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  1. I'm slowly working on it. Hope to have something soon.
  2. Much to the dismay of both George and Jose, Tala and Jay found a moderately priced motel for themselves and the guards from Alpha Peter’s pack. All the rooms were able to be close to each other with guards on both sides of Tala and Jay’s room. The pair wordlessly staggered in their room and undressed and plopped down on the queen bed. Both fell asleep within seconds of their heads hitting the pillow. Bjorn exited the airport in Portland and walked to the all-night car rental area. He rented an inexpensive compact car and drove toward the pack lands. A little over an hour and a half later, he pulled up to the gate area. The guards looked him over and verified who he was since they had never actually met him before. He continued up to where the guards had told him to find his house. He marveled on how good the house looked for a second and then quietly went inside. He was looking around the living room when Lisbeth came around the corner with a loaded shotgun. She saw her husband and ran to him. “You scared the crap out of me. You should have called, and I wouldn’t have almost shot you!” “I wanted to surprise you,” Bjorn stammered. “Why do you have a shotgun? There are more guards the rabbits out there.” Lisbeth shook her head at her husband’s description. Her face turned serious again. “We don’t know if they are still going to try to attack us. Tala almost got blown up today!” “What?” Bjorn looked panicked. “Is he okay? Why didn’t anyone call me?” Lisbeth tried to keep him calm. “He is fine. The device was found, and no one got hurt. Plus, I did call you. I tried calling you about an hour ago too.” Bjorn pulled his phone from his jacket and saw it was still on airplane mode. He turned it off and the phone made more noise then he thought possible. “I guess it would have helped if I had remembered about that.” He looked embarrassed. “I’m sorry I missed your call and I am extremely glad everyone is all right. I’m exhausted and it is 01:00. I need some sleep.” Dawn broke in the Arizona desert about 05:30 and the cleanup crew was already out to break down the event space. The last three members of the honor guard collected the bones of the late alpha and put them in a small cardboard box. That box was going to be taken to the county crematorium to be properly processed and they would then spread the remains in the desert. One of the men turned to the others. “I never realized just how disrespectful he was to his father. Why didn’t he do this for him?” One of the other guards answered. “I agree. He got more then he deserved being treated to this by Jose. I’m not sure I could have risen above it all.” Around the same time, Tala and Jay arrived at the pack jail to meet with the captive. They were led back to the holding cell and recoiled when they saw it looked like a cell for the 1820’s in how vile it was. The guard saw their look and laughed. “It’s not the prettiest but it is strong. Not even a drugged or amped up lycan can break those bars or walls.” Jay nodded his head. “Makes sense, but, yeah, not pretty.” Tala walked over to the bars and saw the man lying on the cot asleep. “Wake up! It is time to answer some questions.” The man stirred and grumbled. Tala turned to the guard “Secure him and then lock me inside with him.” The guard opened the cell and secured the man. When he was done, Tala entered behind him and the guard locked the cell. “He is secured.” “After you lock the door, I want you to leave for the front.” Tala turned to look at the guard. “It’s best if only Jay and I hear his answers. When we are done, Jay will come out to get you.” The guard left and Jay came up to the bars. “Do you think he will talk?” Tala smiled. “You know he doesn’t have to. It takes me about two seconds to know the truth. I want him to tell me so he can be free of it.” Tala turned to the man. “So, are we going the easy way or are we going the nasty for you way?” The man spat at Tala. “I’m not telling you anything because you don’t know anything.” Tala sighed. He walked over and touched the man’s shoulder. “I see, I’d try to stay quiet too. How is Taj paying you?” The man went pale. Jay spoke up at the name. “Are you saying Master Taj is doing this?” Tala shook his head. “I’m not actually. The Taj this man is dealing with is Master Taj’s nephew. His name is Tajsin in respect for his uncle. None of the other men in the pack knew this though. Only this guy knew the truth.” The man finally started to stammer. “How? What did you do to me?” Tala turned to him. “They didn’t tell you the whole truth about me. They don’t want the word to get out that there is an ancient lycan resurrecting the American Clan.” Tala waited for that information to sink in. “Ancients also have powers above and beyond normal lycans. An example is that I can tell what is in a lycan’s heart and soul with a simple touch. It gets stronger if I’m angry and then I can read a whole room.” “Then you know how I got to working with Tajsin already,” the man asked. Tala nodded. He turned to Jay to explain. “Tajsin is his uncle once removed. He lived with Tajsin when he was younger.” Jay looked over to the man in the cell. “I think that tells us a lot of what we needed to know. Was there anything else?” The man nodded. “They won’t rest until the American clan is wiped out again. I see now that they are running under a false thought. You are already too powerful to stop. My life is forfeit.” He started to cry. “Please, kill me fast. I don’t deserve the torture your clan is known for.” Jay looked at Tala confused. “Torture?” Tala turned to the man and put his hand back on his shoulder. The man tensed and then calm spread over him. “See, my clan did not do this. Your clan spread false rumors about us so they could justify killing us. I will not be killing you.” The man sighed in relief. “What are you going to do with me?” Tala smiled tightly. “Jay and I will do nothing but leave with what you have shown me. However, you are not going to be let go. I do believe that Jose will have to decide what happens when you try to blow up an alpha.” Jay saw the nod Tala gave him and went out to get the guard. They let Tala out and he and Jay left the jail. They got in the car and drove toward where the jet was. They called Alpha Peter and thanked him for the guards and told him that the rooms were already paid for. They also called Jose and let him know that they had what they needed and to call if he had any troubles. In the late morning, Karla and Hank dressed and went out to the kitchen to find a basic breakfast being made. Sitting at the counter on a bar stool sat Toby when a lovely older lady was cooking. Toby saw them approach and stood up. “Good morning. I want you to meet Ann, she is my mate.” Karla perked up. “It is so great to meet you. My son said you were a great cook. I’m Karla and this is Hank.” Ann pulled the pan off the stove and went around to them. “You must be Tala’s mother.” She gave Karla a hug. “That boy of yours is the most mannered person I have ever met. You raised him well.” She went back and dished up the food for the four of them. They finished eating and went into the living room. Ann turned to Karla again. “Toby asked me to come by this morning because he wanted me to fill you in on some of the details of your new task. I kept all the records since Toby took over this pack and the clan. I have maps and information in binders so that you can keep everything straight.” “That is wonderful!” Karla smiled. “I wondered how I was going to tackle all of that.” “It is a lot to handle. I would recommend hiring a few people to work at the council so that all the calls do not have to go to you. In the front of the first binder is the name of the team lead for the Celtic Clan Land Board. They act as the place for people to call if they have land issues and it saved me from being on call 24/7.” Hank turned to Toby. “Do you ever feel like you have nothing to take care of sometimes?” Toby laughed and motioned to Ann. “The ladies always decide what they will let us do and think we control.” Ann slapped his shoulder. “See, she knows I can’t get her in trouble for assaulting the alpha.” Ann smacked him again. “Ouch! You will have plenty to do. There are a lot of people that will want to stop Karla and you have to make sure they don’t.” Tala and Jay touched down on the private airstrip and one of the guards drove them up to their newly finished home. They took their time looking around the outside at the landscaping and then went in the back door. Tala’s phone beeped and he quickly texted the security company since they had just set off the alarm. “It is good to know that the alarm is working,” Jay laughed. After they disarmed the panel by the back door, they went into the kitchen to sit down. “It turned out just like we planned. Do you love it?” Tala beamed. “I do love it. I can’t believe you designed this while I was working with Toby. I think this will such a wonderful place to relax. That is if I ever get to relax.” Jay looked over at Tala and frowned. “It’s hard having to get everything going. I have seen my fair share of business try to get off the ground. You have to see all your work is already starting to spread to others. Maybe we need to see if we can get some assistants to help you out a bit.” Tala sighed. “I know I do. I think we have to start with a beta for here at home. Then I’ll call Bjorn and Rolf and see how many applications we have to go over. Having more packs will help spread out the load on Bjorn and Hawk out in Ohio.” Jay thought for a moment. “Well, I can think of three people for a beta. The first is Edward Montley, the second is Sean Freeman, and the third isn’t eligible right now but will be in the future.” Tala laughed at the mention of the third reference. “I don’t think we could handle her as a beta. I agree on the first two people though. I think we need to talk to them both and see if they are even interested.” Jay nodded. “Agreed. Now, the next thing on my list is to check in with Lisbeth and see how plans are going for more houses. I also need to find out on where we are on supporting our pack with supplies. We need a grocery store, a basic dry goods store, and a motel.” Tala shook his head. “We need people to run them too. We don’t have a big population yet.” Jay shrugged. “We will. We are creating good jobs in a time where jobs are hard to get. No one goes without and no one should get too far ahead either.” Tala jumped a little when there was a knock on the front door. He walked over to the window and saw Edward and Sean on the porch. He opened the door and motioned them in. “Please come in. Jay and I were just talking about you both.” Tala led them to the kitchen. Jay looked up at the visitors. “That is some timing. Did you hear us talking about you or just chance?” Sean laughed. “No, it was just chance.” Jay got up from his chair. “Here, let us go into the living room and sit down.” Jay and Tala went down a short hall with their guests following them. “Please sit down,” Jay said as they entered the well-appointed room. Edward whistled. “Very nice! I hope that my new house looks like this when it’s done.” Tala looked over to him. “There is no reason why it can’t. However, houses and furniture is being handled by Lisbeth. We,” Tala pointed back and forth between himself and Jay, “have to find someone to handle the land when we have to be away.” Sean looked over at Jay and Tala. “You mean you want one of us to help? What kind of help?” Edward looked over at Sean. “Sean, they mean they want one of us to be their beta.” Jay pointed at Edward. “Bingo! You win our game. So, you get first choice. Your choices are as follows. Yes, no way and I must think. If you both say yes, then Tala and I will have to choose. If you both say no, then you need give us some ideas. If you both say think, then you have to think fast!” Edward quickly answered. “Think!” Sean took that as his que and said “Think!” Tala chuckled a bit. “Here is how I see it. One of you will be the beta and the other is going to be chief enforcer. I hate the term ‘gamma’ and ‘delta’ because they seem weaker. Neither of you are weak. As you think, remember both of you could have positions of power.” Sean turned to Tala. “I want to change my vote. I know that I do not want to be chief enforcer. That is not my passion. I joined the FBI because I wanted to help people make things right.” Edward turned to Sean. “As soon as Tala said the backup was chief enforcer, I knew you would not want that job. You are a fixer and someone I want to see do more than that. I always was good at the being the bad guy and having to do the hardest things. I never shied away from bringing someone down.” Jay turned to Tala. “Well, I guess that decision is made.” Tala smiled and got up and walked over to Sean. “Stand up for me.” Sean stood up. “I officially promote you to pack beta. You are in charge and will enforce my decisions anytime the alpha pair is not available. Do you accept this honor and responsibly?” Sean nodded. “I accept.” The air around Sean changed and the room spun for a second. He took a couple deep breaths and the room settled down. “What happened?” Tala put his hand on his shoulder and instantly saw the answer. He looked at Jay. “Call Toby and ask him if they know anything about the powers that ancient betas could have.” He turned back to Sean. “You will be fine. I think I did the right thing and the wrong thing at the same time. Lycans in ancient packs had more power than they do now. I think I unlocked something in you without knowing.” Sean looked around. “It’s like some of the perception changes I get when I’m in wolf form have carried over. My eyesight is better, and I can feel the things around me differently.” Edward looked to Tala. “Is that going to happen to me too?” Tala turned to Edward. “Yes, I believe it will. Are you having second thoughts?” “No,” Edward answered. “I just want to make sure I’m ready, so I don’t turn as green as our beta did.” All four men chuckled. Tala looked to Edward. “Please stand up.” Edward stood. “I officially promote you to chief enforcer. You are tasked with the guarding and protection of this land and the people, lycans and animals on it. Do you accept this honor and responsibility?” Edward nodded. “I accept.” Now Edward got a rushed feeling and everything around him seemed to slow down. Even the clock seemed to slow almost to a stop. A few seconds later everything went back to normal feeling speed. “I am guessing I just became able to speed up and slow down my perception of time.” Tala put his hand on Edward’s shoulder. “Yes, you are right. I can feel that too.” Sean turned to the others. “There are two people I don’t know come into the driveway.” Tala put his hand up. “Stand down. It’s my mom, Karla, and her husband Hank. Tala walked out to the door and met them as they were about to knock. Karla jumped back. “You scared me. How did you know we were coming?” Jay came up behind Tala. “It’s a long story. Please come in and meet a few people.” They walked back to the living room. Tala started to point at people. “Mom and Hank, this is Sean. He just accepted the role as pack beta. This is Edward. He just accepted the roll of pack chief enforcer. Edward and Sean, this is Karla and Hank. They all shook hands and sat down. Hank looked over at Tala. “So, Tala, about this long story?” Jay answered first. “Being that Tala is an ancient, when he promotes someone to a position of power in the pack, it seems to unlock something in them.” Tala picked it up from there. “Sean gained some of his wolf form perception. When someone is around so far but I’m sure it will develop other things in time. Edward gained an ability to mess with his perception of time and speed. All things that will help them fulfill their new rolls.” Hank whistled. “Wow. Congratulations to both of you.” Both Sean and Edward said thank you. “Tala, Jay, we better go and let you talk to your mom. We need to talk to our wives. When are you going to announce it?” Tala stood up. “Go ahead and have Lisbeth send it out in the next pack update. I’ll show you out.” Tala, Sean, and Edward left the room and headed for the front door. Hank quickly turned to Jay. “This is getting big. You know that there are people that going to hate this.” Jay sighed. “I know but what can we do. We must live our lives and do what is right for everyone. Did Ann show you the books this morning?” Karla turned. “Yes, she did. I thought I was uptight about stuff, but she has everything filed and indexed. It puts me to shame.” Jay laughed. “You get used to it. I spent many a night having to fix things I sent her because she wouldn’t pay me until my invoice had the typos corrected.” Tala came back in the room and sat down across from Karla. “I’m sorry you had to be ripped from your home so quickly. Things got out of hand.” Hank nodded. “It was a bit fast but from the little we heard, it was better to be safe and overreacting then ignore it and loose our lives.” Jay looked over to Karla. “Did you have any idea on where you want to start?” Karla looked over and shook her head yes. “It starts in Amidon, North Dakota. That was the site of the Red Pack homestead.” “Gloria! Get in here!” The head of the Southern Arizona Pack yelled out his office door. On his computer screen he was looking at thirty-five different job requisitions opened that day for office staff in areas he had never heard of. Gloria walked in the office and closed the door. “What can I do for you Allan?” Allan pointed at the chair in front of his desk. “Sit down and explain to me what I am seeing.” Gloria looked at what was on the screen and sighed. “Allan, I emailed you last night that I was helping out Sir Hawk with getting the hiring started for the American pack support staff.” “I assumed you meant like one or two people. Who is going to pay for all these people?” Allan’s face was a strange shade of reddish-purple. It was the shade he got when he was both mad and confused. Gloria put on her fake smile. “Sir Hawk is managing the entire American Clan Operations center on the 17th floor by himself. He needs a lot of staff.” “What are you talking about Operations Center?” Allan’s expression showed his frustration. “He gets a crappy office just like the rest of us.” Gloria continued her fake smile. “When I worked with him yesterday to plan out your new office, I emailed you some ideas. Did you get to look at them? I wasn’t sure if you wanted the window office but no real extra space or if you wanted the center office with room to grow.” Allan looked at her like she was nuts. “Window office? There are no window offices.” Gloria sighed and let her smile fall. “Allan! I keep telling you to read your emails. Our new clan is building out all of the 17th and 21st floors. When all is settled, the Celtic Clan may give us the 18th floor as well since they are not using it but for storage. Do you want the window, or do you want more space to grow?” Allan finally grasped what she was saying. “New clan, you mean George was serious?” Gloria shook her head. “Yes Allan, we are part of the American Clan now. Next week I’ll get you set up with your new login. It will be one letter different and everything else will stay the same. We are also supporting the Boise Pack and Sir Hawk until the staff is hired. By the way, the listings you see are just the first phase on the 17th floor. Once the 21st floor opens, we will need even more staff.” Allan started reading through his emails and saw the plans Gloria sent him. He clicked through the ideas and stopped when he saw the one named ‘Window on Garden’ and admired it. “Um, I’m sorry I snapped at you. You really think we can get this set up?” Gloria smiled for real this time. “Yes Allan. I do. I made the plan choices for you. We can have whatever you think we should have. By the look in your eyes, I was right that you would want the garden and forest view.” “What is this smaller office with the same view?” Allan was looking frustrated. “Who will be next door to me with a slightly better view then mine?” Gloria smiled and got up. She started to leave without answering, but before she closed the door behind her see finally answered. “That Allan is where MY office will be located. My doctor says I need more natural light every day.” She closed the door and went back to her desk to let Hawk know that they would want the window area and the plans Allan selected. The knock came on the door. Bjorn walked over and opened it. “Can I help you gentlemen?” Sean looked at Bjorn, trying to figure out who was answering Lisbeth’s door. “I hope so. We are here to see Lisbeth about some business. Is she available?” “She is not actually.” Bjorn was being cautious since didn’t really know who these men were. “Maybe there is something I can help you with instead.” Sean didn’t look happy. He could sense that Lisbeth was just in the kitchen cooking food. He knew something wasn’t right. “No, I don’t think so. I need to talk to Lisbeth about this and I won’t take no for an answer.” Bjorn could tell things were about to escalate so he quickly formulated a plan. “I think we are getting off on the wrong foot. So how about you tell me who you are, and I will let Lisbeth know you stopped by.” Sean was starting to really dislike what was going on. “Not going to happen. I know she is inside, and I need to talk to her right now.” Sean started to walk towards Bjorn to get in his face. “Stop!” Bjorn’s face turned firm and stone-like. “Get off my porch. Don’t make me call the alpha. Sean and Edward backed up and stayed on the grass next to the path. This guy had some power behind his voice. Lisbeth came to the door hearing her husband shout. “What is going on? Oh, hello Sean. Good morning Edward. What is all the shouting about?” “You know these men?” Bjorn turned to look at Lisbeth and keep his eye on the two men. “Do I know them? They are two of the men that moved here from Arizona out of the Alpha Boehler’s pack.” She waved the men up. “Come on in. Don’t mind my husband.” Edward turned to Bjorn. “Oh my god, your Bjorn, aren’t you?” Bjorn turned to him. “Is that all?” Lisbeth had all of them sit down in the living room. “Sean, Edward, I want you to meet Bjorn. He is my husband and he sits on the Circle at the Council. Bjorn, this is Sean Freeman and Edward Montley.” Sean quickly apologized. “I am so sorry Sir. I did not know that you were here. I didn’t know what to think when someone was answering Lisbeth’s door and blocking us from her.” Bjorn was now all calmed down. “I’m sorry I was so protective. Let’s kinda start over.” Bjorn cleared his throat. “Good morning, what can we do for you two fine gentlemen?” Edward and Sean laughed. Sean was first to speak up. “Well, Tala told us to come over and have some news put in the next pack update.” Lisbeth looked interested. She grabbed a small off-brand mini-tablet and opened her notepad app. “Okay, shoot.” Edward chimed in. “We need to announce the promotion of Sean to pack beta and my promotion to chief enforcer.” Lisbeth jumped up and gave them both a hug. “I am so proud of you both. I’ll send out a special edition update later today.” Bjorn got up and shook both of their hands. “I am sure Tala picked the best people for the job. He has a talent for that.” Lisbeth cooed. “That he does.” She pinched Bjorn’s cheek. “Can I offer either of you some tea?” Sean and Edward shook their heads. “No, we just wanted to pass on the good news. We need to get home and let the wives know before they read it in an update.” Lisbeth showed them out and came back to sit with Bjorn again. “I can’t believe you were going to kick the beta off our lawn.” Bjorn tried to look like he was the victim. “What did you expect me to do when two younger men come knocking on our door looking to talk with you?” Lisbeth chuckled. “Thank you for the protection.” Bjorn could smell the smoke even before the alarm went off. “Honey, I think the toast is burnt.” The fire alarm sounded. “Never mind, I know the toast is burnt now. “I told you this needed to stop.” The elderly man paced around his lushly appointed villa. “Cut your losses and keep yourself from getting killed.” “I will not.” This voice was more middle-aged. “You have done so much for this world and all they do and hold us back. You deserve to rule all of this.” “No! You must stop this.” The older man’s voice filled with anger. “Stop trying to kill him, stop stealing money, and stop making me out to be a hero.” “I deserve the spoils of war. I almost had everything taken care of and then he showed up and ruined it all.” The middle-aged voiced raged. “I will kill him and his clan along with him.” “I cannot stop you,” the older man spoke softly. “I will not save you either. I have been keeping my books clean, so when Master Tobias wins, I can still keep my wealth I earned.” The middle-aged man laughed. “With the reports I had PWC cook up for him, he’ll be lucky if it doesn’t come back on him as the thief.” The older voice sighed. “I pray you are right, Tajsin.”
