Love and Lycanthropy - Chapter 21

Story by JakeXtraTall on SoFurry

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Ben brought the Huey up to cruising speed and altitude as we

settled in for the flight back.  We'd been in the air only five

minutes or so since our tangle with Samuel's group."How long until we reach the base?" Jesse asked Ben."We're loaded down a fair bit.  It'll be a bit more than an hour and a half."I'd

been standing behind and between the front seats of the helicopter and I decided to go

back and check on Cole.  As I approached him I saw him shivering

and he said, "Jake, I'm cold.  Is there something I can put on?"He

was still naked after the change back to human form.  I hadn't

even considered that before we left the compound.  I could have

easily taken some of his clothes from the RV.From the cockpit I

heard Jesse say, "Shit, cuz, I'm sorry!  I ran into Grace when I

was going to find Samuel.  When she got done laughing at how I

looked she told me she had clothes for Cole.  At least one person

thought far enough ahead to realize he'd be naked.  I completely

forgot I had them after the dust up with Samuel."He

unbuckled himself and stood and worked his way back towards us.  I

noticed he was still limping, but it wasn't as pronounced.  I

looked down and saw a fair bit of blood on his right calf.  Most

of it was dried but some looked fresh.  He'd thrown himself on top

of Cole when the shooting started and he'd been hit by several bullets.

 One must have hit in a spot that wasn't covered by his armor.He turned to face away from me and said, "Pop the bottom

part of my pack open, Jake.  She put his clothes right on top.  Sorry,

Cole.  I should have remembered."Cole said, "It's OK.  I'm just glad I can get dressed."I reached in and undid the fasteners for

the flap at the mid part of Jesse's backpack.  Sure enough, Grace had

stuffed in a full set of clothes for Cole.I put the clothes on

the seat next to Cole and he unbuckled and went to work getting

dressed.  She'd included underwear, jeans, a T-shirt and a warm hoodie along

with hiking shoes and heavy socks.  He'd be warm and comfy for the

rest of the flight.While

Cole got dressed, I turned back to Jesse and said, "Let me at your pack

again.  I want to see what sort of first aid is in there.  We

need to look at your leg.  It's still bleeding."He nodded

and turned his back to me again and said, "It stings like a son of a

bitch, but it ain't bad.  Bullet grazed my calf.  Didn't hit

the muscle though.  We just need to make sure I don't bleed out

before the next change tomorrow night."I found the small

emergency kit and pulled it out.  I indicated the seat behind me

and Jesse sat down.  I knelt in front of him to look at his leg.

 It had a gash on the back side of the fat part of his calf

muscle.  It was bleeding steadily, though not heavily.  It

had already started to clot a fair bit.  It looked as though it

just needed a good bandage to keep pressure on the wound and the

bleeding should stop completely.I opened the kit and found

antiseptic, gauze and bandages and all of the other standard first aid

supplies.  I tore open some alcohol pads and set to work

cleaning the wound, and Jesse jumped and winced at the contact.  Cole

hissed and said, "That looks like it must hurt!  You got that when

you jumped on me, didn't you?  You saved my life!  Those

bullets would have hit me!"Jesse shrugged and said, "It was the least I could do, after what I did to you in Mexico."Cole

stared harder at Jesse's face, then his eyes went wide as he said, "I

know you!  I knew you looked familiar!  You were the one that

was talking to me when I got separated from Mom and Elias!  You

didn't have a beard then.  You were shaved.  That's why I had

trouble figuring out where I knew you from!  Why did you do that?!

 Why did you give me to those guys?  They were gonna cut me

up!"Jesse got a pained look on his face as he said, "I'm so

sorry, Cole.  It was the wrong thing to do, but I thought I had to

do it.  It's complicated.  I wish I could go back and do it

different.  I know for sure it was the wrong thing to do now.

 If I hadn't done it Samuel wouldn't be in possession of the

virus.  I should have guessed what he had in mind.  I've

wrecked everything.  I could be the one responsible for the human

species going extinct!""Don't blame yourself for that, Jesse," I

said as I continued to work on his leg, "Nobody's responsible for that but Samuel if he goes through with

it.  Cole, Jesse did what he thought he had to do to save all of

the werewolves from those government people.  To save the lupines,

too.  Like the ones you saw outside the facility.  He gave

you to those people so he could track you, to find out where they would

take you so he could stop them from doing what they planned.  They

had no other way to find out where the government was doing their

experiments.  He knew he could get you back out as easy as we did.  He wanted

to save all of the werewolves and it was the only way he could think to

do it.""What do you mean, save them?  What were the government guys gonna do?" Cole asked."They

were trying to find a cure that would turn all of the werewolves back

into normal people again.  They needed a werewolf to work with to

find the cure and they knew you were one.  That's why they tried

to get you at your old house that first time.  They wanted to

control it all so they could decide who would get to be a werewolf.

 The lupines would be at risk because there aren't enough of them

yet to keep their species going, and the government would never allow

them to exist because they'd be competition for the humans.  What

Jesse was trying to do was really important.""But, if they turned me back to normal I'd have ALS again!  I would get weak again like I was before!"I

hadn't even thought of that, but he was right.  He would

immediately begin to deteriorate again and he would likely be in a

wheel chair by the time he was twenty and would probably not live past

twenty-five.I nodded, "That's right.  They were planning to

spread it to everyone in the world using the virus Samuel wants to use

to turn everyone into a werewolf.  You would be a normal boy again

and you'd start aging again and the ALS would advance."Cole

thought about it for a while and turned back to Jesse and said, "I

guess you really did have to do it.  If you didn't do anything and

they got that cure out then I'd die for sure, the same horrible way I

was gonna die before Elias saved me.  You sort of saved my life by

giving me to them.  I can't blame you for that.  I'm glad you

did it."Jesse got a puzzled look and asked, "You have ALS?  I didn't know that."Cole

nodded and said, "It was killing me real slow by shutting my whole body

down and eventually I wouldn't be able to swallow and then I wouldn't

be able to breathe.  It would be an awful way to die.  It

doesn't matter

anymore now that I'm a werewolf.  If they cured me though, I'd be

back to being sick again.  You really did the right thing, even

for me.  If you didn't give me to them and track me so you could

stop them, I would die for sure if they found some other werewolf

instead and used him to get a cure and then turned me back to normal.

 I never want to worry about my ALS again!"Jesse suddenly

looked as though someone had just told him he'd been placed on death

row by mistake, and he was free to go.  A look of relief washed

over him, but it was short lived.  He shook his head and said,

"No, it was still the wrong thing to do.  I saw what they were

gonna do to you in there.  It was a stupid risk."Cole shrugged and said, "If you say so, but I don't see it that way."I

said, "I'm with Cole.  They had to be stopped.  I've already

forgiven you, Jesse.  Cole has too, obviously.  Maybe it's

time you forgave yourself."From the cockpit Ben said, "I'm with Jake and Cole.  You need to lighten up on yourself, Jesse."He

nodded, but said nothing.  I could tell by the look on his face

that he was still thinking of Grace and how she would react to the

truth once he told her.Cole went over to him and gave him a hug

and said, "You saved me from the worst death I could imagine.  I don't care that you gave me to

them.  It was the right thing to do and I'll never see it any other way."I saw tears welling in Jesse's eyes as Cole pulled away from the hug and he smiled at him and nodded.I'd

finished cleaning the wound fairly thoroughly and it had started to

bleed a bit more as a result.  I put some thick gauze pads on it

and began to bandage it up to put pressure on it so it could

start the process of clotting again.  It should be fine, and it

would of course heal up completely on the next change anyhow.  In

hindsight I realized all I'd really needed to do was bandage it up tightly.

