Chapter 8: That New Pack Smell
Santa Fe Pack, New Mexico
Renee awoke to the sunrise. She didn’t keep her eyes open, she was still in wolf form and her nose told her what was going on. Most of her pack still lay piled around or on her, but the fire had been stoked and breakfast was being made. She gently untangled herself from the wolves around her and stood up.
She was healing quickly. The pain from the gashes plus fatigue left her stiff and sore all over. Yesterday had been tough on her physically, the fight exhausted her and she had multiple injuries. His claws had done serious damage before blood loss stopped his movement.
Then there was the mental fatigue. It had been a rough couple of days, including the loss of a friend and her imprisonment. The Alpha challenge had been the desperate answer to the threat of a forced mating and the loss of her pups, and now she faced a new challenge, one she was not ready for. She was now an Alpha. She looked around to all the people who now depended on her. She had been in leadership positions before over groups this size, but it was the first time where she had no one above her to help her and mentor her. Maybe now with the ability to use cellphones again she could call her brother and Amanda for help.
How would she do this all by herself? Derek had always had Amanda by his side to help him. This pack didn’t even have true Betas left. It was all so overwhelming. Almost as overwhelming as what was coming.
Her babies. She shifted into human form and rubbed her hands over her belly which had not yet began to show, carefully avoiding the healing wounds. She focused her love onto them as she walked. Gary’s children, their future. If she hadn’t become pregnant she doubted she would have kept going after he was killed, when he stopped breathing her soul had shattered. She missed him terribly, but for her cubs she would go on, somehow.
At least this last night she had not had the nightmare, had not woken screaming, had not cried herself back to sleep. It was a start.
She was standing still with her eyes closed when she felt someone hug her leg. She opened her eyes and looked down at Michelle’s eyes, then rested her hand on her dirty blonde hair. Julie had given her the story last night after Michelle was asleep. Michelle was the only cub in the pack, she was seven years old now and was orphaned at five. She had been fostered by Crystal and Ed, two pack elders in their fifties who were former schoolteachers. Michelle rarely spoke and didn’t interact much. Her eyes were haunted by the memory of watching her parents being killed in front of her while searching for food in a nearby town. She watched them bleed out while she hid silently for hours, staring at her mother’s dead eyes, and that pain never left her eyes.
She clung to her Alpha, hoping she could help fill the void in her heart. Renee thought the same.
She picked her up and lifted her onto her hip, and Michelle buried her face into her shoulder. Her maternal instinct took over, as Alpha she felt the responsibility to look over the cubs. She would help her the best she could. Michelle snuggled in as they walked to the cave entrances.
Anna poked her head out of the cooking cave, smiling at her new Alpha. “Good morning Alpha, breakfast will be ready in about twenty minutes.” Anna was a young and vibrant brunette with a mischievous streak. At seventeen she had not fought in the war, she grew up working in the caves. She kept to the kitchens where she worked with Becky, the twenty year old daughter of Crystal and Ed, and Julie who ran the household.
The smell of food awakened her brother Caleb, at 18 he had grown up quickly. He was the pack’s tracker and one of their better hunters. He had the skills to be a Beta but intentionally had hid them during the previous regime. He had seen what Betas were doing to others in his Pack and wanted none of it. He was a kind boy at heart. Life as an Omega was preferable to working directly for the Alpha, so he never challenged his Pack position. He nodded to Renee in greeting then kissed his sister and told her he was going to clean up in the nearby stream. Anna handed him a water container to refill and sent him along.
To Renee, a bath sounded pretty good right now. She let Michelle down and asked her where she could find soap and a washcloth. Michelle slid down to the ground and pulled her into the cave towards her foster parent’s sleeping section.
As they passed the Alpha quarters, Devin was just coming out carrying a blanket filled with other items. “Good morning, Alpha, how was your night?”
“Good, Devin, I enjoyed being under the stars with everyone, it reminded me of when I was a child. What are you up to?”
“I’m clearing out the quarters for you. As you asked, nothing of his will be left. Give Julie and I a day or two and we’ll have it ready. Until then, you are welcome to stay with us, or anyone in the Pack. We all want you to be comfortable here.”