  3. Gloria Adkitson exited the elevator on the 17th floor to find a whirlwind of movement and construction. There was one partially completed office with a light on. She walked over to it and saw the light was coming from a large office to the side. She knocked on the door jam. “Excuse me. I was given a message to meet someone up here.” Hawk looked up and waved her in. “Yes, I believe that you are meeting me. I’m Hawk and you are?” “Nice to meet you Hawk, I’m Gloria,” She answered. “I work for the Southern Arizona Pack as an Executive Assistant to the Pack Representative. Are you one of the construction managers?” Hawk laughed. “No, I am the Pack Representative to The Boise Pack. However, I am managing the build-out of the Operations Center.” Gloria looked a gasp. “Why are you up here then? Why don’t you have an office downstairs with the rest of us?” Hawk chuckled. “Well, that is a long story. I will just say my request for an office went poorly enough that our clan now is getting a whole two floors.” Gloria looked confused for a moment. Then a look of knowing showed. “You’re pack switched clans already.” Hawk nodded. “Just like yours is now. I asked to meet with you because I wanted to get your input on space planning. I need to know what size of suite you need, if you want access to windows, how many people per office, built-in amenities, and other things like that. I have to submit plans fairly quickly.” Gloria took a breath. “I thought that all of them would just be the same as all the other offices.” Hawk shook his head. “I have some new friends in high places and the offices you have seen are not what are actually in the other Ops Centers. They are massive suites that don’t look like Cold War era cubicles. This office setup here is going to be replaced soon with a security vestibule and reception desk.” Gloria took a few minutes to let that sink in. “So, our packs all get a suite? What happens as we grow? Most Clans have building in other parts of the world to handle logistical issues.” Hawk pulled out some plans as he explained. “Bjorn Chase has been working with the Celtic and Amazonian leaders to figure some of this out. It is up to each pack if they want to switch to their true clan of not. As packs move, and we expect a large number from just the Celtic clan alone, floors will be renovated to upgrade their space. Right now, we have assigned to us the 17th floor here and the 21st floor. We have been promised the 18th floor as well if we need it.” Gloria whistled. “That is a lot of space. How is it being paid for? I know most of the packs I mingle with don’t have a ton of money.” Hawk nodded. “I know, but I have heard a rumor that things are going to be taken care of for us.” He pointed to an array of pages. “Here are the sizes of space you can choose from. They will all accommodate 10-15 people, but you lose the window if you want the bigger space off the main aisle.” Gloria stopped him. “My office is three people and we can barely afford to do that.” Hawk looked up from the plans. “Did I forget to tell you the best part? Office staff will be paid by the council, like they are supposed to be. There are packs of 50 lycans that have an office staff of eight people. Your pack has hundreds, so I’m hoping fifteen is enough to handle the service calls.” Gloria looked confused. “I don’t understand.” Hawk pulled a chair over for her. “Sit down. I’ll explain some of what is going on as we draw out some plans for your pack. How does Gloria having a window office sound?” Björn knocked on Raul’s office door. “Can I come in?” Raul jumped up from his desk. “Björn , yes, please sit down. Crazy day today, isn’t it?” Björn sat down and make an exasperated sound. “Amen! Between the stuff Toby send me last night and the issues down in Arizona, I need a vacation.” Raul nodded. “You should take one then. You need a good work and life balance. How is your wife?” Björn looked dejected when he realized he hasn’t called her in a while. “She must think I'm a monster. I’ll call her and see if she’ll have me back.” Raul laughed hardily. “I think she will.” He turned serious. “Are the reports as bad as they sound?” Björn sighed. “Which ones? If you mean the audit, then they are. If you mean with the pack politics, they are worse then you could ever imagine.” Raul looked glum. “Are they related? I mean is the money tied to the problems in Arizona?” Björn gave Raul a look. “I’ll bet they are. I’ll also bet that Tala already figured it out. I’ll call him later and make sure. I just hope there is a council left when both Tala and Toby are done.” Raul shook his head. “We’ll see my friend.” He looked up at Björn. “Call your wife and go home. Take a few days to rest. Make it a long weekend and come back next month.” Björn and Raul both got up and hugged quickly. “I’m not sure I can handle that much time off, but I’ll try my best.” “Hank, what is going on?” Karla asked as he got off the phone. “Why the sudden urgency?” Hank tried to keep the worry off his face. “All I know is we need to get to Alpha Peter’s house as soon as possible.” He grabbed his suitcase and hers and went out the back door. “I have an escape route behind the shed that will lead us to his back yard.” They quickly slid through the loose section of fence and within a few minutes were in the backyard of Alpha Peter. The guards there let them through and in to the house. They found Peter and Rose in their office. Rose jumped up from her chair when they came in. She wrapped her arms around Karla. Peter turned to Hank. “Thank goodness you made it. You two don’t know the danger you were in. The boss of the six men that Tala dealt with form the FBI confessed to be working against his own pack. I no doubt believe the people he was working for are angry.” Hank nodded in agreement. “They are not ones to be messed with.” Peter turned to Rose. “I spoke with Master Tobias and he wants you to fly up to your son’s compound. I will handle closing up your house and sending anything else you need. My guess is Tala would want you to be heading to deal with the lands in the Midwest soon enough so why not get used to travel.” Karla turned to Peter. “Is he alright? I worry about him so much. He has so much on his shoulders.” Rose squeezed her tighter. “He is fine, dear. Your son is an amazing man. He’ll keep himself safe. Peter sent some guards up to him as well.” She made sure Karla was looking at her before saying, “I would worry about anybody that stands in his way.” The procession slowly drove down the dusty road to the Sacred Flat. They reached the end and security details surrounded Jose, George, Tala and Jay separately. Then the Honor Guard encircled the casket for the late alpha. Four men carried it when the other six made sure no one could get close. They set the casket down on a wooden shelf build into the frame holding the rest of the wood for the pyre. They stood at attention and awaited the ceremony. Tala felt a strange foreboding in the air as they reached the impromptu dais. George introduced Jay and Tala to some people and Tala got a feeling and stopped when they got to the secretary and her husband. He turned to the secretary. “I’m so sorry for your loss. Had you worked for the alpha long?” She tried not to cry as she answered. “I have worked for the pack for thirty-five years. I worked the alpha’s father too. He would be so proud of Jose for honoring his brother like this. They hated each other ever since their father died.” Tala took her hand. “Death is hard on everyone.” He turned to her husband. “Had you been working for the alpha long?” The secretary looked at Tala oddly. “My husband is the head of the local bank.” Tala turned to her. “I just had a feeling he did. I’m sorry.” He turned back to him and shook his hand. He froze as their hands touched. He got his wits back and continued down the line and to Jay. Jay saw the look on his face. “Something wrong?” Tala grabbed him and they went over to the security guards. “I need someone to climb under the dais and find what is going to explode when the fire is lit. I need someone else to quietly grab the secretary’s husband. He is in on the plot and is going to try to kill George and Jose.” Jay looked panicked. “We need to get them out of here.” Tala looked at Jay. “We can’t without people noticing. We know what we need to do to stop it and we will deal with it after this is over.” The guard that was checking the dais pulled out a small device with a timer on it for thirty minutes and counting. He quietly took it out in to the desert in a jeep to a place about 10 miles away and way down from the flats and came back. He blended back in to the guards and made his way over to Tala. “The device is far enough away that on one will get hurt when it goes off.” Tala thanked the man. “Very good work. Keep your eyes peeled for anyone else that is looking out of place or not engaged.” A few minutes before the pyre was to be lit, Jose walked up to the podium. The crowd quieted and he began to speak in to the microphone. “Today is a sad day for our pack. While my brother and I never saw eye to eye, I will still miss him. He taught me a lot about life and how to live it. Because of him, I cherish every moment I have on this Earth and on these pack lands of ours. I know my brother was not a good man at heart. He treated some of us poorly. I ask that you do not remember him that way. Remember him for all the things he did to try to build our pack.” He stepped back and cried as George took to the podium next. “In the time-honored tradition of old, we place out fallen leader at the foot of the fire. As a way to honor and respect, we light this fire to allow the Earth to take him back in to her. Pray for him to have good fortunes in his road forward.” George stepped back and both he and Jose took a lighted stick and placed them on either end of the casket to light the pyre. A small pop could be heard in the distance as the fire took hold. They stepped back and watched the flames rise up. The crowd sobbed as the fire raged on. Just as the fire was lit, the secretary’s husband turned and found security guards surrounding him. “Going somewhere? They quietly let him away to be held for questioning. As the fire settled down and the crowd had finished their prayers, Jose stepped back up to the podium. "As you no doubt heard, it was I that had to take my brother's life in a challenge. It was a hard thing to do but by doing so I can fulfill my father's dream. The plan he made would have named me alpha from the start. I intend to make my father proud. I intend to make my pack proud. I intend to make the mother spirit proud." Jay and Tala stood and led the crowd in chanting, "All Hail Alpha Jose." It was late when the plane landed on the small airstrip. Karla and Hank got off the plane and headed toward the small hanger. Toby was inside waiting with a mid-size SUV. He grabbed their bags and put them in the back. He got in the passenger seat while Karla and Hank sat in the back seats. Karla leaned up to the front. “Thank you for picking us up so late. Are we going to meet Master Tobias tonight still?” Toby gave the driver a look before answering. “I believe he is still up waiting for you. We are taking you up to his home for the night before you go down to Master Tala’s compound in the morning.” A few minutes later they arrived at Toby’s house and he led the two visitors up to the door while the driver put the car back in the garage and went off duty. They rolled their luggage in by the door. Karla turned to Toby. “Maybe he already went to bed?” Toby laughed. “No, I like to meet my guests in person. Especially if they are my son-in-law’s mother and step-father.” Hank cracked a smile. “It’s good to meet you Toby. We were never introduced, but I’ve seen you a few times when you were in the area to see Alpha Peter.” Karla turned to Hank with anger in her eyes. “You knew? Why did you let me put both of my sand covered feet in my mouth?” He slapped him in the back of the head. She turned to Toby. “Where are my manners? I am Oliver’s, I mean Tala’s, mother Karla and this is my oaf of a husband Hank.” Toby stifled a chuckle. “It is a pleasure to meet you and to have you as my guest for the evening. Tala has told me all kinds of stories about both of you.” Karla smiled. “Jay told us a few about you too. I won’t tell if you don’t.” Toby motioned for them to have a seat. “Deal! Please have a seat. Can I get you anything?” Karla shook her head. Hank nodded. “I could do with some water, tap is fine.” Toby went into the small kitchen and brought out three bottles of water. “I grabbed you one Karla just in case your manners got in the way of me being a good host.” They all took a quick sip. “I’m sorry you had to leave in such a hurry. I fear your son has an effect on people sometimes. Sometimes things that should take a long time move at an unpredictable pace.” Hank sighed. “It is better that Karla is safe. I did my share of things to pay for. Any chance I get to make things better is a bonus for me.” Karla turned to Hank and frowned. “I don’t want to hear you say that anymore. You did more to protect me and Oliver that I can repay. I also need someone to blame when we get lost driving around in North Dakota.” She playfully hit Hank’s knee. “I was expecting to see your mate, Toby.” Toby looked ready for that question. “Ahh. Well after the years we have been together, she tires of the hours I have to keep. She and I have kept separate schedules and homes for many years. I see her every day and we will always love each other but she demands her sleep.” Karla gave Hank a look that told him just to keep his thoughts to himself. She turned back to Toby. “Speaking of sleep, I’m a bit beat.” “I understand. Please follow me.” He led them down a short hall and to a modest size guest bedroom. “Make yourself at home. I only ask that you don’t do my dishes.” He got an air of aloofness in his voice. “I will not have a guest cleaning up my work of art.”
