The Protectors
Author: Fox Wild

Chapter 12
Rejection and Betrayal

Chapter 12

 

Rejection and Betrayal

 

 

 

 

Malkah was messing with something absent mindedly.  It was a very small thing, about the size of a ladybug that he was making fly around.  Duncan watched him for a moment then inquired about the device, Malkah wouldn’t be building toys, not unless they were toys for the teams on a hunt.

 

“So, what is that you have there?”  Duncan asked.  He would start with the flying thing and let Malkah open up to what was on his mind.

 

He glanced back to Duncan then to his mini flying thing. “Oh this is a bug, a listening device.  It has a central pico-fan for a drive and a range of about 5 miles for listening.  It even has a camera system that lets you see through to fly it.  The frequency of the noise from the fan can’t be heard by vampires, I made sure of that.”  Malkah brought the bug in for a landing on a small pedestal he had setup for it to land on.

 

After he landed it and turned off the power he looked to Duncan.  “It uses some ideas from Lady Sadness’s organic lights for power.”  He said blankly, he had something far more important on his mind. “Duncan, you did good, figuring this out.  But have you been thinking on the how?”  He asked.

 

Duncan nodded.  Malkah was on the same scent he was.  He was hoping Malkah would say something that pointed him in a specific direction.  This was out of his league on the technical side.

 

Duncan nodded, looked down for a moment, that was the top question in his mind.  “Yes, our phones use the same network as many other cell phones.  Someone has to be accessing our network along the way somehow.  There are too many people and links to trace.  Every cell tower, network hub, could be anyplace along the network.  I honestly have no idea how to narrow it down to find out who.” 

 

Malkah shook his head at what he said.  “No, not that simple, worse.  Even if they jacked into our secured network, they wouldn’t be able to link the individual phones, they would need the security codes of each phone.  Not something they would be able to pick out from the network.” 

 

Malkah stood from the stool he had been sitting on and started pacing. “Each phone, has its own private code in it.  Each one, programmed with the codes of other teams that is necessary, if you took your phone to another area, say back across the water, you would not have the codes for the teams there, you wouldn’t be able to track them or even text them.”

 

He stopped and turned back to face Duncan as he spoke.  “Unless your phone had the counter codes to communicate with the other network phones, you couldn’t even call them.  Very private, very secure.”  Malkah sighed at the assumptions in his mind.  “Someone has to have given out the codes.”  He added bluntly, Duncan had already arrived at this conclusion.

 

Duncan stared off at the floor.  Many thoughts were running though his mind right then.  Malkah had done what Duncan hoped, the compass was showing him the direction he needed to go. 

 

The thought of betrayal had come up, but he had pushed it aside as it seemed very implausible considering werewolf programming by their creator. Apparently they could betray their own kind, but Duncan wanted to make sure. “Would a human have access to this information?”  He asked.

 

Malkah was shaking his head again.  “No, I have access to the codes, because of my job, but only ones needed for our phones.  You have more codes than most of the other crews and their teams, like Sadness, you need them for communication.  I put those codes in your phones, remote link, update on the fly, the others, can’t call other teams.”

 

His fingers went to his mouth as he talked.  “The information is kept to only those that need it, should they need to communicate to another team, that is the leader or commanders responsibility.  If they needed to talk to a commander across the country, I would have to ask for permission to get those codes, and also to allow the commander to have use of them.  Many layers of security, whoever has done this, doesn’t need to go through the same channels I do.”

 

“What about emails, faxes and land line phone calls?”  Duncan asked.

 

Malkah thought for a moment.  “No, those would be the most secure, there you would need someone to tap the lines directly, fairly simple to detect.  Emails, now those could be compromised more easily.”  Malkah answered.

 

Duncan turned and abruptly left Malkah and his shop without a word.  Malkah was smiling, he had sent the bloodhound off on a trail.  “Get em.”  Malkah said to the empty room, knowing he had helped Duncan.

 

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Duncan went out onto the main floor and looked around.  He spotted Morning Dew and went up to him. “You’re looking for redemption though service, right?”  Duncan said to him coldly.

 

“Yes, Sir Duncan.”  He meekly responded.

 

Duncan looked the man over some, considered what he was about to do and if he trusted the man enough.  He may serve Duncan’s purpose well. “Come with me, I have a mission for you, top secret.”  He said to Morning Dew who followed Duncan to his office. 

 

Duncan was counting on Morning Dew’s passport not being one that might be tracked by vampires or whoever was handing out secrets.  Morning Dew was on a black list among the werewolves, not likely someone to be used for important missions.  Any traveling he might do would be ignored.  At least he hoped.

 

“You’re flying coach.  Regular commercial flight. You are going to make your way to Europe, and take land transportation to Night Harvest.  If you think for any reason you are being followed, burn this, eat it, whatever, make sure it is destroyed beyond any chance of being recovered, got it?”  Duncan said to him handing him an envelope.

 

“Yes, Sir Duncan.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve the clan.”  Morning Dew said, his face showing his shock of being trusted.

 

“Bouncing around like this will slow you down a bit, but get there as fast as you can.”  Duncan said and walked Morning Dew out of his office and to the den house where he used the phone.

 

 “Ok, Snow is on her way up, she will be taking you to the airport.  Come straight back when you are done.”  Duncan instructed and waited until Snow came for Morning Dew.  She drove the McLaren, she could have used the GPS locators in the tactical vehicles as an excuse but she could have disabled that.

 

After they were on their way, Duncan made his way to Hovlek’s weapons shop.  He was in the back at a forge that held a strange blue orb as a heating element to work the metal he was forming into swords.  He watched for a few minutes, the sword actually seemed to form from the orb in the middle of the forge instead of being heated by it.  He used no hammers or normal smith tools.  The only tool he seemed to be using was a semi clear rod that appeared he was directing the forming of the sword with.  Duncan stepped forward to where he worked when Hovlek looked over at him.

 

“So this is how a werewolf sword is made, how does this work?”  He asked.

 

Hovlek smiled, he seemed pleased Duncan was interested in what he was doing and actually bothered to ask. “Our swords are formed from a living metal, not forged so much as grown.  Hovlek has been working this one for two weeks now.  First, you must coax the hilt to grow, then work the blade.”  Hovlek explained.

 

“Grown?  Interesting, what are you doing with that rod?”  Duncan inquired further.

 

“Hovlek is directing the sword on form Hovlek have in Hovlek’s mind of how it should look.  Hovlek points out areas that need more or less, a full grown sword takes a good three weeks to make.  This one is about done for today, then Hovlek needs to let her rest.  It will be a couple days before she is ready to be grown more.”  Hovlek finished.

 

Duncan watched until he finished with the sword, then he laid it on a velvet lined shelf.  He took a cloth and rubbed the blade down some, turned it over then did the other side.

 

“What is it Sir Galt that you have come to see Hovlek for?”  He asked once the sword was resting comfortably.

 

Duncan walked with Hovlek to the front of his shop.  When they were up near the front Duncan pulled the shotgun from its dimensional pocket. “I’d like some modifications on Betty.”  He said as he laid the shotgun on a bench.

 

“Betty?”  Hovlek said not catching Duncan’s implication.

 

“Bad Betty, my shotgun.”  Duncan clarified.

 

“Oh yes, Bad Betty, shotgun, humans name their guns too?  Interesting.  Were-kind usually only name our swords.”  Hovlek said with a soft chuckle.

 

The modifications Duncan wanted were quite simple, Hovlek assured him that he would have them done by the end of the week.  There were modifications to the levers on the receiver that were used to manually load a round into the chamber, Duncan said they stuck out to far and could easily catch on things such as a uniform or environment they may be passing through. 

 

He recommended a more low profile design that came up the entire side of the breach that could be operated with a finger or thumb.  Hovlek understood what Duncan was indicating and told him he would work on it, he even said he was concerned about the levers breaking off should it get slammed into a wall or something hard enough to break the metal during a fight. 

 

Duncan agreed on that point.  The second part was a simple holder for a sighting mechanism that Malkah was working on that would work with the eyes up targeting system in the contacts.  Hovlek nodded and said he would work with Malkah on this.  Duncan thanked him and went back to his office to work on more dots.

 

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Snow returned a couple hours later and joined Duncan in their rooms.

 

“Duncan, can I ask you something?”  Snow started.

 

“Of course, what is it Snow?”  He said wondering what was up.

 

Snow rubbed her hand on her legs, then wrung them together.  Duncan wondered why she was acting nervous.  She had said to forget it and turned away, Duncan called her back.  He told her to ask, saying no matter what the question he would give her the straight answer.

 

“Ok, you, when you connected your dots, you knew way before Kevashka was frelling nearly taken out, I know you knew, tell me about that and why did you wait?”

 

Duncan sighed.  She could read him well and was right. “Clan Boxtemmill, know of them?”  He asked her.

 

“I’ve heard about patriarch Boxtemmill, he is the oldest living patriarch currently, bit set in his ways, very, old school as humans would say.  Snow relayed.

 

“Right, here let me show you.”  He pulled up a page with a bar chart on it.

 

The chart showed the deaths by clan.  Boxtemmill’s were zero until two thousand eleven.  Snow commented on this and asked what happened in two thousand eleven.

 

Duncan began revealing his dots.  “Boxtemmill is old school, never had cell phones till forced to, even then he didn’t let his team use them in the field, in two thousand eleven the clans started providing strats from other clans via the smart phones.”

 

“That’s when Boxtemmill had two of their teams wiped out, after that he stopped using the strats he provided ahead of time and filed an attack plan change just before an operation, it wouldn’t be posted immediately unless it directly affected another crews team.  Boxtemmill already had their plans and made sure his wouldn’t need to be updated.”

 

He motioned at the monitor.  “Again, zero deaths.  He doesn’t use smart phones for anything, hates them, and in an official declaration stated that he felt they were a weakness in the security of the hunt teams and clans as a whole.  It was his statistics that tipped me off, got me looking at the numbers.”

 

Snow nodded as she fiddled with one of her lip rings and listened.

 

“I wanted a cell phone from one of the vampires or a day walker to confirm my suspicions.  Unfortunately, I was only able to get one and remove the battery when the hit on Kevashka was attempted.  That attempt on its own gave me enough to warrant calling off operations, if you would back me.”  Duncan explained. 

 

Snow nodded and shuffled her feet.  Duncan felt there was something else on her mind. “What else Snow, stop beating around the bush, what’s on your mind.”  He asked her.

 

“Nothing.”  Snow said, her voice sounded nervous.  “That was it, I’m going down to the floor for a bit, see you later.”  She said then left quick without giving Duncan the chance to respond.

 

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On the third day after Morning Dew left to deliver Duncan’s letter to Night Harvest, a car drove onto the den property.  The guards stopped the car and identified the person driving the rental car.  He said he came from the Clan of the Highland Citadel, and that he had a personal delivery for Sir Duncan Galt. 

 

After confirming his identity, the guard at the car said he would take the delivery to Duncan, the man refused stating the parcel was to be placed directly into Sir Galt’s hands only.  The guard notified Snow as he could not reach Duncan by radio and they weren’t using smart phones.  She told the guard she would find Duncan.

 

Snow walked onto the main floor of the den and looked around, she didn’t see Duncan there so she asked a couple team members if they knew his location.  One said Duncan had gone up to his office about half an hour ago, that was the last she had seen him.  Snow proceeded to their office area. 

 

Snow entered their rooms and called out for Duncan.  Not hearing a response she headed towards the room they shared as an office and called again.  When she entered the room the monitors were on and Duncan was not there. 

 

Seeing a small box looking device on the right end of the desk Snow walked up to the desk, there sat Duncan’s radio pack.  She sighed and was about to leave when she noticed the thick wire bound college ruled notebook she had often seen Duncan writing in. 

 

It was beneath a pile of papers and a book.  He always kept it tucked away, would hide it whenever she walked in.  Curiosity took hold and Snow carefully lifted the papers and mess of work and slid the notebook out. 

 

There was a number three pencil with a white eraser on the end stuck in between the pages, a little ways into the notebook.  She opened the notebook to that page and looked to see what Duncan had been writing.  Across the top of the page in larger letters, like a title, was written ‘20 Things I Love About Snow’. 

 

She read over the page, smiling softly as she read, laughing a couple times at what he had written.  The poem was continued onto another page but Snow didn’t finish reading it, instead she flipped through the pages to see what else he had written. 

 

The notebook was a collection of poetry, mostly about her, or a poetic recount of things that they and endured together.  She stopped at one and actually read it, this one was titled ‘The Wolf At The Foot Of My Bed’ and it extended onto a third page.  The words touched Snow deep inside. 

 

She’d wondered about how Duncan really felt about her, often he would become distant from her and she would question if he really wanted to be with her.  Wondering if he stood beside her because he had to, because she had been forcibly mated to him.  Was his loyalty to her out of duty, or were there real feelings behind his actions. 

 

Snow no longer questioned this.  On the page where the poem ended there was a hand written music score that he’d started.  Duncan had drawn the lines of sheet music on the page and drew in the notes.  Lyrics were also hand written in.  Snow tried to play the music in her head with the words.  She placed the pencil back where it came from, closed the notebook and returned it to where she had found it, leaving no evidence that she had looked at it.

 

Snow was just reaching to open the door out when it opened, causing her to jump a little.  Duncan walked in.

 

“Hi.”  He greeted her.

 

“Hello, you know, you would be easier to find if you had your radio on you.”  Snow said taking a stance with her hand on her hip and giving him a look.  She couldn’t hold it long and started laughing at him.

 

“Yeah, sorry I forgot it.  Earpiece only has about a ten foot range.”  He said with a guilty smile. 

 

Snow could tell it wasn’t by accident he ‘forgot’ the radio, but rather an ‘accidently on purpose’ type of thing.  She couldn’t be to hard on him about it, she herself was guilty of the same thing once in a while.

 

“Someone up top to see you, courier from Night Harvest, has something for you only.”  She informed him.

 

She came with him as he went to meet the courier.  The man handed him a small manila bubble lined mailing envelope.  After Duncan took it the man quickly went back to his car and drove off.  Duncan tore of the zip strip sealing it then squeezed open the envelope and tipped it over his hand. 

 

A small black USB flash drive fell out.  There were no markings on it but Duncan seemed to already know what was on the drive.  He quickly walked off to the garage and headed back to the rooms in the den he and Snow used for office space.  In the elevator Snow asked him what was on the drive.