“Thank you, please let Julie know I will stay with you tonight.” Renee smiled and followed Michelle as she got the bathing supplies. She had just returned when Crystal walked in, nodding to her Alpha she brought back a blue sundress and handed it to Renee. “You don’t have any clothes yet, but this should fit you. Go on, Michelle, show her to the bathing pool.” As they walked out Crystal smiled. She couldn’t be more pleased with how things had changed, not just a new Alpha who was kind and strong but a woman who would not be afraid to change things. Things were looking up. Michelle was coming a little out of her shell now. The former Alpha had little patience for cubs, so they had kept her out of the way. She hadn’t been allowed to run around the caves or make noise, and with the war she couldn’t play outside. It would be so nice to see her behave as a young girl should.
Renee followed her down the trail to the stream and they left their clothes on a nearby rock with the towel. Michelle led her to a deeper section on the outside of the pool, where the water came up just below her shoulders. They both dropped down into the water and then moved into the shallows to soap up. Renee cleaned her young charge then sent her off to rinse. She was scrubbing her face when she saw Michelle staring at the angry red scars left over from the fight.
“Alpha... are we going to be all right?”
Renee smiled as she massaged shampoo into her hair. “Yes, little one. The war is over, we have a chance at a better life now.”
“Good.” She hugged her leg. “I don’t like it here.”
“Well, maybe we need to go somewhere for a while.” She dunked herself down into the deep water again to rinse her hair. A few minutes later Michelle was holding her hand, dried and dressed, as they returned for breakfast. Tables had been moved outside as they took advantage of the war’s end to get out of the caves. They were enjoying being in the sunshine again.
Johnson Pack Camp
The small tan and white she-wolf was mesmerized. Colors, smells, sounds- all were far sharper and had more depth than before. The sensory inputs overwhelmed her, so she just closed her eyes for a second to calm her mind before opening them again. She looked down at her paws, then back along her body to see the white tail. It waved back and forth quickly. She tried to grab it with her teeth, turning in a tight circle, but couldn’t quite get there. A few rotations later and she finally grabbed it before tipping over on the ground and losing the grip again. Linda laid her head down as she heard the laughing from her crew as they continued to broadcast her change live to the world. She couldn’t believe her first filmed act as a wolf was to chase her tail!
The gray wolf with the white ear walked over and sniffed at her muzzle. Her scent was much stronger now, he breathed in deeply and reveled in the scent of his mate. Linda got her first good sniff of his neck and immediately her eyes widened and her ears perked up. Eric stood quietly and let her explore him. A few more deep sniffs and it was like an electric wire was going from her nose to her sex, her juices started to flow as her body recognized its mate. She got up and started rubbing her muzzle against his and licked at his face.
He bathed her with his tongue before he rubbed against her chest on the way to her tail. Once she got to his tail, she got a good sniff and her tongue came out and licked him. Andy’s arousal and the pending activities could only lead to one thing, and as the TV hosts saw her about to be mounted, it was time to go to commercial. Quickly.
Amanda looked over at her Betas with a smile. “I guess this is better than her coming out all claws and teeth!” Andy’s forelegs pulled her back against him as she wiggled with her front paws flat on the ground to stay in place. She kept her tail high and out of the way and panted with the exertion of being taken hard and fast. She felt him slow momentarily, then his knot pushed into place. She gave a soft yelp as it forced its way into her, but soon her head was lolling on its side as she rode the feelings his knot produced. Andy grabbed the scruff of her neck with his teeth and pinned her down with the weight of his chest. As she crashed over into orgasm, Andy bit hard into her neck, and the taste of her blood exploded on his tongue. The bite took them both over the edge. She twisted around and grabbed his neck with her teeth, biting deep and shaking to ensure his mark would scar well.
At that moment, it was like a new part of her brain was unlocked. She could feel his thoughts, his emotions, his love, his pride in her, even thoughts of them running through a field with their pups alongside, everything he had was now hers.