 Even the cleaning was unnecessary.  There were definitely

perks for a soldier to be able to completely regenerate twice a day

almost every day.Cole looked up towards the cockpit and asked, "Could I go up and watch out the window, Jake?"From

the cockpit Ben said, "Yes, of course you can.  Come on up, Cole.

 You can take the gunner's seat and Jesse can stay back there for

a while.""Cool!" Cole exclaimed, and he moved up to the front to

hop into the seat Jesse had vacated and buckled himself in.  He

looked over at Ben for the first time and said, "Oh my God!

 You're like those guys with the big guns!  You're a wolf

man!  You look so cool!"Ben said, "Thanks.  We're

called lupines.  If your mom got busy with someone like, oh, I

don't know, Jesse maybe, their babies would turn out like me."We

all had to speak quite loudly to be heard over the noise of the

helicopter, but Ben had shouted just a bit louder to make sure Jesse

heard what he'd said.  Jesse blushed a bit and I smiled.I moved up to stand behind the cockpit again and said, "I guess I should introduce you two

properly.  Cole, this is Benjamin.  He's with you and me and

Elias now.  He's part of our family."Cole's face brightened and he excitedly asked, "Really?  You're with us now?"Ben smiled and said, "Yup, I am.  I fell in love with Jake right when we first met.  I hope that's OK with you."Cole said, "Of course it is!  If Jake loves you I know I will too.  I wish I could hug you right now."Ben

said, "Me too, but flying a helicopter is really sort of hands on.

 It's kind of like balancing a spinning plate on the end of a

stick in the

middle of a high wind.  I need to constantly adjust to compensate

for all of the changing forces the helo undergoes at all times.""Could you teach me how to fly a helicopter?" Cole asked."Sure,


can learn to fly one.  You're a bit small to fly the Huey, though.

 Your feet need to be able to work the pedals at all times to

control the tail and yaw the chopper around to the left or right.

 Your left hand works the collective, which controls up and down

basically, and your right hand works the cyclic, which controls tilting

the disk to make the helo tilt in order to bank left and right or pitch

forward and back.

 I could teach you how to fly it in a computer simulator I

like to

play around on.  It models the Huey almost perfectly and it's a

lot like flying the real thing.  It's really not as hard as it

might seem,

but it takes a lot of practice before you can even just hold it in a

steady hover without crashing.  Once you really get used to it

though, you can do it without thinking.  It just takes time and

effort to get there."Cole looked over the myriad of

dials and switches and numerical displays scattered all over the

cockpit.  There was a panel loaded with them between the pilot and

gunner's seats.  The front was covered in dials showing engine

pressure and fuel flow and torque and altitude and heading and horizon.

 Even the roof was covered in switches, knobs and lights on a long panel

between the two seats.Cole said, "This is all so cool.  I

don't know how you could ever remember what it all does.  What

does this flashing red one mean up here?"Ben said, "Huh?"Just as he turned to look up at what Cole was pointing at,

a klaxon suddenly sounded loudly and the red light on the panel turned

solid while others began to flash on the forward panel next to the

engine gauges.Ben said, "Shit!  The engine temperature's

going ballistic!  I think our ruptured fuel line might have

ignited!  Jake, strap in!"I went back to sit next to Jesse and buckled myself in."Will you be able to get us down?" Jesse asked.Ben shouted, "I need to cut the fuel flow or the fire might get

into the main tank and we'll be blown to bits!  The temperature's

critical as it is!  If I don't shut it down we might lose the..."There

was suddenly a muffled bang and the turbine engine's

roar increased to an incredibly high-pitched howl while the

helicopter lurched and began to drop from the sky.Ben's shoulders slumped as he finished his sentence, "...turboshaft."He

flipped some switches and suddenly the sound of the engine died away

completely.  We were without power and we started to fall faster

and faster."Everyone hang on tight!" Ben shouted, "I'm gonna

autorotate.  I can see a patch of ground ahead.  It should be

big enough and we just might have enough altitude to make it.  It

could be a bit of a rough landing!""You mean you can land a helicopter without the engine?" Cole asked."Sure,

it's easy.  I've done it lots of times as part of my training.

 I can teach you how to do it in the simulator, too.  In

fact, I can explain it to you right now.  Your first lesson in

flying a helicopter will be to learn how to not crash when your engine

dies."  He

continued to work the controls as he explained the procedure,

"Autorotation isn't really that hard.  I lower the collective all

the way to get a near negative pitch on the blades and I push full

right rudder with my feet because the tail doesn't have to fight the torque of the

engine anymore so I need to compensate for that.  I keep the nose

nearly level so we start to fall flat through the air.  The air

rushing through the blades spins them up and

keeps the head rotating at a good, high speed to store our energy until

we need it most, like a flywheel.  The spinning blades continue to


sort of like a disk-shaped wing that keeps us gliding forward like a

plane at the same time as we're losing altitude.  I need to keep

adjusting the collective so I don't

overspeed the rotor head and burn it out or throw a blade.  If the

RPMs get too high I just add a bit more collective to generate more lift and that will slow the

blades back down to a safe speed.  I also need to make sure I

don't cause us to lose too

much head speed by going too shallow and burning up the momentum trying

to maintain lift, which would be bad since it takes time and altitude

to gain it back, and we're running out of both of those fast as we

steadily drop.""Holy!" Cole said, "That's a lot of stuff to keep track of!  I could never do that!""If

you practice it enough with the simulator I promise you I can get you

doing it just fine, over and over again.  You'll see.  It's

just a balancing act, really.  When I

get close to the ground I change the pitch of the blades with the

collective to add lift back and flare the helicopter.  The

momentum stored up in the spinning rotor

provides the power we need to slow us right down even while the blades

slow down and we start to lose the lift again.  If I time

everything right I burn up all of our head speed while slowing us

almost to a hover and the skids touch the ground nice and gently just

as we lose the last bit of lift from the blades slowing down too much.