 

“Well, I haven’t looked yet, but there should be all the personnel files for everyone, stateside and overseas, every werewolf, human, everyone.”  Duncan said.

 

Snow reached over and pressed the stop button on the elevator.

 

“Hold on.”  She started.  “You have been given everyone’s complete personnel file?”

 

“I hope so, that is what I asked Night Harvest for.”  Duncan replied, looking over to the buttons in the elevator.

 

“Those are very classified documents, no one gets those unless they work in records, and then only the ones for the people in the clan, no one outside of Lord Leyland, Night Harvest and the Bishop have access to all of them, they just gave them to you because you asked?”  She asked, her voice carried her dismay.

 

Duncan reached past her and pulled the stop button back out allowing the elevator to return to operation.

 

“Like I said, not sure yet, haven’t had a chance to look.  I am going to grab some stuff from the office and head to the den house, I’ll meet you there and we can find out exactly what’s on the flash drive, okay?”  He told her as the elevator reached the den and the doors started to open.

 

Snow rode the elevator back up to the garage and waited in the den house for Duncan.  When he returned he had his laptop with him and a folder that was bulging with papers.  He set the laptop down then put the folder over near where his keyboard was at for the computer in the house. 

 

Then he opened the laptop, plugged in the power to it and brought it out of sleep mode.  He went to his chair and sat down opening the folder and shuffled the papers around, distributing them to where he wanted them. 

 

Snow was getting a bit anxious waiting for him to confirm what was on the flash drive.

 

 Once he finally had himself situated, he inserted the drive into a USB slot and opened the main folder.  There was a personal note from Night Harvest.  The note said that all personnel files were on the drive and to use a stand alone computer to access them instead of a network terminal. 

 

Duncan must have anticipated this which is why he moved to the computer at the house.  There was a LAN connection to the computer, but it used its own hard drive and memory, not the mainframe that was in the den, which everyone had access too.  Only Snow and Duncan had access to the this computer, it wouldn’t even show on the network should someone map it. 

 

“Ok, explain to me why you were given complete files on everyone?  You must be onto something major, Night Harvest wouldn’t just hand you these because you asked, there has to be a very good reason.”  Snow pressed looking expectantly to Duncan.  Her face was hard and serious.

 

Duncan opened the main folder on the flash drive, it asked for his security code.  He entered it and all the files came up in the open window on one of the monitors.  He minimized the window once he had it unlocked and looked to Snow.

 

“Yes, there is a very good reason.  And Night Harvest gave these files to me with a ‘my eyes only’ order.  I am working on figuring out how our security has been breached, I needed these files for that reason.  Night Harvest knows my reasoning and approved my having the files.”  Duncan said very formally.  “But my eyes only does not include you.”

 

Snow looked like she had just been slapped in the face.  Was Duncan doubting her loyalty?  He had been acting very aggressive lately, and cutting her out of things, not wanting to be as open as he had been before.  Since they came back to the den, he had really been keeping her out of what he was doing. 

 

“Then why did you ask me to meet you here?  She asked trying to act normal after the abrupt way he shut her out. 

 

Duncan stood up and walked over to the door to the room and opened it.  “You wanted to know if they were in fact complete personnel files on everyone, that much I can tell you, and that you need to keep this knowledge to yourself.”  He stated bluntly, he was still holding the door open, but didn’t look as though he intended to leave the room. 

 

Snow stood looking at him, she was unsure of what to make of the situation.  Duncan pointed out the door.  She made a small sound of being shocked he was telling her to leave.  She felt hurt but was trying to be understanding.  He motioned out the door again, Snow slowly started to move then walked to the door. 

 

As she passed the threshold he started to close the door behind her.  Snow stopped and put a hand on the door, but not forcefully, just enough to let him know she was going to say something.  Duncan turned his attention to her.

 

“Do you love me?”  Snow asked point blank.

 

Duncan was shocked by the question and his face showed it.  His scent changed.  His eyes moved to the floor.  He was unsure of how to answer the question, he wasn’t prepared to explain his feelings, his mind was filled with other things.  Moments passed as he was trying to sort out what he wanted to say.

 

“I love you, just so you know.”  Snow said in a vexed voice, then pulled the door closed suddenly with a mild slam, leaving Duncan to his thoughts and the dots.

 

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Snow had Malkah busy building more radio packs, as many as he could in his shop.  She had wanted to have a manufacturing clan make them but Duncan had insisted no, not until a specific matter was solved. 

 

He wouldn’t explain what, just that for now, he wanted to keep as much information about what he had discovered hidden.  He explained they wanted to use the vampires ability to track the teams to their advantage, this meant no one outside of their operations center could know.  Snow accepted his reasoning and put herself to work with Malkah.  By the end of the week they had enough radio packs built to supply forty people total.

 

Kevashka worked up a strategy that used several of the teams from Trust Operations One and some from another clan near where they had been working before they pulled out.  Couriers were being used heavy, the crew leader from the clan they would be working with was instructed to ready his teams and keep all communications on the operation to in person only. 

 

Snow took the helicopter out to meet with the teams that would be part of the mission personally.  She followed the same procedure they had at her den, having everyone leave their cell phones in their rooms then coming to the surface and meeting out in the yard of the den.  No explanation was given as to why they were to leave their phones below ground. 

 

The teams were hand picked, they were older members who could be trusted, though any werewolf should be able to be, they were taking extra precautions, and using people who came from across the water and had been part of recon and special operations units prior.

 

Kevashka’s plan entailed the teams Snow was meeting with forming up around a location. They would be carrying their smart phones, no mention of not carrying them was made.  They were told other teams would also be working in the field again, but nothing as to where or how many. 

 

They were not told that teams from Trust Operations One would be in close proximity to them, and would actually be the strike force.  This was Kevashka’s plan, to have the other teams be a diversion, the vampires would track them while Snow’s forces moved in without any smart phones on them.  The diversion forces would have radio communications, though theirs would be separate from Snows teams.

 

Duncan became a ghost around the den.  Snow had the office in the den to herself, Duncan seldom left the den house.  Even when she was with him in the house, it didn’t even seem like he was there.  He spent all his time in the upstairs office at his computers. 

 

He did call for her once, but only to have her go to the den office and retrieve the book that had been delivered to him from the Bishop.  Then he disappeared into the office in the house again.  He even took all his meals in the office. 

 

The only other visitor Duncan had was when he sent for Malkah, who met with Duncan for about twenty minutes then left.  It was just over two weeks before Duncan finally crawled from under his rock, this was when the guards patrolling the large yard caught two young men in their early twenties coming out of the woods.

 

“They’re human Sir Galt, they claim they got lost in the woods, they’re asking for directions.”  The guard told Duncan as he came to them from the house, he stood a good thirty feet back.

 

“Keep your weapons aimed at them and get back now!  Back as far as I am.”  Duncan ordered.

 

The guards looked over at him and back to the two men again and started moving back, slowly.  Duncan pulled his pistol and took aim at them.  Both had their arms raised with their hands above their heads, one had is hands in closed fists while the other had his open palmed.

 

“Get back here now!”  Duncan yelled.  “I’ve got them covered.”

 

The guards turned and ran back to where Duncan was then returned their weapons to the two men.

 

Duncan watched as the one man with his hands closed into fists kept looking towards the garage.  They both were wearing jackets appropriate for the cool season.  They could have a heavy frost at any time.  The grass was turning brown already. 

 

Snow was coming up behind them.  Duncan ordered the men to shoot and take them out.

 

“Hold!”  Snow yelled.  “They are human, they aren’t day walkers, what has gotten into you Duncan?”  Snow said to him coming to face him.

 

“Get behind me Snow, we need to take these two out.”  He said as he stepped to the side, getting Snow out of his line of sight.

 

“We will do no such thing!  Not without just cause, and you don’t have any.”  She said back.

 

The man with his hands in fists was closest to the garage.  He started to make a run towards the garage while the others were distracted and looking more to Snow then him.  Duncan’s pistol fired twice at the man who had started running.  Then he brought the barrel around to the other man, two more shots rang out.

 

Duncan plowed into Snow tackling her to the ground.  “Down!”  He yelled while doing this and the guards hit the dirt with him.  There was a thunderous explosion from the man who had tried to make his way to the garage. 

 

Dirt, sod, and rocks pelted them on the ground.  When everyone stood they took in the sight of a crater in the yard about twenty feet across and a good six feet deep in the center.  Had the blast been in a confined area, such as the den, it would have collapsed it. 

 

Snow looked like she might get sick herself.  This was the second time she had doubted Duncan’s rash judgment, and the second time he was right in his actions. 

 

“How did you know?”  Snow asked, her voice reflecting her apology for doubting him again. 

 

Duncan took one of the rifles from the guards, he aimed at the body of the second man and fired.  On the third shot, the bomb he was wearing detonated.  Everyone was staring at him now.  There was a distant sound of gun fire followed by only what could be an explosion. 

 

Handing the rifle back he looked at Snow.  “On the outside parameter of hallowed ground about ten feet back, there’s a twenty foot high chain link fence with a V of barbwire, correct?”  Duncan asked Snow.  She nodded.  “If you’re lost in the woods, are you going to climb a fence that high and deal with the barbed wire?  The other options would be to cut your way through, or walk around.”

 

Duncan responded to a report over the radio.  “We found the car, you were right, vampire in the back, been dealt with, good call Sir Duncan.”

 

Snow’s face said she figured out what happened.  There were three ways a vampire could control a human.  The first was by turning them and making them a vampire, the second was by using the excretion from their brain to make a day walker, the third was direct mind control that mimicked hypnosis. 

 

The last option worked on weak minded people the best, though this could be enhanced with drugs.  The vampire would have to be in fairly close range for this to work.  Day walkers wouldn’t have been able to set foot onto hallowed ground, and a human wouldn’t go in on a suicide mission unless they were insane. 

 

“Remember they put bombs on the chopper, you need me to explain further or have your figured it out?”  Duncan said harshly to Snow.

 

Her face showed the verbal slap he’d given her.  She didn’t like his hostile attitude.  Snow turned and walked from Duncan and into the den house.  She walked fast, hurt and anger propelled her.  Duncan followed after he ordered the guards on patrol to shoot first, ask questions later. 

 

Once they were in the house together, Snow got in his grill.  “What the frell is with you Duncan?  You could have said, they have bombs or something.”  Snow said.  “You’ve been way to aggressive and quite frankly mean.  I am considering pulling you off duty for a while, I want you to see Doctor River Stone.”

 

Duncan’s face started to redden.  He snarled at Snow.  He could see in her eyes this bothered her.  “I think Night Harvest might have something to say about my remaining on duty, you forget, I’m the one that figured out they were tracking us and how.  And as to telling you they had bombs, you would have only questioned me more, not taken action.”  He retorted.

 

“You could stay on your research and not be second in command, Max could take that position.”  Snow replied, ignoring his last true statement.

 

“Really, what about what just happened in the yard?  What if they made it to the garage, locked the door and used the elevator?  Or don’t you think they would have been able to find it?  I mean they only found a den that isn’t on the map, how is it the vampire knew right were to look for your little hidey hole?”  Duncan’s voice was very aggressive, his body language amplified this. 

 

Snow shook her head at him, her eyes narrowed slightly, she didn’t know the man in front of her right now. 

 

“As far as being aggressive, they just tried to bomb my clan, what am I supposed to be like?  All happy and giddy?”  Duncan lashed back.  Suddenly he turned and ran to the downstairs bathroom.  It was about five minutes before he returned to Snow.

 

“You’re going to see River Stone, now.”  She informed him.  “How many times is that today?  Five, more?” 

 

Duncan glared at her.  “I’m not going to see the doctor, I’m fine.”

 

“It wasn’t a suggestion, it’s an order.  You can either come with me to his office now, or, I can have the guards help you there.”  She said, her voice becoming cold and heartless to match Duncan’s attitude as of late. 

 

“Nice.”  He said, then he lowered the stairs in the entry and held his hand out.  “After you, princess.”  He said, his tone mocking.

 

Snow refused to take the lead down the stairs and told Duncan he knew the way and that she would follow him there, just incase he decided to vanish off to another area to try and delay the appointment.

 

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“Been being a bit feisty I hear.”  River Stone said to Duncan.

 

“Yeah, so what of it?  Been puking my guts out, makes one a bit testy, wouldn’t you think Doc?”  Duncan replied.

 

“I think it’s a bit more than just that, I think it’s time you started taking something.”  River Stone said.  “I’ll be right back.  Don’t bite anybody while I’m away.”  He said with a smile.

 

River Stone returned with a prescription bottle and handed it to Duncan.  “The label says something different than what is actually in here, just incase someone happens to check and see what you are taking, will keep her little nose out of your business.”  He told him and smiled knowingly.

 

“Thanks Doc.”  Duncan said as he looked at the bottle.  He opened it and River Stone handed him a glass of water and he took one of the pills.

 

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Duncan was in a better mood when he arrived back to the den house.  Snow glared at him when he walked in.  It was easy to see she was still hurt by his recent outbursts at her.  He came up to her, he lowered his head some when he spoke.

 

He sighed deeply.  “Snow, look, I’m sorry for how I have been acting lately, it’s just you know I haven’t been feeling well, I’ve been putting a lot of stress on myself.  Just like you I care about the teams and our people, I want to solve this problem.  There is still another missing piece to this puzzle, I need to figure it out.”

 

Putting his hands on his hips he sighed hard and looked away for a moment to collect his thoughts.  “Our teams have been having success with the new strategies, but that isn’t going to last long unless I figure the rest out, they are going to figure out that we know about the tracking.  And when they do, werewolves everywhere will be in grave danger, they will take any of us out they can.”  Duncan turned away from Snow when he finished, shaking his head and walking a short distance away.

 

They had done two missions, using the other teams as decoys carrying their smart phones.  The third was going on tonight.  They had been able to eliminate two major coven operations.  The third one was sure to draw full attention on them, and whoever was giving out their secrets, would be hot to find out what was going on. 

 

No one had started asking questions yet, Duncan was hoping they would tip their own hand by doing so.  Apparently instead, they had decided to try and take out the source.  Duncan suspected this meant the leak already knew something was up, they just may not know exactly what yet.  Time was getting short.

 

Snow walked over to where Duncan had moved to and came around to face him.  Her face was sad.