  4. garfwiz


    Jay looked down at the message he got on his phone from Tala. He frowned and turn toward Jose. “My mate just left the meeting with your brother and things went about as poorly as we expected. He says to have you come with me. He’s worried about your safety.” Jose looked worried. “I know my brother is ruthless. He won’t hesitate to do what he thinks he needs to.” He closed his laptop and put it and a large file folder from a drawer in a bag by his feet. “We should hurry.” Jay and Jose walked out the front door and got in the waiting car. Just as the door closed and it started to pull away, a group of four security guards came from around the corner and knocked on the door they just came out of. By the time they realized that Jose was not there, the two men had driven away and toward the preplanned meetup place. As they drove out into the desert, Jose looked out the window. “Do you really think I could do what you are asking?” Jay looked out the window on the other side of the car. “Master Tobias knew your father. He was a great man and they talked a lot. I think you need to talk to Tala before you decide if you can.” Thirty minutes later they exited their car and walked over to where Tala was standing. He was looking at a dry riverbed and the abundance of nature around it. “Hello Jose.” He turned around and saw Jose flinch. “I know you are surprised to see who I was. I am used to it by now. Please walk with me. Jay, we will be back in a few minutes.” Jose followed Tala as they walked a few hundred yard down a slope. He looked around at the landscape. “My father used to bring my brother and I down here all the time. He wanted us to know our land and understand the part we played in the balance of nature.” Tala turned to him. “I know. I am going to tell you something I never got to tell your brother earlier. I have ancient powers and one of those is to see into people’s souls and know the real truth in them.” He watched Jose gasp for a second. “I know that you never believed your father’s death was an accident. Neither did Tobias or Edwardo. I saw what your brother did in his dark soul. I am sorry. If I had known what I was going to see, I would have done this another way.” Jose started to cry. “Why did he do it? What was he going to gain?” Tala put his arm around Jose. “Your father was about to announce that you were to be the next alpha of the North Central Arizona Pack.” Jose stopped crying and look confused. “Padre was going to make me the next alpha?” Tala nodded. “He saw the evil your brother’s heart and knew that you would do so much better.” He hugged Jose tighter. “Your father wanted the best for his pack. He wanted you to be that. Now I have to ask for you to fulfill his wishes.” Jose look crushed as he thought about it. “But how? He won’t just give it up without a fight.” “I’ll do what I can to help,” Tala started. “I think I also need to call in some backup. I know other things he has been doing but I cannot prove it. I need an accountant and I will need Edwardo.” Jose looked brighter for a second. “My laptop. I keep a copy of all the pack books. I have ever since I started to believe he was stealing from the pack accounts.” Tala smiled. “That was the hard part done. I think my part will be the easiest then. Let’s get back to the cars and we’ll make some calls as we get back to town.” They walked back to where Jay was waiting. “It looks like we have a plan?” Jose nodded. “I can do this. If my father thought I can, then by God I will do him proud.” Jay looked perplexed. Tala shook his head. “I’ll fill you in on all of it later. Jose and I are going to head to the main pack office. Can you call the backup team we discussed and have them meet us there?” About three hours later Tala and Jose pulled up to the main pack building. For two hours, they had been on a conference call with Master Edwardo and his translator. Edwardo was on board with the change in leadership and emailed Tala a letter to that affect. They noticed a few men sitting in a park across the street and a few more hanging out on the sidewalk. When they got out, the men came over and introduced themselves as guards from Alpha Georges pack. The men encircled Tala and Jose as they walked up to the door to the office. Once inside, the alpha’s secretary told them that were expected and to follow her back to the conference room. Tala and Jose sat down on the far end of the table facing the door and the guards that came in with them stood to either side of them blocking a direct view from the door. A few moments later ten local police officers entered the room. “Are you Oliver Taylor,” they asked looking at Tala. Tala shook his head. “My name is Tala.” “Mr. Taylor, we have a warrant for your arrest. The charges are kidnapping the alpha’s brother and threatening harm to the alpha in public. Please stand up.” Tala remained seated. “This is not the way for your alpha to treat a guest.” The officer started to come toward Tala but some of Tala’s guards blocked his path. “Please sir, I cannot protect you if you don’t come with me calmly.” Tala smiled. “Were you going to protect me like you protected your last alpha?” The officer stopped. “There wasn’t anything I could do. An accident is just that.” Jose spoke in Spanish to the officer. “Mi hermano murió al alfa.” (My brother had the alpha killed.) Tala could see the officers resolve starting to crack so he added one other little tidy nugget. “He also is the one that has been stealing money. Your pension was not lost in the stock market like he told you. My accountants took the information Jose had and they located an account in Switzerland where all the money is still sitting.” “You are lying.” He stared at Jose. “Why would you tell these people lies about your brother? He has taken care of you.” Jose shook his head. “No. Another lie he tells.” At that moment, Alpha Boehler walked in the room and his rage started at once. “I thought I told you to arrest that man. He threatened me publicly.” “Stop!” the alpha looked over at his brother. “I always knew the truth, but I never wanted to believe it. I never wanted to admit to myself how black your heart was.” The alpha laughed. “What does it matter what you think? At the end of the day, I am the alpha and this man,” pointing at Tala, “is going to be made an example. From down the hall, the secretary yelled that the alpha had an urgent call. “Take a message, I’m busy.” The secretary unfazed yelled back. “I think you should take this call.” “For fucks sake! I told you I’m busy,” the alpha bellowed back. She tried one last time. “It’s Master Tsit.” Alpha Boehler blanched. He walked down the hall and picked up the call from hold. “Hello? Good afternoon, Master Tsit. I’m sorry to keep you waiting.” His face fell. “I understand sir. Thank you for your call.” He hung up the phone and walked back to the conference room. Tala laid two letters on the table as the alpha walked back in the room. “From the look on your face, I am guessing Edwardo told you about these letters. The first is granting me immunity while on Amazonian pack lands and the other that he is striping you of your rights to rule. This pack will be managed by his teams until you are deemed to be fit, or you are replaced.” Alpha Boehler lit back up and lunged at Tala. “You will regret the day you ever came here.” “Hermano, step down. Fulfill our father’s wishes and don’t be a fool.” Jose looked straight into his brother’s eyes. “Do it, or I will have to fight you for it.” The alpha looked over to his brother. “Then a fight you shall have.” Jose shook his head and looked sad. "Let us get this over with. No point in waiting." The two groups negotiated their way to the square in front of the building. The guards and police created a circle around the outside. Tala gave Jay a quick and dirty recap. Tala’s guard let him in to the circle and he moved to the center between the two brothers. Jay spoke loudly for all to here. “I, Jason Wilson, Heir to the Celtic Clan, bear witness to this official alpha challenge. This fight will end when either party forfeits or dies. Do both parties agree?” Both brothers nodded their agreement. “When I give the signal, this fight will start.” Jay moved to the edge of the circle. “Fight!” Jose was the first to make his move. He decked his brother. “This is for all the years you mistreated me.” He followed it by a quick punch to the ribs. “That is for stealing from the pack.” Finally, he turned to the side and jammed his foot into his brother’s crotch. The whole crowd heard the yelp as the heel impacted. “That was for having my father killed.” Alpha Boehler staggered for a second. He took a breath and swung at Jose. Jose dodged out of the way. He tried again and Jose side-stepped out of the way. Rage started to build, and he suddenly transformed into his lycan form. He snapped at Jose who quickly followed suit. Jose’s lycan form surprised most the local police officers. It was fifty percent larger than the alpha. Jose did not stand still. He was up on his feet and lunged toward his brother. Just as he was about to snap at his neck, the other wolf jumped out of the way and to the left. Jose regained his footing and turned in time to miss being attacked. The fight kept up back and forth for almost an hour. Each would try to attack the other but not actually be able to make any progress. Both wolves were started to look like they were getting tired. Jose stopped for a second and his brother jumped at the opening and lunged. He landed on top of Jose and they rolled on the ground. Jose pushed him off and tried to get back. His brother lunged again. He was high in the air when Jose swiped. His bother fell back with a huge set of gushes across his chest. Jose jumped on top of him and held his brother down by the throat. Alpha Boehler struggled to get out from under his brother. He had underestimated him. He sprung a trap, and in his rage, he fell right into it. He looked into his brother’s eyes. He didn’t see hate, nor did he see love. He saw sadness. He resolved he would not let his brother’s weakness be left unexploited. He rolled and dumped Jose off him. He tried to turn to dive on to his back, but Jose had already turned. He noticed too late and Jose drove his head up and bit down on the alphas throat. Blood poured out of the wound as Jose dug his teeth in deeper. Finally, he pulled back and it was over. He had killed the man who had his father killed. He had killed his alpha. He had killed his brother. Jose transformed back to his human form. Tala and Jay walked over and they both embraced him. Jose cried and cried. Jay let Tala take Jose to a near by bench as he addressed the crowd. “It is my sad duty to inform you that the challenge is over due to death. Jose Boehler is deemed the winner. My mate and I shall work with the remaining pack leadership to insure a smooth transition.” The crowd started to disperse as George Crush pushed his way to the center of the circle. “What the hell is going on here? I thought the alpha told you to arrest that man.” George pointed at Tala. “Arrest him now!” The Tala’s guard unit tighten around him. “Special Agent Crush, it is a pleasure to finally meet you in person. I’m sorry it is under these sad circumstances. I guess you heard my meeting went poorly this afternoon. Things have escalated and the status quo is not what it was. I’m sorry for your loss.” George looked at Tala oddly then noticed that a few of the police officers were in tight formation off to his left. “What are you hiding? Why are my men formed up like that?” Out from behind the officers, Jose stepped out. He had put on some clothes an officer had given him. You could still see some blood under his chin mixed with tears. “They are now the honor guard until a van arrives to transport my brother.” George went into a panic and started toward Tala. “What do you do?” Jose yelled at George. “Stop!” His voice had a new strength to it. “Tala did nothing to my brother. I did. I found out the truth about what he did and has been doing. I challenged him and he lost.” George went pale. “You killed him? You killed your brother.” Jose nodded. “He left me no choice. He had my father killed and he was syphoning money from the pack accounts.” George started to feel faint. One of the other officers not directly encircling the former alpha ran over and helped him to a bench. “So now what?” Jay stepped over. “My name is Jason Wilson. I am here on behalf of Master Tsit and have been appointed to assist in the pack’s transition. He knew that here might be a challenge after Tala called him earlier this afternoon. He granted Tala full diplomatic protection as well just in case the challenge did not go in Jose’s favor. I guess that’s all water under the bridge now.” Tala walked over and parted his guards. He sat down next to George. “I meant when I said I’m sorry for your loss. Not just here and now, but I meant also your mate and pups as well.” George looked over at Tala with mouth agape. “How do you know about that?” Jay answered before Tala could. “My mate is an ancient. He can see in to people's hearts and souls to find the truth.” Jose sat down on the other side of George. “He helped me find the truth about my brother and he gave me the courage to fulfill my father’s wishes. I was always supposed to be the next alpha. I don’t know what Tala saw from your past.” George started to sob. “I’m scared. I don’t know what is going to happen to me now.” Tala sighed. “I do. Tell Jose the truth and then decide from there.” George looked over at Jose. “Your brother and I have been working for two clans. There is a Saharan that calls us and gives us orders and we follow them. I messed up about a year ago on an operation and they took my mate and pups. I spun it as she left me and took them with her but in reality, I believe they were killed. Considering what happened today, I fear I’m next.” Jay looked over at George. “You are safe right now. I’ll call Edwardo and Toby later and let them know what happened. You have more important duties. The van is here, and you should go with it.” Jose stood up. “No, I will go with my brother. George, can you organize an emergency pack meeting on the sacred flat tonight? I want a funeral pyre in my brother’s honor. It is the best way to start the healing for the whole pack.” George looked up at him. “After all he did to you? You would honor him in the traditional way?” Jose put on a sad smile. “He was always my brother first. He never honored our father, but I will not disrespect him the same way. Go, make the preparations.” Tala got up and excused himself. “I am going to sit in the car and make some calls.” Jay turned to him. “Do you want me to come with or stay with George?” Tala looked over at George. “Please stay with him. We promised him that he would be safe, and we will make sure of it. I’ll join you in a little while.” Tala turned on the speaker phone and called Sean Freeman. “Hello Sean.” “Good Afternoon Sir,” Sean greeted him. “What can I do for you?” Tala kept from crying a little. “I’m calling with solemn news. Alpha Boehler died today in a challenge.” Sean gasped. “What? Who?” Tala calmed himself and started to explain. “I came down here to smooth things out as you know. Things escalated and ended with Jose challenging his brother. It turned out that the alpha had his own father killed and was stealing money. It also came out that he and George were taking orders from another clan.” Sean sounded skeptical. “Who told you that?” Tala answered. “George Crush himself.” Sean was shocked. “So why call me? You know there was no love lost on Alpha Boehler.” “Well, I wanted to ask a favor,” Tala mused. Sean had an idea what Tala was saying. “You want to know if the six of us are willing to work with him still?” “Not exactly,” Tala answered. “I wanted to make sure you wouldn’t kill him if I sent him to the compound for protection.” About an hour later, Tala had finished calling Toby, Edwardo and Raul. He went into the pack office and found Jay and George on the phone in the alpha’s office. Jay hung up and looked to Tala. “We have the team dispatched to start building the fire. The food and drink should be ready as well. The hardest part is the crying people.” Tala looked dejected. “It is a hard thing to accept, change. Do you think they will welcome him? Will they embrace him?” Jay gave Tala a knowing look. “I bet that most forgot he was even alive. Just the outcast little brother of the alpha. Time will tell if he succeeds or if he fails.” A phone rang and was answered. “We tried but they out flanked us by two minutes.” The voice sounded unhappy. “Have you made contact with out other man?” The response was quick. “No, they have someone with George all the time.” The irritation was rising. “How about getting to our guest and the runt, as you called him?” The response was quick again. “They brought in guards from another pack to protect themselves and the named a large group as an honor guard to protect the runt and the slain alpha Boehler.” The anger started to show. “What are you going to do about this to get it back under control?” This time the answer was slower to come. “I think our last chance is to try for them at the funeral pyre tonight. I am getting the feeling they are going to take George back with them for protection. I heard him say he was afraid we would kill him like his mate and pups.” There was a light tone in the still angry voice. “No, we will actually kill him. His mate and pups are still very much alive. Do what you need to take out all of them.” “Yes, sir.” The phone line went dead. The mate to the alpha’s secretary put his cell phone away and started to gather what he needed to fulfill his orders.
  5. “Sorry I’m late, I got caught up in Building Management.” Björn sat down across from Rolf. “The IT department and Management teams need to work on their customer service.” Rolf laughed. “I heard about a huge incident. Did you have to break into everyone offices?” “Seems like it was the only way to get something done without a staff to do it for me.” Björn waved down a waitress for a menu. “Tell me it will get easier. Please tell me that.” Rolf shook his head. “It only gets worse.” “I was afraid of that,” commented Björn as he flagged the waitress back over. “Can I get the house salad and some ranch dressing on the side?” The waitress walked away to place his order. “How soon will everything be up and running,” Rolf asked in between bites of his chicken fried steak. “Well the IT department should have everything ready tonight. The requests were still in the system, but they just needed to be turned on. Also, they had to set up a page for requesting a new sign-in that converts the old one over and no one loses any data. I was assured that it would be as seamless as possible.” Björn looked down at his phone at a text from Brandon. “Ah, IT said that everything should be set up now for sign-ins and the conversion process can start on Monday for the existing packs.” Rolf smiled with his mouth full. “Great!” Björn shot him a glance. “Next time swallow before talking. You have gravy on your shirt now.” Björn started to laugh. His salad arrived right then, and he started to eat ravenously. Rolf shot him a look and said while trying to keep a straight face, “I’ve never seen a wolf go after a salad like that. I figured dedication like that should go only to meat.” Björn looked up from his salad. “You’ve never had the house salad then.” Björn pushed back some of the greens to show sous vide steak mixed in. “You never read the salad part of menu in how many years you’ve been here?” Rolf looked defeated. “I admit, the salad section usually isn’t my favorite reading. Maybe I’ll look it over next time we have lunch together.” Toby looked down at his phone when it rang. He saw the name and picked it up. “Hello, this is Master Tobias. Yes, thank you for working so hard Hans. I understand it was a lot of work and I am grateful you gave me such an incredible rate considering the circumstances. I will expect it later today then. Thanks again.” He was surprised that PWC would have a report that fast, but they did do most of the day to day finance checks so maybe they were able to blend it in to their run of the mill work. He decided that he’d hold judgement until he read the report. Fredrick was looking at his screen and was sweating. The numbers just were not adding up. He saw the money going into general fund from pack payments. He saw all the normal building management and IT expenses going out. All the day-to-day expenses were being paid. When he got to the staffing budgets something wasn’t right. The Himalayan and the Saharan staff budgets were perfect, but the Amazonian and Celtic budgets looked like they were being shorted. The Amazonians seems to be spending the same amount as everyone, but they were showing over budget and the packs had been tapped to pay more per