In her mind’s eye her wolf was next to her human form, lying on her back with her tongue lolling out, completely satisfied with the claiming of her mate. Andy was thrilled, and she could sense his relief and excitement as they lay together.
“My love, we are together always now. I am so happy to have found you and that you are MINE.”
“And you are MINE.” They relaxed together and waited for the knot to go down. Looking up at the people and werewolves surrounding them, she felt a sense of warmth and belonging. A new voice entered her mind, it almost felt like a push into her head but it was accompanied with love and power.
“Welcome to our pack, Linda, we are so glad you had a good change and are happy.”
“Amanda?” She looked up at the wolf above as the voice echoed in her mind.
“Yes, what you are feeling is the Alpha bond. Since you were ‘born’ into our pack, it forms with us. Derek will be back soon and when he is close enough you will feel his bond form as well. You will always be able to reach us with your bond, and we will always be here for you and all other members of the Pack.”
“My Alpha....” She had to think about that for a while, it was all so new Amanda already felt like family, and she respected the responsibility she had. “What happens now? Andy is in trouble, isn’t he?” She could feel his nervousness and apprehension through their bond.
“Yes, he is. After the war ended there were rules put in place for turnings, rules that he was well aware of and did not follow. He turned you without first getting our permission and permission from a human judge. This is serious, it is the first case I am aware of since the new rules were put into place. We have to be able to show people that we can follow the rules and live among them without giving them cause for fear. His lack of control challenges that.”
“I’m sorry, he explained all that to me but it was all so intense, it felt so right, and I don’t regret a second of it.” She wiggled back against him, causing him to growl as the knot moved inside her. She knew the more she moved the longer it would take to come untied, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to let him leave her yet.
“We will deal with this all when Derek returns. Andy, you are being called before a Pack tribunal to face charges of unauthorized turning of a human and disobedience of an Alpha command. These charges carry a potential consequence of death. Do you understand the charges?”
“Yes, my Alpha, I understand them and will be ready for the hearing.”
“Very well. Enjoy your mate, you are free to move about the camp but do not leave it. If you do, you will be killed.” With that, Amanda turned and walked away.
Linda shivered as the shock of the words hit her, realizing that her happiness might be truly short-lived. Could she have done all this just to lose him in the same day? Her wolf howled her grief and anger to the clouds.
Crested Butte Pack Caves
Alpha Diggs looked out at the dozen vehicles that made up his raiding force. The storage facility they had placed their vehicles and other supplies in had not been confiscated after the start of the war as he made sure the ownership had been well hidden. He was bringing a force of thirty warriors plus some Omegas to run camp and a pair of medics.
They were all itching for a real fight.
Wolves love a fight and are always looking to expand their territory. When he had addressed the Pack that morning, he talked about how he was going to make their Pack the strongest and most feared of all. Stephen Diggs didn’t expect a fight, though. Fights were the worst way to win, as they risked death and injury to his pack mates. It also risked losing valuable members of the pack being taken over. No, his plan was much simpler.
He would just show up.
Intimidation was also the wolf way. Use your size and numbers. Glare at them, hackles up and growling, daring them to even think about challenging you. He knew that his age and experience meant only a few of the surviving Alphas had a chance against them, so those he would avoid for now. He could put fear into the other and they will submit without a fight. That was why packs had a lot of posturing but few actual fights- it was all about working out who ranked above who. Once your rank was accepted, things went smoothly.
If the Alpha he challenges submits or dies, the entire Pack would lose their bond with him. The members then have a choice- either submit to him as the new Alpha, or be torn apart by his warriors as rogues. The latter almost never happened, wolves were Pack animals and being without an Alpha was unnatural to them.
He and his Betas had planned a sweep of the areas to their south. They had identified four vulnerable packs, with territories that when added to his would give him the entire Southwest from the Texas border to California.
He turned to his second, Blake Johnson, who stood just to his left as they watched the vehicles load up. “Keep things going smoothly while I am gone. I will need more information when I get back, this time for the Packs to our east. If we do this right, we can knock off a half dozen Packs before the others even figure out what is happening.”