 If I don't time it right we might bounce, hard.  Just make

sure your tongue isn't between your teeth and hold on tight."He

then shouted more loudly so he would be heard right to the back of the

chopper, "Everyone brace yourselves!  I shut down the fuel pump,

but there could

still be a fire burning out there so I need everyone to scramble

as soon as we touch down!  Get as far away from the chopper as you

can, as fast as you can!"Everyone went quiet and braced for the coming impact with the ground.  The sound in the helicopter was eerily

different with no engine running.  There was only a whining sort

of whir from the smooth meshing of the gears in the transmission that

linked the main rotor to the tail rotor.  Other than that

there was only the sound of wind rushing past the airframe along with

some creaks and groans as the load shifted while Ben began to pull back

on the cyclic control to tilt the disk and bring the nose back to level.The

whine of the gears in the rotor head transmission increased as the

blades began to bear the load of the helicopter while it rapidly began

to slow down.The 'thwap thwap' sound of the blades that had almost faded

completely began to increase in volume again while Ben lifted the

collective to change the angle of the blades so they would bite more

air and begin to convert the momentum the head had built up back into

lift to try to slow us to a hover.The helicopter groaned loudly

and the thwapping of the blades grew louder and louder as the nose came

up more and we felt ourselves decelerating rapidly. The

airframe began to shake and shimmy as we began to lose translational lift and

rapidly slowed almost to a hover, then the beating of the blades

suddenly began to go quiet again as the rotor slowed to the point of

becoming ineffective.  Ben had timed it perfectly though, and the

helicopter leveled off and

we felt a bump and a lurch as the skids touched the ground and we slid

just a few feet forward before we finally came to a stop."Go! Go! Go!" Ben shouted.One

of the other men was already up and opening the door as I unbuckled

myself, and I jumped down to the ground.  I moved to the front and

opened the side door for Cole.  He'd already unbuckled and he

jumped out to join me and we

ran as fast as Cole could go towards the tree line near the edge of the

patch of open tundra we'd landed on.I looked back as we ran but

I could see no sign of any fire as the rest of the men piled out and

ran to follow us. Ben was the last one out, but instead of

running, he turned to look up at the helicopter.

 There was a small amount of smoke coming from the top of it near

the base of the rotor, but there didn't appear to be any flames.

 They would have been easily visible as the dusk had darkened a

fair bit more towards full night.Ben stepped a foot up on the

side of the helicopter and reached up and put his hand on the fuselage,

then pulled it away quickly.  He went back inside the helicopter

and emerged a while later with a tool in his hand.  He turned

several bolts with it and then he popped a panel open and looked

inside.  After several moments he turned and jumped down to the

ground and waved us over.We emerged from the trees and walked back to the helicopter."It

wasn't a fire at all," Ben said, "One of Jeb's bullets hit the

turboshaft casing and cracked it.  We lost all the lubricant.

 It heated up and seized and the shaft broke.  That's why the

engine RPMs went up, when it was suddenly unloaded.  If it was

just a fire and if I could have got us down in time, there was hope

that I might be able to repair the fuel line, but with a busted shaft

there's no way to get her in the air again.""So what now?" I asked, "How far are we from the compound?"Ben

thought about it for a moment and said, "The Huey's a lot slower than

the Hercules.  We were at cruising speed.  We were in the air

for close to twenty minutes.  I'd say we only got about

thirty miles from the facility, and we'd still be close to a

hundred and fifty miles from our base.""Shit!" Jesse exclaimed, "No radio, so nobody back at base knows we're in trouble yet.""Can't we look for high ground and use our field radios to contact the compound?" I asked.Jesse

shook his head and said, "Not a chance.  Their best range in this

kind of terrain is about twenty-five miles.  We can't contact base and

they won't know for sure that anything's wrong until they don't hear

from us for long enough."Ben

nodded and said, "It would normally

take us at least an hour and a half to get back in the fully loaded

Huey, so they won't guess anything's wrong until they still haven't heard from us by then.  Even if

they do, they have no more helicopters to come get us with.

 There's only the Herc, and there's no place anywhere near here

where it could land.  I looked over the topography when the mission

was being planned.  It's all hills and forest for a long way.

 Even when you get to the more open areas, a lot of it is muskeg

and the plane can't land on that boggy shit."Jesse

said, "Well, at least that means Samuel's options are limited, too,


if he manages to get the long range communications gear working at the

facility.  The best they could hope to do is hike out to someplace

where the Hercules could land and pick them up.  It would likely

take them days if I remember the layout of the terrain.  They'd

have to head northeast and cover a good seventy-five miles to reach the

closest area flat enough and open enough, and that's only if they could

follow a straight track, which they can't.  The landscape around

here will require them to take several detours around bogs and small

pothole lakes, so it will take fairly long to hike it even at speed.

 Their only other hope

would be to fly up more choppers from one of our Colorado compounds and

that would take days too because they're slow and their range is

limited and they'd have to stop a few times to refuel.  That

wouldn't really be an option

anyhow because I'm sure the humans will eventually clue in that they've

lost the facility and they'll send in a response of some sort.

 Samuel can't just wait around there for a pick up.  He'll

need to get away from there as quick as he can.""So

I guess they're as stuck as we are for now, at least until they can get

that antenna fixed and use the long range radio to call for help.

 We need to decide our next course of action," I said.I saw all eyes turn to me, as though waiting for me to say something more.  I asked Jesse, "So, what are our options?"He

shrugged and said, "I can think of three.  We sit tight and wait

for the compound to figure out something's wrong and send the Herc out

to search for us and then figure out some way to help us out.

 That could be a long wait, and while we wait Samuel gets more and

more time to fix that radio antenna and divert any help we might have

got over

to him and his team to get them out of there.  He might just leave

us stranded here, or he might even send someone to capture us or maybe

finish us off.  Option two is to strike out for the base.  On

foot in this landscape, at our best speed, it would likely take us at

least four or five days.  Probably closer to a week.  Again,

Samuel would have plenty of time

to get things organized and he'd have full control of the base long

before we got there.  They'd see us as the enemy and they'd be

ready for us and we'd be screwed.

 Option three is we head back to the research facility since it's

a lot

closer.  If we can get there quick enough we might make it before

they can get the radio working and we might have a chance to stop them

from calling for help to get them out of there with the virus.  We

might be

able to stop Samuel's plan, but it wouldn't be easy.  We've got

shotguns and door knockers and our machine guns.  They have their

machine guns, rocket launchers, RPGs and Jeb's chain gun.  We'd be

heavily outgunned."Ben said, "But we'd have the element of

surprise.  They wouldn't know we had trouble and went down.

 They wouldn't expect us to be coming back on foot.  They

might have a guard posted outside, but if we could take him out

quietly, I could get my hands on Josh's chain gun if they left it

outside and we could use it to keep them pinned inside.  It would

be suicide for them to try to come down that long hallway.  I

could cut them to ribbons.  After what they did to Josh, I'd be

happy to do it.  If we can keep them pinned inside, we'd have the

big antenna outside.  We might be able to tie it to one of our

short range field radios to get the longer range we need to contact the

base and get help."All eyes turned back to me and waited

expectantly.  I couldn't figure out why they kept waiting for my

opinion.  Why weren't they looking at their general?"So which will it be, Jake?" Jesse asked."Huh?  Why are you asking me?  You're in command!"Jesse

chuckled and said, "Sorry, I guess I'm still following the wolf's

instincts.  We all saw you, Jake.  You're massive.

 You're all black.  I guess the wolf in us is seeing you as

alpha of the group."I shook my head and said, "I'm no alpha.

 I'm happy to give my opinion, but it doesn't carry any more

weight than anyone else's.""So, what's your opinion then?""I

think we need to head back to the facility.  I don't know if it

would be safe to try to take on Samuel's men, but at least we need to

stop them from using the radio antenna if we can.  Everything

hinges on that.  The antenna was pretty badly wrecked and it would

probably take them most of the night to fix it and get it wired back

into the radio room, but it would take us most of the night to run back

to the facility, so it would be a tight race.  We need to get back

there before they can use it.  We're screwed if Samuel can

communicate back to

base before we can.  He'll be able to take over the army and he'll

have all the power.  We might never get any help if that happens.