member. The Celtic budget was the one that baffled him. They did not spend any council money on staff or incidentals. Yet all their money showed allocated. They too were being tapped at twice the normal per member rate. Fredrick picked up the phone and called a college. “Ori, can you come over to my office for a minute? I have an odd audit I want you to read over and see if you can find what I’m missing.” A minute later Ori arrived at Fredrick’s office. She knocked and came in. “What do you have Fredrick?” Fredrick smiled when she came in. “I’m doing a legal audit for a pending fraud lawsuit and I just cannot find where the money is going.” Ori walked around to look at Fredrick’s screen. She whistled when she read it. “Your missing about $2 million dollars this quarter alone.” She grabbed a chair from the other side of the desk and sat down next to Fredrick. “Do you mind if I click around a bit?” Fredrick agreed. “Yes, I have the filtering on so it shouldn’t have any account names, just department names.” Ori clicked through a few pages and clicked on a project just named ‘Power’. “What is this project?” She ran a quick once over the budget and pointed. “There is your money.” Fredrick looked at the numbers and then clicked on the master project billing list. “It’s not there! You found it Ori. How did I miss this?” Ori smiled. “Sometimes it takes a couple sets of eyes. I hope you are going to be on the winning side of this audit.” Fredrick looked over at her. “Me too!” Ori put the chair back and started to leave the office. “Ori, before you go. Can you keep it secret that I’m doing this audit?” Ori turned back to him. “I guess.” She joked, “I don’t want the wolves scratching at my door.” As the door closed, Fredrick was thinking the same thing. He finalized the report and had it sent by same day courier to Toby. Tala and Jay were sitting on the front porch of a brand-new house built for Björn and Lisbeth. Tala turned to Lisbeth. “This tea is excellent.” Lisbeth blushed. “I just followed the instructions on the box.” She leaned back in her oversized rocking chair she had moved when their stuff was packed up. “It is going to be nice having some of our own security here. I always feel like we are over working Toby’s teams.” Jay nodded. “I know they are liking the overtime, but it is hard on them. A lot of them have wives and pups to care for. Do you know if any of the new families have kids?” Lisbeth smiled. “Yes, four of the six families have kids. I made sure that we had added a school and a couple playgrounds and parks to the map.” Tala smiled as well then. “Thank you so much for taking on so much of the planning work here. Why won’t you let me hire you an assistant?” Lisbeth shook her head. “I like to keep busy and I demand to stay hands on. However, I think I am going to delegate talking to Alpha Boehler to you from now on.” Tala sighed. “I think I better get this over with and call him. He sounds like he might be a handful and I want to gauge him before I visit in person. He lost three families in one day and I think it best to call before they arrive tonight.” Tala went inside the house and sat in Lisbeth’s office. He pulled out his cell phone and looked at the number Lisbeth had on the desk for him. The phone rang three times before a voice answered. “Hello, I’m looking for Alpha Boehler. Yes, I can hold.” A second later a different voice picks up. “Yes, this is Alpha Boehler.” “Good evening Alpha, I’m sorry to call so late in the day.” Tala took a deep breath. “My name is Tala and I wanted to speak to you about what happened this afternoon.” Instantly, Tala could hear rage in the man’s voice. “How dare you call me after what you did?” Tala quickly jumped on the defensive. “I had no idea things were going to go the way they did. I believe you are aware I am very new to this world and had no idea that my invitation would have such an effect on them.” Alpha Boehler continued in his rage, “be that as it may, I demand to know what you are going to do to make amends.” He then started to get a patronizing tone in his voice. “Pack member theft is a serious crime and I would hate to see a new pack leader lose his pack so quickly.” Tala instantly was offended but did not let Boehler know. He decided to lay it on thick. “Amends is what I wish to make with you. Is it possible to meet with you tomorrow? Lunch at your choice of restaurants perhaps?” Alpha Boehler smiled to himself. He was right, this young pup wasn’t a threat at all. “That sounds excellent. I’ll see you about 1pm then?” Tala could hear the smile in Alpha Boehler’s voice. “I’ll be there with bells on. See you tomorrow Alpha.” Tala hung up the phone and went back out to the porch. Jay quickly sensed the mood of the call. “He is just as big of an asshole as we heard?” Tala nodded. “Yep, I think we are going to have to do some research before lunch tomorrow. That alpha will not be an alpha for long and I don’t trust his one beta either.” Lisbeth chimed in. “Guys, already done that for you. He has a younger brother that also lives on the pack lands that got looked over as alpha when their father died. What I have found in Toby’s records show that he could have been a great alpha.” Jay perked up. “You have been busy! Call him and have him ready to meet me about the same time as Tala is having lunch.” Lisbeth smiled a knowing smile. “You got it Jay. I think we just finished planning the rest of that coup d’état.” That evening Tala and Jay were waiting by the newly finished airstrip for the Clan jet to touch down. When it finished taxiing, they wheeled over the stairs and opened the door. They welcomed each and every one of the newcomers as they exited. The last family to exit was the Freemans. Tala reached out his hand to Sean. “Sean, it is so good to have you and your family here.” Sean beamed brightly. He pulled Tala into a tight hug. “Thank you so much for having us. Tala this is my wife Selma and my two boys Troy and Phillip.” Tala shook all three of the offered hands and then turned to Jay. “This is my mate, Jay. Jay, this is Sean Freeman and his family.” He turned back to Sean. “We have some cars outside to take you up to Master Whelan’s land as we don’t have enough homes ready yet. I was not expecting all six of you to come on the same day.” Sean laughed. “I guess we all saw the writing on the wall about the same time.” Jay turned to Selma. “Mrs. Freeman, I’m sure you are still a bit frazzled from your hasty trip. Please let us know if there I anything you need. You will find Lisbeth down near the cars. She will make sure you have all of our contact information as I’m sure Tala will be keeping your husband busy bright in early in the morning.” Thank you, Jay,” Selma replied. “But please, call me Selma. Did I hear we were staying with Master Whelan?” Jay started guiding Selma and the two boys down the stairs as Tala and Sean continued to talk about future security plans. “Yes, he is my father and has offered to help us out as much as he can.” Selma looked a bit surprised. “Your father? I didn’t know that. It is no wonder you have been able to handle all of this so quickly. I hear he is a great leader.” Jay smiled. “Yes, he really is and made sure to help us get things going fast. Your husband and his colleges are going to help us be able to defend ourselves without having to rely so heavily and my father’s security teams.” They reached the spot that Lisbeth was waiting for them just as Tala and Sean caught up. “Sean, I look forward to seeing you in the morning before I leave. Selma, I’m sure Jay told you, please let us know if you need anything.” Tala was about to say goodbye when he turned to the two boys. He got down on one knee. “Troy, do you and Phillip like sports at all?” Troy stammered out a reply. “Ye...yes. I like football and Phil likes to play baseball.” Tala grinned. “Then I have something for you.” He grabbed a bag from the ground near the last car. He pulled out a football and handed it to Troy. Troy looked confused. “This is for us?” Jay chimed in. “We wanted to make sure you had something to do while you and Phil get to know all the other kids in the area.” Selma thanked Tala. “I now see what Sean saw in you. Thank you so much.” The family got in the car after Lisbeth gave them a packet of information. The three lycans watched as they drove away. They turned and walked back to Lisbeth’s house. Tala turned to Lisbeth as they sat on the porch again. “Have you heard from the crew on the building delays on the main house and our house?” Lisbeth turned to look at Tala after sipping her tea. “Yes, they said that they will have the last items installed in your house in the morning and then they just have to clean up. So, you should be able to move in this weekend. The main house is still delayed because of the drainage issue. Maybe another two weeks to get more pipe and to redo the main drain stack. That should be about it though.” Tala looked relieved at that update. “That’s wonderful. Maybe that means we can work on getting started on the other houses soon.” Jay’s phone rang and he stepped inside to answer it. “Hey Toby, the six families are on their way.” Toby chuckled. “You can just call me Dad you know. I teased you that one time when we were in a meeting and now, I’ve lost my title again.” Toby got a more serious tone. “That isn’t why I called though. Can you and Tala come up tonight? I have something you both will want to see.” Jay caught the tone in his father’s voice. “Yeah, we’ll head up right now.” Jay came back outside and Looked over at Tala. “That was my father. He wants us to see something tonight. I told him we’d be right up.” Tala got up. “Thank you, Lisbeth. We’d better not keep Toby waiting.” They walked over to their truck and drove north along the logging roads to Toby’s office. It took them about an hour over the rough terrain. They parked outside Toby’s house and knocked on the door before they entered. Toby stood up from his chair and gave them both a hug. “Come into my office. I want you to read something.” He ushered them into his office, and they sat down on a small sofa as Toby rolled his desk chair over. He handed them both a thick bound report. “Both of you hold a copy of a report I paid for based on the fraud lawsuit. Tell me what you think.” Jay looked over the report from PWC for a few minutes as Tala looked over the report from KPLM. Jay finished and turned to Toby. “It all looks like it is fine. We might be in trouble.” Tala looked up from his report. “Jay, I would jump to that conclusion until you read this report. Toby’s clan has been defrauded almost 1.5 million dollars in the last three months.” Jay’s mouth fell open. “Plus, Master Tsit is out about 500 thousand dollars. Toby, have you told anyone about this yet?” Toby sighed. “Not yet, there are a total of five people that have seen the KPLM report. The three of us, the man who generated it and a college he called to verify a redacted version. I plan on calling Raul and Björn in the morning.” Jay finally was able to compose himself enough to comment again. “Let us know if there is anything we can do. I know these reports are going to blow the council up a bit. If you want us to be there, just let us know.” “I agree, please let us know when to be ready.” Tala stood up. “For now though, Jay and I should get ourselves ready to go to Arizona tomorrow for our meeting with Alpha Boehler and his younger brother at the same time.” “I wish you well. Boehler has been a blunderbuss for years and it is time someone put him in his place in the way only you two can.” Toby walked them out to their truck and gave them both a hug. “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you too.” The next morning, Björn and Hawk met in Björn’s office and went up to the 17th floor together. The doors opened on a floor that look very much mothballed since the World War II. The main office was cleaned out as expected and a basic desk was set up with a 20-year-old computer sitting on it. The IT tech that Björn first interacted with was just finishing with some wall connections and plugged a network cable in. When he saw the two walk in, he jumped up off the floor. “Good morning Master Björn. I was just finishing up this workstation here. I did the one in the larger office to the right here earlier this morning. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to upgrade the computers yet. The work orders that my boss fixed allocated money for new machines, but the purchase orders had to be rewritten. It will be a few days before they will be here and imaged.” Björn nodded. “I thank you for all your hard work to get Hawk’s office going so quickly. Do you mind showing him how to log in?” The tech quickly nodded back. “Sure, go ahead and sit down and I will walk you through the process. It might be a little different when the new machines arrive, but the basics always stay the same. Do you know what your login is?” Hawk blushed. “Not anymore. I don’t know if it was converted already or not.” The tech didn’t look surprised. “I guess it’s hard to email you when you never had email. What was the old ID and I will call down to the office and get the new one.” Hawk wrote down the ID on a twenty-year-old Post-it note. The tech pulled out a crude looking cell phone. “Hello, yes this is Clay. I need you to look up an ID conversion for me. Yes, I can hold. Thank you so much.” Hawk took the information that Clay had written down. “Okay, what do I do first?” It took Hawk about five minutes to sign-in and change his password. Clay started pointing at a few links on the intranet page. “For now, click here to check your email and over here for the phone directory. Our SharePoint team is already working on creating a whole network of pages just for the American clan and it’s packs. I expect to see a rough draft by the end of the month.” Both Björn and Hawk smiled. Björn held out his hand. “Thank you, Clay. You have done a lot of work for us that is above and beyond. I hope your boss knows how valuable you are.” Clay shook it vigorously. “It really was no trouble, and I think he got your point yesterday.” Clay held up his badge. “He shocked me when I got here this morning with a new assignment. Lead Network Technician, American Clan Operations Center, 17th Floor.” Hawk looked confused and looked at Björn. “We have an operations center?” Clay laughed. “Your meeting crashing had wider effects than either of you know. Most clans have at least 2 floors each. You will be having the 17th and 21st floors built out by the end of the year. As soon as we can hire more staff, we will be fulling staffing both floors with an IT team. I believe that Building Management is creating a team for you as well.” Björn looked impressed. “Well Hawk, it looks like you have two teams to manage until you can hire some staff too.” The American Clan jet touched down at a private airstrip just outside Sedona, AZ. Two cars were wait for them. Tala got in one car and started to head toward the city while the other took Jay out into the Northern Arizona desert. He arrived at the North Central Pack about a half hour later. His note said to find a man named Jose at a small office just past the main pack building. Jay walked in and a found only a single man behind a desk. He got up as Jay walked in. “Can I help you?” Jay put on his friendliest smile. “I hope so. Are you Jose?” The man nodded. “Yes, I am Jose. What is this about?” “My name is Jay and I am here to offer you a job.” Jay pulled a chair next to a desk and sat down. Tala’s car pulled up to a swanky 3-star restaurant in Downtown Sedona. He got out and straightened his jacket and walk up to the door. A doorman in a 3-piece tuxedo opened the door for him. He walked through the finely appointed lobby up to the hostess desk. He waited for the well-dress hostess to finish up on a phone call before he approached her. “Good afternoon Sir.” She smiled at him. “How may we help you today?” Tala replied trying to sound dignified. “I am meeting someone for lunch at 1pm. Has he arrived already? His name was Boehler.” She typed into her computer for a few seconds. “Yes, Alpha Boehler has already arrived and is waiting up in the Garden Dining Suite. If you will follow me, I will take you over to Manny. He will escort you through the members area.” Tala followed her over to another desk. “Manny, please escort this gentleman up to Garden 105 to meet with the Alpha.” Tala and Manny went wordlessly up a flight of stairs and through a security gate. After the gate, they went down a long corridor that opened to a spacious indoor garden room. They turned to the right and down a hallway that had numbered doors. They reached number 105 and Manny knocked three times on the door before opening it. He ushered Tala in and closed the door behind him. Tala did a once over with his eyes and decided that this seemed a little too posh even for his old lifestyle. Alpha Boehler was sitting at a small table by the window with a rocks glass full of what looked like whiskey. “Good Afternoon, Alpha Boehler.” Tala held out his hand as he walked over. Alpha Boehler stood up and shook it firmly. “Glad you made it on time. People just don’t understand how busy a man like me is and that my time is valuable.” He pointed to a seat across from him. “Please sit down and we can discuss some things.” Tala sat down and suddenly a waiter appeared and asked him if he wanted something to drink. “I’ll have a lemon water, please.” The waiter disappeared and was back just as fast with a tall glass of lemon water and a plate of sliced lemons as well. “Thank you.” Boehler was laughing inside. ‘He could see what I was drinking and then he ordered lemon water. This guy really is a push over.’ “Now, let us get down to business. What are you offering?” Tala took a sip of his water and looked in to the Boehler’s eyes for a second. He nodded to himself and spoke softly. “I will offer you your life and your dignity.” Alpha Boehler took a second to process what he heard and almost fell on the floor laughing. “My life? My dignity? Where do you think you are? This whole club is owned by me. I could take your life right now and no one would ever know what happened.” Tala’s face hardened. “Just like what happened to your father?” Tala stared right into the other man’s eyes. “You think that I’m weak. I didn’t get through life being weak or pampered or entitled. I earned everything I have.” Boehler froze then his mood flipped to pure rage. “How dare you talk about my daddy! My father was a great man.” Tala kept eye contact. “Yes, he was. Master Tobias actually told me stories from when they met. He had just taken over the Celtic clan and your father was very gracious to him. He has fine memories of him, until his untimely death.” Boehler went on the defensive. “Are you accusing me of my father’s death? I was nowhere around then. He was out in the desert talking to some of the wolves on our packs borders when a poacher shot him.” Tala looked at the man across from him coolly. “I never said you were there. Also, I am not accusing you. I am flat out telling you that you planned your father’s death so you could take over this pack. He was about to announce your younger brother was going to be selected as Alpha-Designate. You couldn’t allow him to take over as you had plans for power and wealth.” Alpha Boehler got a wry grin. “Nice story, but you can’t prove it.” Tala got a grin of his own. “I don’t have to prove it. You’re going to hand the pack over to your brother and you are going to disappear.” Boehler stood up laughing and motioned to a security guard through the window. When the door opened, Boehler made a demand of the guard. “Get this guy out of my club. I don’t ever want to see him again.” Tala put his hand up to the guard. “I will see myself out. But I warn you publicly, you should have taken my offer. I only wanted what was best for you and for your pack. These people have had enough of your tyranny.” Tala walked down the hall and out the front. When he got outside, he pulled out his cell phone. “Plan A failed but now I have some information we can use. How is our future Alpha?” A minute after Tala was gone, Alpha Boehler got up from his table and walked over to the corner and placed a call. “I couldn’t keep him here as long as I would have liked. He basically told me to give up the pack and disappear. I was going to have him ejected but he opted to leave on his own.” The man on the other end of the phone frowned. “I told you not to underestimate him. I will protect you if he tries anything, but I can only do so much without Raul finding out I’m messing with his packs. How much does he know?” “He told me about the plan to kill my father. He didn’t say anything else.” Alpha Boehler bobbed back and forth. “Do you think he knows more than that?” The man gave a short answer. “If knows that, then he knows everything. Find your brother!”
  6. garfwiz

    IT Issues?