Without another look, he got in the lead Escalade and drove out. They had a long drive ahead.
Santa Fe Pack
Renee finished her breakfast and stood to walk the plate back to the kitchen. Anna intercepted her, taking the plate from her with a smile. “Alpha, don’t you have more important things to do than the dishes?”
“All Pack work is important, Anna. Thank you for a wonderful breakfast.” Anna beamed at the praise as Renee went back to sit next to Michelle, who had become her little shadow. She used her Pack bond for the next communication, trying to get used to her new powers. In her mind it was like having a bunch of dots, each representing a person in her pack, and she could concentrate on one or more at a time and communicate mentally with those. When someone needed to reach her, it was like a mental nudge and that dot was brighter as she recognized it. After all her life dealing with just broadcasts and Alpha bonds, this was just more complicated. “Attention Pack, we will have a Pack meeting at the tables in thirty minutes. I need updates on Pack status in terms of land, resources and finances. I also need you to bring your concerns and ideas. All Pack members are required.”
She could tell as she looked around that people were excited and relieved. It was clear that happiness had been repressed here for a long time. That bastard Alpha Luis had repeatedly raped and used the women of HER Pack. He was dead, but he left his damage behind. Her people needed a change, and it was more than just new leadership. They needed to have fun again. She circulated among the tables, spending time with each person and being a reassuring presence.
When she was with the Johnson pack, the leadership was good and the Pack stayed together. Humans tried to exterminate their race, but when that threat went away they were small but strong. This pack couldn’t be fixed with a peace treaty. Trust and people had been abused, and that resulted in a pack that wasn’t cohesive.
She had met other Alphas during the peace negotiations and was frustrated at how narrow-minded they were. They fought against being involved with anything outside their own borders, and anything that challenged their own authority. It made things difficult as there was no cohesive leadership for the government to work with. It was out of this frustration that Renee had been pushed forward in the negotiations, her celebrity (and lack of Alpha status) enough to work out a deal that the Alphas could then ratify.
Werewolves needed to move forward with rights and stable leadership and a way to resolve conflict short of violence, she thought, or things would never improve.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a shout of “VEHICLES APPROACHING!!” By habit, most of her pack shifted and ran for the caves. Renee moved forward instead, seeing a Humvee and an Army transport truck leading a line of a dozen pickups, sport utility vehicles and cars. She recognized Colonel Montgomery in the lead vehicle. “Friends, everyone shift and dress, we have humans approaching.”
By the time the caravan made it over the dirt tracks to the vicinity of their cave system, Renee had gathered her pack behind her and they had made their way down to them. “Welcome, Colonel, it is good to see you again.”
“Alpha Renee, a pleasure to see you again. I come bringing gifts.” He pointed at the line of vehicles and the soldiers exiting them. “After the war began, the Government confiscated any known assets of identified werewolf packs. The President has directed Pack assets be returned, but until our last meeting we did not know how or who to return them to. They are yours again.”
“Thank you, Stanley, but you didn’t have to ride all the way out here to deliver trucks!”
“No, I wanted to see you again and make sure you were doing all right. You didn’t look so good the last time I was here.”
“I thank you for your concern. Please, would you and your men join us?”
“I would be happy to have a few of us stay, but most of these men are needed back on base. If you don’t mind...” He barked a few orders and most of the troops piled into the transport, leaving the Colonel, his aide Major Jack Johnson, and one new officer. “Alpha, this is Captain William Post, he is a Judge Advocate out of Washington and has been assigned the case of your pack.”
Renee greeted the Captain, who was tall and well built, with dark brown hair and sharp features. “Welcome to the Santa Fe Pack. I am Alpha Renee Johnson.” She gestured up towards the cave started to walk back up the trail with them. “Colonel, what do you mean he is assigned to our case?”