 He'd block us."Jesse nodded, "You're right about that.

 If I could get on the horn before he can, I could have those that

are loyal to me lock everything down, including radio communications.

 Samuel would be out in the cold then instead of us.  He'd

have nobody to turn to.  It's hard to know if we'd stand a chance

though.  His group is bigger than ours and better armed.""We

can make a better assessment of the situation once

we're there," I said, "It's like Ben said, they won't know we're

coming.  It should be no problem for us to sneak up and surveil

the place all we want in order to determine the best coure of action.

 If we can somehow get the upper hand, then we'd

be able to use the radio equipment ourselves and call out for help, but

the main thing would be to stop Samuel from gaining control of the

army, even if it means doing a more thorough job of destroying that

antenna so it can't possibly be repaired."Ben nodded and said, "I'm with Jake.  It's the only

real option.  Samuel's not my alpha anymore.  He's gone

insane.  We need to stop him from killing billions of people.

 Jake's my alpha now and I go where he leads.  I say we head

back to the facility."The

other men nodded their agreement but

Jesse said, "I don't know.  We have Cole with us now.

 We need to get him back safe to Grace like I promised her we

would.  If we go back to the

facility, someone needs to stay back here with Cole.  It would be too dangerous to bring him along.  These other

two guys we picked up are naked and defenseless too.  They'd be no

good to us out there.  They wouldn't even be able to make it all the way there with

no clothes and nothing to cover their feet.  We don't know them,

either, so we can't trust them with Cole.  Someone else has to stay

here with him."Cole said, "No!  I'm not staying back here!  I want to go with Jake and Ben!"I

said, "Jesse's right, Cole.  It would be too dangerous."  I

turned back to Jesse and said, "I'm the only one here who's not trained

to fight and not armed with anything other than a side arm.  I

should be the one to stay back with Cole.  The only reason I came

out here in the first place was for him.  I'm not a soldier and I

have no business being here.  I'd only get in the way if I go back

there with you."The men all grumbled and shook

their heads and Ben said, "If you're staying back, then I'm staying

back too.  I'm not leaving you and Cole out here."The

men protested even more and one of them said, "We need everyone we can

bring.  The kid

should be safe enough if he stays back in the trees when

we get close to the facility.  It would be

hard enough with all of us and there's just no way we could do it with

two less.

 We need Ben to operate the chain gun.  He's the only one

strong enough to carry it.  We might

need the biggest damn wolf we've ever seen, too, so Jake needs to

come along.  He may not be a trained soldier but if it comes to

changing back to a wolf again his wolf will know how to fight, and

would be better than any two of the others combined.  He's a

kindred for fuck's sake, and the strongest we've ever seen.  He's

more alpha than even Samuel could ever be.  It doesn't matter what

he says right now as a human, when he changes again the wolf will know

who's alpha and will act on it.  We need him."Another

of the men said, "I agree with Hendricks.  Besides all that, if we can't stop

them from using that radio, then

there's no way to get Cole back safe anyhow.  What do you think

will happen if Samuel manages to radio back to base before we can get


there?  He'll have anyone loyal to you locked up, Jesse, and that

includes the other two civilians, Cole's mom and the other one.

 You want to keep them safe too, don't you?  You're still the

general of our army until Samuel says otherwise, so we have to stop him

from saying so to anyone back at our base.

 Samuel's still the alpha to everyone else, even if he ain't ours


 They'll do whatever he says.  If we let him get word back to

base he'll tell them all he

stripped you of your rank because you turned on him, and we'll be out


the cold with no hope of getting help.  He might send someone out

here to find our helicopter, but only to drop a damn bomb on it.

 How safe would Cole be then?  He'd be a primary target.

 He's safer with us than left behind here and the only way to keep

his mom safe too is to get back to that facility and stop Samuel from

getting that radio working and getting word back to the base that we're

the enemy now.  You said you came out here because of Cole, Jake.

 The only way to keep him safe is to keep him with you, and to

come along with us to stop Samuel."I

couldn't argue with the logic.  Both men were right.  It

seemed like the only way to proceed.  "I think they're making a

lot of sense, Jesse.  It might be the only way to go."Jesse

shrugged and said, "I guess it's our only real option.  We need to stop them

from using that radio if we can, or there won't be any way to get Cole

back safe anyhow, and it might put Grace and Elias in danger.  Cole should be OK if he stays back in the trees and

stays quiet and well out of the fight.  Have you ever hunted, Cole?"He nodded and said, "Yup, why?"Jesse

said, "If it all goes to hell, you need to be able to survive out here on your own.

 Your wolf will keep you fed no problem.  We'll all

be eating just fine if we need to.  I just wanted to be sure you

tried it before and you know you can do it.""I

can do it.

 I can take care of myself.  I don't want to stay behind.

 If that Samuel guy does what he said, so many people are gonna die!

 We can't let him do that!  If he gets on the radio Mom and

Elias might be in trouble too.  Jake, we have to go back and stop

him!"I said, "Alright.  It's decided then, we head back to the facility."Jesse nodded his agreement and so did all of the others.The general looked over at the two naked men who'd been released from the cells and

said, "You guys can come with us, or stay here.  I'll leave that

choice up to you.  We've got nothing to offer you in the way of

clothes.  It's gonna get a lot colder tonight before it starts to

warm up again in the morning.  We can't have you holding us back,

so if you choose to come with us, we won't be stopping or slowing down

for you.  We need to get back to that facility as fast as we can."One of them said, "I'm just gonna stay here if that's alright.  At least we have the helicopter for a shelter."The other nodded his agreement.Jesse

looked at his GPS watch and said, "OK.  I've got the coordinates


I'll send help as soon as we have things back under control, but you'd

better be prepared in case help doesn't come.  You'll be turning

back into wolves at sunset tomorrow.  Make sure you're apart from

each other at first.  You might want to seize the opportunity to

let your wolves hunt down some game for you or you'll be starving out

here if you have to wait too long for help to come, or if things go

wrong for us and we can't even

get help to you at all.  As soon as you become wolves start

sniffing around for something to take down and eat and let the wolves

show you how it's done.  It'll be tough for you out here in human

form, but once you turn into wolves you'll be right at home and you'll

own the place."They nodded their understanding.Ben said, "There's a survival kit in the Huey.  I'll show you

where it is.  It's got blankets and field rations and a couple

gallons of water and fire starting gear and a hatchet and knife and

what not.  Just don't start a fire too close to the chopper.

