in the compartment. Turning it on, he radioed in. “Mayday, Mayday, this is Eagle 31 escaping and evading, Eagle 31...” and then he tossed the radio into the ravine. It didn’t matter if it broke, as soon as he turned it on the satellite would lock on to his location. He put on his pack, turned into wolf form and tore up the mountain where Renee was already moving quickly along a hidden trail. They had to get out of there quickly because Hell was soon to follow.
Air Operations Command Center, Cheyenne Air National Guard Base
“UPDATE!” The operations center went quiet as the satellite communication operator yelled out. “CONTACT EAGLE 31 NORTH SIDE MUDDY MOUNTAIN!” Soon the location was highlighted on the map projection. All flights in the air were diverted to the area, and three companies of infantry were loaded up and sent on the way. “Finally,” Thaddeus thought, “we can bring him home.”
13 Miles Northeast Pack Cave
Renee and Gary were making the best time they could given the terrain and the aircraft screaming overhead. They used their hearing to detect the jets and took cover under heavy brush or fallen trees when they approached, before taking off again. It was tough going but they soon left the heavy air traffic behind as they put the miles behind them. As they ran, they used the bond to tell stories and get to know each other better. It was hard to believe that their love could be that strong in so short a time, but they both felt it.
The sun was starting to set as they started looking for a place to bed down for the night. A large pine that had fallen over in a storm left behind a good spot, the root ball providing cover uphill and they gathered branches and piled them over the base to make a small tent. It was just the kind of thing you needed to keep the prying infrared eyes in the skies from seeing you. Renee pulled him under, leaving their packs to cover the entrance, and shifted into wolf form. He quickly followed suit, rubbing his muzzle against hers, the ache of his legs from the run quickly forgotten as another feeling took over.
He sniffed down her back and legs to her tail. As a man he could never understand why dogs sniffed each other’s butts. It was nasty, right? The wolf nose did not find it so. The scent of her was complex and overpowering at the same time; he could sense her fear, her excitement and mostly her arousal. His tongue snuck out to taste her sex, the taste exploded on his tongue and set his arousal at peak. He started lapping at it like a starving man with a near empty jar of peanut butter, intent on getting every last bit out.
Renee was quivering as he attacked her sex, but she was able to reach back under him and licked at his now very aroused shaft. She paid particular attention to the deep scar left behind from his torture, cleaning the dust and grime off the entire length as she basked in his musky flavor. Neither could wait too long, so she stretched her front legs forward and wiggled her butt in the air. He got the hint. Moving around behind her, he moved up over her back and pulled forward with his front legs against her haunches. She moved her tail to the side and he slammed home into her wet depth.
They both growled and moaned with the sensations coursing through their minds. She was so wet, so tight, so perfect, and his cock was long and wide and hit all of her places just right. It wasn’t gentle, it was a fucking so full of passion and need that it couldn’t last too long. He pistoned in and out of her, the orgasm building quickly as she buried her head between her legs and held on for her life. The knot formed on his penis and he pushed it home; she yelped at the invasion but quickly the new sensations made her forget the pain. His hips were flying in and out as he built to his climax. She shuddered and broke beneath him when he grasped her neck with his jaws and jackhammered her into oblivion.
As he filled her womb with his love potion, he licked her neck and sent his love through the bond. Both were spent, he carefully laid their joined bodies on the grass and they fell asleep quickly, still tied together.
Horse Creek, Wyoming- Northwest of Cheyenne
Linda Remington had set up base at the Horse Creek Diner along with her cameraman Tony and technician Len. Their TV van was parked outside. She had quickly grown tired of the air base coverage, so she talked her producer into letting her do some reports from the field. Horse Creek was one of the towns with roads leading into the mountainous search area, and it was a good place to get the human interest stories.
Finishing breakfast, they set out for the hills. They knew they would not get to pass into the Prohibited Zone, but reports were that the Army had a small camp near the entrance and that was good enough for now.
It was closer to her friend, wherever he was.
Overnight Den, wilderness
Renee started to wake up, stretching and moving her legs and neck against the fur of her mate. She was pleasantly sore and incredibly happy. Despite the circumstances, just being together was the best time of her life. She licked at his muzzle and snuggled in against his neck while he began to stir.