“Well, you wouldn’t believe what a clusterfuck it has become to give you your stuff back. Under the laws at the time, the Government was able to seize land, property and monies once identified as belonging to enemy combatants. Once it was taken, it tended to disappear. Land could be sold or absorbed into other government holdings, money went into the general fund, property might be auctioned. Then you add to it all the businesses that were lost, individual homes, investments and savings. We’ve been trying to figure it all out, but it’s a mess of records and government agencies. We finally decided that we would assign a lawyer to each Pack to research claims and negotiate settlements. The last thing we want is for this peace to break down because of stuff.”
He turned and called up Capt. Post, who was carrying a briefcase. “For the last two weeks as we tried to contact this Pack, Captain Post was doing research and settling anything that could be done quickly. That was how we got the vehicles, they were still in a storage yard because no one had started auction proceedings on them yet. We renewed the titles, had mechanics go through them, and gassed them up for you.”
They reached the eating area, and Renee gestured for the men to sit while gesturing for her Pack members to sit as well. “Well, this will certainly help. I didn’t want to stay in these caves longer than I had to and at least now we can go into town and get supplies.”
“There is more, there was some personal property that is packed in the vehicles.”
“That may take more time to go through, as you can see our Pack is not very big now compared to when this all started. What do you need from us?”
Capt. Post smiled at them all. “What I need the most is information. We have a list of suspected Pack members and assets, but I’m sure it is not complete. I’d like a Pack roster from just before the conflict, marked up with current status. It’s not just Pack property, there may be personal property available.”
Crystal then spoke up. “We have kept our Pack genealogy up to date, and it records all deaths of Pack members, and there have been no births since the war started. I cannot let it out of my control as it has been entrusted to me as a Pack Elder, but I can help you get the information you need from it. What about entire families that are gone? What happens with their stuff?”
Col. Montgomery answered, “The assets return to the Pack. That was decided on a national level after the war.”
Ed pulled Crystal into his lap, and looked back at the officers. “What about our Pack den?”
Capt. Post shook his head. “Unfortunately, that property was sold at auction about a year after the war started. I approached the new owners and they do not wish to sell it back. Since the Government took the property, they have clear title. I’m sorry, you’ll have to find something else. I can put you in touch with a real estate expert if you want to begin a search.”
The look on the Pack’s faces said it all; there would be no going home for them. Renee sent encouragement through the bond, “So we get a fresh start instead, we didn’t need a huge place right now anyway. Too much to clean.” Some of the ladies giggled at that.
The Colonel decided to bring things to a close. “The Pack is not without assets to start again. Capt. Post has the documents required to transfer released assets to you immediately, and will help you with new claims as they are identified.” With that, Captain Post guided Renee through a pile of documents. When he was done, he handed her a pair of ATM cards and the codes to access the Pack accounts. “We set the Pack up with a commercial checking account and put $500,000 into it for now. There is a money market account for the remainder.” He slid the account statements across.
Renee’s eyes bugged out as she looked at the number. “Twenty eight point eighty seven million?” She heard some gasps from behind her as Captain Post shook his head. “Yes, apparently real estate has done well since the war started, and so did the Pack investments. There is a couple million more that I’m still working through, plus any new claims that come through. On a per-capita basis, you are all millionaires now.”
Her mind was swimming as she considered the possibilities. Colonel Montgomery and his men stood up, knowing that the Pack needed to talk without them. “Alpha, we will leave you now but please keep in touch. These phones,” handing Renee a pair of burner phones, “contain the numbers for myself and Captain Post, please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions or require assistance. I also had them programmed with the contact information for known Alphas and Betas in the country. My goal is to ensure all the Packs in my area of responsibility are able to integrate fully into our society and nation again.”
Renee walked them back to their Humvee, thanking them all for their assistance and promising to keep in touch. As they left, she looked up at the fifteen people who made up her family. “Meeting in one hour, in the meantime go write down any information we need to get to Captain Post to help him out.” Her Pack disappeared, their excitement evident. She wanted to join them, but she needed to make a phone call first. Her brother would know what to do, she thought as she scrolled through the contacts list and pressed SEND.