    No one else caught that. Thank you. I will get it updated later today
  7. Hawk walked up to the building management office door and found it locked. He found a sign on the door that they were at lunch until 13:00. He looked at his watch and noticed it was 13:25. He tried scanning his badge on the security pad next to the door that said badge for entry if door is closed and it opened for him. He walked inside and closed the door behind him. “Hello?” Hawk looked around at the empty vestibule area. “Is anyone here?” An office door opened to his right and a guy that looked like he just woke up from a nap stared at him. “Dude, we are closed for lunch until 13:00.” Hawk cringed inside as he hated being called dude. “I saw your sign on the door. It’s 13:25, dude.” The sleepy guy perked up. “Shit, I’m in so much trouble. I am so going to get fired for sleeping on the job again.” Hawk sighed on the inside. “I won’t tell anyone. What is your name?” “Really? Thank you so much!” He sits down at the counter and logs in. “My name is Augustine, but please call me Gus. Only my mom calls me the horrific name in public.” “Nice to meet you Gus.” Hawk walked over to the counter. “I’m not sure if you’re going to like meeting me but here goes. I need you to tell me where my assigned office is.” Gus laughed. “You came all the way here to find your office. Why didn’t your boss take you to the room you are supposed to work in?” Hawk took a breath. “I am the boss, and no one can find a listing of where my office is.” “You’re the boss,” Gus mused. “You look just old enough to be an intern, but okay Boss. What is your name and I can look up your records.” Hawk calmly replied still feeling like he was being treated as a nobody. “My name is Sir Haih Bia'isa, representative to the Boise Pack.” Hawk put a bit of sass at the end. “It might also be under Hawk as only my mother used my sacred family name.” Gus typed for a few seconds. Finding nothing he started digging deeper into the system. “I’m sorry but I don’t see anything listed in here. Do you have your login ID?” Hawk showed him the badge and the ID number printed on his instruction card from Rolf. “This is all the information I was given by Master Rolf when I arrived this morning.” Gus shook his head. “This isn’t right then. All of the Celtic packs have ID numbers that start with a C not a U. Are you sure you are who you say you are?” Both Gus and Hawk turned their head when the door clicked open and Björn walked in. “Did you want me to prop your door open? Everyone will think you are still at lunch?” Gus quickly answered. “Yes sir, that would be wonderful. I’ll be with you in a few minutes. I need to finish up with this gentleman here.” Hawk smiled, “no worries. I believe the person I was meeting is the guy your helping.” He turns to Hawk. “Good afternoon Hawk. Your brother was right. You do look like each other.” Hawk walked over to Björn and tried to shake his hand. “It is excellent to meet you finally.” Björn grabbed his hand and pulled him in for a bro hug. “Save the handshakes for the other lawyers.” He lets go and motions over to Gus. “He get you all taken care of?” Gus answered with a sneer. “Who might you be?” Björn’s smile dropped and his dander rose. “I am Master Björn Chase, is there a problem?” Gus scoffed, “never heard of you. Do you need to know where your office is too?” Björn took a breath. “No, I know where my office is. I was coming to meet with Hawk here as I had heard he was having office issues as I was having network issues. However, I think I do need to find an office now. You bosses office!” Gus kept the same flippant attitude in his reply. “You don’t just get to ask for the boss when you don’t get what you want.” Björn walked over and leaned across the counter. He held up his security badge in Gus’s face. “See this? It says I need your manager, right now.” Björn pulled Hawk’s badge forward from around his neck. “I believe his says the same thing.” Gus leaned back and read the badges and his face paled. “I, I, um, yes sir.” He picked up the phone and dialed back to the manager’s office. “Good afternoon sir, I need some assistance at the counter.” Hawk and Björn heard some yelling over the phone. “I understand you are in a meeting sir, but...” Gus put the phone down. Björn sighed. “Where is this meeting?” Gus looked up and pointed down a secured corridor. Björn started walking quickly toward the door. Hawk turned to Gus. “Don’t worry Gus. I told you that you wouldn’t like meeting me. I don’t think you have to worry about lunch anymore, insulting one of the members of the Circle is a bigger deal.” Hawk caught up with Björn right before he got to the meeting room at the end of the hall. “Stop Björn.” Björn turned to him. “This is the second time today I have been dealing with these issues now. I’m a bit pissed.” “I get it.” Hawk put a hand on Björn’s shoulder. “Let me take lead on this one and if I need help, I’ll let you know.” He winked and then opened the door on the meeting room. Five sets of eyes turned to the door as he and Björn walked inside and closed the door behind them. A fortyish looking man jumped up and started yelling. “Who the fuck are you? This is a private meeting.” Hawk spoke very calmly and assertively. “Ladies, Gentleman, I’m sorry to interrupt your meeting but I needed to escalate a building management issue and the fine young lycan at the counter was unable to assist me.” Hawk looked around the room. “Whom do I need to inquire with?” The fortyish looking man walked over to Hawk and poked him in the chest. “You can’t just walk into a private meeting because the heat in your office isn’t right.” Hawk grab the hand that was poking his chest and pushed it away. “Don’t touch me! I would dream of complaining about the heat in my office until you tell me where that office is at. So far, no one here seems to know and that seems a bit odd to me. So why don’t you tell me who you are and what you are going to do about it.” The man laughs. “You don’t know where your office is at? You interrupt the planning and budget meeting to ask where your office is?” Hawk smiles. “Yes, I am. So, who are you and what are you going to do about it?” “I am the VP of Engineering and Building Management. I don’t deal in assigning are locating offices.” He turns to sit back down. “Get out on my meeting!” Björn starts to step forward, but Hawk puts up a hand. “No. I don’t think you want to ignore my request if you want to keep your job.” The VP jumps back up and gets in Hawk’s face. “My job is secure. Yours on the other hand won’t be. Who is your boss?” Hawk turns and points at Björn. “I have two, but I only brought one with me.” The VP laughs out loud and points. “He’s your boss but yet you are doing the talking?” Hawk smiles again. “Yes, I am. I asked him to let me handle it and just to be here if I needed him. I will only ask this one more time. What is your name and how are you going to solve my issue?” The VP sneers at Hawk. “I won’t. I’ll just get the both of you fired.” He turned and walked over to a phone in the corner. He picked it up and dialed a number. “Yes, this is Aarne Baxter and I need security to remove two people from the Building Management meeting room. Thank you.” Hawk sighed and turn to Björn. “I think we are going to need to hire a new Building Management staff at this rate.” Hawk shook his head and looked sad. Björn looked over at Aarne. “If things keep up, we will need a new IT staff and Building Management you mean.” Two security officers badged open the door and approached Björn and Hawk. The lead officer did the talking. “Let me see your badges gentleman.” They hold up their badges to the officers. “These are different than all the others I have seen. What is this symbol?” Björn started to speak but Hawk help up his hand again. “That officer is my family’s clan mark. It means Commitment. All American wolves share that trait and it is our guiding belief. My brother takes that as commitment to undoing wrongs. I take it as revealing truth.” The office continued to read Hawks badge. “Sir Haih Bia'isa, Boise Pack.” He looked up at Hawk. “You’re a little young to be a Clan representative.” Hawk answered, “my pack and my family have great faith in me.” “I’m sure.” He started to read Björn’s badge. “Master Björn Chase, Cathlamet Pack. Were you on the senior council before it was broken up? You need a new badge if you were since only the Circle members and Clan Heads are called Master now.” Björn looked at him with distain. “I am on the Circle.” The other officer taps the lead officer on the shoulder. He looks over and see everyone else in the room pale in color. “Sir, I think we better leave these two gentlemen alone to finish their meeting with Mr. Baxter.” The lead officer looks taken aback. “If Mr. Baxter wants them removed, then we remove them. No fake badges are going to stop that.” Hawk turns to the second officer. “Thank you for trying. Is it Officer Griffin?” The officer nods. “If you can send a message to Master Whelan’s office that I am granting you protection in this matter. Code word is ‘rolo’ for the routing.” Björn turned to the lead officer and read his name and rank off his uniform. “Sergeant Colbert, I think as Officer Griffin is leaving, you had better call your Captain to come in here.” The sergeant chuckled a little bit. “If you say so...” A few minutes later and tank of a lycan came through the door. His eyes landed on Björn. “Good Afternoon Master Björn, I didn’t know you went to budget meetings. You wanted to see me?” “Oh, hello Captain Kilmek. I didn’t know you were back from vacation.” Björn noticed the color in Sergeant Colbert fade away. Captain Kilmek’s face flattened. “I had to push it back and we leave this evening. So, what seems to be the problem?” Hawk spoke up this time. “Well Captain, we seem to have a bit of a misunderstanding between Mr. Baxter and me. I have been having issues with office assignment and my escalation request got a bit out of hand.” “I see.” Captain Kilmek mused. “Go on.” Hawk explained what happened in the outer office and the interactions they had in the meeting room. “I know it seems a bit aggressive to barge into the meeting here. I suffer from a lack of fondness to being fed dog shit.” Captain Kilmek turned to the still trembling table of people. “Aarne, when will his office be ready?” “Bob,” Aarne started, “why is his office so god damn special. All the clans have offices they can use until a final assignment is made. They need to talk to their clan liaison.” Björn smiled and turned to Hawk. “Well Hawk, as we hadn’t gotten all the staff figured out yet, I haven’t hired anyone for that. You up for it?” Hawk thought for a moment. “For now, I’ll offload that to someone else later.” He turned to Aarne who’s face fell again. “I don’t usually talk to myself in public, but I still want to know where the American Clan offices are.” Aarne trembled. “American Clan offices? They were never approved. I got an email that they weren’t needed. The work orders were vacated.” Björn’s face turned sour. “Who emailed you?” Aarne quickly answered. “Nobody emailed me. It was all automated and came from the executive approval system.” Björn looked frustrated. “How quickly can you fix it and have my Clan’s offices ready? I already had to get my Clan’s network ID issue fixed earlier.” “IT is just bits.” Aarne started to get scared. “I have to deal in actual building space. How many packs do you plan on having over the next couple months?” Hawk chimed in before Björn. “The way my brother moves and the word of mouth power he has shown makes that hard to guess. I’d say five new packs and at least fifty packs will need new space in the next six weeks.” Aarne turned to one of the women at the table. “Anja, how quickly can we get the 17th floor ready?” Anja looked something up on her computer. “It would be a struggle, but I think we could have a crew in there to build out on Monday. The main suite needs some basic work done but that might take a day. If we allocate one person from each of the ten crews, they could have fifty-four more pack suites and a logistics hub done in about 5 weeks. Do we know who all will be moving?” Björn answered. “The Boise Pack and Southern Arizona Pack that will need to move first. However, I need to make sure that the Cathlamet Pack gets up and running soon. It would look bad for the lead pack to not have an office to inquire to.” Aarne looked to Anja. “Anja, can you get your team moving on this? Also, move anyone you have to move to get the lead office of the main suite move in ready by tomorrow morning.” Aarne turned to Björn and Hawk. “I’m sorry. I just followed the work orders and didn’t think anything of it. You didn’t deserve to be treated unfairly. I hope my actions now can make up for my attitude before.” Hawk spoke with composure. “I accept your apology. We shouldn’t have gotten so mad at you as we know you didn’t cause this. I’ll talk to my brother to see if he can put some pressure on getting these backend issues fixed.” Aarne stopped for a second and thought. He turned to Hawk. “You keep mentioning your brother. Do I know of him?” Björn smiled and answered for Hawk. “Mr. Baxter, Hawk’s brothers name is Tala.” He watched Aarne faint on the floor and then turned to Captain Kilmek. “He took that better than I thought he would.” The secretary looked over to the three men waiting. “Alpha Boehler will see you now. I trust you know the way.” The three men walked down a short hallway and knocked on a door. When they got the okay, they opened the door and entered the alpha’s office. The alpha greeted them as they walked in. “Gentlemen, I only expected two of you. Please be seated.” The first man sat and began speaking. “Thank you, Alpha, for seeing us. I came along as I figured it would be faster to have one meeting instead of two.” The alpha nodded. “Very well, lets get started then. I have a report that the three of you are off your fucking rockers.” The second man squeaked out a reply. “Well sir, I guess you’d have to have been there.” “Don’t talk back to me!” The alpha yelled. “I am ashamed of the three of you. Do you know what this will do to your careers? If three lycans cannot handle a half-wit celebrity, then what are you doing in the field?” The first man answered boldly. “That half-wit is the head of the American Clan. You have heard what he did at the council?” “Are you telling me you believe all the hyped-up stories from the council?” The alpha looked disgusted. The third man finally got the courage to speak. “Alpha, it happened. Believe what you want, but Tala spoke to us like no one has ever spoken to me. He cared about our wellbeing and it was not fake. He told us things no one else could have. We are American wolves.” The alpha looked surprised at the courage the three men had. “You are mutts and that is all you will ever be. Now do what you can to save your jobs and get out of my office before I banish the lot of you.” The three men looked back and forth at each other and nodded in silent agreement. They turned to the alpha and the first man spoke. “I, Edward Montley, request to transfer to the Cathlamet pack effective immediately.” The second man followed. “I, Sean Freeman, also request to transfer to the Cathlamet pack effective immediately.” The third man quickly spoke up too. “I, Aaron Jones, request to transfer to the Cathlamet pack effective immediately as well.” The alpha laughed so hard he almost wet himself. “Your requests are denied! You are all remanded to your homes until a meeting between the beta and myself can be held to figure out what to do to you. Now get out of my office.” The three men didn’t move. The alpha started to get angry. In an alpha voice he yelled. “I said get out!” The three men sat there and realized that they should have been feeling something, but they didn’t anymore. They all three smiled at the same time. Edward was the first to speak. “Thank you for accepting our request, Alpha Boehler. We will be going home to pack and will be off your lands in a few days.” The alphas anger rose even further. “How dare you! I will not let you play me for a fool. This will not stand.” The three men stood up and walked out the door without saying another word to their former alpha. Sean Freeman walked in the front door of his home and was ambushed by his wife. “What have you done?” “Honey,” Sean quickly started to speak. “I did what was best for all of us.” “Best for us? Do you know what is already being said? You not only got fired from the FBI but, not only that, you told off the alpha.” Sean could almost see smoke coming from his wife’s ears. She walked into the kitchen. “I got a call from my mother! My mother!” “Can I just explain?” Sean ducked as a plate came flying at his head. “I already have another job in Washington.” Sean ducked again as a serving platter came flying next. “Washington? What the hell is in Washington?” “I kinda sorta changed to be in Master Tala’s pack and I have standing job offer. All I have to do is show up.” The plates stopped flying for a second. “Aaron and Edward are going with me. I think the other three guys that were with us might go too.” She came back out of the kitchen and looked him dead in the eyes. “You’re serious aren’t you. I mean he really did change your mind that much.” “Yes. I tried to tell Alpha Boehler, but he wouldn’t listen. All he would do is yell and then something broke inside me. I asked to move to Master Tala’s pack and then I just felt this freedom. It happened to the guys as well. We just knew that we had to do this. We felt a commitment to doing the right thing for our lives and our families lives.” Sean stepped over and hugged his wife. “I want the best for you and for our sons.” She looked into his eyes again. “You better call our new pack and I guess I better get a moving company hired. Mother said the alpha is not happy and might not let us stay very long. Sean sat down in his chair and he called a number that he had looked up earlier in the day. “Hello? Is this Lisbeth? I am doing fine, thank you. My name is Sean Freeman and I wanted to find out when I can start my new job. Yes, I’ll hold.” Sean sat on hold for about two minutes. “Yes, I’m still here. Thank you but he didn’t have to do that. I understand that he is a different kind of person. Thank you again.” Sean’s wife came back into the room. “He has blacklisted us already. I can’t get anyone to help us.” Sean stood up and smiled. “It doesn’t matter. The movers will be here in about thirty to help us pack. Tala already had them hired and just was waiting on me to call. He did the same for the others too.” His wife looked relieved. “So, when do we leave and how long is the drive?” Sean laughed. “We are not driving. All six families are taking the Clan jet as soon as we all get to the airport. A private security company will be here soon to help protect the house and our property.” “What do we tell the boys,” she mused. “The truth.” Sean looked to his wife. “The truth is what is right. That is my commitment to the world. I am going to do what is right.
  8. garfwiz

    IT Issues?

    This is about American wolves. You have to get Kentucky Bourbon or Moonshine.