 

“Duncan, I don’t mean to belittle what you have done for us. You’ve saved our tails. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I am very grateful for all that you have done.  What I’m trying to say is, I understand and I’m sorry too.”  Snow said with her own long face.

 

The two of them stood in silence for a moment, looking at each others feet.  They had both been under a lot of stress.  Snow understood Duncan was pushing himself hard, too hard, but he had to. Kevashka needed him to help figure out what was going wrong and to connect his dots.  He was the bloodhound, and a damn fair strategist too. 

 

Snow knew as well as either of them, time was running out to figure out the picture from the dots Duncan was putting down on paper.  The ones he had connected already just formed a spiders web.  Now they needed to find the spider.

 

Snow raised her head and put a hand on his arm.  “We have a mission tonight, I would like it if you were there, you are part of the team.”  She missed having him actively a part of the team she had fought so hard to get him on.  Her head dropped with her thoughts.

 

Duncan read Snow’s face.  He could see the emptiness in her eyes.  He had been so preoccupied with his sleuthing that he had forgotten to be a friend and partner.

 

“I’ll be there, you may have to remind me, I’ll keep my radio on me.”  He said, putting a finger under Snow’s chin and lifting her head so she would look at him.  He gave her a smile, “I promise” he said to her.

 

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“Sea Mist, give me your visual.”  Kevashka called out over the radio.  Malkah’s system had a very long range, the crystal pulse system would reach several states away, good thing since their phone network was defunct.

 

“I have two targets in sight, there are at least four more that went to the front of the building.  I can see rifles on them.  They have the backdoor covered.”  Sea Mist came back.

 

“This is Red Rabbit, we are in position now.  Have targets in sight.”  Another voice reported over the radio.

 

“Good, keep their attention.”  Kevashka told Sea Mist then changed radio channels.  “Red Rabbit, Blade Dance, what’s the main incursion site look like?”  She requested.  Red rabbit was the diversion team.  Sea Mist was untraceable by cell phone.

 

“All is calm here.  They have the same guards out on the roof as before.  There doesn’t seem to be any extra activity so far.”  Blade Dance reported in.  “I can see our teams in position.”

 

The teams reported in, some concerns from the decoy teams were relayed in due to changes in the vampire activity.  It appeared that some were moving to flank the teams position.  The vampires were moving early.  They may be suspecting alternate activity from the previous two attacks. 

 

The teams had been working between synchronized decoy missions to keep suspicion down.  They would stage, take out a vampire site then scatter and head back.  The ploy may not be working as well as they had hoped.  Though the main site for their mission tonight didn’t give any sign that they suspected anything.

 

“White Raven, we have your back, if anything comes up, bug out and lead the vampires away, go blackout and get to a safe area.”  Kevashka told one of the teams.

 

Duncan looked over at Kevashka.  Snow looked to Duncan, his scent had changed, she felt that tingle she got from him again, like when he was about to disappear into his lair. Something clicked.

 

“Watch your back.”  She heard him whisper.  He looked over at her and when their eyes met, both knew what the other was thinking.  Duncan knew Snow knew he was about to leave.  She could tell he had more dots to connect, but now had a direction.

 

Duncan went to Kevashka, his face was urgent, his voice calm.  “Kevashka, have the decoy team strike now, hard.  Don’t enter the building, take out the vampires on the outside, get Sea Mist to target the ones flanking.  When they are down, bug out and have the other team start their attack, then have the decoys join them.  Take the target down hard and fast and get everyone out.”  He told her, then left the room while she questioned after him. 

 

He didn’t stop to answer. He heard Snow bark out at Kevashka to do as she was told.  Kevashka wouldn’t like it, but she knew enough about how Duncan operated now, she would accept what he said.  She knew about dots now too.

 

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Duncan worked till the morning light.  The mission was a success for the most part.  A few members were hit but none died.  After they hit the main target, they returned and took out the decoy target, two coven leaders went down.  With the decoy team following, it gave the appearance of normal operations, Kevashka hoped the vampires would attribute their success to a good strategist. 

 

Duncan went into the bedroom.  “Snow, wake up!”  He called into the room as he walked in.

 

Snow started to move under the covers.  Duncan called to her again, she flipped back the covers and looked at him.  Her hair was a mess.  He smiled at her, she looked good with her hair mussed up.  He shook his head clear. 

 

“Get up, get dressed, need you to fly the chopper.”  Duncan told her.

 

“Fly the chopper, where?”  She asked as she rubbed her eyes.

 

“My house, I’ll meet you at the chopper.”  Duncan said then left the bedroom not wanting to give her the time to ask questions and slow them down.  He would be able to answer them in the air.

 

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They landed at Duncan’s house, they would need to make a stop for fuel once they left.  There was a small airstrip near the small town that had the fuel they would need.

 

Duncan left the chopper and told Snow to keep it powered up and ready to fly, she throttled back on the engines some since he asked her to come with.  They went to the side garage door.  The house and garage had been boarded up.  He had Snow rip the plywood off of the side door so he could get in, then told her to go back to the chopper.

 

Duncan used a flashlight to make his way through the garage and down the tunnel to the tank room.  Water had run into the house and half flooded the tunnel but it was still passable.  He climbed up onto one of the tanks and reached into a small vent above it and pulled out a plastic bag that had small book looking things in it, pocketed it and went back to the chopper.  Snow took off and headed for the airstrip to refuel. 

 

Once back at the den, Duncan went into the den house and was packing a bag.  Snow walked in and asked what he was doing.

 

“I’m going to Ireland.”  He told her.  “I grabbed my backup passports from the house, ones that aren’t known and wont be tracked by the CIA or anyone in our organization.”

 

“Then I’m coming with you.”  Snow said.

 

“No, you’re not. For starters, you don’t have a backup passport that isn’t known.  Second, you need to be here.”   He told her.  He handed her a piece of paper as he grabbed the bag and headed to the garage and pulled his truck out.

 

Snow read the scrap of paper he handed her.  “Frelling piss shit bag monkey choking donkey fart!”  She yelled after she read it, then ran to the entry and dropped the stairs and ran down.

 

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It was about thirty-two hours later that Duncan returned from Ireland.  His gate was rigid and quick as he walked through the den.  Though people greeted him as he passed, he didn’t give any sign of recognition. 

 

Snow was sitting on one of the tables, as he walked by her she took to following behind him without a word.  He opened Kevashka’s door to her office and snapped his fingers.  She rose from her chair and followed as he turned and walked away from the doorway. 

 

Next he walked into Malkah’s workshop.  “Malkah, stop whatever you’re doing, come with us.”  He said in a commanding tone.

 

He stopped by where Sea Mist and her mate were working on his ballista at, he ordered them to follow as well.  He led his entourage to the elevator, up out of the garage and to the den house and into the sitting room. 

 

“We have a situation.  I need you all to pack your mission gear, Malkah, that includes you.  I have a list of toys I want you to bring.  Starting with your flying bug.”  Duncan informed the young gadgettier.  The young man’s face lit up.

 

“Where are we going?”  Kevashka asked.

 

Duncan handed her an envelope.  “Washington, DC.”  He replied.

 

Kevashka read the letter in the envelope.  What it claimed was difficult to believe at best.  Snow probably would have exclaimed ‘inconceivable’ at the concept.  A werewolf selling out to the vampires, Duncan had made his accusations.  Night Harvest agreed with them. 

 

Because of Night Harvest’s agreement, Kevashka knew Duncan had uncovered solid evidence to confirm this.  She could question his logic, his deductions and try and pick them apart finding any flaw she could, but Duncan had been to the Grand Inquisitor personally. 

 

Whatever happened between the two men when Duncan unveiled the dots he had connected, the final result was conclusive.  Kevashka accepted what she read as fact.  Duncan had proven his theory to the Grand Inquisitor, now Kevashka was responsible for trapping the traitor.

 

Snow stood silently.  She needed no more than Duncan’s word.  The only thing she was waiting on was Kevashka to formulate the plan they would use.  She would rely heavily on Duncan now, she needed his sleuth abilities to backfill any gaps.

 

His insight would enable her to close a noose on the traitor that he couldn’t get out of.  Snow just wanted the opportunity to remove the traitors heart, then take his head.  Decapitation would not allow regeneration.

 

Kevashka folded the letter up and put it in a pocket.  “Alright, pain in the ass, I need you to explain, in detail, everything you figured out and draw the lines for how to me.  You will leave no detail out or I will bitch slap you till you cry for your mommy in front of the entire den.”  Kevashka’s voice sounded angry, though it was not with the passion that was usually there. 

 

Duncan had become a valuable asset to Kevashka, even when he didn’t have hard facts, his gut feelings were usually on the mark, or very damn close.

 

Duncan held up a finger.  “Come with me.”  He told the people with him.  Kevashka was hot on his heals as he took the precession to his office.  He asked Snow to bring in extra chairs so everyone could sit.

 

Duncan pulled up some files on his monitors.  Right now the information was meaningless to them, just a collection of data with no visible link.

 

“We know the vampires were hunting us, tracking our movements and listening in on our conversations through our smart phones.”  Duncan motioned at the gadgettier listening intently.  “Malkah pointed out the fact that the only way to do this was if they had access to the security codes programmed into our phones.”

 

“Due to the wide scale of vampires tracking us, this person would not be someone in Malkah’s position or something similar.  This person would have to have access to codes from both the states and across the water.  That’s when I started looking into positions that would have access to this information.”

 

“There are quite a few.  I wasn’t looking at direct access, I was looking for anyone who might have the codes on their phones because of their position, that being someone who might contact overseas field agents and hunt teams.”  Duncan looked to Kevashka.

 

“I was at a loss for which direction to go, every path I took led to an unfinished end, no matter how I worked the lines, nothing came to a central point.  To many variables, everyone became a suspect.  Watch your back, that was the message given to me by a dying werewolf, when he was closest to the light.” 

 

“It didn’t make rational sense to me at the time.  At first I thought the man meant in the field, that he knew the vampires were tracking us, that he was trying to warn me about that.  During the last operation we ran with decoys, you told one of the teams ‘we’ve got your back’, that’s when it clicked.”  Duncan said indicating Kevashka had spoken the words he was referencing.

 

“In the field, we refer to our command and support people as ‘having our back’, that’s what the message was, not about what was going on in the field, rather that someone was betraying us, someone in our command structure.” 

 

Duncan turned to one of the monitors and pointed at a report, this one was from Snow. “In her report, Snow mentions that the coven leader who took her to the bar ordered a drink for her, ‘you look like a beer person to me’, he had said to her.  He ordered her a Stella, an import.” 

 

Duncan looked back at his audience.  “That’s a hell of an assumption, he already knew who Snow was, that much we know from the tracker, she would have been identified as the commander of the operation, what wouldn’t have been there is the fact she drinks imported beer, hates the mainstream American brands.”  Duncan clicked to another page.

 

This report had his name as the author.  “The two day walkers that jumped us, the one where the girl who later died repented.”  Duncan tapped at the screen.  “The male called me a pig, a reference to a cop, or any law enforcement person, he knew I was associated with the CIA, when he threw down his weapon, he said I wouldn’t shoot an unarmed person.”

 

“That’s a human rule for law enforcement.  He even knew I was human, said so when I pulled the sword.  He knew Kicks was a rogue, not renegade, specifically called him a rogue.  I checked, that information is not on the tracker system.  I show up as Commander Galt, no indication as to being human, Kicks shows as advanced reconnaissance, not anything about his clan status.  This information would only be available from personnel files.  That narrowed my search.”  Duncan turned from them and worked on the computer some, changing windows and replacing pages.

 

He turned back to them in a quick motion.  He pointed at Malkah, showing he played a part in his reasoning by some obscure statement.  “The vampires overseas weren’t ceasing any operations, when hunt parties hit their holds and found them empty, it was because they knew the team was coming and moved out ahead of time, harvesting was still going on, only in the light of day, nothing would remain of the vampire recruits to show what had happened.” 

 

“Even the bishops said they could still count the souls lost.  Clan Boxtemmill proved this for me, they still were having success on both hunt parties and on any raid on a coven hold.  His change of plans were never put out on the network until the following day, since they didn’t affect any other teams.  Activity in his area has slowed.  Vampires have retreated from his lands.”

 

“The only reason I could come up with for this was that someone informed them of how his attacks never followed his original plans, that he changed them at the last minute.  Whoever was passing out our secrets, not only had access to the codes, personnel files, they also were able to access strategy plans for the teams.”  Duncan reached over to a pile of papers on his desk.

 

He rummaged through it until he pulled out a book that had the seal of the Bishop of Clans on it.  “The Supreme Bishop of Clans had this book delivered to me.  It contains information on afflictions to werewolves.  I read it thinking I had wasted my time with it, until I remembered something from a specific personnel file I had read.”

 

“A werewolf had effectively lost his mate to a coma, and that could not be explained.  The bishop of this werewolf's clan investigated the coma, as there is a state the mate of a werewolf who has done something atrocious, dark and evil can fall into. It is called an Animus coma. The mates soul is affected by the betrayal of their mate and they go into a coma.  The bishop had realized this.  He left the next day, and was going to meet with the Supreme Bishop of Clans, only his plane crashed.  It was the subject of a bombing attack.”  Duncan pointed to one of the windows on a monitor.

 

“This is the official report the bishop of the clan filed.  It states that Animus was not the cause of the coma, that he theorized an environment cause was to blame. It went on to say he was going to meet with the Supreme Bishop of Clans to have a healer with a specialty in such things brought to the clan.  That didn’t make sense.  He would have requested the specialist by phone call, email, or something much simpler.”

 

“Not flying across the water to make the request.  The bishop’s son took over for his father after his death, read the report and never went further than requesting a specialist by phone.  Nothing was ever resolved, this traitors mate still remains in a coma.”  Duncan stopped and pulled up a document on the center monitor, it was a personnel file.

 

“Nine years ago, which coincides with the dramatic increase in werewolf deaths, Robert of the Clay’s mate fell suddenly into a comma while he was out on a field mission.  After his dishonorable actions relating to my mate… my partner, he was pulled from the field.  He had followed orders from above him, from Clan Clay.”

 

“Robert Clay took a desk job Steve Rheineer told me, I found out where, he works as director of communications now.  He oversees all networks and their security and data transmission.  His transfer to this position also coincides with another spike in deaths of our people.”  Duncan revealed.