I-25 south of Colorado City
Trigger warning- rape scene
Alpha Stephen Diggs looked down at the young female medic who was straining against his hands as she fought to breathe. “Take it all.” He ignored her gagging as he pushed further into her mouth. She struggled to lift up, and that earned her a painful smack. She screamed, but that just made it more fun. Her face was turning blue and she was crying uncontrollably when he pulled out and let her gasp for air. He settled back into the leather seat and watched her face turn a bright red again, the color of her bra which had been torn off and thrown onto the floor of the vehicle.
The driver and his bodyguard ignored what was going on in the back seat. He was Alpha, if he needed something he took it, and right now he needed relief.
“Open.” She shook her head no, silently begging him to leave her alone. He grabbed her and twisted hard; when she cried out he shoved himself back in. “Kelly, you’ll learn quickly it is better to please me than to fight me. I’m sure you’d prefer Kevin is still there when you return?” Her eyes went wide, she didn’t want her future mate to be the next one to “disappear” on a scouting mission. She had just come of age at 18, but he still had four months to go before he could claim her. She tried to focus on two things, memories of happier times and breathing. Pushing her chest down to the seat, he used his other hand to lift her hips up.
“Please stop,” she cried, “I’m a virgin!”
He brutally shoved it inside her. Her scream was music to his ears, and the struggling just made him it more. Her hands reached behind her to push him off, but he grabbed her wrists and pulled her straight back. She struggled, but he was far larger and stronger than her and she had nowhere to go with her head stuck by the door. She was crying silently and praying to Luna for it to be over.
When he was done, he pushed her back into the corner and sat back down. He zipped himself back up and reached for his phone. If anyone knew the exact location of the den, it would be Colonel Montgomery- and he wouldn’t hesitate to help an Alpha who was looking to reunite with some relatives in New Mexico.
She pretended to stay asleep as they drove, knowing that the only way her Alpha would leave her alone would be if he found someone new to abuse. She just wanted Kevin to hold her, and wished he was strong enough to stand up against him. She shuddered as the Alpha told the Beta riding shotgun to switch places next stop, it was his turn with her.
This trip couldn’t be over fast enough.
Santa Fe Pack
Renee walked back towards the meeting area, she felt better after talking to Derek but still didn’t know what to do with her little Pack. They had money and vehicles and pretty much nothing else. It was such a small group, too. You would never choose to start a pack without fifty or more members, without that you didn’t have enough people to control your territory and do all the things that keep a pack functioning properly.
When everyone was set, they went over their status, which was basically “rich but nowhere to go.” They all agreed that long term, they needed to find new land and build a new Pack compound. Short term? It seemed like everyone was looking for something different. She asked everyone to write down one thing they wanted to do in the next month. The list looked like this:
-See if my family in the Colorado Springs pack is still alive
-Hunt as a Pack on the full moon
-Find my mate
-Look for new land for the Pack
-Find a mate for our Alpha and the single ones in the Pack
-See something other than desert hills
-Go to an amusement park
-Stay in a place with real beds and room service
-Anything other than live here in the caves
-Visit my Alpha’s old pack and meet her family
-See my mate go into heat and get her pregnant
-Have a family reunion
-Get a break from cooking for a while
Renee looked over the list, it actually wouldn’t be hard to get a lot of these done. It would take some phone calls, they would need permission to cross into other territories, but she knew the Alphas she had met in the peace talks would not deny her small Pack that freedom. They could stay in some hotels, see the sights, and by visiting a number of Packs she could give her single members the best chance of finding their mate. She looked up at her Pack with a smile. “Get your stuff packed... we’re going on a road trip!”
As the younger ones squealed with excitement, she grabbed the cellphone and walked up to the top of the mountain where she could make a few calls.
Johnson Pack Camp
Amanda had filled Derek in on all the happenings as his helicopter approached the pad. The last few days had not been without their excitement, he thought. He was furious that Andy had disobeyed them, but relieved that Linda had come through the change so well. He could feel in his mind when the Alpha bond formed with her, and he sent his love and congratulations down the bond to Linda as they were coming in for a landing.
“Thank you, Alpha. I’m sorry it happened this way, but I’m not sorry it happened. I love him.”
“I know, Linda. Be strong for him today, he will need you.”