“I’ll never get tired of waking up to this,” he said through the bond. “I can feel your soreness, and we have a lot to do this morning, so maybe we should get up and get going.” He changed to human form and pulled some dried meat out of their backpack, tenderly feeding her as she looked up at his naked body. She sent him an image of her impaled on his raging cock, but he didn’t rise to the bait. “Come on love, we need to start a distraction here and be miles away before they arrive.”
She sat up, remaining in wolf form, and he attached her backpack. Reaching into his backpack, he transferred the rest of their stuff into hers except the flare gun he kept in his hand. “Head due east, love, I will catch up with you in a few minutes.” She took off through the forested hillside towards the rising sun. He waited five minutes, then looking away fired the flare into the air. He immediately shifted and took off like a shot after his mate.
It didn’t take long for the first aircraft to arrive, since there were several on station above the search area from his last radio transmission. It was only because they could run so fast, putting two miles in from the flare site before the helicopter started circling overhead, that they went unseen. They would search in concentric circles from that site, and they were lucky that none flew directly over them as they sprinted through the trees. They were twenty miles away before they stopped at a stream to drink.
They were getting close to the edge of the forest. They could smell the diesel smoke from the Army generators and vehicles in the next valley. They worked their way to the ridge line, and worked their way carefully around the troops on patrol. It took two hours of careful movement to leave the small Army camp on Fisher Canyon Road behind them.
There was a machine shed up ahead as they followed the trees along the South Fork of Horse Creek. Slipping inside, they changed back to human form and dressed in jeans and T-shirts. He stashed their backpack behind some junk in the corner, keeping only the flip cellphone. Looking around, they found a half dozen bicycles and they selected the best two. From here on out, they would try to blend in their human forms and hope no one recognized him. The scruffy beard would help, he decided.
Making their way east on the side of the road, they waited until he could get cellphone reception and placed the call. He could only hope this plan would work.
Horse Creek Diner
Linda didn’t recognize the cellphone number, and it was on her personal phone. She thought about letting it go to message, but nothing was going on. “Hello, this is Linda.”
“Linda... I need you not to show any reaction if you are not alone. This is Gary Johnson, and I need your help.”
She struggled to keep her emotions back as she recognized his voice. “Just a minute...” She told her coworkers she needed some privacy and walked out of the diner and around the corner. “Gary?? My God, are you OK? Where are you?”
“I’m fine, but I can’t be found by the military right now. I need your help getting away from the search zone. Are you anywhere near Cheyenne?”
“I’m at Horse Creek. Why can’t you be found by them? You were shot down, everyone is looking for you!”
“I’m not what I once was. They will kill me if I am taken. Please, you can trust me, I need your help and I’ll tell you everything. You’ll have an exclusive interview with me and my wife.”
“I’ll explain later.” She agreed to pick him up in the TV van, meeting by the side of the road. “We will be waiting in the woods behind where the bicycles are laid on the side of the road. Just stop and we’ll jump in.”
Her producer was thrilled with the news and the exclusive, they started teasing “breaking information” as Linda and her team were driving there. They were promised that as soon as Gary was in sight, they would be going live. Their lives would never be the same.
Air Operations Command Center, Cheyenne Air National Guard Base
It had now been 14 hours since the first contact. The initial elation had long passed; they now had to consider that the enemy was using his equipment to distract them from their real location. It was also quite probable that Capt. Johnson was dead. It had been too long and no contact had been made seeking a deal for his release. They were moving troops in rapidly, but there was no sign of life in either the radio or flare areas.
Those werewolves were cold, evil bastards. They all hoped he was OK, but suspected he had suffered a long and painful death.
Fisher Canyon Road
Renee looked up at him as he peered over the bush, watching the road for troops. They were fairly well camouflaged and there was an hour to kill. She knew how to use it. Crawling over to him, she locked eyes with him as she lowered his fly and drew his large cock out. Licking the tip, she smiled and said, “Hey, it’s a long wait. I need to find some way to amuse myself.” Keeping watch became very difficult after fifteen minutes, something about being able to stand up.
They traded positions until Renee couldn’t stand either.
Finally, they saw the KUSA satellite van coming slowly along. When it stopped on the side of the road, they made a break for it and were quickly hidden inside. The driver turned around and started the long trip back to the studios in Denver. Gary was impatient to get started on the interview, the longer they delayed the more danger his Pack members were in. “Can we do a remote satellite feed from somewhere out of the way, where the military will have a tough time seeing us?”