 

Duncan went over more information he had uncovered, mostly for Kevashka, anything he could tell her might help in their plans to engage Robert.  Word about his discovery about how they were being tracked had been kept under wraps, only Snow’s crews and whoever Night Harvest had confided in knew.  They had been working together to try and figure out who the leak was.  Now that it had been solved, the leak needed to be plugged. 

 

Malkah went to his shop.  Duncan had told him they would need his expertise in this, to find out who Robert had been passing secrets too.  He was working with his new bug, making sure it worked as he said it would.  Duncan had also told Malkah that Robert would have ears around him. Either to alert whomever he was working for that he had been made, or for help to come and bail him out. 

 

Though Duncan highly doubted vampires would risk themselves for him, it was still an option.  They had convinced him to help them somehow.  Every possibility needed to be investigated.  Duncan was waiting for word from Night Harvest to begin moving on Robert.  The time would be soon, Malkah had to get his tricks ready.

 

Snow came and sat on Duncan’s lap when everyone had left and he returned from puking again. “How long?”  She said to him with a sad face resting her head on his shoulder.

 

Duncan knew what she was asking about, could read the assumptions she had made in her face. “Couple months left.”  Duncan told her.

 

Snow simply held him.  She didn’t ask any questions deeper into the matter.  Couple months, wasn’t very long.  It made the irrational risks Duncan took understandable.  She thought he wanted to get their work finished so he could see the end of it.  Seemed to be all he was holding on to outside of her.

 

“Come on, let’s go shopping.”  Duncan said to her after a few minutes.

 

“Go shopping?”  Snow asked sitting up and looking puzzled.

 

“Yup, we’re going to the city and hit a toy store.”  Duncan said as Snow slid off his lap when he stood.

 

Snow shook her head at him, she tried to figure out what possible reason Duncan would have for wanting to go to a toy store.  With everything they were dealing with, he wanted to go shopping, and at a toy store on top of that.

 

“Ok, going toy shopping.  Am I driving or are you?”  Snow asked.

 

“We’ll take the truck.”  Duncan replied, Snow’s face showed her appreciation of him driving, she wasn’t in a mood to do so herself.

 

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The drive was about an hour and a half.  Duncan stopped at a big box style toy store.  Snow went in the business with him and looked around.  The place was festive in appearance.  Snow was almost able to smile at a large stuffed animal she ran into. 

 

Her heart was too low to manage to enjoy any of the fun around them.  Duncan asked an employee in the store for something, he was taken to an isle with squirt guns and other water toys.  He selected three different large types and purchased them, then they went back to the truck, one more stop Duncan said.

 

“Squirt guns?  You drove us all the way here for squirt guns?”  Snow asked confused, Duncan had something in mind.

 

He forced a small laugh.  “Not just your ordinary squirt gun, super soakers, guaranteed to soak your target.”

 

Their next stop was at a fire equipment supply store.  Duncan bought several spools of fire hose and a nozzle.  “Ok, you’re not going to arm us with squirt guns in the field, are you?”  Snow asked, her tone said cut the bullshit and tell me what you’re thinking.

 

Duncan looked over at her with a crooked smile.  “Sure am, but not toys, I am going to see if our tinkerer can make us ones that hold a lot more water than these and put out a substantial amount more.”

 

Snow’s face was questioning.  She could understand firing holy water at a vampire, but they had bottles of the stuff for a target.  They also had their swords and other weapons that could handle taking out a vampire far more efficiently then using a modified squirt gun to drench them.

 

“Ok, interesting, but I don’t see the need for that, seems like a wasted effort to me.”  She responded, airing her feelings on Duncan’s idea.

 

“Not really, when we go into a club or someplace vampires are mixed in with humans, what if we were, instead of having them open fire on a crowd and our own people firing back with humans in the crossfire, instead to shoot holy water into the crowd and soak everyone?  Sure we still will lose a few people in the blast, but it would be far safer then blazing shotguns?”  He explained.

 

Snow had an honest smile now.  She liked how Duncan was thinking.  His idea just might cut down on the collateral damage to the humans they were sworn to protect.  “Ok, what about the hose then?”  She pried.

 

“I am hoping we can put a tank on a truck, made like our dimensional pockets, that will hold enough holy water that we can use a fire hose to hose down everyone in a club, bar, or a group of vampire. A little bigger blast for a bigger target area, know what I mean?”  Duncan answered, himself now able to smile.

 

Snow laughed some.  “You are an evil genius, are you after my ranking at top in gadgets?”  She said ribbing her partner.

 

“Oh hell no, I’m just the idea hamster, you and the boy wonder are going to have to make it work.”  Duncan said to her, he reached over and rubbed his hand on Snow’s shoulder when he told her this, amplifying how much he was depending on her to make the idea work.

 

 “I also have Malkah working up a design for uniforms.  Trying to build in the padding that saves my hide into werewolf uniforms to protect them from silver bullets and still allow the wearer to change forms without destroying the uniform or the padding.”

 

Snow held a soft smile at her partner, his mind never stopped working, always had something brewing in the back of his mind.

 

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Kevashka had asked Duncan and Snow to join her in the tactical room when they were done playing with Malkah.  When they arrived, she had layers of blueprints up on a large display.  She had been going over the floor plans for the office Robert of the Clay worked at. 

 

She intended to engage him discreetly, not give him the chance to run or send any messages to whomever he was working for.  She hoped Duncan might have some favors he could use to help them gain entry into the building without notice.  He knew someone who might help.  A technician friend that serviced the networks and terminals within the building, with his help they should be able to get Malkah inside.

 

“What about the rest?  They can’t just walk in, flash their ID and go wherever they want.”  Kevashka said.

 

Duncan put his hand to his face, a finger across his lips.  If they had someone from the office escorting them, someone with enough position they wouldn’t be questioned, they would be able to walk right to his door.

 

“What about Steve Rheineer?”  Snow asked pulling Duncan back into the room.  “He was promoted, right?  He would have access to the building, may even have an office there.”

 

Duncan looked over at Snow, considering what she had said.  Steve did have an office there.  “Contacting Steve without tipping Robert off would be the trick.  I can call his house, use a landline phone.  I still have his number.”  He said blankly.

 

“Ok, and as to Malkah, I want him to go in ahead of us, solo.  Bug the office like you suggested, any forward information will be to our advantage.  If possible, I want to remove Robert from the building and take him elsewhere for interrogation.”  Kevashka stated.

 

Snow raised her head some and looked over at Kevashka.  “Bitch, I’m not trying to interfere with your strategy any, but why not arrest him on the street, before he goes into the building?”  Snow asked of her, leading with her assumed title, hoping to defer any blowback from her due to a stupid question.

 

“I thought about that, however, if we do it out in the open, we don’t know who may be watching.  We want the vampires wondering what happened to their werewolf crony, not knowing we caught him.”  Kevashka answered, sneering at Snow when she did, she liked out thinking people.  Snow nodded her understanding, then rolled her eyes and turned from Kevashka. 

 

Kevashka went over how she wanted to work the building and handle Robert with Duncan so he knew what to ask Steve Rheineer for.  Once she finished with him Duncan went off to make the call.  Steve’s time zone was three hours ahead of theirs so he caught him at home. 

 

Using a code he and his former partner had invented for themselves, Duncan told Steve to go to a nearby bar and call him from there.  After Steve called back, Duncan monitored the phone lines for signs of being tapped and explained the situation to Steve.

 

“Are you one hundred percent certain on this?”  Steve asked after the situation was explained.

 

“It’s Night Harvest’s orders, I would say we have solid backing.”  Duncan answered him.

 

“Night Harvest, okay, I’ll meet with Malkah when he shows tomorrow.  Your friend should have no problem getting him in, they have been doing work at the office anyways.  He should fit right in.”  Steve told him.

 

“Good, the rest of us will follow the next day, I’ll let you know which hotel we are in when I get there. We're not making any forward arrangements this time, everything has to be as hidden as possible.”  Duncan said.

 

“Understood.  Robert, I never would have suspected.”  Steve said, his words held the feelings he was having about a traitor being among them.

 

Duncan hung up and went back to tell Kevashka what he had worked out.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

A courier arrived just before nightfall.  Her escort said she wished to speak with Princess Snow of the Moor, Lady Sadness and Sir Duncan Galt of the House Trust within their home.  Since both were still working in the den, they asked the man escorting her if she could meet with them in the rooms they used as their office in the den. 

 

He refused stating her orders were to meet with them in their home, not in the den.  Duncan led the way to the surface, the escort went towards the limousine the courier was waiting in and Snow followed Duncan somewhat slowly into their house.

 

Her mind was adrift between the mission for Robert and reports that Alexander had been spotted near where they had been in California, then again further south in the state.  Only her recon people had witnessed this, Alexander efficiently avoided any area tracked werewolves were.  She returned to the room she was in when there was a knock on the door.

 

The knocking at the door repeated.  Duncan answered the door.  Mud stood smiling on the other side.

 

“Sir Duncan, Lady Sadness, I present the traveler, Marsha from the Clan of the York.”  Mud announced as a black robed and hooded figure moved to Mud’s side and bowed.

 

Duncan noticed she had no crest on her robe.  She was a courier, thus her title the traveler, but even they revealed their crest’s once on site.  She also kept her face hidden from them.  Duncan reached back under his suit jacket and brought the grip of the shotgun down for an easier grab.

 

“Please, come in traveler Marsha.”  Snow said extending a hand to the woman.

 

The woman stepped forward and took Snow’s hand, releasing it she stepped into the house, Duncan walked backwards to give her room to enter.  The figure spoke not a word.  The figure turned and bowed to Duncan. 

 

Mud had followed her in, the figure of the woman turned and motioned for Mud to leave.  Duncan had stepped forward, intending to say something about this person dismissing their attendant, Snow stopped him with her arm across his chest from beside him. 

 

Mud gave a small bow then turned to the door, stepped across the threshold, looked back at them from outside, then pulled the door closed.

 

Duncan looked the figure over, the front of her robe gave witness to the person beneath as being female.  She stepped forward, her arms she extended to her sides bent up at the elbows with her palms facing Duncan and Snow, fingers spread.  Duncan pulled Betty from her hiding spot and put the barrels to the woman’s chest, between her breasts.

 

“Not a step further, Snow get back incase this is another trap with a bomb.”  Duncan said, suspicion and anger in his voice.  Snow, however, made no attempt to move back.

 

“Why is it you don’t show your face?  And if you are from Clan of the York, where is your crest?”  Duncan asked.  Snow looked to the ground.  She wondered the same thing.

 

The figure of the woman moved her hands slowly to the sides of her hood.  Her fingers closed around the edges of the garment, then she folded the hood back once then pulled it back from her face, letting it drop to her back.

 

When her hood dropped, scent came forward and into Duncan’s nose.  It was a sweet earthy smell, Duncan recognized it as a werewolf scent.  It was light and had what he would call a fruity smell to it.  Her scent was very friendly. 

 

Duncan was smitten by the face of the woman, she was truly a raven haired beauty.  Her hair pulled back from her head and disappeared under her robe.  Her face held a light olive color, her lips were full and like her skin they glistened in the fading light of day through the windows. 

 

Her nose was slender at the bridge and came down to a slightly curved up tip where it flared out to two large nostrils.  Duncan thought her nose was a combinations of both a very cute look and that of a stately one. 

 

She had high cheek bones and a strong chin with a long neck.  What caught his attention the most was her eyes.  They were deep and both comforting and chilling, each was a different color.  They had the pattern of a wolf’s eyes, though one was in red, while the other was in blue where the yellow and gray of the wolf colors would have been. 

 

On her left side of her face there was a crest, it looked to have been branded on her face.  It was a perfect image of the crest for her clan, only it was written in scars.  It was the crest for Clan of the York.  The woman was stunning.  Her lips were a faint smile that never seemed to leave. 

 

Her eyes locked with Duncan’s as her left hand moved to the barrels of the shotgun he still held between her breasts.  Her index finger and thumb gently grasped the barrels a few inches down.  Though he didn’t feel her push back on the gun any, Duncan pulled it back as her hand guided him to do, once it was a good foot away from her, he shook his head slightly and looked down, moving the shotgun back to where it belonged. 

 

Duncan looked over at Snow, she had her head down and her hands together in front of her.  Duncan felt as though he knew, or should know, who this woman was. 

 

“I’m sorry about…”  Duncan started to say returning his eyes to her face.  The woman stepped to him and placed two fingers on his lips quieting him.

 

The young woman, she looked to be about eighteen or nineteen, moved past Snow and Duncan and went to the sitting room.  Snow took Duncan’s hand as he looked after the woman wondering what was going on, and led him to the room she went into. 

 

She had moved two of the chairs so they were side by side of each other.  Snow went to the wall and fired the gas chandelier in the room.  Once it was glowing brightly Snow took Duncan to one of the chairs, she seemed to know what was happening.

 

The young woman came to stand before them, she held out an upturned hand at Duncan, then Snow.  With her arms still outstretched to them, she bent at the waist and bowed to them.  Once she was standing straight, her face went blank, showing no emotion, even the faint smile on her lips was gone. 

 

She reached to two clasps on the shoulders of her robe and loosed them, letting her robe fall to the ground.  The robe was all she had worn.  The look on her face bothered Duncan, to say it was distant was an understatement.  He picked up a scent from her, it was odd, he couldn’t accurately describe it.  Snow was watching her intently. 

 

The young woman stretched her arms out to her sides with the palms up, then bent her hands to her face, covering her eyes leaving her elbows sticking out to the sides.  Her right leg moved as though she were going to step back, she placed it behind her other foot and gracefully turned herself around.  Her hair flowed down to her ankles, it shimmered in the light. 

 

The woman squatted down keeping her hands over her eyes and thrust her head forward and down causing her hair to part from her back and slide off leaving her back fully exposed.  Her body started to glow with a bluish green hue.  This lasted but a couple seconds. 

 

After the glow left her, black marks started appearing on the woman’s back.  They started light, then quickly filled in.  These marks filled her back, forming lines, Duncan soon recognized the marks as the written language of the werewolves’.

 

Snow read what was written on the woman’s back, translating for Duncan.  He was identified as the intended recipient of the message.  What it said didn’t make sense to Snow, it seemed jumbled and random.  Snow looked to Duncan. 

 

His eyes moved as he considered the message.  It appeared some parts had made some sense to him, but the look of not understanding was predominant.  There was a line that said he would know his means.  A few lines later it said knowledge came from inside him though his history.  Snow felt the message caused more confusion then clarification. 