Amanda met him at the helicopter pad, and as soon as he was away from the blades she jumped into his arms and kissed him like he was a sailor just back from deployment. “Love,” he said when she finally took a breath, “I missed you too.” He hugged her tight as her legs wrapped around his hips and he plundered her mouth again.
The wolf whistles and laughter finally got them to stop and he let her down. His pack wasn’t making fun of him, they loved seeing them like this as a strong Alpha pair meant a strong pack. His Betas gathered around him, along with two humans- Sheriff “Buck” Dawson and Montana State Assistant Attorney General Giles McHenry. Derek shook hands with both. “I wish we could meet in a more social setting first, but Pack justice is swift in such cases. I wanted to talk with you about how we are going to make Pack and Human law work in this case.”
Giles shrugged his shoulders. “Well, the peace treaty included the provisions for requiring judge’s permission prior to a mating, but our state laws have not. The bill to enact this is still going through the Legislature and even if it passes, it can’t apply retroactively to this situation. So, unless there was rape or incest or an underage person involved, it’s really not something we would involve ourselves in.”
Derek considered this for a moment. “Both are of age and both the change and the mating were consensual. Andy is clearly subject to Pack law, but Linda is only subject to my authority after formation of the Alpha bond. That just happened a few minutes ago. Are we in agreement then that Linda is in the clear?” There were nods all around. Using the bond, he sent the news to Linda that she would not be subject to Pack tribunal or human courts for what had happened.
Giles turned back to the Alphas. “I know it isn’t my jurisdiction, but I would like to observe your Pack tribunal. It will give me a better idea of how you run things and how our laws will need to interact.”
Derek nodded at him. “You are welcome to observe but you cannot speak or interfere. Our justice is swift and brutal at times. Andy is facing penalties up to death today, and we have no appeal process and no delays in carrying out a sentence.”
Giles had heard this was their way. “Agreed. Sometimes I think our system has lost something along the way. I hate seeing years pass before justice is done.” With that, Amanda invited her guests back to the tents for lunch.
Using the Pack bonds, Derek announced, “The tribunal for Andy Miller will be held in one hour at the challenge circle. All Pack members are required to attend.”
Linda answered back over the bond. “Alpha, my camera crew is still here, they are documenting everything associated with my turn and your pack. Can they cover the tribunal?”
Derek was taken back by her request, especially since it was her mate who was on trial. He knew deep down that for the treaty to work and for people to accept werewolves as they are, that it would be necessary to show them the good and the bad of their lives. “Yes, they can film it, but no local commentary and no noise. Also, if you become uncomfortable with it, stop them. Inform them they are to stop filming immediately at my direction or yours. Is that acceptable to them?”
“Yes, thank you Alpha. We will make the arrangements.” With that, Linda was on the satellite phone to her station in Denver and updated them on what was going on. The station manager started running promos immediately and was soon on the phone with the network, interest in her mating was off the charts and all other programming would be preempted.
Outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico
Kelly had pretended to still be asleep when the caravan pulled into a gas station. Everyone else got out to use the bathroom and ignored her near naked form in the back seat, but she heard the driver talk about how he would use her when they got back.
This was nuts, this had to stop. The bastard HAD to be stopped before he ruined other girls. Her only hope was to find someone stronger than her Alpha.
She saw that Alpha Diggs had left his cellphone on the seat by her leg. Slowly she moved her hand down to get it. She might have time for one quick call. She pulled up the call history and pressed the number for Colonel Montgomery. “Colonel? I can’t talk, but Alpha Diggs is planning to attack and take over the Santa Fe pack. Please warn them, we are almost there.” She hung up and put the phone back, praying that he wouldn’t notice the extra call. If she was found out, he would not hesitate to kill her and then take out his rage on her family.
Johnson Pack Camp
The Pack was assembled in the circle with Andy seated at the center and Linda directly behind him when the Alpha pair entered. Everyone stood and lowered their eyes as the came to the front. Derek nodded to accept their submission and directed all except Derek to sit. “Andy Miller, you have been brought before this Pack tribunal on two charges: Disobedience of an Alpha command and unauthorized turning of a human. These charges if upheld can lead to any discipline including the forfeiture of your life. Do you understand these charges?”