Len said he knew a place a few miles away, the road hugged the edge of a canyon and there was a logging trail that led down to the bottom, plenty of cover to set up. Linda called her producer and set up a live feed in 15 minutes. The teaser was pretty straightforward: “Capt. Johnson found, exclusive interview next!” The networks were begging to be let in on the biggest story of the year.
Ten minutes later, the van was parked, the satellite uplink established, and Gary and Renee were sitting on a log with Jennifer in between them. They had set up the shot to just show Gary and Linda, saving Renee for the point in the story she was required.
“This is Linda Remington, coming to you live from an undisclosed location in Wyoming with missing Air Force pilot Gary Anderson. Gary, first of all, welcome back, there are so many people who are glad to see you safe and sound.”
“Thank you Linda. I want to say I appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in the search to find me, and I’m honored to have this chance to speak directly to the nation about the events of the past week or so. It has been a very difficult time for me.”
“Can you take us back to the start of this all and tell us what happened?”
“Sure. As you know, I was assigned as an F-15E pilot engaged in combat operations for what we call the Were War. We were trying to wipe out a Pack that was hiding in the mountains west of Cheyenne. And when I mean wipe out, I mean just that. Our rules of engagement were clear, if you find it, kill it. It didn’t matter if the Werewolf was armed, if it was a woman or a child, anything in that exclusion zone was fair game. I’d taken out a few on previous missions, but this one was different. We had captured a Were in an attempted raid on an airfield, and we were able to get enough intel from him to identify the location of the cave complex where they were hiding.”
“How did you find it?”
“We tortured him to death to get it. Alex held out as long as he could, I hear. They told me about him later.”
“So then what?”
“We developed an attack plan to take them all out. The first strike used what we call the Mother of All Bombs, it’s the biggest bomb we have that isn’t nuclear, and it creates total devastation for hundreds of yards around. We originally built it to take out Saddam’s bunkers, but it works well against caves. My flight was to follow immediately after the MOAB and take out any stragglers or rescuers. I was shot down as I crossed into the zone, hit by a missile and I barely had time to react before I was bailing out. I blacked out on ejection.”
“So who found you?” At this point the camera widened to show Renee, who responded, “My squad did. My name is Renee, I am the younger sister of the Johnson Pack Alpha and second in command of the Pack. At the time, I was commanding a squad conducting surveillance and harassment operations at the east boundary of the exclusion zone. We had a single missile and we used it. His parachute landed near our position and we were able to capture him before the rescue helicopter arrived.”
“This was the rescue helicopter that was lost, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, because one of our squad sacrificed himself to allow us to escape. Joe had lost his wife and child in the MOAB attack, and was seriously injured. He volunteered to get dressed in the pilot uniform, and blew up the helicopter when he was raised up. He was a brave fighter, and he wasn’t the only one who lost his family that day. Weres can communicate and sense their mates even at distance, so when the bomb exploded three of us immediately knew that their wives or families were gone. Our Pack lost over a hundred people in the attack, most of them women and young children. There was a lot of anger.”
“So then what?”
Renee continued. “We tied him up and carried him back to our new hiding place, meeting up with what remained of our pack. Five years ago we had over five hundred members, strong families and respected members of the community. We had human friends, neighbors, employees and employers. Our pack traces its roots in this area back hundreds of years, and yet overnight we were hunted, forced to leave behind our homes, and killed for something we didn’t do and couldn’t change. Now we number fewer than fifty. Yes, we fight for our own survival, and we were angry that our families were killed in such a manner. It isn’t an excuse for what came next, but it is our way. We hung him up and let every member of the pack get a slash or bite in on him, intent on killing him in revenge. He suffered greatly for what his country was doing to us.”
Gary picked it up then. “I don’t hold it against them, I would have done the same thing, and it’s not like we weren’t torturing their guys. It was almost over when Renee’s turn came. I was looking forward to death by then, only to be saved by her.”
Renee smiled. “We believe that there is one person meant for us to spend our lives with, a soul mate if you will, and our wolf part of our consciousness recognizes this person by scent. In the middle of all this, I found my mate.” Gary smiled and reached out to hold her hand. “It wasn’t easy, but I found mine as well. I just had to get through the changes. That was tough, but they kept me sedated through the rages and Renee helped me to adjust to my wolf. Now I can’t imagine being without her.”