  9. He watched Tala nod. “Then you are correct, I have failed that part of my mission. Now you must understand that she be required to be captured and put on trial. She hid an illegal child. While she did not know what she had done, it is her that must pay for your existence.” Tala responded in a neutral tone. “You must know that she will not go willingly. Both her husband and my mate will defend her to the death after I am forced to fight you from getting to her. I don’t want that to happen, Agent Montley.” Tala sighed before he continued. “You do know that you are 35% American clan, right? The secret you are defending is literally what keeps you from your birthright as an American Wolf.” Agent Montley looked shaken for a moment. “How did you know that? I have never told anyone that. I could never bear the shame of knowing my clan was cowards.” “I have the ancient gift of seeing into the hearts of a wolf’s spirit.” Tala focused on speaking to Agent Montley’s wolf spirit. “The truth is the Red Pack was chased to North Dakota when the clan you get your paycheck from tried to rid the world of my family. American wolves fought against the Civil War and we were decimated for it. Taj’s great-grandfather ordered my great-grandfather killed.” The agent’s shoulders slumped. He sat down in front of Tala just as two police cruisers pulled to block in the three SUVs. Four officers walked over to the circle of men with hands on their weapons. One of the officers took the lead and started to assess the situation. “Gentleman, what seems to be going on here? We got a call of six men trespassing and claiming to be from the FBI.” The second agent turned to the officers. “I’m so sorry officers. It seems we got a bit of bad information. Things got a little bit out of hand. We are fine now.” Karla came out of the front door and ran over to the crowd of men. “Oliver, are you alright?” Tala looked up at his mom. “Yes, I am fine.” He turned to the lead officer. “Agent Jones is correct, things did get a little out of hand. I am fine and I am also sorry you had to be dragged into this mess. I plan on sending your alpha personal apology as soon as I’m done talking with all these agents one-on-one.” The officer stopped for a second. “How did you know we were all wolves in the same pack?” Tala stood up slowly. “Officer, I am Tala. I am the head of the American Clan of lycans. I am sorry we had to meet under these circumstances. Please let your alpha know my mate and I will be by later this afternoon. He lives just a couple doors down, is that correct?” The officer looked a little star struck. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Master Tala. Yes, he is just a few doors down this road. I’ll let him know you will be by.” He motioned to the other officers to stand down and they all got in their cars and drove away. Agent Montley looked up at Tala. “Why are you so understanding and not angry about us coming for you?” Jay walked up to the crowd and answered. “It is the ancient spirit in him. It makes him wise beyond his years. Be glad he didn’t get angry.” Tala chuckled a bit. “I’m not good to be around when I am angry. As I was going to explain before the police visited us, I find it shameful that your puppet masters decided to send a six-man squad of American wolves to stop another American wolf from talking to his mom.” The six FBI agents looked at each other with wide eyes. Agent Montley stuttered a bit. “You mean, we are all American wolves and didn’t know it.” Jay spoke up again. “Yes, there was a binding put in place by the packs that were keeping the American bloodlines alive in the background. For everyone’s protection, no one verbalized about the American blood running through their veins. Little by little, those bindings are being broken so that the power of the American Clan can regain its strength. The second agent spoke up again. “What do we do now?” Tala looked over at him and smiled. “Quit your jobs. I will hire you all to run security on my pack lands. We just received 100 square miles of land in Southwest Washington state and I think it would be great to have six strong American clan wolves run my security.” The agents all looked back and forth amongst themselves. They could all tell that Tala was serious, but they all had doubts. An agent that hadn’t said anything decided to test the waters. “You want us to uproot our families, leave our packs and move to Washington?” Tala looked over at him. “Why not? I don’t want to be a downer, but I doubt your bosses are going to be happy about today and will try to fire you all anyway. Why not have a place to go and good pay? You have lots of time to decide. When you are ready, just petition your alpha to let you move to my lands. You don’t have to leave your packs if you don’t want to. I will happily allow visitors. I will have someone on staff to handle applications and yours will be fast-tracked if you want to join.” A fourth agent looked at Tala sideways for a second. “Just like that?” “Sure,” Tala reassured. “I care for all my clansmen. I want to see you do well for your families.” Agent Montley spoke again. “You have given us something to think about. I think it best we do just that.” He turned to the other agents. “Guys, let’s get out of here.” The six agents got into the SUVs and drove off. Tala turned to his mother and Jay. “Let’s go inside. I think I need to have another quick talk with Hank before Jay and I go over to that alpha’s house.” About two hours after the agents left, they arrive at the Phoenix FBI field office. They park and straighten their suits before walking in to meet with their boss. They sit down in the conference, each with a small glass of water and wait. Agent Jones dares to pose the question all are longing to ask. “So, how good do you think he’ll pay?” Agent Montley turns to him. “I don’t know but depending on what happens in the next few minutes, we might want to find out.” At that time, the Special Agent in Charge, George Crush, walks into the room with a fierce temper. “What the hell happened down there? I am hearing reports that you didn’t even try to do anything!” Agent Montley took a sip of water and spoke very carefully. “Sir, our mission was a failure before we even left this building and you knew that. The moment that Hank didn’t call in when Tala knocked on his door, was the moment we should have turned around and went home.” Special Agent Crush wastes no time responding. “Please tell me how six FBI agents were outsmarted by the likes of a half-wit celebrity. Those people hire someone to think for them!” Agent Jones piped up. “Sir, he asked us why you sent six American blooded lycans to stop the head of the American clan from talking to his mother?” Crush stopped to think for a second before answering. “Agent Jones, I am hearing doubt in your voice about your orders. As your pack beta, I got you this job and I’ll be damned if you are going to question my orders.” Jones took a breath and then calmly decided why not. I’m going to rock my boss’s world a bit. “George, as my pack beta, I respect your authority without question. However, I think you are missing the big picture. We are 2nd cousins and that means that you too are an American clan wolf.” The five other men in the room nodded. “So the real question should be, why are we taking orders that go against our own existence.” Agent Montley took up the conversation where Agent Jones left off. “Sir, you were not there to see this, but he came out to meet us in the front yard. He sat down on the grass and blew my mind. He waved off the local police that got called on us. He told us the truth about what happened to his family. He wanted to make sure we were okay. You know me, I can catch a liar before their lips stop moving and I will state my life that he was telling the truth.” Special Agent Crush turned to the rest of the agents. “Do you all agree with the assessment of agents Montley and Jones?” He watched as all heads in the room nodded their agreement. “I see. You leave me no choice but to suspend all six of you for dereliction of duty pending investigation. Please leave your service pieces and credentials with the Duty Sergeant. Jones and Freeman, I will be sending a message to the alpha later today and you will need to answer to him. I will also be sending letters to the other packs you are from to hopefully have the same happen there too. You are dismissed.” At this he turned around and left the room. Agent Freeman turned to the others and tensely laughed. “That went well.” After the four wolves had a small snack, they returned to the living room to continue their discussion. Tala looked over at Hank and he knew the time had come. “Tala, I think I know what you are going to ask. I would protect your mother until my dying day. I’m sorry I hid the truth from you both for so long.” Tala smiled. “I know Hank. We may not have always gotten along but I think you did the right thing at the time and I am better for it.” He saw Hank start to cry a bit. “I was going to ask if you wanted to come up to Washington with us. I want you to bring the whole family so we can be together and see how many want to be turned.” Karla turned to Hank and he nodded. “We would love to, but I don’t know. That’s a big move.” She took Hank’s hand. “We don’t want to be in the way.” Jay tried to reassure them. “You would never be in the way.” Tala chimed in again. “Don’t get me wrong, I want to see you all the time, but I actually had a bigger favor to ask. I want to pay for you to move back to North Dakota. I want you to help manage the family lands.” Karla looked surprised. “Honey, there are no family lands. They were all sold back around the Civil War. It was the only way they were able to eat. You know that.” It was jay’s turn to shed a bit more truth. “Karla, my father’s family worked really hard in their management of the American pack bloodlines. They also bought back the land piece by piece and have it in a few shell companies. A few days ago, Tala was given control those companies. He owns all the pack land in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and parts of Southwest Manitoba.” Karla started to cry. “You mean you really have our family land back?” Tala went over and hugged his mother. “Yes, Mom. I have it all back and I want you to help make sure our clan’s wolves are given the chance to return to their home.” Hank stood up and walked over to Tala. “We would be honored.” He reached out and shook Tala’s hand. “It’s time I undo the damage that was caused.” An hour later, Tala and Jay are standing of the front porch of the alpha’s house. They knock and an average looking guy in his 50’s answered the door. “Good Afternoon, can I help you?” Tala smiled. “Yes, I am Master Tala, head of the American Clan, Order of Five Winds and Bearer of the King’s Crest. This is my mate Sir Jason Wilson, Heir to the Celtic Clan. I have come to speak with you about rejoining the American Clan.” The man stopped breathing for a second. “I know who you are. I also know your mother. I was asked to watch over her by a man from Idaho and have sent regular reports of her wellbeing. I never imagined you would be at my door though.” Tala laughed internally. “I’m glad Uncle Alexander has been looking out for her. May we come inside?” Yes, yes please come inside. Where are my manners?” The man opened the door wide and ushered them inside. “I am Alpha Peter Goldner, and this is my lovely wife and pack Luna Rose. Honey, this is Master Tala and his mate.” Rose quickly jumped up from the chair she was knitting in and bow to Tala and Jay. “Oh my lord, I never dreamed I would meet royalty in my own home. Can I offer you anything?” “Just two glasses of water please,” Tala answered for both of them. Rose brought them both a glass of water and motioned for them to sit on the sofa in the living room.” Peter sat as well. “Now that we are settled. I have a few questions for you.” “I can save you the questions,” Tala interrupted. “First no, you can choose to rejoin or not. Second, if you don’t have a pack representative, as I’m guessing you have been cheated of, you can choose one. Lastly, I just want your pack to be happy.” Peter laughed. “Not at all what I was going to ask. I was going to ask if you had an address to send the paperwork to and when we can announce to the rest of the pack.” Jay laughed out loud. “I have never seen Tala’s gift fail him.” Peter looked at Jay and confessed. “It didn’t. I changed my questions to try to save face.” He turned to Tala. “I was serious. Where do I send the paperwork?” Jay answered. “Right now, I would send the original to the council addressed to Björn Chase and a duplicate to my father’s office. Our compound is still being built.” Tala looked over at Jay. “Yeah, what he said. Can I ask that you continue to watch over my mom’s home? She is going to be managing the former Red Pack lands until everything is settled.” Rose took a sip of tea. “We would be happy to Tala. Karla and Hank have always been really nice people.” Tala looked over at Rose. “Thank you, ma’am. We won’t keep you from your early dinner.” Tala and Jay stood up. Tala shook Peter's hand. “Welcome back to your clan and we bid you good luck.” “What is the hell is going on?” Björn looks at the error screen on my laptop while talking on the phone. “I followed all the instructions I got from Raul and Rolf and this crap is still not working. The login just doesn’t work.” Tala answers back. “Did you check with the IT department?” Björn gives a half-hearted laugh. “The guys on the phone barely know the Wi-Fi passwords.” Tala tries again. “Go to the IT department.” “Fine,” Björn sighs. “As soon as I hang up, I’ll go to the IT office.” Tala smiles to himself. “Good. I’ll let you go so I can check and see if Hawk is doing okay.” “Tell him I say hello and to stop in later. Once he gets his office set up, of course.” Björn hangs up and closes the laptop and puts it in his bag. Hawk’s phone rings. “Hello?” Tala comes in over the speaker. “Hey Hawk. It’s Tala.” Hawk smiles. “Hey big brother! I can’t talk right now though. No one can find where my office is supposed to be at.” Tala frowns. “Something is going on then. Björn isn’t able to log in to his computer.” “Huh. The building management office is right next to IT. I’ll head over there and maybe we can double team them and get everything figured out.” Hawk wonders for a moment. “Do you think he will know who I am?” Tala chuckles. “I sent him that selfie of us and he joked he couldn’t us apart. He wanted you to say hello later anyway.” Hawk sounds relieved. “That helps then, but I look so much better than you. I’ll call you when we get everything taken care of.” Björn walks into the IT office and a guy walks from behind the counter. His badge shows he is a level two tech from the Saharan clan. “How can I help you?” Björn pulls his laptop out of the bag. “Master Rolf checked this laptop out for me and told me how to log in, but it doesn’t seem to be working for me.” “Go ahead and turn it on and I will make sure you are doing everything right.” The IT tech watches as Björn turns it on and types in the log in credentials he was given. “I think I see the problem. All the logins for Master Rolfs team would start with a C. Are you should you wrote it down correctly?” Björn looks up to the tech. “I’m not from Rolf’s team. I’m an American clan wolf and I was told our logins started with a U.” The tech looked bewildered. “There are no American clan log ins. What is your name?” “I am Master Björn Chase. I sit on the Circle for the American clan.” Björn looked irritated and held up his security badge. “I was told that my log in information should have been ready yesterday by both Rolf and Master Raul.” The tech stopped for a second. “Your Master Björn. I am so sorry sir.” He ran behind the counter and started typing at a ferocious pace. “Please forgive me, but I need to call the head of IT and see why this is happening.” Björn huffed a bit. “I understand." Björn calmed down with the tech. "I am not upset with you. I just want this fixed since it will affect five packs so far.” The IT tech’s call finally goes through. “Sir, I have a member of the circle here who doesn’t have a log in.” He waits for his boss to stop screaming at him. “Sir, his log in information starts with U. We don’t have any active U usernames in the system.” Again, the head of IT screams at him. “No sir, I understand. Good day to you too.” Björn looked a little shaken. “I guess that didn’t go well.” The IT tech shook his head. “He called me an idiot. I tried to tell him that you weren’t in there and said I obviously didn’t know my job. After that, he fired me.” Björn gasped. “Don’t go anywhere! Where is his office?” The IT tech started sobbing. “It’s down this hall at the end. I can't afford this stress or to be out of a job again!” Björn walked over to the hallway door and badged it open. “Sit down and have a break. I’ll make sure that your job is fine but his might not be.” Björn got to the end of the hall and opened the door to the IT head’s office. The guy turned around in his chair as he started to yell. “I thought I told you to get out!” He is facing the door when he sees it is not the tech from the front. “Who the fuck are you? How did you get into my office?” Björn looked him straight in the eye. “I am Master Björn Chase. I sit on the Circle for the American clan. That is who the fuck I am. Who are you?” “I am Brandon Smith, Head of Global IT Operations. You have no right to barge into my office claiming to be...” The head of IT stands up and sees the security badge on Björn’s belt. He quickly sat back down. Björn walks over to his desk and leans down in his face. “Don’t you ever raise your voice to me again.” The man in front of him is now pouring sweat. “Now, explain to me why my log in doesn’t work.” Brandon quakes in his seat. “I’ll check.” It takes the man about five minutes and he finds what he is looking for. Crestfallen he looks up at Björn. “The work order to create the American clan network system was cancelled by executive order.” “Brandon, you are going to have to explain that in a bit more detail.” Björn could feel a deep rage starting in himself. “I don’t know either, sir. It shows someone from the senior council killed the order, but I am already fixing it as we speak. It should be finished by the end of the day now.” By this point Brandon understands his team screwed up big time not checking on that. “Do you know when we need to create the next log in so I can do it personally?” “End of the day is too slow. Do your best to speed it up. Also, what do you mean next log in?” Björn looked confused. “You’re not creating the credentials for all the American clan?” “All the clan sir?” Brandon was just as confused as Björn was. “How many are we talking?” Björn felt the anger building again. “Lets see, there is mine as a member of the Circle. There is Master Tala’s as head of the American clan. Next, we have Sir Hawk and the rest of the Boise Pack. We have Alpha Peter and the rest of the Southern Arizona Pack. I think that would total 250 so far. Do I need to go on?” Brandon went white as a ghost. “Those are big packs. That would really be about 1250 as every wolf is supposed to have one.” Björn looked a bit surprised. “I guess you better get on it. I expect them to be ready by tonight.” Björn turned to walk away. “By the way, you better go apologize to your tech out there and give him a raise for having to deal with you.” Björn left the office with Brandon crying in his chair.
  10. I just happened to pick two of the big four. I almost switched it but thought that KPMG should be the innocent party. I do find it interesting that none of the big four are based out of the US. Three in the UK and the last in the Netherlands.
  11. The next morning, a rental car pulls up in front of a house in Sahuarita, AZ. Tala and Jay get out and go up to the front door. Tala knocks and Jay stays at the bottom of the three stairs up from the walkway to the porch. They wait about three minutes before the curtain moves and the door opens. “Hello Hank,” Tala says. Hank looks angry. “Oliver, get off my property. Your mother doesn’t want to see you.” Hank looks over and sees Jay standing at the bottom of the stairs. “Take that faggot with you. He looks like nothing but trouble.” Tala stands his ground. “No! I need to speak to my mother. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t important.” Hank laughs, “Are you serious? After the last fight you had on the phone with her. You dare to come to my home and tell me what you are going to do!” Tala calmly stands there. “Yes. I need to see my mother and I’m not leaving until I do.” Inside the house a voice is heard. “Who’s at the door Hank?” “It’s nobody Karla.” Hank turns toward Tala. “They were just leaving.” Tala yells into the house, “Mom! I came to talk to you.” Karla comes stomping out to the door. “Well here I am. Have you come to your senses yet?” “No Mom, I’m not ever going to be straight and I’m not going to do another movie.” Tala tried to keep calm in his voice. “I came because I needed to ask you something.” Karla looked over at her son and sees Jay standing at the base of the stairs. “Why did you bring that faggot with you to see your mother. Is he your new top?” Tala starts to let a little anger in his voice. “Stop it! Jay is here because of many reasons but mostly to support me emotionally right now.” Tala calms his voice again. “I wanted him to help me understand why we left the rest of the family and hid out here in Arizona.” “We were not hiding out, and you know that.” Karla starts getting a little condescending. “Hank, your step-father, couldn’t find work and he got a job here. You knew we were going to follow him and support his decision.” Tala starts again to hopefully pull out the truth. “No one told you that we were in danger. No one made sure we were not found here. You heard nothing from Lucas that he was in trouble.” “What are you talking about?” Karla stammers for a second. “What delusions are you having now?” Tala goes for broke. “I have met Uncle Alexander.” Karla stops breathing for a second. Hank pipes in now. “That good for nothing brother of hers? Did he want money?” Karla turns to Hank. “Not now Hank.” She turns back to Tala. “What did he tell you Oliver?” “Something I already knew by then. He filled me in on some details as well as his employer introduced me to someone, he thought I should meet.” Karla asked her next question quietly. “He was there?” “No. He died almost twenty years ago. I met his other son.” Karla started to cry. She looked at Tala and motioned him to come in. “I think we do need to talk after all.” They entered the modest living room and Hank sat down in his recliner and Karla in a wooden rocking chair. Tala and Jay sat down on the loveseat. Karla looked over at Tala with a tissue still in her hand. “I guess you know what we are?” Tala looked back at his mother and nodded. “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” Karla sobbed again. “I couldn’t. I was sworn to secrecy by your grandfather. He was so mad when I told him Lucas got me pregnant. I was forbidden to ever talk to Lucas again. He wouldn’t ever tell me why but when I met Hank, he made sure that we lasted. When times got tough, it was your grandfather that found the job for Hank here.” Hank sat up. “That old coot didn’t find me a job. That trucking company got my name from a friend.” Karla turned to him. “No Hank. It was all a plan to get Oliver here out of North Dakota.” Tala looked at Hank for a second and something seemed different then the last time he was here. He turned to Jay and just leaned his head for a second and Jay nodded to him. He turned back to Hank. “Hank, how long has it been since you went for a run?” Hank turned to Tala and laughed. “Boy, you were never funny. I don’t run. I run things over!” Tala tried again. “No Hank, I mean when did you last sneak out and run in the desert.” Karla stares at her son. “Hank doesn’t sneak out on me. He goes fishing, alone!” Hank turns to Karla with a stare of ‘shut up’ but doesn’t say anything. Tala turns to his mother. “He never told you he was like Uncle Alexander, did he?” “Like Alexander?” Karla starts to put two and two together and gets a disgusted look on her face. “You think Hank has a dog fetish?” Tala sighs. “No, I think he is a lycan. Aren’t you Hank?” Tala stares at Hank. Hank starts to get a little uncomfortable. “I think I left something on in the kitchen.” Tala keeps eye contact with Hank. “Hank, I think you need to tell my mother what you really are. It might be less painful for you if I don’t have to force you.” Hank jumps up and gets in Tala’s face. “I was warned that you might come here but I never thought you would try to out me. You think I’m scared of you Tala?” Karla’s face went from worried that there would be a fight to confusion. “What did you call him?” Hank quickly replied, “Oliver.” Tala smiled. “No, you called me Tala.” He saw Hanks face fall. “When did Faolán call you?” “He didn’t.” Hank looked scared. “Master Taj called me directly. He’s my much older third cousin.” Hank covered his mouth. “How are you doing this?” Tala turned toward his mother as he answered Hank. “Because I have an ancient alpha spirit. It is one of the many gifts I developed after I was turned.” Hank sat down looking defeated. “I didn’t mean any harm to you ever. I did what I was told to keep you hidden from everyone and to make sure you never learned the truth. I failed.” Tala got a gentle tone in his voice. “You never once hurt me. You never hurt my mother. I won’t hurt you as long you don’t work against me.” Tala stepped closer to his mother. “This is the reason I came to see you. I needed to know how much you knew. I see now that you were as in the dark as I was.” “Oliver,” Karla started. “I mean Tala. I don’t know what to call you.” “It’s okay Mom. It was a lot for me too. Call me whatever you feel most comfortable with.” Tala opened his arms to hug his mother. She stepped into them and they hugged tightly for a few minutes. A phone rings in Seattle. “Good Morning, thank you for calling Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler, this is Marilyne, how may I direct your call?” “Good morning Marilyne, is Fredrick available?” Toby quickly added, “this is Tobias Whelan.” “Yes, he is Master Whelan,” Marilyne answered. “Please hold and I will connect you.” About 30 seconds later, Toby hears the phone pick up and Fredrick comes on the line. “Hey Toby, what can we do for you today?” “I am calling because I need to request an official audit of the Lycan Council records.” Toby replies. Fredrick sputters for a second. “Come again? Did you say all the records?” Toby replies confidently, “yes I did. I need all the records checked. I want the deep focus to be expense and stipend payments to council representatives and staff.” Fredrick counters, “a request like that needs to come from a council writ of intent unless it is for tax purposes.” Toby is not daunted by this. “Normally you would be correct, but I am making the request at the same time I am filling suit against the council for fraud. As your team is one of only two firms that can audit a spiderweb such as this, I want to secure your services first. I also do not want my accounts excluded from audit.” “I understand.” In reality Fredrick had no idea what was really going on. “I will get a team together as soon as possible. I will require a copy of the legal filing as well to justify the records request.” “Thank you, Fredrick. I will have my legal team send you notarized copies of all the fillings by the end of the week.” Toby finished with a few more pleasantries and hung up the phone. He then called the other council firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and spoke to a gentleman there by the name of Hans. The conversation went almost exactly the same. At no point did he tell the other that both were going to be auditing at the same time to see if they got the same results. Next Toby picked up the phone to call his legal team. “Good morning Doris, can you let the team know that both audits will be started this week and they need copies of the fillings for record?” He waits for Doris to make the notes and thanked her. About an hour later the secure line in Taj’s office rang. “Hello? Yes, this is Master Taj” “Good afternoon, my name is Hans and I work for PricewaterhouseCoopers. We just got a request by another clan head to do a full audit of all the council accounts with a focus on expense and stipend payments.” “Very interesting.” Taj started to get mad. “What did you tell this person?” “He was told that we would need a writ of intent from the council to do that. We were then told a suit is being filed accusing the council of fraud and that copies of the fillings would be provided.” Hans sounded nervous. “He wanted to secure our services first because he believed the council would hide things.” Taj’s anger began to boil a bit more. “Thank you for calling me. I’ll get our internal auditors to work creating a defensive audit. Make sure he gets the ‘correct’ information when you are done.” Hans tried to make sure Taj knew he understood the request. “Yes sir, I will make he gets a very comprehensive and costly audit.” Taj hung up the phone and then grabbed it back up and called his contact in the FBI. The phone was answered, and Taj didn’t even say hello first. “Have there been any sightings?” The FBI special agent that answered responded quickly. “He landed in Arizona about an hour ago. We didn’t get a call from your spy, so I send a team of six to the house.” Taj sighed. “That guy was always sketchy at best. Keep me in the loop.” Once the Mother and Son bonding was over, they all sat back down and tried to figure out how to go forward. Tala was worried that Hank was going to hold things back. Karla was worried how far down the rabbit hole this was going to go. Hank just wanted to leave with his life. Jay was the most worried because he saw that this still could blow up. Tala broke the silence. “Hank, how much are you willing to tell us?” Hank sighed. “I’ll tell you everything I know. It isn’t much but I hope it helps you. I will use the correct names of the time so that your mom doesn’t get too confused. About a year after Oliver was born, I got a call from the current head of the Himalayan clan, Taj Feman. He told me to do everything I could to get and stay close to Karla. We happened to hit it off and when you were four, we were wed, and I tried to make us a happy family. Times started getting hard so as you know I took a job doing some short haul trucking. I was told that things were heating up because people were noticing Oliver was a bit different. At that time Taj made sure I lost my job and that your grandfather, John, was going to find me work somewhere else. Even I didn’t know we were going to Arizona. I would get calls about once a year after we settled down just to check up on us. When you took to acting, I was to make sure that you were signed to the correct agencies. That is really all I ever knew. A few weeks ago, I got a called from Taj saying I needed to be on the lookout for you coming back to talk to your mom. I was to make you go away if I could and to call in help if I couldn’t.” Jay sat up for a second. “Did you?” Hank looked at Jay. “I swear I didn’t. I never got the chance. They didn’t tell me what gifts you held, Tala. I swear on my life.” Tala spoke calmy. “I know Hank. I believe you. I also know that they were watching the airport, so they know I am here.” He saw Hank starting to panic. “Calm down Hank. All is fine. I can see you truly didn’t know what all the facts were, and I know you would never hurt my mom or me. Thank you for your honesty.” Karla turned to her son. “Will you tell me what the three of you already know. Please, son.” Tala turned to his mother and took a deep breath. “Here goes the truth. I will keep it to the facts for now and Jay and I will answer question when I’m done. Everyone in this room is a lycan. Our family was the last of the true American Lycan Clan and right after the Civil War, there was a plot to kill us all. Instead of dying though, our family stopped shift to our wolf forms and soon the knowledge was lost. There are other clan that fought to keep the American bloodlines around and that is where the problems really started for you and Lucas. You were both born of two families, which was the tradition since the breaking up of the five families or clans. When you had me, it made me of four families. To this day it is illegal to cross more then three families. It used to cause weak wolves. It shouldn’t have been a problem normally because we did not shift. However, since Lucas did, I had to be hidden because our family is an ancient pack. They were afraid of a resurgence of the American clan. Their fears came true when a firebrand of a wolf put two and two together.” Karla’s face had a moment of clarity. “That was Jake wasn’t it?” Jay laughed. “Very good.” He turned to Tala. “She learns fast.” Tala continued after a quick jab to Jay’s side. “Yes, Jake was the catalyst for this issue. In his search to turn me and add me to his pack, Jay here was hired by the head of his clan to follow me and keep me safe. He whisked me away to said clan head and was told the truth of our family. It was there that Jay and I found out we were true mates and he turned me that same day. Jake came for me but by then my gifts had started to develop and I repelled his advances to join him. That dust up caused a rowdy fight in the lycan council. We then met the then head of the senior council who tested me and found me to be exactly who I said I was. After that, I met with the council who proclaimed the American Clan was revived. I was also named the head of it. I then started to look for family and clanmates.” Tala took a sip of water. Karla took advantage of the slight break to ask a question. “Where does Alexander come into this?” Jay answered for Tala who was still drinking. “A large portion of the Boise Pack in Idaho are American clan wolves with at least 35% American blood. That is the pack Alexander went to and they are who turned him. He is currently one of the pack Betas.” Tala put his hand on Jay’s to let him know he was ready to take back over. “The only issue was that Jake was from the Boise pack before he split off and tried to start his own pack. We knew going there was going to be messy, but it had to be done. In the end, we gained more than a great pack. I learned that Jake is Alexander’s son.” Tala put his hand up to stop Karla and Hank from reacting too much. “Yes, I know what you are thinking. He didn’t know before, but he was very upset when he found out. Taking care of that issue brought Jake back to his father. I also met a man that was hiding in the same pack that I hope you will want to meet someday.” Karla didn’t skip a beat when she said the name Tala was about to. “I knew he had a son. My father used that to make sure I moved on from him and closer to Hank.” “Well, he knew about you as well. His name is Haih Bia'isa, Hawk for short. I know he will want to meet you if you want to meet him.” Karla’s eyes lit up. “I would love to meet him someday. I think I want to get to know my new son and catch up with my existing son first. One question I have is, will I need to be changed?” Jay took the lead on that one. “That is up to you ma’am. No one will ever force you.” Karla’s eyes burned for a second. “Did you just call me ma’am? I am not a ma’am!” Tala looked at Jay and saw the color draining from his face. “Mother! He was trying to be respectful.” Karla started to laugh. “I know. I just don’t like to be reminded that I’m getting older.” She turned to Jay. “I’m sorry if I scared you Jay. I just hope you didn’t piddle on my new loveseat.” The color started returning to his face. “I think I’ll stick to Mom and Karla then. Might be safer for my bladder. But as I was saying, you can be changed if you want and not if you don’t. My best advice is to see what you feel once everything settles down.” Three black SUVs start turning down the road toward the happy reunion. All had the same orders in hand, damage control. They needed to get to Hank before Tala found out what was going on. As they approached the house, all three vehicles turned on the sirens and lights. Tala and Jay heard them coming first and got a worried look. Jay turned to Hank gave him a look of confidence. Tala jumped up. “Mom, I love you so much, but I think it was best if you went in the bedroom and didn’t watch. I won’t hurt them, but they are going to try to hurt me. They might try to hurt Hank as well.” Karla protested, “no one is going to get away with trying to hurt my sons or my husband.” She walked to the front door and opened it as the SUVs pull to a stop with the lights still spinning. “Who are you and why are you here?” Two men in suits got out of each vehicle and started up the walkway. The one in the lead pulled out a thin wallet and showed it in front of him as he approached. “Good Afternoon, we are from the local chapter of the FBI. We have been tracking a pair of known fugitives and we believe they are hiding in your home.” Karla tried not to laugh. “Who do you think would be hiding in my home?” The second agent pulled out a piece of paper. “Their names are Oliver Taylor and Jason Wilson.” The agent put the paper back in his pocket. “They are believed to have laundered money and impersonated a celebrity to gain usage of a private jet. They are considered extremely dangerous. We will need you to allow us to search your property.” Now Karla did laugh. “No, I think it best if you just left my home.” She turned and closed the front door. “If you want to hurt them, then hurt them slowly. No one lies about my son and gets away with it.” Hank looked at Karla shocked. “Honey, I’ve never seen you talk like that before. What has gotten into you?” Jay spoke up first. “Just the fact that Tala is here, and she now knows the truth, has caused her wolf spirit to start to rise in her. I knew it was there when we got here but now it has broken free of the bindings put on it. She is going to be a very outspoken wolf as she is as a human.” Tala laughed a little bit. “My mom is that for sure!” He dodged as Karla tried to hit him for the comment. “What? It’s the truth. Ask Hank.” Hank shook his head in an act of don’t get me involved. “Tala, I’m focused on the six wolves outside. What do we do about them?” Jay pulled out his cell phone. “This is what I’m going to do. Hello? Yes, I’m at 725 Lupine Walk Drive and there are six armed men outside the house that are trying to gain entry. They said they were with the FBI, but they didn’t have a warrant and threatened my stepmother. Thank you.” Tala had to hold himself up as he started to laugh very loudly. “Did you just call the police on the FBI?” Jay looked surprised at the question. “What? You think they really are?” Tala nodded. “I can read them only a little bit. They are keeping their distance from the house. They are indeed FBI agents, but they have been given false information. I just hope the news doesn’t show up before I am done.” “Boss, what are we waiting for?” The lead agent turned toward the second agent as he spoke. “There are three of them and six of us. The rumors are just that. No one is that strong.” “My brother was at the council meeting. He saw the whole senior council transform.” The agent sighed. “He is that strong. If he is in there, we don’t stand a chance now. They stupid wolf was supposed to call us instead of having to rely on the cell phone tracking.” A third agent ran over to the other two agents. “They called in the local police. They should be here about two minutes. Should we run or should we see if they will help us?” The lead agent looked over at the third agent. “Leave the locals to me. Get the rest of the men ready to enter the house. We may be out matched, but I’d rather try and fail instead of running.” Jay was trying to talk Tala out of going outside. “What if they have guns? I can’t lose you.” “They won’t raise a gun to me, and you know it.” Tala put his jacket on and turned toward the front door. “I promise I know what I am doing.” Karla stepped in front of him. “You don’t have to do this. The police will take care of them, plus you are a celebrity. You don’t need to be on the news before you can announce your exit from the limelight.” Tala hugged his mom as he spun her out of his way gently. “I do need to do this my way. You’ll understand as soon I am done. No one will get hurt and I won’t end up on the news because of a police standoff.” The agents were caught by surprise when the front door opened, and Tala walked out on to the porch. He stepped down to the front yard and walked to the center of the yard, about five feet from the walkway to the street. He sat down and watched as the six men made a circle around him. Jay and Karla were staring out the front window in horror as they closed in around him. The lead agent stood right in front of him and wondered what was going to happen. Tala looked up and gazed directly into his eyes. A few seconds later Tala spoke. “Agent Montley, I am Tala. I’m sorry they sent you to come after me, but your mission is failing. Please sit down with me and I can save us all the pain of me fighting you.” Five of the six men started to laugh. The lead agent didn’t laugh. He didn’t know how this guy knew his name, but he knew that his brother asked the same question at the council meeting. He went for broke and just said what he thought was already true. “So, your mother knows the truth then?”
  12. Jay, Tala and Hawk walk in the front door of Alexanders house. “Uncle Alexander?” “In here Tala.” The three men enter Alexander’s study. “Oh, hello Hawk. What are you doing here?” “I invited him so we could have a talk about a few things. He thinks he might be able to unlock a few mysteries surrounding our chat yesterday. Also he is going to be the pack representative to the general council.” Alexander looked perplexed. “How would he know anything?” Hawk spoke up first. “I wasn’t a stray like everyone thinks. I was sent here as a young pup for protection. Michael hid me away from everyone. If my father had known you were here, I would have been sent somewhere else. He wanted me to never be found.” “Why would it matter if I was here? Did he know me? Did I scare him?” Tala looked over to Hawk and got a silent permission. “Hawk was supposed to be hidden from everyone, including family.” “Family?” Alexander was now even more confused. Tala tried again. “His father got your sister Sarah pregnant. He is the lost link I was looking for.” Alexander stopped in mid breath. “My sister Sarah? Your mother? You?” Hawk spoke up once again. “Alexander, sir, Tala is my half-brother.” Alexander sat for a few seconds. “My son was so mean to you as a child. You never said anything. Why? What is the big secret?” “I’m sure if you do the math it might dawn on you. Tala and I are both bred of four clans. Our father was 60% Amazon and 40% Saharan. My mother was 50% Celtic and 50% American. By law, our existence was illegal. Unlike Tala, I did not gain the ancient speak. I did get the strength of 3 wolves and the cunning of 5 wolves. I could have been a worthy enforcer, but it was decided that it would be too high profile.” “I understand.” Alexander looked solemn. “Please call me Uncle from now on.” “So how are you handling all this?” Tala and Jay are lying on the spare bed in his uncle's home. “Your world keeps getting bigger by the minute.” “I am still a bit overwhelmed.” Tala turned toward Jay. “I just need to have things slow down for a little while. I have been too busy the few days to ask Toby about something.” “I understand that.” Jay put his hand on Tala's shoulder. “What did you need to know?” “How am I going to pay for all the things I have to do now? Toby cannot continue to fly us everywhere. I mean I have money, but I am not sure how I can get it without have to explain to a lot of people why I need it.” Tala tried to show the worry on his face. “I have to figure out something to tell my manger and my agent pretty soon.” “The truth is not going to help is it?” Jay laughed. “Well the only way I can think of is to either change to a lycan company or to tell them the truth. I will talk to Toby when I can about finding a replacement if you want.” Tala sighed. “I agree. We have to get things settled and the money flowing to make sure they are paid for.” “The view is awesome.” Hawk has his face glued to the airplane window. “I never imagined I would fly anywhere in my life.” “You will be doing a lot of flying for a while.” Toby answers. “You will soon find it is a great way to get work done or books read.” “Toby, did you find anything out on your calls earlier?” Jay turns to Toby as he turns toward him. “Tala is really worried about the back of house stuff.” “I did get some answers.” Toby motions for Tala to listen. “I talked with some financial people I know and the money is the easy part. All of your funds are invested in normal accounts and we can move those over to a different bank. The agent issue is a bit more complicated but we are still in good shape.” “How are we in good shape?” Tala mused for more information. “Well your management company is Saharan owned.” Toby paused to let the look of surprise clear from the faces of everyone else. “They will be very well equipped to handle your move out of the spotlight. However, that then has us relying on them to do the presswork. I do not see that as a huge issue and we will just have them move at our schedule if they want to get paid.” Jay thought a few seconds. “So we are good?” “On those fronts, we are fine. There is one other item I have been looking at and it also is going our way.” Toby pulled out a sheet of paper from his bag. “The deeds to ten thousand acres along the border of North Dakota and Manitoba are in process right now.” Hawk snapped his head toward the others. “You own the Red Clan's land?” “I found the deeds to your clan's last bit of land with a little digging. Half is in North Dakota and the other half is in Canada. Currently the land is being used as a refuse for Great Plains wolves and Eastern Timber wolves.” Toby continued to read some details. “It is perfectly placed for the matching of the two types of wolves your family has.” Hawk looked puzzled. “Two types? Our dad was an Eastern Timber.” Tala looked at Hawk. “There are two main types of American wolf, The Great Plains and the Eastern Timber. What was your mom?” “I never saw her transform. I don't really know.” Hawk looked sad. “I know she was a Great Plains.” Toby stated with a matter of fact tone. “She was the more mixed of your two parents. Her family had been just joined that pack when your grandmother married your grandfather. At the time, they thought she was Northern Rocky Mountain wolf. That was part of the cover-up to hide the Great Plains Americans.” Hawk just sat in awe