“Do you challenge these charges as being true?”
“No, Alpha. You gave the rules to me and my wolf did it anyway. I accept my guilt and am ready for your judgment.” Linda was shocked, she didn’t know he wasn’t even going to fight it.
Derek and Amanda stood up and started to walk away. Linda stood up and called after them, “Alphas, PLEASE! It was all my fault. You have to know what I did before you judge what he did.” Andy turned and gestured for her to sit, but she shook him off. “Do you remember EXACTLY what you told his wolf in an Alpha command?”
Derek and Amanda came back to their place. “Yes, I told him that he may not have any physical contact with Ms. Remington unless she has granted him specific permission to do so.”
Linda put her hand on Andy’s shoulder. “Then his wolf did not break your Alpha command, I begged him to take me, to make me his. I wanted to be turned.”
“Show me,” Derek replied. “Open up your Alpha bond with me and remember exactly how it happened.” It took her a few minutes as she was so new with the bonds, but Amanda helped talk her through it. She replayed the scene in her mind and Derek relayed it to the rest of the Pack. When it was done, he looked at her again. “Is there anything else you want to say before we pass judgment?”
“Yes, my Alphas. I love him so much, PLEASE don’t take him from me now. If you kill him, you may as well kill me too, I can’t know this bond and then lose it again.” She buried her face in Andy’s neck as he reached behind to hold her hand.
A few minutes later, the Alpha pair returned to the circle. “Andy Miller, you admitted to disobedience of your Alphas and unauthorized turning of a human. These are serious charges that threaten the peace we just made with humans, and threaten the Pack itself. We have considered the circumstances of your actions but the punishment must be severe.”
Andy lowered his head as Linda wrapped her arms around his waist crying. “I understand, and I apologize to you and the Pack for my actions.”
Derek and Amanda walked up and each placed a hand on Andy’s head. “Andy Miller, you are sentenced to expulsion from the Pack. You will have one hour to gather your things and say your goodbyes, then you will be escorted off Pack lands. If you return, your life will be forfeit.” With that, they broke their Alpha bonds with him. He sank to the ground as he lost the anchor connection to his Pack. “If you do not join another Pack, you may petition for reinstatement after one year. Do you understand?”
“Yes, my...my... I’m sorry. Thank you for your mercy.” His head was spinning, wolves were social creatures and lone wolves did not fare well.
Amanda pressed a piece of paper into his hand, looking down he saw Renee’s name and a phone number. “Call her... she’s an Alpha now and can use a good Beta. Learn from this and take care of your mate.”
The Alpha pair then turned to Linda. “Linda, you are Pack and you were not subject to discipline. You need to decide if you wish to remain Pack with us, or we can break the bond with you and the two of you can look for a new pack together.”
Linda was crying, but knew the answer. “I can’t be without him, where he goes I go as well.” Nodding his head, Derek and Amanda placed hands on her head and broke the newly formed Alpha bonds with her. She could feel the loss in her wolf, and her crying became even stronger as she was led away.
Derek addressed the Pack. “The Tribunal is over, Andy and Linda are no longer members of the Johnson Pack. Linda is welcome on Pack lands as long as she wishes, but Andy is banished for at least one year. There is no joy in what has happened here, only a warning. We are Pack because we choose to be, and part of that is because we obey the Pack structure and laws. If you cannot, you will be removed before you damage the rest of us. May Luna watch over them as they find their way as new mates.”
Eight miles south of Santa Fe Pack Den
The caravan unloaded and the warriors shifted into wolf form. The GPS coordinates that had been provided by Col. Montgomery had been mapped, it would be a quick run to the den through the lengthening shadows of the desert evening. Alpha Diggs towered over his men. “With me. Kill any who resist, but leave the Alpha to me.”
The wolves followed him two by two as a few Omegas, including Kelly, were left behind with the vehicles. It shouldn’t take long.