 

Once the message had been read by both of them, the letters started to fade, the woman stood straight with her back to them.  She leaned her head back and gave it a shake, her hair moved back to its place.  When the woman turned to face them again, her eyes were still far away from where she was. 

 

Duncan and Snow stood in unison and each took a place at the woman’s sides, couched down and picked up the robe she had dropped and pulled it up her body, holding the shoulders in place while they redid the clasps.  Had anyone looked upon their faces while they did this, their eyes would have been as removed from the room as were the woman’s they dressed.

 

Duncan and Snow moved back to their chairs, turned and faced the woman then took each others hands, then sat.  Duncan’s mind was just starting to acknowledge what had just happened.  He had just moved, guided from outside on what to do, what was expected from himself and Snow.

 

“Allow me to introduce myself,” the woman suddenly said, her voice beyond musical, almost magical, “I am Princess Shyhon, Lady Charisa, Clan of the York.” 

 

Snap!  Went Duncan’s mind, pieces finally snapped in place, he felt like smacking himself in the face for not putting what was right in front of him together sooner.

 

“You’re the Oracle.  You’re the one whom pledged to mend the broken clan of Shilldren.”  Duncan said as his mind pulled up memories from his studies of recent history.  She traveled using her birth name, only revealing herself to the recipients of her messages.

 

The woman nodded and spoke while she moved a chair so she could sit, facing Snow and Duncan.  “Yes, I am, I see your reputation of reading and knowledge acquisition is accurate, Sir Galt.”

 

Duncan smiled.  “I have a reputation now, do I.”

 

The woman pulled her hood up but didn’t let it cover her face as before.  “Among some of us, yes.  There are many who follow Sadness and what transpires in her life, you are partnered to a bit of a legend among us, you do know that?”

 

Duncan nodded and looked over to Snow, his expression said he was aware of the interest various clans had in Snow, at least across the water.

 

“I thought you had taken a vow of silence, until you were mated.”  Duncan stated as his eyes returned to the woman.

 

“You really are one to read all the trite details aren’t you.”  She stated back.  “Yes, as I am sure you must know, an oracle falls to silence once she has a message, and remains silent until the message is received by whom it is intended for.  My vow was until I was accepted as a mate, I have chosen, and he has accepted.”

 

Werewolf custom was that the born females chose to whom they would be mated from the eligible potential male mates.  When a female presented her offer of being mated, the male could either accept or refuse the offer.  It was a rare occurrence that an offer would be rejected by a male. 

 

Females were typically very selective about their mates.  And if it was a matter of a future matriarch choosing, the arrangement was for political reasons and the mating was accepted because it was expected.  Princess Shyhon had chosen her mate in her twenty second year.  She was the daughter of the patriarch and matriarch of Clan of the York, the Supreme Bishop of Clans clan. 

 

She was their first born alpha, and an oracle on top of that.  Oracles were always women, and Bishop was a position for a man.  Her chosen mate would train to become a bishop for Clan of the York in time.  Princess Shyhon would serve at his side; it was considered a great blessing that the matriarch of the clan they would form expanding the line of Clan of the York was an oracle. 

 

Her intended mate had accepted her offer, only six months later, shortly before their mating ceremony was to be held, rejected the same offer.  When a male refuses the offer of mating from a female, he may choose to speak his reasons, or choose silence. 

 

He told the princess he loved another, and would accept her offer instead as she was a first born alpha in her clan.  Therefore his parents would agree to the union, he said he did not desire to be bishop, nor mated to someone he didn’t love for political reasons when there was one he did love and would also fulfill the political requirements of his clan.

 

The refusal of an offer is rare, the record for a female being rejected had held at twice, with the woman’s third offer being accepted.  This was the second time in history that a female’s offer had been first accepted then later rejected.  The reason for the first is not known as the male chose silence. 

 

The record of two rejections was recently broken, and a new high set with Snow’s one hundred and twelve rejections.  A sad record to hold.  Most had chosen silence, though two had spoken, as far as lore is concerned..  One had said he found her scent and appearance disgusting.  The second said he could never mate with such a thing. 

 

It was shortly after this final rejection Snow visited her home, long before Jimmy Buffett would write the song she would so strongly relate too, when she had sat on the edge of the cliff and contemplated her end.  She hadn’t made an offer to anyone since.

 

Now the oracle had an interesting story herself.  After her rejection she made no offers, years passed her by.  A clan in Australia lost the patriarch and matriarch of their clan, which happened to be at the time the lead clan in the country. 

 

They had an alpha son who was three when they died, he survived the vampire attack on the family when they were traveling.  Day walkers had stopped the vehicle, by using a cargo truck as a road block.  Before they realized who had stopped them, silver javelins were run though the patriarch and matriarch, their driver lanced by a werewolf slayer. 

 

The boy remained quiet under his mother, while the day walkers took her head as well as the heads of his father and their driver, unable to defend themselves due to the silver pierced though their bodies.  The javelin through his father had struck the boy.  He waited until there was silence, then a good five minutes more before moving.  He was recovered the next day by a werewolf patrol that went out looking for his parents when they failed to return.

 

Shyhon (Marsha) had been traveling when she was twelve, there was to be a celebration held for her on her thirteenth birthday for her coming of age.  This was when her werewolf nature and aging would come into being. 

 

It was a long journey, they were still about an hour away from the den that was hosting her celebration, family from another clan.  They had driven on into the night, wanting to make it to the den so the festivities could begin early in the day with everyone well rested.  She hadn’t yet been given her werewolf name of Charisa. 

 

She was riding in the back of the car with a friend.  The driver stopped when he thought he hit something, he exited the vehicle and went to the front to see what it was.  It turned out to be a vampire that ran him through with a werewolf slayer, then another jumped him from behind and took his head. 

 

The friend in back exited the vehicle and ran off.  Like Shyhon she was too young to change into werewolf form yet.  Shyhon tried, as it was only a day away, hoping somehow she would be able to, but was not. 

 

The vampires grabbed her from the back of the car.  They didn’t kill her on the spot, as they could tell she was not of her age yet.  She wore a gold covered metal crest of her clan from a chain around her neck.  It was supposed to be part of the ceremony where she received her formal induction into her clan as a matured member. 

 

She would gift it to the patriarch and matriarch of the clan hosting her, they would in return gift to her the first clothing she would wear with her clan’s crest on it.  For a girl it would be a ornate gown that she would wear during the celebration held for her as a potential matriarch coming to her age.  The crest would be a fine embroidery on the front of the dress for her to show to all from the head table before the festivities began.

 

She was drug off, not having werewolf strength yet, nor the ability to regenerate.  Not until the next day.  The vampires had built a fire having bound and gagged her, saying they were going to roast a werewolf child and enjoy the flavor of her meat. 

 

The fire was high and hot, one of the vampires took the metal crest from her neck and cast it into the fire.  It landed in a bed of white hot coals.  The gold melted from the form leaving brightly glowing red metal still in the shape of her clan crest.  A vampire was looking at her, saying what a pretty face she had.  Not a blemish on her he had said. 

 

Then with a set of tongs he reached into the fire and grabbed the glowing crest.  He attested to how he hated werewolves and the way they interfered with vampire plans.  ‘Let’s fix that pretty little face of yours’ he had said, then pressed the crest to Shyhon’s face.  The gag prevented her screams from the pain being heard. 

 

The fire gave out their location.  There were two teams hunting in the area.  The two vampires that grabbed Shyhon were part of a harvesting party, the hunters took the head of the vampire holding the crest to Shyhon’s face as they charged in, having found the car and dead driver. 

 

Since the branding happened before she was of age, it still remained.  The body of her friend was recovered the next morning.  She had ran off in the dark, she would have been able to see well in the dark, from birth they had the night vision of the wolf.  It was assumed she was too busy looking behind her and not watching where she was running, and fell off a small ridge breaking her neck when she landed.

 

The celebration for Shyhon was never held, her gown never worn.  She was sitting alone with the body of her friend when the wolf inside her came alive.  She would never wear an article of clothing with her clan crest on it, when asked why not, she simply pulled back the hood on the robe of morning she wore and brought her face several inches from her father’s eyes, putting the branding she had received at his focal point.

 

Shyhon had pledged in her seventy seventh year that she would make her offer of mating to the boy who had survived the attack in Australia killing his parents when he was of the age of mating.  Her pledge was taken to the elders of the boys clan, and they approved of the lines and the reasoning. 

 

She would renounce her right of first born to her brother who was an alpha and take the place of matriarch for the broken clan and restore a noble lineage to it, and enhance it in the ranks of clans to establish leadership once again in Australia’s clans. 

 

She made a vow that she would not speak a word until she was able to make her offer to the born patriarch of that clan.  She had kept her silence, and now he had accepted.  They were holding off their mating until Alexander was finished.

 

The two women with him sat in silence still after listening to Duncan’s account of what he had read about their guest.  Snow had turned from him, hiding the tears that ran down her face as he told the story.  The unspoken story hung heavy in the air.  The oracle had found her mate, someone who would accepter, something Snow could never have now. 

 

“Things have a way of working themselves out Snow.”  Duncan said softly to her leaning his head to speak into her ear.  His words didn’t help. “So what do we call you?  Shyhon or Charisa?”  Duncan asked bringing his attention to the oracle.

 

She smiled faintly from her hood.  “Well, I am officially intended for mating, I may use my matriarchal name now, and I prefer that.”

 

“Very well, Shyhon it is, and, if I understand correctly, you will be staying with us until you are told otherwise, or you have a message to be delivered?”  He asked.

 

Shyhon nodded keeping her eyes on Duncan.  “Yes, that is the custom from the Light, until the Light either tells me where to go, or a message is proclaimed from my back, here I must stay.” 

 

Duncan had read some about the oracles and how they worked.  It seemed there were three types.  Shyhon was of the strongest type.  One type would go into a trance like state and speak words from the Light, the second did the same but with writing.  Shyhon’s messages were written by the Light itself in the pigments on her back. 

 

The occurrences of such prophetic messages was not often, it may be several years before another came.  It was more likely she would be told to go someplace well before another messages was written on her back.  Duncan’s best estimation based on the history of this oracle was she would be here a couple months then be sent to sit someplace else, or return home until needed.

 

“I suppose we should get a room ready for you then.”  Snow said pulling back from where her mind wandered.

 

Duncan looked intently at Shyhon’s face, taking in every movement on it, her eyes, even the way she was breathing.

 

Snow stood.  “I’ll have Mud the fair come and take you to the den, if you are hungry, she can have someone see to it you have what you want.”

 

Shyhon took a breath, preparing to speak.

 

“Ah, Snow, I don’t think she will be staying in the den.”  Duncan stated bluntly, interpreting what he had read from the woman’s face and eyes.

 

Snow looked over at him, Shyhon held her breath.  Snow had a quizzical look about her, not grasping what Duncan had gleaned. “She said she would be staying here, what’s wrong with Mud taking her to a room in the den?”  Snow asked.

 

“Well, you said it, she said she would be staying ‘here’, not at the den, meaning, with us in this house, am I right Shyhon?”  Duncan said between the two ladies.

 

Shyhon nodded, she had an uncomfortable smile.  Staying in the den house was not normal, nor was stating you would be doing so, rude is how it would be received, except from her.  Duncan had read this in her face.  She was uncomfortable mentioning it but knew she had to, as she had been instructed.

 

“Yes, I am afraid this is true, pardon the intrusion, I know it is highly unusual, but that is what the Light has told me I must do.  You can of course refuse, you have no obligation to house me within your den home.  I would be most understanding if you did not house me here.”  Shyhon responded, her eyes moved between Duncan and Snow.

 

Snow looked to Duncan.  He could feel her eyes on him.  “I have no intention of going against the words of an oracle, do you Snow?”  Duncan turned his face to his partner.

 

Snow looked away from him, her eyes cast to the floor as she looked around, considering why she was to stay with them.  Having her there was of no concern, only the why, were they in some kind of danger in the house? 

 

Snow doubted that, but there was some strong reason the Light had told her to stay in the den house.  Snow’s eyes returned to Shyhon. “No, never, I just… please allow us to set up a room for you, are you hungry at all?”  She eventually said.

 

Shyhon stood, took a step from the chair then dropped her robe again and turned her back to her hosts.  She took her crouching position again and moved her hair so her back could be read.  This time, the words in Russian could be read by Duncan.  ‘Pay attention.  Read what is around you.  Draw him down.  You know how.’

 

Again when the words faded, Snow and Duncan came to Shyhon when she turned to face them again and lifted her robe for her and fastened it.  She stood there for a minute before coming back to them.  She sat in the chair, she looked tired now.  She held her face in her hands for several minutes.

 

Shyhon lifted her head again and looked at their nonplus faces .  “What have you two done?  No, what is it you are going to do?”  She said, then her eyes drifted off.  She was someplace else now.  Listening.

 

Snow and Duncan looked at each other.  Her question didn’t make any sense to either of them.  “That was creepy.”  Snow said to Duncan who nodded his head in agreement, she did creep him out when she spoke the last time. 

 

They got up out of their chairs and left Shyhon alone.  Snow went to the intercom and called for Mud the fair, and told her to grab Sea Mist and bring her along.  When Mud arrived with Sea Mist Duncan and Snow were upstairs in a guest bedroom.  They had the bed stripped and fresh sheets and blankets sitting on the chest at the end of the bed.

 

“Sea Mist, we are going to have a guest staying with us.  I don’t know for how long, but you will attend her when not on duty, help Mud make her bed please.”  Snow told her sister. Sea Mist nodded, then Snow and Duncan left the room and the two attendants began their work.

 

When they rejoined Shyhon in the sitting room she was back in the room again, mentally. “I’m sorry, please forgive my rudeness.”  She said.

 

“You weren’t rude, you can’t help when that happens, your room is being set up now, Snow has her sister Sea Mist as your attendant.”  Duncan said to Shyhon.

 

Shyhon looked to Snow.  “Your sister, no, you didn’t have to do that.  Someone else perhaps.” 

 

“No, you are our guest, I insist on my sister tending to you, plus it will be good for her.”  Snow said with a smile as Duncan wondered off.

 

He returned with three bottles of beer.  “Care to have a beverage with us while we wait?  I would take you out into the yard for the view, but it’s getting too cold for that, we could have snow anytime.”