 It's still almost half full of fuel and there's probably some on

the fuselage from the leak.  You should be fine out here.  I'm completely covered in nice warm fur, too, and I don't

normally dress up this much.  I wear a flight suit when

I'm flying the Huey because even I get cold sitting in that thing for

hours at night out here.  It'll be way too hot for me when we're

on the run, though, and I don't like the feel of it on my fur if I'm moving around a lot."He

crouched down to untie his army boots, then kicked them off.  He

unzipped his one-piece flight suit and pulled his arms out and stepped

out of it.  He handed the suit to the larger of the naked men and he

smiled and thanked Ben.  The lupine was still wearing an

undershirt and his athletic shorts.  He pulled the shirt over his

head and handed it to the other man, then he pulled down his athletic

shorts and stepped out of them and handed the man that, too.Ben

was now wearing nothing but his grey boxer briefs that clearly outlined

his magnificent package, and his heavy wool socks.Out of the

corner of my eye I saw movement and looked over to see Cole adjusting

his crotch.  He was staring raptly at Ben's heavily muscled, furry body

and his eyes locked on to the beautiful bulge between his legs and he

was quickly becoming aroused.  I smiled and he noticed me looking and he

blushed and grinned at me.  I winked and grinned back.Ben put his army boots back on and led the men over to the chopper to show them where the survival kit was.They thanked him profusely for literally giving them the clothes off his back, and he nodded and returned to join us."Alright, let's head out," Jesse said, "We need to move fast."He checked his GPS watch again to get a heading and started off into the woods at a slow trot.  The rest of us followed.The

terrain was rugged and varied.  The area was heavily treed and

hilly and occasionally we started to run into mushy, wet bogland that

we needed to skirt around.  I wasn't sure at first how long I'd be

able to keep up the

pace, but I realized quickly I was still thinking with my old body, not

my new one.  All of us were exceedingly fit werewolves, except for

Ben who was even more muscular and fit than any of us were in our human

forms.  We ate up the

miles at an amazing pace and needed to stop for short rests only

occasionally.  Those of us who'd been outfitted for the strike on

the facility had water in our packs that we shared with

Ben and Cole.  It felt like I could still go a lot longer yet when

we finally arrived back at the facility in about seven hours.

 When Jesse finally had us all stop, the dark of night was already

beginning to lighten up slightly to the east in the run up to the dawn

that would come in a couple of hours.Jesse

walked up to me and had me turn around.  He fiddled behind me and

detached my backpack from my armor.  He went over to one of his

other men and asked him for his GPS watch.  He took both and came back

to Cole, who was standing next to Ben."Put

this watch on, Cole.

 It's a little big, but the stretchy strap should hold.  The

watch uses satellites to tell you where you are so you can't really get

lost if you have it on.  There's survival gear in this pack in the bottom part."Jesse

pulled the flap open at the bottom and reached in and pulled out a hand

microphone with a coiled cord that was connected into the pack and

said, "This is a field radio.  I'm turning it on and setting it to our channel.  If we need

to, we can talk to you.  You can talk to us to by holding this

switch on the side.  Don't do it unless you think you really have

to because you might be giving away our position while we're sneaking up on them, OK?"Cole nodded."If

somehow we lose you or you need to move to get to safety or something, we'll radio you, and I'll get you to give us the

numbers that are showing on your watch.  It will tell us exactly

where you are so we can come and find you.  There's rations and

water in the pack and there's a knife on the side in that scabbard in

case you need it.  Be careful with it."Cole nodded again.Jesse pulled the side arm out of its holster on the side of the pack and handed it to me.I

went to Cole and have him a hug and a kiss, "We'll be back here in a

bit.  Stay hidden and stay quiet.  Will you be OK

alone?"He nodded and said, "I'll be fine.  Please be careful."Benjamin came over next and crouched and said, "I never got that hug from you yet."Cole grinned and hugged him tightly.Ben

kissed him on the forehead and ruffled his hair and said, "You look

beautiful in this light.  Your aura's so bright white I could read

by it.  It would be a dead giveaway for Jeb if he came looking in this direction.""My aura?"Ben said, "Never mind.  Just stay

down low and stay behind the tree.  Don't try to come any closer.

 There might be a little bit of shooting.  Don't panic.

 It'll be us shooting at them.  Just stay right here until we

come back for you."Cole nodded, "Be careful, Ben."Jesse

and his men all detached their deadly looking automatic assault rifles

from the side of their packs and held them ready.  Jesse led the

way again as we slowly made our way further through the forest towards

the facility's entrance.  We were there in less than five minutes

and once again Jesse signaled us to stop and get down low.He motioned to Ben, who went over to crouch beside him."Your eyesight's a hell of a lot better than ours.  What do you see up that hill?"Ben

followed where he was pointing and said, "There's an antenna up there.

 Big metal one.  It looks a bit banged up, but it's attached

to the side of a tree.""Shit," Jesse said, "I guess they managed to get it back up.  They might have already contacted the base.""Maybe

not yet.  I see two guys out there.  It looks like

they're coming back down the hill.  I think they might have just

finished putting it back

up."  Ben looked further down the hill and added, "There's one guard


the entrance.  I can see a thick black cable coming out from the

entrance and running back up the hill.  I bet those guys used it

to hook up the antenna.""Can you see anyone else?  Any sign of Jeb?""No,


see Josh's body.  It's still out in the clearing.  Looks like

they haven't touched him.  The chain gun is still there.

 Nobody else would be able to use it so I guess they never

bothered to retrieve it.  If

we rush them now we can take out the guard at the door easy

before the other two can get through the trees and I should be able to

get to the chain gun before the ones inside catch wind of our attack.""We need to hit

all three of the ones outside at once," Jesse said, "We can't let any of them get to cover

or we'll expend too much ammo trying to take them out.  We need to

be quick and efficient.  Ben, can you get the chain gun off of

Josh and onto your back without help?"He shook his head, "Not if you need me to do it in a hurry.  That ammo pack weighs a ton.  I need someone to help me."Jesse

nodded and said, "OK.  Jake, I need you to help Ben.  We need him

armed and ready with that chain gun in case Jeb comes down that hallway

once we start shooting.  We need Ben to keep them all bottled up

inside."I nodded.Jesse continued, "Sykes, you're the best

crack shot we have.  I need you right here.  Get a bead on that guard at the door.  Hendricks, Wilson,

Benjamin and Jake stay here with Sykes.  Myers and I will make our

way around and up the hill to get ready to take out the other two.

 Once we're in position, I'll give the word on the radio and Sykes

will put a bullet through the guard's eye.  Sykes, Wilson and Hendricks

then rush the entrance and keep it covered in case anyone tries to come

out, while Ben and Jake make for that chain gun and get it on Ben's

back as fast as you can.  We need that chaingun ready to mow down

anyone with a rocket or grenade launcher or Jeb before they can get

outside or we're toast.  We'll take out the two on the hill and

come back to help cover the entrance as quick as we can.  Everyone

clear?"We all nodded and Jesse wasted no time.  He and the

man he'd indicated vanished quickly into the forest to make their way

around to where the two men had been running the antenna cable through the

woods.  Sykes moved to a position where he could lie down and keep his rifle perfectly stable on

the ground and he switched it to single fire mode.  He would have to make the shot without the benefit of a scope.Hendricks and Wilson crouched beside him, ready to rush the

entrance as soon as the guard was dealt with.Ben and I stayed

put off to the side, ready to run for Josh's chain gun.Several

minutes went by as we waited for the word to proceed, and then it came.