Back on Fischer Canyon Road
Melissa Johnson was returning home and the morning had not gone well. Her two sons were being a handful. Three year old Jacob was in his car seat behind her, and nine month old Alex was on the passenger side. Both were crying.
She looked back at her baby and then when she looked forward again there was a mule deer in the road right ahead of her. She swerved to avoid it but lost control and hit the guardrail. The minivan’s side screamed against the rail for a few seconds before toppling over the steep embankment. It started sliding and rolling down the seventy degree slope. She was too scared to scream until it came to rest precariously near a cliff.
Everyone involved with Gary’s interview stopped as the sound of the accident rang through the canyon. Were hearing could pick out the cries of the children, and they couldn’t ignore it. Gary stood up and yelled, “Call 911 and meet us back on the road!” He and Renee immediately shifted to their wolf forms, shredding their clothes in the process, and took off to assist. Linda pulled our her cellphone to get help while the cameraman kept rolling. They lost the satellite uplink as they tore our of the clearing and back to the main road.
Gary and Renee quickly made their way to the minivan, four paw drive being the fastest means of travel on the uneven ground. They shifted back as they got to the site of the van, which was upside down, and they could smell gasoline dripping. “Mommy, they’re naked!”
At least the older boy was unhurt, he was staring out the broken window at the two huge wolves that had turned into people. The baby was still crying; Renee crawled in and checked him out and he seemed OK. Mom was having a little more trouble, she couldn’t feel her left foot which was trapped under the dashboard, and she had some cuts on her face from the windshield. Gary finished his assessment and looked up to the road where the news van had just pulled up and gone live with coverage again. The direct route was steep and full of loose rock, it would be very difficult to climb, but as wolves they could pick their way. He used the bond to fill in Renee on the plan. She got out and changed to wolf form. “Ma’am, my name is Gary, we’re going to get you all out of here. My mate will take your kids back to the road while I work on getting you free. It’s all going to be work out.” Melissa didn’t argue, she was frantic about her kids. She could hear the sirens approaching and nodded her head.
Gary took Jacob out of his car seat, asking him, “Would you like to take a ride on a wolf? It’s lots of fun.” Jacob nodded his head, and he was put on Renee’s back. “Just keep your legs tight around her, lean forward and grab onto her fur in front. She will take care of you.” Once he was in place, he returned to the car and removed the crying baby from the car seat. “I guess we go wolf style on this one!” He held the baby under her jaws so she could get a good grip on his thick onesie, dangling him face down. “Go.”
Renee slowly and carefully began picking her way back up to the road as the boy started chanting, “Go wolfie, go wolfie, faster, faster!!”
Returning to the driver’s side, he tried to free her ankle without success. The smell of gasoline was getting stronger, he didn’t have much time. Looking through her diaper bag he found a bottle of baby oil; he squirted this around and behind her ankle. Just as the flames started, he worked it loose and opened her seat belt, lowering her to the ground. “We have to get out of here. Can you climb on top of me so I can get you out?”
“I guess I have to!” He changed to his huge brown wolf and she rolled onto his back, favoring her left ankle. She wrapped her arms around his thick neck and squeezed his back end with her calves as he got up and started walking. It took them five minutes to make their way up. By the time they made it, an ambulance and four Sheriff’s cars were waiting.
When he reached the road, Renee was sitting by the guardrail, wrapped in a blanket with a baby in her arms and a little boy in her lap. “Mommy!” The EMT’s had already cleared the kids, so they helped Melissa over to a gurney and strapped her in. Jacob was holding her hand as she looked over to see her baby safe with with Renee, and she was finally able to relax.
Gary was just shifting back to human form when the HUMVEE arrived. Seeing the werewolf, two soldiers with M-4′s opened fire. Gary spun to protect his mate but was struck a dozen times or more before the Sheriff’s order of “CEASE FIRE” was heard. Two deputies moved between Gary and the troops, guns drawn, in a Mexican standoff until the rifles were lowered.
Gary was bleeding heavily and collapsed into Renee’s arms, driving both of them to the ground. “I love you” was all he sent before he died, his blood covering her face and body and she cried and rocked him in her arm, still holding the crying baby in the other.
All of it was broadcast live to the entire nation. The Pack found out when the Alpha bond was lost. Derek and Amanda held each other, crying as he passed the news to the rest of the pack. Howls of grief sounded through the closed off cave.