 

Shyhon accepted the beer and laughed lightly.  “Sir Galt, you have Snow all the time.”  She said with a wink.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Malkah met with the technician Duncan had made arrangements with for him to enter the CIA building Robert was at.  Being Malkah was from across the water and was not part of any field team or hunt party, the chances of Robert knowing about him were slim.  Duncan and Kevashka had worked out a cover story for him if Robert did know him. 

 

Sea Mist had also been sent with him to assist, Malkah going solo, it was decided, was not the best idea.  He was a gadgetier, not a fighter.  If for some reason he encountered trouble he would need experienced backup.  Sea Mist was selected because of her ranged fighting ability, and that she, like her sister, was a bit of a techno-junkie herself.

 

Malkah entered the building, the guard checked his ID and ran it through their system.  Coming up clean and approved Malkah took the cart of computer parts he was pushing into the building.  He made his way through several offices on a floor below where Robert’s office was. 

 

It was decided that he should actually perform work to make his cover more believable.  Tech in the house, and everyone wants help with their computers.  Malkah had to move on from the floor before he hit every office.  He solved several issues people were having and replaced two mice and a keyboard.

 

Once on the floor Robert worked from, in a corner office, he made his rounds.  There were less offices on this floor, it was for senior personnel.  Malkah made his way down the line of offices towards Robert’s. 

 

He started on one side only attending to the people on the left side as he went down.  He assured people who asked for help he would make his way to them.  Finally he made it to Robert’s office.  Malkah had seen Robert in the office the entire time, he had hopped he would leave it at some point.  That would make his job much easier. 

 

Malkah knocked on the door to Robert’s office.

 

“Come in.”  Came his reply.

 

“Hello, I’m Sam, one of the technicians working in the building, we are checking over what equipment you have and seeing what needs upgrading.”  Malkah said to him holding his identity badge out from his brown shirt from the company he was working for, today.

 

“I’m fine kid, my stuff was just put in a couple years ago.  Now get out.”  Robert said coldly to Malkah.

 

“I understand.”  Malkah started.  “However, if I may sir, just a minute of your time I assure you.” 

 

Robert looked at Malkah, he was very annoyed at his failure to leave when told to do so.  He could care less about having his equipment upgraded. “Fine, one minute.”  Robert said in a mean tone.

 

“You see sir, the fiscal cliff, budgetary cuts, all are happening now, that is why upgrades are being done, because you may not be able to get any for some time.  I see you are still working on a single small monitor, wouldn’t you like to have two larger monitors and Wi-Fi for non-secure internet access on a tablet or smart phone?   Tell me, do you have to wait a while for pages to load?  That will only get worse after the mainframe is upgraded and your system is behind the current operating system, many things will give you trouble and slow you down.”  Malkah finished his dissertation. 

 

Robert looked at his monitor then his keyboard and mouse.  His mouth moved showing he was considering what he was told.  He looked back to Malkah.  “Ok Sam, how long do you need?  I’m very busy here.” 

 

“Oh not long, I just need to take down the model numbers of the CPU you have and list any other equipment you have, and any additional items you might request, I see you have a USB printer still, would you prefer a wireless, we have very secure versions of those approved by the CIA.”  Malkah said.  “You could get a cup of coffee and I would be done by the time you got back, that quick.”  He added with a smile.

 

Robert stood and came over to Malkah and took his ID badge in his hand and looked it over thoroughly, looking between Malkah’s eyes and the badge several times, his face looked like he suspected something.  Malkah wondered if he went to far with the coffee statement.  Robert let go of the badge and went back to his seat.

 

“Get what information you need, Sam, the CPU is right beside my desk, the back should have all the information you need.”  He said calmly, he seemed to approve of the ID badge’s information on Malkah.

 

“Oh most defiantly, and is that a yes on the wireless printer?”  Malkah iterated.

 

“Sure, why not, I’m not paying for it, whatever you want to put in here kid, as long as it’s good.”  Robert said going back to what he was working on and ignoring him for the most part.

 

Malkah got on the floor and took the information from the back of the CPU, as he did, he dropped three small items about the size of a ladybug in the mess of wires.  When he leaned over the top of the CPU to get the operating system information he dropped a couple more just for good measure. 

 

When he stood up after logging the information he came around the side of the desk, looking towards the bottom of the walls as he walked.  He was almost to the side of the desk Robert sat at when Robert reached up and shut off his monitor and faced him.

 

“What the hell are you doing?”  Robert said harshly to him.

 

Malkah turned to face Robert.  “Is that the only outlet in here?”  Malkah asked pointing to the side of the desk the CPU was on.

 

Robert’s face said he accepted the question as to why Malkah was looking around his office.  “No, there is one more behind the file cabinet behind me.”  Robert answered him.

 

“Ok, good, just going to see exactly where it is.”  Malkah said and moved to the file cabinet and looked behind.  He pulled a flashlight from his tool belt and aimed it behind the file cabinet.  “Nothing plugged into it looks like, good, good.  Be a good spot for the printer then, sound good?”

 

Robert was a bit upset with the tech going where he wanted in his office and let that show in his voice.  “Fine, are you done now?”

 

“Oh yes, just going to write down we have an extra outlet in, hmm, I would say center of the back wall then I am on my way, thank you for your time sir.”  Malkah said politely.

 

Robert snorted.  “Good, then you can get out, make your notes in the hall.”

 

Malkah went back to the other side of the desk and collected his tools and left the office.  He made his way to the other offices but kept Robert’s office in view.  He talked with the people in the other offices who were much more polite then Robert had been. 

 

He collected information from them and logged any issues they were having with their current systems.  He had two offices to go when Robert left his office.  Malkah grabbed a tape measure and a ladybug and went back to Robert’s office, looking down the hall he had gone, making sure he wasn’t heading back.

 

Once inside he grabbed the phone on Robert’s desk and quickly popped the cover off from the ear piece and placed a ladybug inside, then returned the cover.  He listened to the sounds around him, he could hear footsteps coming his way, they sounded like the shoes Robert had been wearing. 

 

He took his tape measure from his tool belt and hooked it on the molding along the wall opposite the door then walked backwards and out the door, almost running into Robert on the way out.  He said ‘excuse me’ and kept going until he reached the end of the tape and placed a piece of masking tape on the floor, then brought the tape up and down fast causing it to unhook from the wall.

 

“What the hell were you doing in my office again?”  Robert yelled at Malkah.

 

“I’m measuring sir, I need a linear measurement, we’re running CAT 6 to all the offices as part of the upgrade.  I hooked my tape on the molding in your office.”  Malkah explained, without including all the truth.

 

“I don’t give a flying frell about your job, stay out of my office when I’m not there shit head.”  Robert said, others poked their heads out of their offices and looked at Robert.  Robert gave them a dirty look and walked back into his office, looked around for a few moments then went back to his desk.

 

“Ignore him kid, he treats everybody like shit.  In the dictionary under walking prick it says see him.”  A kind but serious looking woman said to him who laughed at her own humor. 

 

“I like that one.”  He had replied to her.

 

Robert called to check on ‘Sam’s’ credentials.  He was told he had started at the building yesterday after finishing up on another project for the company he worked for.  He had been put in charge of logging equipment currently in use and to help with the plotting of the CAT 6 runs Robert was told. 

 

Once out of the area, Malkah turned in the paperwork he had created and logged the repairs he made along with the equipment he replaced then headed out to the computer company looking van he was driving. 

 

He checked the operation of the ladybugs he had placed, locating the one in the phone, he moved it into a better position over the speaker of the earpiece.  He would be able to pick up what was said into the phone with no problem by the tunnel created from the handset. 

 

“Alright, things be set, you have any questions on how to listen and operate?”  Malkah asked Sea Mist who was watching over his shoulder and would man the controls from the van.

 

“I have it, thanks.  Just wait till he leaves the office before I move the others, right?”  She asked him.

 

“Right-o me chum, I have one stationed where you can see the fink, right here.  Then from this other one you can see the door.  Position them in the corners of the room out of sight.  Good?”  Hi responded.

 

“Good to go boss.  Recorder all set too right?”  She asked

 

“All set and going.”  He answered.

 

The van was set and Malkah went back to work, he needed to be seen around working, just incase Robert checked up on him, which he was expecting considering he already called Duncan’s friend who owned the business and asked about him.

 

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Duncan was at his desk in the den office.  One of the support team came in with a fax and handed it to him.  He read the information, it was a report stating they had three different possibilities for silversmiths that could make cast silver swords and the quantity of bullets being used.  The report also said they doubted if the weapons and bullets were from a single source.  Duncan felt otherwise. 

 

Duncan made arrangements for Malkah’s radio system to be delivered to the teams doing the observations, as well as orders from above him regarding security and the use of cell phones while perusing these possibilities.  Duncan was back into his research when Snow walked in, she informed him the preflight was completed and they could leave at any time.

 

Kevashka had said she was coming along, she had her packed bag with her.  Snow told her she was not coming, due to the recent attempt on her life, security mandates required her to stay behind, as a strategist, she was not a part of any field team. 

 

She had argued back that she could not effectively perform her duties so far removed from the scene especially with the current blackout on cell phone use.  Snow wouldn’t budge on the issue, she cited multiple regulations and used those as her reasons for not allowing Kevashka along.  Duncan passed Kevashka on the way to the garage, she was still fuming about Snow’s orders.  Duncan took her bag from her.

 

“You’re coming with, let me deal with Snow cone, I’ll tell you when to come to the chopper.”  he told her. 

 

Kevashka looked at Duncan’s eyes.  A thin smile crossed her lips.  Duncan was going to support her, and he had a strong reason at to why.  She could tell by the look in his eyes, Snow, was not going to like his overruling her.

 

Malkah and Sea Mist were already on site watching Robert of the Clay.  Mud, Morning Dew and Blade Dance were traveling with in the chopper to meet up with them.  They would stop before reaching Washington DC to meet up with Agent Rheineer and spend the night within radio range of Malkah and Sea Mist, then fly to meet up with them in the morning. 

 

Snow radioed Duncan, telling him to get his ass in the chopper they were ready to leave.  Duncan opened his door next to Snow, who noticed the rear door open through her concentration on the controls and making ready to take off.

 

“Kevashka!  I ordered you to stay here, get out!”  Snow barked.

 

“And I say she is coming with.”  Duncan barked back.

 

Snow looked harshly at him, her face flushed slightly.  “And just who are you to countermand my orders?  You better have a damn good reason.”

 

Duncan and Kevashka were strapping in, the doors were closed.  “First of all princess, I don’t give two squirts of piss about your orders.”  Duncan said to Snow moving his head around in a cocky manner.  “Secondly, I think she has the right to see the man responsible for her damn near being taken out get his.  So frell yourself and get this thing in the air, princess.”  He ended in a hostel, condescending tone.

 

Snow was pissed.  It wasn’t hard to tell with the scent she was putting off in the confined space of the chopper.  She didn’t argue more with him, she pulled the chopper up hard and came around climbing, getting on course.  She didn’t have time to deal with Duncan and Kevashka right now if they were going to make their destination before dark, with a stop for fuel along the way.

 

Concentrating on flying helped Snow keep her composure.  Duncan’s words cut deep, they made her think of her mother.  He could have just asked her to allow Kevashka to come, she wouldn’t have fought him with the reason he gave. 

 

She would have agreed that Kevashka should see Robert brought down after what his actions caused.  He’d become so cold and rash lately, Snow was trying to do the best job she could, having being an operations commander thrust upon her was not in her plan.  She was trying to be by the book now, as was expected of her, as she was trained.

 

They met up with Steve Rheineer.  He had reports from the teams watching the silversmiths Duncan had requested.  Duncan discussed the operation with Steve in some detail.  There was nothing that pointed to any of the three dealers. 

 

Duncan looked over at Steve, he had a thought that might help worm out the culprit.  Steve still insisted it could be all three or two, that not just one smith would be working on the volume the vampires had been ordering, Duncan still disagreed.

 

“Are any of the three owned by Jews?”  Duncan asked bluntly.

 

Steve blinked fast a few times not seeing any connection, he wondered what possible reason Duncan would have to suspect Jews were collaborating with their enemies.  “Yes, two of them I believe, Grobtuch Precious Metals and...”  Steve dug out a paper from his front pocket and consulted it, “and Lilienthal-Hammerstein.”

 

“Which is the largest of the two?”  Duncan asked.

 

“Well, since the merger twenty years ago, Lilienthal-Hammerstein, both were about the same size as Grobtuch until the two families combined their operations, saving both a lot of money and increasing profits.  Though the Hammerstein’s mostly run the company now.  What’s your angle?”  Steve inquired, hoping Duncan would shed some light on his odd logic of Jews being somehow involved.

 

Duncan looked around while the thought.  He considered every dagger, sword, hand claw, everything that he had seen personally or pictures from the archives that had been recovered recently.  Everything looked like it was from the same manufacturer.

 

“There isn’t even a makers mark on the swords we have recovered, none that we have found.  Hovlek went over the one I have at the den with a fine tooth comb, the dagger too.  Nothing to indicate who made it.  Not a mark on the bullets either, though that should be expected.”  Duncan started to pace. 

 

“The vampires must have requested no makers mark so the swords couldn’t be traced back to the maker.  The maker would have hated that, they take pride in their work, want it known.”  Duncan rambled on as he thought.

 

“Duncan.”  Snow said walking up to them.  “Chopper is fueled and ready, have it bedded down for the night and the rental car is ready, if you two care to talk back at the hotel room, we can go now.”  She said with a stolid face.

 

Duncan looked to Snow, he could see the remains of hurt on her.  Though she tried to hide it she had moved from being angry with him to just impassive. 

 

“Yeah, sure Snow, no problem, partner.”  Duncan said in a soft low tone, trying to say he was sorry without actually saying it.

 

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Once they were at the hotel room Duncan used the hotel phone to call Hovlek. “Hovlek, you still have that sword I melted the end off of?”  Duncan asked fast.

 

“Yes, Hovlek still has Sir Galt, Hovlek can send sword out to be destroyed now, yes?”  He asked, his dislike for the weapon evident in his voice.

 

“No, I need you to do something with it for me, melt all the silver off the metal form, every bit of it and look for a stamp of some kind on the steel, can you do that for me?”  Duncan asked, knowing what this meant to a werewolf, working with molten silver.