 The radio crackled to life and Jesse said simply, "Go."Even

though I was expecting it I still jumped when Sykes's rifle immediately

fired a high caliber bullet that hit the guard right between the eyes

and he instantly crumpled to the ground dead.  I heard a couple of

brief bursts of gunfire accompanied by muzzle flashes up in the forest,


there was silence as the rest of us burst from the trees and rushed

into the clearing.  Ben and I made for Josh's body while the

others headed towards the entrance to the facility with their rifles

raised to cut down anyone who might try to come out.When we got to

Josh's corpse, Ben immediately went to work undoing several fasteners at

Josh's hips and breastbone that held the support frame for the chain

gun.  He unclipped a belt around his waist that held the large

hard case that was filled with the coiled ammo and I held Josh's

muscular shoulders off the ground while Ben slid the pack up and off

him, while trying to keep the long flexible tube that guided the chain from

kinking or getting detached.  He then worked the support frame

upwards while I pulled at Josh's legs and slid his incredibly heavy body out from under


than try to pick it all up, Ben simply went to the

ground and crawled up into the frame and began reconnecting it by

strapping it tightly to his hips and breast bone.  I grabbed the

large hard case and muscled it into position and hooked it onto his

shoulders and he strapped it at his waist.  He then struggled to

his knees while I helped him lift the awkward load off the ground.

 Then he grunted as he went upright and his massively powerful thighs

strained as he bore the full weight of the ammo and the chain gun and

stood up.  He adjusted it slightly and then smiled a wicked smile

as he brought the gun around and started walking towards the entrance

to the facility.Jesse and his other man were already emerging from the trees and making for the entrance.We all joined back together there and there was still no sign of anyone else coming from inside the facility."What now?" I asked.Jesse

shrugged and said, "I sort of expected the shit to hit the fan at this

point.  They should be pouring out of there to try to stop us

before we can get fortified out here and pin them inside.  I guess we should move inward."He looked over at Ben and said, "I wish you would have at least put his flak gear on."Ben

said, "There wasn't time.  It didn't do Josh much good anyhow.

 It doesn't cover the neck or face.  I can go back and get it

if you want to hold the chain gun for a bit."Jesse sighed and

said, "Just be careful.  You need to take the lead.  You're

the only one who can shred them completely if they try anything.

 We have to see who's still in there."Ben nodded and didn't

wait for any further instructions.  He just waltzed right in past the broken doors at the entrance,

chain gun at the ready, and the rest of us followed.Two

of the

others flanked Ben as we got into the wide hallway and we continued on

through without incident.  It was completely quiet in the main

section of the facility.  There was no sign of anyone, though the

dead bodies of the armed guards and a couple of the scientists were

still scattered here and there along the bloody hallway.Jesse

quietly gave the signal to continue on inward, but there were suddenly

several gunshots from further in and everyone took positions to get

ready to return fire.The

gunshots stopped and there was silence again, then a pistol slid out

along the floor from one of the rooms ahead and to the left.  It was followed quickly by an

automatic rifle that slid out to join it, then someone shouted, "I surrender!  Don't shoot!  I'm alone.

 My weapons are on the floor.  I'm unarmed.  I'm coming out."A man

emerged through the door the guns had slid out from with his arms raised and started to move slowly toward us.

 It was one of Samuel's men.  One of Jesse's men rushed

to him and quickly checked that he had no weapons on him anywhere

and he nodded to Jesse to indicate the man was unarmed."Where's Samuel?" Jesse asked."Gone."Jesse

sighed and got a hard look on his face as he hooked his assault rifle

to the side of his pack and then asked me for my pistol and I handed it to him.  He

turned back to face the man and

brought the gun up and said, "I'll ask you one more time, but I expect

a much more thorough and constructive answer.  You really don't want to fuck around with me

right now.  Where the hell is Samuel?""He's

gone!  He left with all the others hours ago.  He's afraid

the humans might hit this facility as soon as some check-in time is

reached and they find they can't communicate.  He wanted to get

the virus samples and the research and scientists out and away as fast

as possible.  He couldn't wait around for us to get the antenna fixed.  I don't know where he went.""I gave you a

chance, cuz, remember that," Jesse said.  He squeezed the trigger and

the man's knee exploded as he screamed out in pain and crumpled to the floor.Jesse


the man a moment and then said, "You know where he is.  He left

you here to repair the radio so you could get word out to send in an

extraction team.  The only aircraft left is the Herc.  He

must be

making for a viable landing site, am I right?  He must have given

you the coordinates so you could radio them to base.  Where is he headed?"The man's face hardened and he simply said, "Fuck you!"Jesse

took a step closer and aimed the gun at the man's hand that was now

covering his damaged knee and he pulled the trigger again.The

man howled in pain as the bullet destroyed his hand and continued on

through to further wreck his leg.  Jesse took one step closer and

said, "The next one's gonna make one of your testicles explode."The man put up his remaining good hand and said, "Wait!  I'll give you the coordinates!"He

spoke them and Jesse looked over at Ben.  Ben nodded and said,

"Sounds about right from what I can remember of the topographic maps I

studied when we prepped for this mission.  That would be about the

closest relatively flat location the Hercules could

set down that's big enough and isn't muskeg or forest.  I think he's telling the


nodded and turned back to the wounded man and aimed the gun right at

his head and he said, "Those wounds will heal and you'll be fine once

you go through your next change.  Your immortality can continue,

provided you tell me what I need to know without hesitation this time.

 Otherwise I put a bullet in your brain and your life ends here

and now."The man looked defeated and he just nodded his acquiescence.Jesse asked, "Did you manage to contact the base and give them the coordinates?"The

man didn't even pause this time as he nodded again and said, "Yes.

 As soon as I heard shooting outside I knew we were in trouble so

I didn't wait for the guys who were repairing the antenna to get back

in.  I hoped they'd got it hooked up.  I tried the radio and

it was working, so I got the message out.  They'll be sending the

Herc to meet up with Samuel's team at the appointed time that he's

expected to arrive at the coordinates I gave you.""And when is that?""Three days.  Samuel said to have the Herc head out there in three days.""Did he give you any other message to pass on to them?"The

man hesitated briefly, but nodded and said, "I was to explain to them

that you had turned on him.  That you were the enemy.  I was

to tell them that they were to take you all into custody as soon as you

arrived back there, but I didn't get that part of the message out.

 I heard you coming into the facility and I knew you'd be on me in

seconds.  There wasn't time.  I had to make sure you couldn't

use the radio our you'd block Samuel's orders, so I shot it up.  I wrecked it."That must be

the gunfire we'd heard as we came in.  One of the men quickly went

forward and looked into the radio room and his shoulders slumped.

 He looked back and nodded and said, "It's completely trashed.  We can't

use it."Jesse

cursed and he turned to me and said, "You told me back at the compound

that electronics was a hobby of yours.  Is there any chance we

could do like Ben said before and hook one of our field radios to the

big antenna and use it to contact the base?"I shook my head and

said, "Not a chance.  That's not how it works.  Antennas are

designed for the frequencies they need to handle and our radios

couldn't really make use of it.  They're spread spectrum and they

operate at a completely different frequency range.  Besides that,

the main thing that gives that antenna the range it needs is the

amplifiers that boost the signal up into the kilowatt power range.

 Our radios operate in milliwatts and that's the real reason their

range is so limited.  The amplifier we'd need to boost the signal

high enough to reach the compound will be one of the things that's in

that room and riddled with bullet holes."Jesse said, "Shit.

 So we have absolutely no chance of contacting the base now.