US Air Force Academy Chapel, Colorado Springs, CO
Renee had plenty of time to reflect back on the two weeks since her mate’s death as she sat in the chapel; she had remained at his side as he lay in state and while the mourners came in to fill up the church.
His death had been the needed catalyst for change. Public outrage over Gary’s execution quickly turned the public opinion against the war. Renee had been interviewed, interrogated, and negotiated with until the President had no choice but to declare a cease fire and try to find a way out of the mess.
Renee had helped them pick up Derek, and they were able to locate three other surviving Alphas for the peace talks. It didn’t even take a full afternoon to work it out, they all just wanted to stop the killing and find a way forward. Werewolves were recognized as citizens again, and the kill order rescinded. Amnesty was granted for both sides. The Werewolves agreed that forced turnings would be punishable by death, as it already was under pack law. They further agreed to assist with any forced or accidental turnings; the protocol of sedation followed by counseling would prove to be effective. Voluntary turnings were allowed only after receiving permission from an Alpha and a local Judge, and only for those over 18.
Werewolves were free to live again, this time in the open.
As for Gary, the military quickly got past the whole “consorting with the enemy” thing. He was a hero as a pilot, he was a hero in his death, and he would be put to rest as a hero. His funeral service was being broadcast live by every network, it was the biggest funeral since Chris Kyle. The chapel was packed with members of his flight, Air Force brass and civilian VIP’s, classmates from the Academy, friends and family. Seated among the family were Linda Remington, Melissa Johnson and her children, Derek and Amanda and most of their remaining pack. The other packs in the area had also sent representatives in respect for Renee’s loss and his key role in ending the war.
The ceremony was beautiful to watch, with military tradition on full display. He was eulogized by his squadron commander, the Secretary of the Air Force, and his Alpha before Renee took the podium. She was dressed in a long black dress and lifted her veil as she took the microphone in hand and addressed the nation.
“Gary was the most courageous man I have ever met. He lived his life with honor, and died in service of others. My mate lies here today today not because of hatred, but because of fear and ignorance. Fear of the unknown, and ignorance of the truth. He had both; when we captured him he feared us for the stories he had been told and was ignorant of our nature and our culture. I loved his ability to look at the other side objectively, to see the error of his ways, and to change his very nature in response. He did not carry guilt or revenge with him, he forgave those who did him wrong and asked for forgiveness for what he had done.”
“That is why I met with the soldiers who killed my mate, so I could forgive them and we could move on. I will never forget the courage and honor of the deputies who put their own lives at risk that day. Forgiveness. That is the heart of the agreement we have to end the war. For too long, Werewolves relied on secrecy to protect them, but now we depend on openness. We have invited camera crews in to see our homes, our families, and the places and people we left behind. What we have both found is that there is no reason for us to live in fear of each other. We are like you, but different, and that is OK.”
She paused to wipe her tears. “Most of you know that wolves mate for life. I was lucky enough to find my mate at a young age, and though our time was short, we truly loved a lifetime. I will miss him every day.” She paused and moved her right hand over her belly. “Our child will grow up in a different world, a world where he or she is free to live their human and wolf sides, a world filled with love and family.”
The words she spoke rolled through the crowd, smiles and claps broke out as her meaning became clear. “Yes, my pack Doctor confirmed this morning that I am pregnant. I will carry forward a little part of him until we meet again.” With that, she returned to her seat next to Derek, the love flowing through their bond as they helped her through this trying time.
The casket was taken out to the waiting horse-drawn caisson by the honor guard while she walked just behind. Instead of going to the cemetery, they went to a clearing in the woods where a large funeral pyre had been built. As a flight of F-15′s streaked overhead in the Missing Man formation and the honor guard gave its 21-gun salute, his body, wrapped in white linen and covered by the American flag, was placed on top of the pyre. Renee received the torch from Derek, and he and Amanda accompanied her as she walked around the pyre and lit it. As the flames consumed his body, Taps was played by a pair of buglers. When all noise was gone, all the Werewolves present stripped and shifted, moving to sit in a circle around the pyre. Derek looked up and raised a mournful howl to the skies, soon joined by Renee and Amanda, then by all the other werewolves.When the fire had burned down, Renee and her Pack walked away, ready to face their new future.