 

“Hm, yes, Hovlek sees where Sir Galt going, Hovlek hates to, but I will do so now for you Sir Galt.”  He answered Duncan in his deep Irish accent.

 

“Excellent, how long, never mind, call me as soon as you know something either way, ok?”

 

“Yes Sir Galt, where does Hovlek call Sir Galt at?”  He asked.

 

Duncan relayed the information for contacting the hotel and their room number.

 

He radioed over to Malkah, Sea Mist answered.  She informed him Malkah was busy working the bugs right now, getting them into position, but he had some items of interest to report. 

 

He listened in on a call from a man who Robert knew by voice.  Malkah had thought by the sound of the voice the caller was a vampire.  Also the conversation they had was about the recent lack of activity on behalf of the werewolves, and the recent success of several large scale operations that took out three major covens. 

 

Robert was asked what he had found out about the pullout of the werewolf troops.  His answer was that he had nothing more than he knew before, that being that cunt Snow had ordered everyone back to hallowed ground. 

 

The caller also informed Robert that the attack on her den had failed, somehow the two charmed humans were discovered and the servant commanding them was also killed.  Robert was threatened that if he didn’t get his ass on the ball and find out what was going on, there would be a hit on him.  Robert said rather nervously that he would find out what he could and that the caller should just be patient, it took time to dig things up without raising suspicion. 

 

There was more, Malkah came on the radio now. 

 

He had just discovered three listening devices in Roberts office.  He had one of his ladybugs bore through a ventilation flex tube so he could find out if they were wired in or wireless.  He had discovered they were hard wired in and ran to a low wattage transmitter that had its power feed tapped into an un-switched power source.

 

“I believe, just from appearance, that Robert either installed the devices himself or allowed them to be, not something typical for bugging an office unknown, if you get what I mean.”  Malkah said.

 

That made sense to both Duncan and Steve, he wanted his ‘help’ to be able to hear if something was going wrong.

 

“Can you disable them?”  Steve asked.

 

“Can, can, yes, I could, but I wouldn’t, whoever is listening would know something was up then, catch what I am saying?”  He said.

 

“That’s exactly what I was thinking Malkah, leave them in, we need to have you take them out just before we enter.  When we get there tomorrow, we will discuss how to handle that.  When we take them out, that will tip of whoever is on the other end for sure, but I think we may have a work around.”  Duncan told Malkah, he had a smile on his face like he did when he had solved a mystery. 

 

The night was spent with Steve and Duncan talking about glory days in the company, human events, and discussing the current situation of events and finite intricacies within them.  They had stopped by a fairly well stocked liquor store considering how moderately out in the sticks they were.  The place offered warehouse prices, the more you bought, the cheaper the per unit was. 

 

Duncan commented that the store stayed in business because it held large quantities, thus got cheaper pricing from the vendors and made the place worth the drive.  Though they only picked out a couple of twelve packs, the girl behind the counter offered them a discount.  She smiled at Snow as she walked up with her selection, she had shocking purple hair and a ring in her lip. 

 

“You’re not going to get into trouble for that are you?”  Duncan asked the cashier when she said she would give them her special discount after Snow handed the cashier her passport

 

“Probably, but my father owns the joint, don’t worry about it, I get yelled at all the time for stuff I didn’t do.  He’s harmless.”  The girl had replied.

 

The others had a room to themselves, they seemed to have gotten more sleep then Snow, Duncan and Steve.  They had been up into the small hours of the morning, eventually coxing Snow to tell some of her adventures. 

 

The conversation degraded back to shop talk after she shared a couple of her adventures.  Both of her tales involved hunting vampires and Alexander, which naturally brought them back to their current problem with the same.

 

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The team ate the breakfast buffet the hotel included in the price of their rooms, avoiding anything that may have pork in it.  After breakfast they made their way to where the chopper was.  Duncan and Snow both gave it a good once over, checking every area they could access before lifting off.

 

Sea Mist met them at the landing pad near the airport.  They loaded their light luggage into the van she had driven, once everyone was in Sea Mist took them to the hotel she and Malkah were at.  The new arrivals checked into the rooms the two advanced members had arranged for them.  Duncan purchased an additional room on another floor. 

 

When all had their bags in their rooms they went back to the van, Duncan took over driving.  He had driven this route many times when he worked for the company.  He parked in underground lot Steve had gotten them an access card for.  Malkah was waiting for them in his van. 

 

“Ok Duncan, what’s your plan for taking out the listening devices in his office?”  Malkah asked once he was in the van with the others.  Blade Dance was holding Sea Mist while they talked.

 

Duncan glanced at the couple with a whimsical look “Ah yes, you said it was tapped into a circuit that had constant power, right?”  He confirmed.

 

“Yes, same one as the outlets in his office, and the janitorial closet are on.”  He answered.

 

“Can you arrange to shut that line off, flip the beaker and have a plausible reason?”

 

“Hm, yes, shouldn’t be hard to explain, we are running wire, several circuits have had to be shut down already to reroute electrical wiring to allow runs for the new LAN cables.”  He answered with a nod.

 

“Good, I’ll talk to the boss and set it up, unless you want to.”  Duncan responded

 

“Naw, go ahead, give me time to get me gear together and get up there.  Best if I be seen working in the area, you know.”

 

Duncan agreed with the tentative plan they had laid out.  Steve asked if they all had their CIA identifications, all did except Kevashka, she had no need of one.  Steve smiled and handed her a small booklet.  “You have one now.  This will make it easier, no visitor pass needed.”  He explained. 

 

Kevashka had left the planning for this operation to them.  She provided her thoughts on how best to enter the building and where to go to avoid observation originally.  Steve and Duncan though had a completely different means of entering, one that did not require sneaking. 

 

They would go in with Steve, who had an office in the building, right through the front door.  Since they would be with someone who belonged there and they also carried ID from the company, there would be no issue.  Kevashka did say she like that idea much better then trying to sneak in and take Robert out in the middle of a CIA building. 

 

Malkah left to get himself situated.  The plan was for him to drop the circuit just before they arrived, making sure to talk to Robert in his office letting him know the circuit was being de-energized for work being done.  That way the day walkers or vampires on the other end of the microphones would know the bugs were going dead, and shouldn’t be suspicious since other lines had been dropped and the work was normal. 

 

Once that was taken care of the team would enter Robert’s office led by Steve, essentially arrest him and take him to the hotel room where he would be dealt with out of sight and away from any potential help from the other side of the fight.

 

Duncan talked to his friend who owned the company handling the upgrades in the building, told him what they needed.  He said it wasn’t a problem, though they didn’t actually need to take that circuit down at all, he would make the arrangements and show Sam (Malkah) where the right breaker was. 

 

“Alright Sam, set your ladder up here, take a look in the ceiling, should be straight forward just like the rest of the wiring.”   Duncan’s friend said to Malkah at the end of the row of offices just across from Roberts office where the hall turned at the corner of the building and went down along the offices with window views. 

 

Robert looked out the window that let him view the hall, Malkah already had one of the drop ceiling tiles lifted and was looking around in the above space with a flashlight, though he didn’t actually need it. 

 

“Yeah George, I see the junction box right here.”  He said bending his head down to talk to his temporary boss.

 

“What the hell is going on here?”  Robert said coming from his office.

 

Malkah climbed down the ladder a step.

 

His boss turned to Robert.  “We have to reroute some of the electrical runs to allow for the new CAT6 going in.”  George walked past Robert and into his office and looked to where the computer and monitors were plugged in.  Robert followed at a quick pace and went behind his desk.  “Yes, you will need to shut down your computer, this outlet is on the line we are shutting down.”  He added turning to Robert.

 

“And you have to be above my office to do this?  I don’t want your people wandering in and out of my office either, I work on sensitive information in here.”  Robert said in an angry tone.

 

George laughed lightly.  “Yes, well, I can talk to the director then, he assured me that should anyone have a problem with us working in their area, he would arrange to have them moved until we were finished.  Still have about a month of work to do.”  George crossed his arms and looked at Robert, waiting for his response.

 

Malkah had moved up following his boss.  “Ah, well sir, I really won’t be ‘in’ your office, nor actually above it, I will be at the junction box about a tile down from the one I have open, if that matters to you Mr. Clay.”  He interjected, reading the name on Robert’s desk as though he didn’t know who he was.

 

Robert let out an angry sigh.  “Fine, how long is this going to take?”  He asked, looking between the two technicians in his office.

 

“How long you think Sam?  You looked up there.”  George said looking at Malkah.

 

He rubbed his face at the jaw, looking up at the ceiling as he did.  “Well, bout the same as the others, shouldn’t take more than a half. ” 

 

“Good.” George responded, then turned to Robert, “You need me to turn off your computer for you or can you do that yourself?”  He asked him, a light taunt in his pleasant voice. 

 

Robert’s face grew a touch more angry at the implication.  “I can shut it down myself, thank you.”

 

“Good, please do so, power will be dropping as soon as I get to the breaker box.”  George said then strode out of the office, Malkah followed and stopped at the ladder.

 

Malkah climbed up and replaced the ceiling tile then moved the ladder to another location and lifted the tile there.  Robert came out of his office and moved to look up at where Malkah was.  He was wanting to see of he was going to mess with the transmitter that sat right above the wall of his office on the hall side. 

 

He climbed into the ceiling on the metal supports from the floor above and disappeared into the ceiling.  Seeing him move the opposite direction of the transmitter, Robert went back into his office and shut down his computer. 

 

Malkah pulled out the remote control with a small monitor on it for his ladybugs and started looking around at Robert and his office.  He also put a meter on the line so he could tell when the amps dropped and the line was dead.

 

“Ok, power is out, when you move in I’ll take out the transmitter.”  Malkah reported.

 

Steve moved up the hall towards Robert’s office, coming from the direction along the same wall his office was on, keeping Robert’s chance of seeing them approach as low as possible. 

 

Snow and Duncan were a step behind Steve, Morning Dew followed behind them, Kevashka waited at the corner, she would move in after they had Robert.  Sea Mist and Blade Dance were out of sight down the hallway that George and Malkah used that ended at Robert’s office.  Sea Mist had arrows made of silver, just in case he tried to make a run for it. 

 

Steve proceeded down the hall at a normal pace.  When they came near the office Duncan and Snow moved to a single file line behind Steve with Duncan second in line.  Steve put on a smile as he led the others into Robert’s office.

 

“Hello Bob, have some visitors here to see you.”  Steve said.

 

“I go by Robert, and why the hell are you two here?  I don’t want to see you, you can leave now.”

 

Duncan stepped around Steve, pulling his new shotgun as he did.  Steve stepped back and closed the door after the others entered.  The weapon now sported an over under design with four barrels.   Along the left top barrel the words ‘Bad Betty’ were inscribed.  He placed the barrels right in Robert’s chest.

 

“You’ve been a bad boy Bobby.”  Duncan said as Snow pulled the werewolf slayer Duncan had used originally and held it ready in her thickly gloved hands.

 

“You’ve already tried that routine on me, give it a rest.”  Robert responded.

 

Duncan started laughing.  “You are a real dumbass aren’t you.  Notice this time, I’m the one holding the shotgun, and what do you think is in Snow’s hands, a corn dog?  I’ll toast your ass right now, without any remorse.”

 

Robert sniffed hard.  His face dropped when he took in the scents in the air.

 

“I’ve got a question for you Bobby, I figured out how you got around answering it the first time.  See, I asked if you had betrayed my team before, and technically, you didn’t betray my team.  The question this time sport is this.  Have you betrayed werewolves at all?”  Duncan asked, shoving the barrels of the shotgun harder into Robert’s chest.

 

Robert’s lips curved in anger.  He had to delay this little party for about five, maybe ten minutes.  Duncan had solved some sort of mystery, exactly what Robert didn’t know, but he needed to find out exactly what Duncan had figured out and what he knew. 

 

This prick and his little bitch had caused him enough trouble.  Time was getting short, he wanted to collect on his end of the bargain.  He knew these two were the root of the interference with his plans, and those he had an alliance with.

 

“What is this all about, you better have a damn good explanation for barging in here like this and assaulting me.”  Robert said.

 

Duncan’s eyes flashed and became hard.  He could tell his look bothered Robert. “Turn around, face the wall, you’re being detained and coming with us.  And no need to worry about help, remember the power was dropped, and Malkah has informed me the transmitter is disabled.”  Duncan said.

 

“You aren’t taking me anywhere.”  Robert hissed at Duncan.

 

“Oh contraire, Snow, push.”   Duncan spoke in a cool voice.

 

Snow pushed. Well, more like shoved the blade of the werewolf slayer into, then through Robert, missing anything vital, the sword doing its’ job, weakening their prisoner.  Duncan handed Steve Bad Betty, telling him the right trigger fired the lower barrels that were loaded with the modified silver slugs. 

 

While Snow held the hilt of the sword in her gloved hands, Duncan moved behind Robert and pulled out a heavy hinged silver collar and placed it around Robert’s neck.  Next he pulled out a set of specially designed bindings for Robert’s hands. 

 

They were thick and not like handcuffs the police used.  They were rounded like handcuffs but were an inch thick and had a wide solid middle, there was no chain like handcuffs.  Robert was too weak to resist Duncan placing his hands in the silver restraints. 

 

He placed a sturdy round shafted key into a slot on each of the restraints and turned it counterclockwise.  Robert made a whimpering noise as the silver claws were extended into his flesh.

 

“Ok Snow, take the sword out of this slime.”  Duncan said looking to her.

 

Snow removed the sword and placed it back in the dimensional pocket it came from with care.  Duncan made sure the collar had full contact with Robert’s skin and turned the key that tightened it more around his neck until it was practically choking the man. 

 

Duncan grabbed Robert by his shirt collar.  “Alright, we are going for a little ride,  Resist any, and well, my Dessert Eagle is loaded for werewolf, and I have your name written on each slug, Bob.”  He whispered into Robert’s ear, then moved him from behind his desk towards the door. 

 

Morning Dew started searching Robert when Duncan stopped near the door.  He found Robert’s cell phone and took it from him.  He reached into his pants pocket and removed Robert’s keys as well.

 

“You remember where his apartment is right?”  Duncan asked Morning Dew.

 

“Yes Sir Galt.”  He answered.

 

“Go there, drop off the cell phone inside and wait to see who shows up.  Don’t engage them, just get some pictures and head out if anything starts frelling up.”  Duncan ordered.  Morning Dew nodded and headed off down the hall Sea Mist and Blade Dance were covering.