 That Herc is the only way to get back out of here."  He

turned back to the wounded man and asked, "So

they don't know we've been split up?  They think we're still all

together under Samuel?"The man shrugged and nodded and said,

"There's no

reason for them to think otherwise, I guess.  I only managed to

tell them things were fucked up here and we had no way to get back and

we needed them to send out the Herc to pick us up.  I gave them

the coordinates and the meeting time and waited for their

acknowledgement and you were already coming down the hall so I had to

wreck the

equipment to make sure you couldn't give them any other orders."Jesse

turned to me and said, "Well, that's something at least.  They

still don't know I'm not their general anymore.  That means Grace

and Elias

are safe for now, too.  Nobody will be expecting us back if they


something went wrong and we're all headed to the extraction site to be

picked up by the Herc.  They'll let Grace and Elias know, and

they'll simply have to settle in for a longer wait than they

anticipated.  They'll know not to expect to hear anything more

from us for three days until the Herc goes out to pick us up."I nodded,

"It's not much, but at least we're still not the enemy as far as

they're concerned back at the base.  We just need to catch up to

Samuel and his crew before they can reach the extraction site and hook

up with the Herc."Ben said, "Yup, and they have four men less

than they did before.  The odds will be closer to even when we go

to butt heads with them.  I've got a chain gun now to match Jeb's.

 If we can get the jump on them we'll have the upper hand.

 They won't have a clue that we're coming for them.  They'll

be going as fast as they can to get to the extraction site and they

won't know we're chasing them so they might be so focused forward that

they're not watching their backs."I turned to Jesse and asked,

"Were the two outside killed outright?  We need to make sure

nobody can use field radios to let Samuel know we're coming for him."He nodded and said, "They're both dead.  We'll just need to make sure this one can't get a message out."The man said, "Please, don't kill me!  I won't try to reach them!  I swear it!"Jesse

thought about it for a moment and then he turned to Sykes and said,

"Take him downstairs to where they were holding Cole and the others.

 Lock him up in one of the cages.""No!  I'll die in there!  It'll be days before anyone can come and get me out!"Jesse

shrugged and said, "Could be over a week.  The only way to get you

out would be by chopper, and those would have to come up from Colorado

and it will be at least three days before we can even get word out that they're

needed.  It would take them days longer to make their way up here."The man's face paled and he groaned as Jesse continued,

"You're the architect of your own fate, cuz.  You chose the wrong

side.  We'll leave you some water and rations, but that's the best

we can do.  I don't doubt for a second you'd screw us over in a

heartbeat if we gave you half a chance.  If I was a bit more

cold-blooded I'd finish you right now.  You should consider yourself lucky we're leaving you alive."The man's shoulders slumped as he realized there would be no arguing his way out of it.Jesse

turned to Hendricks and said, "Help Sykes bring him down and lock him

up.  Take the rations, water and first aid from his backpack and

leave them with him in the cage.  Throw the rest of his gear out

of his reach.  It's just another door knocker and we've got no use

for that."Hendricks nodded and he and Sykes grabbed the man

under his arms and lifted him up and dragged him down the hall towards

the door that leads down to the lower level.  As they passed Ben,

he reached out and snagged something from a pocket on the side of the

man's backpack.  It was a loaded magazine for the automatic rifle.

 He then went over to the rifle on the floor and picked it up,

then he handed me the rifle and the extra mag so I'd be better armed

for the coming encounter with Samuel's team.Jesse watched Ben hand me the rifle and it gave him an idea and he said to

another of the men, "Myers, go back up the hill to the other

two we shot.  One of them had an auto-shotgun attachment.

 Trade it for your door-knocker.  It'll be a lot more useful

to us when we meet up with Samuel and his men.  Wilson, go with him and help him swap the gear.  Grab the rations

and water from their packs, too, and take them down to the guy in the

cage.  I guess we should give him as much chance to survive as we can.

 Death by starvation or dehydration would be a bit too cruel.

 We'll send someone up here to get him when all this is over and

he can face justice then."The men nodded and headed out to follow the general's orders.I

said, "I'm all for giving the guy a fair chance, but shouldn't we keep

the rations for ourselves?  We've got a three day hard march ahead

of us if we hope to catch up to Samuel.  He's got several hours

head start and he'll be pushing hard.""They'll

need to rest,

too," Jesse said, "Also, they know they have three days so they'll

maintain the pace that will get them there in that time.  There's

no reason for them to go any faster than they need to.  We'll be

pushing harder than them so we should have no problem catching up even

with their head start.  We'll

need more energy than the rations could provide for us anyhow.


have to take down a moose or something later tonight when we're wolves

and gorge so that we'll be good for the rest of the march.  From

then on we'll only need fresh water and there's plenty of that out

here.  They'll have to do the same as us and stop to gorge, so we

won't really lose any

ground.""What about Ben?" I asked, "He needs to eat too."Ben

said, "My favorite food is actually pizza, but I love raw meat too,

Jake.  I'm more wolf than man in that way.  I'll happily chow

down on a moose."I shrugged and nodded.Jesse said,

"Ben, go back into the woods and get Cole.  I'm sure he's

wondering what the hell is going on and worrying about you and Jake.  We'll all meet out front.

 We need to get going right away."Ben nodded and hustled out to get Cole and bring him back.Jesse

turned to me and said, "I wish they'd left us with more to work with on

the four men they left behind.

 A rocket launcher or RPG would be pretty handy, but we'll have to

make do with one more shotgun.  We don't know if we'll be in wolf

or human form when we finally catch up to them.  If we're human,

we'll be pretty even since all we can use are the assault rifles and

Ben's chain gun to match Jeb's.  If we're in wolf form, we'll

still be

fairly outgunned if we try a ranged confrontation.  We'll have to

hit them up close and tight to take their rockets and grenades out of


equation.""I wish I could work some of your fancy wolf weapons.

 Even just a door knocker would give me more to work with than I

have right now in wolf form.  I won't be much use if it comes

down to a wolf fight.  I'm unarmed.""You ain't unarmed,

cuz.  You got teeth.  You're the biggest damn wolf any of us have ever seen.

 Likely the biggest that ever existed.  We'll just take the

fight in close if we have to.  Your wolf will have no problem,

Jake.  Trust me.  You'll only need to watch out for the ones with shotguns.""And if we have to fight them as humans?

 I've never tried to work one of these before.  I've never

even seen one that looks like this," I said as I held up the deadly

looking automatic rifle."It's a Tavor TAR-21.  It's an

Israeli design.  Super reliable and very accurate.  Easy to

use, too.  Just put the red dot on the target and squeeze the

trigger.  It's got a kick, but if you stick to burst mode instead

of full-auto mode you should be fine.  The safety is on the side

there and it controls the fire modes.  You can set it from safe to

semi-auto, to burst, then full-auto.""OK, got it.""Good.  Let's head out.  There's nothing more we can do here.  We've got a long run ahead of us."I nodded and Jesse led the way out.We

assembled outside the facility and before long Ben emerged from the

woods with Cole in tow.  It struck me as comical for a moment

because it almost looked like a giant dog was taking his little human

pet for a walk.Ben said, "Look what I found out there in the woods!  Can I keep him, Jake, huh?  Can I?  Please?"I

chuckled and said, "Sure, so long as you promise to feed him and bathe

him so he doesn't stink or get fleas, and take him out for a walk once

in a while.  If you want to keep him you need to take care of him.