 

When they exited the office, Kevashka was standing just back from the door.  Duncan brought Robert to face her.  Kevashka’s face now held true anger, not the persona she put up.  Her eyes boiled with rage.  Duncan thought she might lash out and try and kill Robert right where he stood, and quite honestly if she did, he wouldn’t try and stop her.

 

Kevashka’s knee came up hard, connecting with Robert’s groin.  The air came out of him from the impact and he doubled over.  Duncan grabbed the silver collar and brought his face up to Kevashka again.  She spit in his face. 

 

She stepped aside and Steve took the lead as they escorted Robert out.  As they proceeded along the halls Steve would hold up his ID to anyone who came in their path saying ‘internal affairs, stand back please’ and the people did as they were told.  No one questioned what they were doing, nor tried to help Robert.

 

Once at the van Duncan put Robert in, making sure to be as rough as he could.  The others piled in and they took Robert to the extra hotel room Duncan had secured.  At the hotel they took over an elevator that people were getting in, Steve again flashed his ID and ordered everyone out saying they needed the elevator for CIA business.  People complied, there were no objections.

 

Duncan slammed Robert’s face into the door of the hotel room.  “So sorry, Snow could you open the door please?”

 

Snow took out the small card that activated the electronic door lock and opened the door into the hotel room.  Duncan thrust Robert in, releasing his grip on Robert’s clothes then kicking him in the back, sending the weakened man tumbling into the middle of the main part of the room near the ends of the two queen sized beds.

 

He almost missed the straight backed wooden chair that was left pulled back from the desk along the wall opposite the beds.  Robert groaned and rolled over so his now bleeding face was up.

 

Steve closed the door to the room after the others had entered.  He looked over at the closed bathroom door next to the entry, hesitating for a moment then coming to join the others where Duncan was picking Robert up. Meanwhile, Sea Mist positioned the chair Robert had struck with his face under him, facing into the room with the curtained windows behind him. 

 

“Alright Bobby, Q and A time again.”  Duncan said as he finished positioning Robert in the chair.  He came to Robert’s front.  Reaching into a pocket under his topcoat he pulled his Desert Eagle.

 

“Kevashka.”  Duncan called out, she came and stood by his side as he put a silencer on the barrel of the gun.  Once attached he held the gun out to Kevashka.  “You know how to use this, right?”  He asked.

 

Kevashka snatched the weapon from Duncan’s hand, pulled the breach back partially, seeing a round chambered she let it fall back into place.  She pushed the safety slide off, enabling the gun to fire.  Pointing it at Robert she pulled the trigger.  A small pop was heard along with the action of the gun operating. 

 

The round struck Robert in the left shoulder.  “I think I have it.  Kevashka said, her voice like sharpened tungsten steel.

 

“Yup, I’d say you do.”  Duncan said with a smile that matched the loathing in his voice.  “What do you think Bob, you think the woman who almost died because of you knows how a pistol works?”

 

Robert moaned loudly, his face a tormented grimace.  He spat at Duncan, the act took a lot of effort from him, so much so that Duncan easily turned to the side avoiding Robert’s spittle from hitting him at all.

 

“Go frell yourself.”  Robert croaked out.

 

Duncan fell landing partially on the bed and bouncing to the floor as Sea Mist came forward pushing him out of her way, her charge was accompanied with a from the gut battle cry.  Duncan turned over on the floor so he could see what was happening, hearing a fleshy thud, thud, thud.

 

Sea Mist’s left hand was moving fast with a closed fist in and out from her body in perfect form, connecting with the mutilated face of Robert of the Clay.  She wore stainless steel knuckles on the hand she was using to exact her pound of flesh from the face of the betrayer. 

 

Blood was splattering on Snow, who stood to the left side of Robert, and on Kevashka, who was now just off to the right from being directly behind Sea Mist.  Both ladies simply watched with passive smiles.  Neither with any intention of stopping Sea Mist who cried out with each thrust of her fist. 

 

Duncan sat up on the floor and watched.  “I think, Bobby, you have pissed some people off.”  Duncan stated, then yawned and stretched.

 

Sea Mist abruptly stopped her assault, reached back and pulled her sword, brining it back to strike Robert a death blow.

 

Snow quickly stepped into her sister, grasping her wrist.  Kevashka helped, grabbing her forearm.

 

“Vanessa, no.”  Snow said softly, calling Sea Mist by her birth name.  “That isn’t for us to do in anger.”

 

Sea Mist turned her enraged face towards her sister.  A slow calm came over her.  Duncan stood up, glad the women had stopped her.  He stepped to face Robert.

 

“Have you ever sold or given secrets, werewolf secrets or human, to anyone without approval of honest representatives of the people the secrets belonged to?”  Duncan asked.

 

Robert raised what remained of his face to him.  A large area of flesh hung down past his chin, leaving his cheekbone exposed, on the other side of his face below the eye the meat and skin were simply gone, leaving the nasal cavity open. “I’m not answering… any of your… questions, asshole.”  He gasped out.

 

Snow turned and walked towards where the coffeemaker in the room was as the mechanics of the pistol in Kevashka’s hand and the soft pop were heard again.  Robert’s groin exploded.  Kevashka shot him directly in his nuts.  Robert screamed.

 

“Wrong answer, dickless.”  Kevashka’s stone voice said.

 

“Oh, that’s gotta sting.”  Duncan stated, grabbing his own crotch.

 

Snow returned to Robert, something white in her hand Duncan recognized.  Steve started laughing. “Betrayer, answer the question put to you.”  Snow said with force.

 

Robert’s head bobbled as he brought it down from its leaned back position and looked at Snow. “Blow me cunt!”  He tried to yell at Snow, breaking into a coughing fit from the attempt.

 

An evil sounding laugh started coming from Snow.  “Kevashka already did that, dickless.”  She said, raising her hand with a plastic shaker in it above Robert’s head.  She crushed the shaker in her hand and let the salt fall over Robert’s face, down his chest then tossed what salt was in her hand right at his open and bleeding crotch.

 

Once Robert’s screaming subsided the bathroom door could be heard opening.  A robed and hooded figure came from the room.  The person wore a sand colored garment.  Night Harvest was here for a retirement.

 

A low, gentle voice came from the hood, all knew who this was.  Only Night Harvest wore a robe of this color, and only when he was performing his distasteful duty of retirement. “That is enough.  I will ask him the questions.”  Night Harvest said from behind the hood of his robe.

 

“Night Harvest, if I may.”  Duncan said, holding up a digital recording and playback device.

 

Even through its disheveled condition fear could be seen on the remains of Robert’s face.  Unlike the retirement of a pup, this retirement would involve Charon, the ferryman.  Duncan looked to the other people in the room. 

 

“Everyone out please, Snow and I will be out in a moment.”  He said, the recorder still in his hand.

 

Only Kevashka stayed as the others made their way out.  She stared at Robert, death was on her face. “Kevashka, you too, please.”  Snow said.

 

Kevashka slowly turned her head side to side.  “No, I want to see.  If you two can, so can I.”  She said.

 

Duncan stepped to Kevashka, placing a kind hand on her shoulder.  “We can’t stay either, we need a word alone with the boss, then we will join you outside.”  said he told her. He reached to her face and touched her chin, gently pulling her to look at him.  “I gave my word to Night Harvest, you wouldn’t want me to break a promise to him would you?”

 

Kevashka stared into Duncan’s eyes for a long moment.  Slowly, in understanding, her head started nodding.  Reluctantly she turned towards the door.  She took several steps, then looked back to Robert. “What about his mate?”  She asked.

 

Gurgling noises came from Robert.

 

“Once the betrayer receives his reward, she will be freed from her coma and returned to her clan and family.”  The hooded Night Harvest said in a peaceful voice.

 

“Good.”  Kevashka said, then slowly walked to the door and joined the others in the hall.

 

When the door closed, Night Harvest gestured with a finger for Duncan to play his recording.  He listened to the conversation Robert had with a vampire.  The conversation was very incriminating.  Talk of clan activities and the failed attempt on Snows den.  There were also plenty of slams against not only Snow and Duncan, but Night Harvest as well.

 

Once Duncan turned the recording off, Night Harvest pulled his hood back, showing his face to Robert. “Sebastian.”  Robert said in an almost incomprehensible voice, bewilderment in it.

 

“This is Night Harvest.”  Duncan said coming to stand next to him along with Snow.

 

“The Grand Inquisitor.”  Snow added.

 

Then the two spoke in unison.  “You, Robert of the Clay, are to be judged for your crimes against humanity and betrayal of the Light.”

 

The way they spoke was haunting.  Robert was clearly disturbed by the way they seemed to be connected with Night Harvest.  Or was it the Light they were communing with.  Robert couldn’t tell anymore. 

 

“Malkah secured his PC also, there is more information stored on the hard drive.  He also has the passwords to his email and other accounts he has been using for both our business and to communicate with the enemy.”  Duncan informed the Grand Inquisitor.

 

Night Harvest gave a stately nod.  “Very good.”  He moved closer to Robert and passed a hand in front of the nearly unconscious man bleeding out in front of him.

 

“Remove the collar and the wrist restraints.”  Night Harvest instructed Duncan.

 

Duncan did as he was instructed.  Robert started to regenerate once the spikes from the two restraints were retracted and the devices removed.  Robert was unable to move, held in place by Night Harvest’s will.

 

Duncan walked over to Snow.  “Time for us to leave Sadness.”  He said to her.

 

As Duncan’s hand touched the handle of the door, Night Harvest spoke. “Duncan, I am sorry, but I have been asked that you remain.”  Night Harvest said, his voice sounding sad.

 

Snow’s face snapped to look at Duncan.  Her worry and fear plain on her face.  Duncan had a look of regret.  His hand dropped from the handle of the door.  Slowly he turned towards where Night Harvest and Robert were, pausing to look into Snow’s eyes as he did. 

 

Without a word he broke off the eye contact between them and moved next to Night Harvest.  Snow watched her partner as he walked back into the room, she feared she would never see him again.  She shuddered and was near tears as she left the room.

 

Duncan listened as Night Harvest interrogated Robert, who had no choice but to answer the Grand Inquisitor.  The truth was compelled from him.  The Grand Inquisitor asked his final question.   “Tell us Robert of the Clay, why is it you have done these things and betrayed your people and nature?”

 

Robert struggled not to answer but lost the fight, he was almost fully regenerated now. “Money, gold, riches you would never offer me or allow me to have.  Power.  Once the clans were almost extinct, you and the other immortals removed, Clan Clay would take over as leader of the werewolves, that’s what my allegiance with Alexander and the darkness gave me.”  Robert was forced to admit. 

 

“You can’t kill immortals, thus the name, ‘immortal’.”  Duncan said to Robert.

 

Robert laughed at Duncan with a tone of superiority.  “Dumbass, we didn’t need to kill them.  Once the portal was opened, we just needed to bring them across into the realm of the darkness, they would be separated from the Light and our prisoners, just like Shoshanna was.”  Robert laughed hard now and spit at Night Harvest.  “How do you like that, bitch, knowing Shoshanna was our prisoner?  The minion who had her tortured her nonstop for millennia.”

 

Duncan shivered.  The temperature in the room dropped drastically.  Frost formed on the windows.  Robert stopped laughing.  Night Harvest’s robe turned to black.  He pulled the hood up. “You will need to turn away now, Sir Galt, close your eyes.  Don’t open your eye’s or turn around until I instruct you to.”  The Grand Inquisitor said.

 

“You fool Robert.”  Duncan began as he turned and closed his eyes.  “Even I know none of the immortals can cross through a portal.  They’re bound to our world, the Light would never allow them to be taken across.  Foolish, believing in promises from creatures of lies.”

 

Snow and the others were standing at the door to the room in the hall, blocking it.  Fog started to form in the hall near them.  A soft crackling and a pop came from behind Snow and Sea Mist, standing with their back’s to the door. 

 

Looking to the door they watched as frost turned to a thick white layer on the door.  They moved away from the cold of it.  Light started to pour from under the door, the light intensified, it started to come from all edges of the door. 

 

It became so brilliant they and the others had to turn away from looking and move from in front of the door.  The only thing they could eventually see in the hall was light and fog.  They couldn’t even see each other.  Then the light stopped and the fog vanished.

 

They all stood outside of the room staring at the door.  Several minutes passed.  The door opened fast, Duncan was walking fast towards the door, about ten feet away.  He exited the room and walked past his team.  They all started to follow him.  Snow looked back, the door to the room was closed, she didn’t recall hearing it close.

 

Duncan led the others to the van.  They all entered in silence.  Duncan went to the wheel.  He drove out of the metro area, looking different and distant.  Snow thought he appeared younger somehow.  He drove as though guided from something outside of himself. 

 

The silence continued.  Duncan finally turned into a narrow dirt driveway.  The drive led them to an old farmhouse and an aging barn.  He parked near the barn and got out of the van.  The others followed.

 

Duncan reached into the van and honked the horn before closing the door.  Two well dressed people, a man and woman, came from a side door on the barn.  They were followed by several other men and one woman.  They formed two lines, one on either side of the door.

 

Snow and Duncan took the lead and proceeded to the formal welcome to the clan den.  They passed down the rows of elders, the patriarch and matriarch greeted them and introduced their first born daughter.  Everyone passed the people welcoming them without speaking.  They were escorted into the den below.

 

The patriarch and matriarch escorted them through the corridors of the den, the elders escorted the others.  Snow and Duncan were being led into a hallway with the grand rooms for guests, as were the others.  Snow felt Duncan stop.  He was standing at an ornately carved door.  When she looked at him he opened the door and started in.

 

“Excuse me, Sir, we have your room just down the hallway, it’s not far.”  The patriarch said, a bit stunned by Duncan’s actions.

 

Snow walked up to the patriarch and looked him in the eyes. “Lady Sadness, your and Sir Galt’s room is the next one down.”  The matriarch said after her.

 

The patriarch looked nervous and fidgeted some.  “This is the quarters reserved for visiting patriarchs and matriarchs, my Lady.”  He chirped. 

 

Snow broke off looking at the man and entered the room where Duncan was and closed the door behind her.

 

“Okay then.”  The patriarch said as he rubbed his hands together.  He turned and motioned for the other escorts to move along and take their guests to their rooms.

 

 

 

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