 I don't need the hassle."Cole giggled and Ben laughed.Ben

had taken my pack from Cole and was carrying it, and he had me turn

around so he could reattach it to my armor.  He then took my rifle

and slung it on the side and stuffed the extra mag in a side pocket for

me and I thanked him.Jesse

did not want to waste any more time.  He fiddled with his watch to

get the bearing to the coordinates we were given for the extraction

site and he led us out at a brisk trot.We

ran part way around

the huge hill that the facility was buried in and then struck out to


northeast through the forest.  Jesse increased the pace to the

best that we could all maintain and once again we began to eat up the

miles at a terrific pace.  His intent was for us to run as long as

we could manage before we were too exhausted to go on, then get a solid

rest before sunset later tonight when we would shift to wolf form and

deal with hunting a significant enough meal to keep us going the rest

of the way.We hadn't been running for more

than an hour and we'd just come to the peak of a smaller hill when

suddenly there was a screeching-woosh as something raced by just over

our heads followed immediately by the roar of a jet engine in its wake.

 We all hit the deck wondering what the hell was going on, but

there was silence afterward.Ben jumped up and looked back towards the facility and shouted, "Holy shit!  I think that was a Tomahawk!"We

all stood to look back towards the facility.  Just then there was

another woosh and a roar as a second cruise missile passed over our

heads.Then we saw the hill that contained the facility burst

upwards in massive chunks as a huge explosion lit up the night and blew

the top off the hill.  A short time later we heard the nearly

deafening explosion as the sound caught up to us.  Then, suddenly,

we saw a far more brilliant explosion that quickly expanded into a

massive bright yellow fireball that continued to grow into a huge

mushroom cloud shape and we saw a shock wave rushing outward from the

explosion and knocking down trees as it traveled rapidly across the

ground."Hit the deck!" Jesse yelled, "Cover your ears!"We

hit the ground again and covered our ears just as a massive

and deafening explosion roared through and we actually felt the

temperature rise and our bodies compress and vibrate from the

concussive force of the shock

wave as the entire countryside was lit orange and then slowly dimmed

back down.  Had we been much closer we likely would not have

survived the explosion.  As it was we were just out of range of

the worst of it, but still would have been knocked hard on our asses if

we'd been standing.  It had to have been an incredibly powerful

explosion to be felt so strongly this far out.We all stood again and looked back just in time to see the mushroom cloud dimming back down to be enveloped by the night.One of the men asked, "Did those crazy fucks launch a nuke?  Isn't that what they use cruise missiles for?"Ben

shook his head and said, "Not always.  There's no way they'd do

that on US

soil.  Cruise missiles can carry all sorts of different warheads.

 The main point of them is to come in low just above the treetops

and follow the terrain to come in under the radar and completely

undetectable.  If I had to guess, I'd say whatever government guys

we're up against are operating without the knowledge of the main

branch.  They need to be as covert as they can be even if they

need to take a target out.  That last explosion wasn't a nuke, it

was a thermobaric warhead.  A fuel-air bomb.

 Closest thing to the power of a nuke that's still conventional.

 That first explosion was probably a bunker buster.  They're

designed to penetrate hardened targets buried deep underground and blow

them wide open.  The second one was a fuel-air.  It creates

two explosions in rapid succession.  The first one is a 'scatter

charge' that cracks open a container of highly oxidized fuel and sprays

it out over a huge area, the second charge ignites the aerosolized fuel

in one massive explosion that consumes every molecule of oxygen in the

air to create a gigantic fireball that will melt everything it contacts

into slag, with a blast wave that will crush everything in its path and

will vaporize any living thing it encounters for a radius of hundreds

of yards.  It's a hot, long-burning explosion.  It's

designed to sterilize the area and leave absolutely nothing left alive.

 They wanted to crack open the hill and then cook everything

inside it.  They must have wanted to be sure all of the dangerous

shit they were working on down there wouldn't fall into the wrong

hands and would be vaporized and then incinerated.  They were a

bit too late.  I guess that poor sap we

left behind in the cage won't have to worry about starving to death

anymore.""It seems Samuel was right," Jesse said, "The

goons must have realized the site was compromised when some radio

check-in was missed.  They couldn't take any

chances of letting any of their experiments loose and would have to

vaporize the site, so they wouldn't waste time sending men in to check

things out.  They must have seen the damage we'd done at the

entrance in a satellite photo once they realized they'd lost radio

contact.  They must have decided to hit it hard and fast, hoping

to catch us inside.

 They'll likely follow it up with more surveillance from space

once the satellites come around again.  They

won't know for sure what the hell happened out there.  They'll be


their satellites to examine this region carefully.  Hopefully they

won't find our forward staging area.""I don't see how they

could.  It's almost two hundred miles from here and hidden.

 They wouldn't have a clue where to look or what exactly to look for," Ben said.Jesse

shrugged and said, "There's a decent chance they'll find our downed

Huey if they search their satellite images carefully enough over a wide

enough area.  It's right out in the open.  If

they draw a straight line from the facility's location through the Huey

and onward, it will cross right through our base, or at least pretty

close, since that's where we

were headed.  They could focus their search in just one direction

out from the facility instead of having to search three hundred and

sixty degrees around it.  There's a chance they might find the

compound, though it

wouldn't be easy for them.  If they do, there's a solid chance

they'll be sending another Tomahawk or two in that direction.

 With luck they'll never find it since we're always so careful and

we know the schedules of satellite fly-overs.  If they do find it,

hopefully it will take them more than the few

days it will take us to get to that plane so we can send a warning to

start an evacuation.""This shit's constantly going from bad to

worse," I said, "We need to find some way to get word to Grace and

Elias and get them the hell out of there."Jesse said, "That's

exactly what we're working on, Jake.  We just need to keep on

moving and try to get to Samuel before he can get to that plane.

 Once we take care of him, we'll hook up with the plane and start

the evac process back at the base."I nodded and said, "Let's get back to it, then."There was nothing more we could do but

press on to try to catch up to Samuel.  We felt an even greater

urgency to reach him now.  We needed to ensure he couldn't get away

from us, or we'd be left stranded in the middle of nowhere and he would

be able to seize control of the werewolf army and proceed with his

fanatical plan to eliminate the human race.We increased the pace and headed off into the cold Alaskan predawn.

Love and Lycanthropy - Chapter 20

I wasn't sure how long I'd napped before I finally woke.  I was spooned against the wonderfully furry body of Ben.  At some point while we'd slept he'd turned onto his side and now had Elias wrapped up in his warm and powerful arms.  Elias was...

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Love and Lycanthropy - Chapter 19

I felt my stomach begin to drop away as the heavy plane completed its bank and suddenly pitched forward to dive even faster towards the Earth, while the massive engines spooled down almost to an idle to ensure we wouldn't power our way right into the...

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Love and Lycanthropy - Chapter 18

I was awakened by shaking and jostling of the bed.  It was totally dark, and for a moment I felt completely disoriented.  Where was I?The events of the last few days quickly flashed across my mind and I realized I was sleeping in the RV, which was...

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