for a minute. “There are still many wolves there. How much family do we have on that land?” Tala looked at Hawk. “That dear brother is what our next trip will tell us. I know that in the core of that land is a lot of people I know personally that are not going to believe this.” Toby pointed at the window again. “We are now about two minutes away from the airstrip so we should get ready to land.” They buckled their seat belts and the plane landed on Toby’s airstrip. Master Taj is in his posh office when the phone rings. “It’s about time you called Vukasin. Do you have the dirt we need?” Vukasin quietly answers, “No sir. I have looked and there is just nothing I can get my hands on to stop this. Björn is clean, Tala is spotless and there are no records left on where all the wolves went after they crossed the line together.” Taj exclaims back in anger, “you incompetent fool! How many are there that are four bloodlines?” Vukasin gives Taj the best report he has. “To the best of our research, there are five wolves total in the world. Two of them are in custody because it happened outside North America. We are sure they were accidental, and they are being handled and not being given the gift. They also have no American in them. The third is of course, Tala. The last two have no history but we can confirm have a decent amount of American blood. We think one is living in Southern Canada and the other was put in to hiding somewhere near Montana. Faolán never was able to buy any information on them.” Taj still sounds angry, “find me some information. We have to do something to stop this from going too far.” Hawk, Jay, Toby and Tala were sitting in Toby’s lounge when Hawk decided to ask the impossible to answer question. “Do you have a plan on how you are going to deal with your family?” Tala looked crestfallen. “Not really. I have no idea how to explain it to them without them laughing at me.” Jay offered up a quick solution. “Why not start with the groups in Canada? They are not as closely related and maybe easier to deal with.” Tala sighed before he came up with a small idea. “Toby, is there anyway we can find other references to the painting my family has? I’m guessing it wasn’t the only one that is still in the area” Toby already had thought of that. “I thought about that too. I have a few calls out to art dealers in the Midwest that deal with Native American and First Nation art. I hope to hear back soon.” Hawk, not being anything but blunt asked, “don’t you talk to your mom anymore? Just ask her if her parents or grandparents told any weird stories.” Tala looked horrified. “We had a falling out not that long ago and I doubt this is the topic that would mend fences.” Jay spoke up. “Don’t be afraid of your mother.” “I’m not afraid of my mother,” Tala defended. “Fine, I’m scared out of my mind. How do you say ‘Mom, we’re wolves’ and not get laughed out of the house?” “I actually think she might already know.” Hawk put his hand up to stop Tala when he stared at him. “Remember when I said they were hiding you in Arizona? Someone had to convince her to go there. I don’t think you will have to work very hard.” Tala sighed. “I’ll work up the nerve and call her. It might take me a while so let’s start planning other things, first.” Björn walks into the conference room at the North American lycan headquarters building. He notices the brand-new sign on the door that says ‘Circle Room’ and very ornate decorations and chairs. “I hope I am not late.” Rolf jumps up from his chair and shakes Björn’s hand. “Not at all. Raul and I were the first ones here. Ulrik just sent me a message that he will be here in about 5 minutes. I’m sure Vukasin will be here shortly as well. Have a seat in the chair here next to me.” Rolf points to the chair and proceeds to sit down in his chair. “I hope your flight back was good.” “Yes, it was good. I had never flown business class before, but Tala insisted I do so until we can get a jet leased for me.” Björn took a tired breath. “How do your clans pay for all of this?” Raul speaks up at this point. “We have very deep resources. I would contact Faolan and see if he knows of any American clan resources you and Tala can tap in to. He might have already emailed you some when he set up your council account.” Björn felt confused but kept a neutral face. “I’ll have to check on that. Thank you, Raul.” Ulrik walks through the door followed by Vukasin. Ulrik remarks, “great, we are all here. Shall we start with the important items first?” See everybody else nod, he continues. “On the table are all the proposals on changes to the main charter to reintegrate the power of the Circle back into the normal day-to-day workings of the council. The first set was drafdted based on the council before the loss of the fifth clan, the second set is a slightly modern version drafted by the council lawyers, and the third is a more handcrafted version that was drafted by Vukasin’s team directly. They are all very similar so let’s each read through them and see what ideas we like and what we don’t.” They start to read through the proposals. Each proposal ranges from fifty to seventy-five pages long. Björn got through to the last one and he started to see some major changes the other two did not have. He looks over at Ulrik to get his attention. “Can I ask you a question Ulrik?” Ulrik looks up at him. “Is there somewhere on the proposals that show which one is which?” “Excellent question Björn. No, they are unmarked on purpose. I thought it best to not influence based on where it came from. My staff printed them and placed them in the room before anyone arrived so that not even I could say where each came from.” Ulrik took a sip of water before continuing. “Do you see something wrong?” “No, nothing wrong. Two seem very much related but the third is drastically different and I feel has some very aggressive language. There are also some concerning clauses.” Björn looked around the room to judge the faces of the other men. “Were we going to enact one of these or did we want to craft a fourth final proposal from them all?” Vukasin spoke up quickly. “I doubt we need to waste time creating a fourth proposal. I’m sure one of these three will work fine.” Raul was next to speak up. “I agree with Björn. I don’t think some of the language is going to fit very well. I know what things were like before. My clan has records from the old circle that they shared with me and it was a bit too stodgy for what we need now.” Raul held up one of the packets. “The second packet I can tell was written by a lawyer because I cannot understand it.” Raul turned to Björn laughing a bit. “Can you?” Björn chuckled a bit. “No. That’s the point of constitutional law though. Never cut and dry so you can still get re-elected. I am guessing this is the same, so they don’t get fired for taking a stand on anything.” Rolf looked carefully at Vukasin before he spoke up. “This third packet is concerning to me. All the stodge of the first, the confusing language of the second and then mix in some very odd clauses. I’m not in favor of any of them right now. I have to side with Björn that we need to pick though what we have and draft a fourth.” Rolf turned to Ulrik. “I think we should take some time and breakdown what we like about all three and what we think is missing. However, we should do that after lunch.” Ulrik turn to look at everyone in the room before speaking. “Yes, I think lunch would be a good idea. Please keep the proposals in this room to keep our work confidential. See you all in two hours.” “You did good in there.” Björn looks up from his lunch to see Raul walking towards him. “I didn’t expect to see you in a Guatemalan restaurant.” “The food looked really good and smelled really good.” Björn motioned for him to sit down. “I’m impressed. You didn’t get anything Americanized at all.” Raul grabs the extra fork at the table and steals some of the dobladas. “Hope you don’t mind.” Björn laughs. “Not at all. I mean Tala is paying for everything right now.” Raul looks serious for a minute. “I saw the look you had earlier. Something isn’t right. Is there something I don’t know?” Björn puts down his fork. “I should have said something to Tala and Toby before I flew out here, but I haven’t gotten anything from Faolán. I don’t have a council account, I have to charge everything to Tala’s credit card he put me on, I don’t have a council office, I don’t have any staff to hire.” Raul looked a little taken aback. “What? Rolf and I talked to Faolán before he left the senior council that day. He said he would have his staff assistant contact you and Tala to set everything up. You are supposed to only pay for transportation and the council covers food and staff. Have you set up the council stipend account?” “We were under the impression that the clan paid for everything.” Björn looked confused. “Toby does the same, right?” “No, my friend. You’re being cheated.” Raul got up and left the restaurant. “Hello?” Toby turned from his computer. “Good Afternoon, Björn. What can I do for you?” “I have a weird question for you,” Björn began. “Do you pay Rolf or does Rolf get money from elsewhere? Before you answer, know I am very serious here.” “I don’t understand, but yes. I pay Rolf the standard council rate as well as all of his expenses.” Toby started sounding like he didn’t like where this was going. “Why?” “I was having lunch and Raul followed up on a conversation that we were having. It got interrupted by the Circle coming to order.” Björn took a deep breath. “He said I was being cheated and I think I agree with him.” “You think Tala is cheating you,” Toby questioned. Björn tried to sound reassuring. “No, Tala has done nothing but give to me. The council never gave me anything. I don’t have an office here, I don’t have staff here, I don’t have a council account, and Raul said something about a council stipend that I should have set up.” “Björn, you just got there. How could you have a staff?” Toby was really starting to get confused. “You have to hire them. You should have an account though. Talk to Rolf and see if he can get you in touch with IT.” “Something doesn’t sound right. Either Raul is messing with me, or I’m having tricks played on me.” Björn started sounding worried. “I’ll try to talk to Rolf before we reconvene.” As he was getting back to the Circle Room, Björn saw Rolf and called out to him. “Rolf, do you have second?” Rolf come over to Björn. “Only a second, the other are already back and waiting on us.” Björn felt rushed now. “I’ll try to make it fast. How long did it take to get set up here?” Rolf frowned. “Ages! Send a message to my assistance council email and she can get you a checklist.” “How?” Björn looked curious. “I have no account access.” “Gentleman,” Ulrik yelled from the Circle Room. “Do you care to join us now?” Björn was upset that they were cut off, but he and Rolf entered the Circle Room and they started brainstorming for the next three hours. “Can we stop for the day?” Vukasin took a sip of water and continued. “We have been at this all afternoon and I am tired. Can we come back tomorrow with fresh eyes and about ten hours of sleep?” Ulrik and Raul nodded. Ulrik spoke up, “Agreed. See you all in the morning.” As Rolf was leaving the room, he turned to Björn. “I’m going to make some calls for you and see what I can do to solve some of the issues you brought up to me earlier.” “Thank you, Rolf. I hope to hear from you soon.” The two went in opposite directions. Rolf toward his office and Björn towards a modest hotel.” Toby’s phone rings. “Hello Rolf, I thought you might be calling tonight.” “I take it that Björn called you earlier,” Rolf questioned. “He had some major issues in his mind.” “He saw Raul at lunch, and it raised a few questions.” Toby sighed. “I figured if you called me too then I’d have to look into it further.” Rolf seemed surprised. “Look into what?” Toby took a breath. “I think the council has been cheating him. If I’m right, they have been cheating you too.” “What? How would they cheat me,” Rolf questioned. “I guess Raul said that he gets paid by the council,” Toby replied. “I need to verify things, but I’m think someone is stealing money from us. I’m going to make a few calls and I will call you back.” “Please do,” Rolf said. “I’ll have my phone on.” Toby hung up the phone and pulled out an address book. He found the phone number for someone and placed a call. The phone was answered in Spanish. “¿Aló?” (Hello?) Toby responded in okay Spanish. “Estoy buscando a Edwardo.”(I’m looking for Edwardo.) The response came back, “este es Edwardo Tsit.” (This is Edwardo Tsit.) Happy he got the right number, Toby contined. “Siento llamar tan tarde. Este es Tobias Whelan del Clan Celta.” (I'm sorry to call so late. This is Tobias Whelan of the Celtic Clan) “Buenas noches Toby,” (Good Evening Toby) Edwardo said jovially. “I’ll switch to English to make this easier. What is so important they you are calling me directly?” Toby took a deep breath. “Edwardo, I have a few questions for you that might sound silly but hear me out.” Edwardo got a little curious. “Ask away!” “As you know, there has been big shake ups in the council,” Toby began. Edwardo laughed, “I would say so.” Toby continued without laughing, “well, the Circle met today, and some interesting things came up that didn’t pertain to the business they were discussing. I guess at lunch, Raul ran in to the new American clan circle representative and put some doubts in his mind about how the council is treating him.” Edwardo had a perplexed tone now. “I know that certain parties are not happy but what kind of concerns would I be able to address?” Toby thought about where to start. “I’ll start with the one that has me concerned the most. I pay Rolf well, but I was told you don’t pay for Raul’s expenses.” Edwardo answered immediately. “Now I know why Rolf likes you so much. I’d never pay Raul double now would I pay for expenses. The council takes care of everything but the plane and the fuel. He has a furnished apartment, meals, staff and a stipend all paid just like Rolf has.” Toby sounded shocked by this. “No Rolf doesn’t. The only money Rolf gets is what I pay him directly.” Edwardo gets a slightly fatherly tone to his voice. “Maybe you need to ask him why he is taking money from both places.” Toby answered back a bit snappier than he should have. “Rolf is not a thief. We all pay our pack dues and it has always been crappy to not have the council cover anything financially. You know how expensive guards and a staff are.” Edwardo stopped for a second. “You are serious amigo? You pay for everything?” Toby came back a little irritated still. “Yes, we do. The Celtic Clan pays out about 2.5 million dollars a year on top of pack dues to support out council representatives.” “¡Mierda Santa! You should not be paying that! That’s what the pack dues are for,” Edwardo exclaimed before he could stop himself. “Thank you, Edwardo.” Toby sounded somber. “I am going to track down Faolán as well as I think I might need to call my lawyers to file a lawsuit again the Lycan Council. They owe my clan about 150 million dollars.” “I think I’m going to be calling mine as well. If they have done this to you, what have they done to me?”
  13. “Master, we are arriving in Boise now and will touch down in a few minutes. Please fasten your seatbelts.” The pilot turned back toward the front and they soon felt the plane touchdown. “There is a driver waiting for you just inside the terminal that can take you to where you need to go.” “Thank you, we appreciate all your planning on short notice.” Toby turned to his two passengers and motioned for the door. The three men talked about different layout options for the compound back in Cathlamet. The driver took them northeast into the hills the Boise National Forest. They drove for about an hour before their SUV stopped in front of a small grouping of houses. They got out of the car and looked around at the surroundings. “You do not belong here!” Out of the shadows came six enforcers armed with shotguns. “You have some nerve showing your face here. Why don't you all get back in your car and leave and we will pretend you were never here.” “I am here though. I came to offer my fellow American wolves the opportunity to rejoin your true clan. I am not here for any other reason.” Tala paused for a second to read the feeling of the men who now surrounded them. “I know you have not been represented properly in the past. I will make that right again. The actions of one shall not smudge the glory of all.” “What can you do,” the enforcer asked. You are a lone wolf claiming to be something you are not. We will not let anything you do shame us any longer.” An older wolf now walks out of the shadow. “My son has damaged us enough with his lust for you. That shame will not end while you stand here.” Tala felt something in him shift and he now knew how to defuse the situation. “I understand your feelings Uncle.” Jay looked at Tala with shock on his face. “You never thought I would figure out who you were if I were brought here as Jake's omega. You are right. I would never have been able to access the power I have now if that had happened. I promise you that it is better this way. I could never hate my cousin the way he hates me.” “Your cousin?” Jay exclaimed. Jake’s father continues, “I never told him that you were blood. In that situation it didn't matter as it would have been normal pack dynamics. I disagree that this is better however because now you know the truth.” “Uncle Alexander, I understand why you didn't tell him. You still miss my mother and the thought of seeing me as your nephew would have torn open that pain again. I forgive you. I want you to be proud of me and I want to have you join me. I request an audience with your pack alpha.” “I am so sorry Oliver, I never meant to do the things I did.” Alexander started to cry. “I will take you to see Michael.” “No need, I am here Alexander. I am sorry I didn’t warn you he was coming. I also thought you had read the news from the council. Your nephew Tala is now the recognized American clan leader, Order of Five Winds and Bearer of the King’s Cross. You have a very powerful lycan in front of you.” Alexander looks shocked. “It was all true? I’m so sorry Oliver, I mean Tala.” Michael stepped forward and bows to Tala and Toby. “It is an honor to have to clan heads visiting our lands. Please come with me, our meeting hall is right over here.” The four men walked towards the meeting hall while the six enforcers returned to guard duty. Once settled Toby spoke first. “I thank you Sir Michael for your hospitality in these uncertain times.” “When Master Tobias comes to your land, it must be important. I understand that you have brought Master Tala to ask us to rejoin the American clan.” Michael turned to face Tala. “Why us?” “My mate and I were given lands in Southeast Washington as a mating gift. We decided to search for my lost clan members and offer them the ability to rejoin their clan of blood. Your packs were the first to show up on our search.” Michael had a look of displeasure on his face. “I see. Do you understand the gravity of your arrival here?” Tala was not fazed by his question. “I do indeed. My hope that is my offer does not escalate things between certain parties and myself. I must offer this to all fairly and equally.” “What if I were to accept? What would our future hold?” Michael asked coarsely. “I would let your pack be as it is. I know that your pack has suffered greatly even with protection, and I would never wish to make that suffering any worse. I would restore your representative to the council and ensure any sanctions were lifted. Your lives would be the same except you would know that you are not hiding who you really are anymore.” Michael thought for a second. “If we were to decline? Then what?” “I get back in that SUV outside and leave. I would never tell anyone that I am related to your pack’s beta or to Jake. I am assured that Toby would have the protections maintained.” “That's it. We would just be another pack in the American clan?” Michael mused. “Do you take me for a fool? You must seek revenge for what Jake wanted to do to you.” “No, I do not.” Tala’s look spoke more than his words that he meant every word. “I do not understand the reasons Jake wanted what he wanted but I will not seek revenge. That is not how a true man deals with his issues and it is not how a clan leader should act either. My job is the welfare of my clansmen and my family. I want nothing more.” “Hold out your hand,” Michael instructed. Tala extended his right hand. Michael grabbed it firmly in his and then quickly let go. Tala looked up at him before starting to cry. “It is done. Thank you Michael.” Jay looked over to Toby. “What just happened?” Toby turned back to Jay. “Tala now has two packs in the American clan.” Michael turned to Jay. “Sir Jason, your father is a wise man.” Michael looked back toward Tala. “I too must look after the people I care for. Tala here showed me that he was only here because he wanted to help us no matter the personal cost to himself.” Tala looked up for a second. “I assume that Jake is already on his way here.” Michael stopped to feel the air. “I believe he is. He will have been watching the area.” “Wrong old man, I am already here. Hello maggots.” Jake laughed. “Hello cousin. I wondered why you were not here sooner. Your father must not have called you like I thought he did before coming out to apologize to me for you.” Alexander spoke up. “I did not call him, but I understand why you might think I would. If I had, I would have told him not to show his face here. Tala motioned to a chair. “Please sit down Jake. We need to talk.” Jake gave Tala a death stare as he sat down. “What do you want to talk about?” Tala turned to him and answered calmly. “I want to talk about us being a family. Your dad is now part of my clan and you can be too.” His voice full of poison, Jake replied. “What would that get me? You want to drag me through the dirt and make me a bigger outcast.” Tala shook his head. “The chance to get to know me and to heal what came between us is what I am offering. There are many things we didn’t know before that have come out. There is a reason we were drawn together before. We share an ancestry. I just want to set things right between us and restore your pack.” “Don't you mean rule with our pack and treat us as slaves? We don't become instantly related just from being in your clan.” Tala finally had enough and snapped back at Jake. “Jake we are blood cousins! My mother was your aunt. Ask your father!” “Huh? Are you saying my father knew? He would have told me!” Jake’s anger rose as he was forced to listen to what he knew were lies. “Calm down Jake!” Michael looks in to Jake’s eyes. “It is true Jake. Your father was supposed to tell you but he could not face it. I told him it would cause his family pain later but he couldn’t face his past. He found out after moving away from the family at a young age who he really was. He felt it was his duty to keep up the lie. No one would have believed him.” Tala spoke quietly. “My mother told me of an older brother that left the family when she was young. He was never spoken of and I only remembered him when I saw him an hour ago.” Jake started thinking out loud. “I wanted to fuck my cousin?” Jake anger fell away and his face paled. “Eeew! I was going to fuck my cousin!” “I agree.” Tala looked Jake straight in the eyes before continuing. “I never knew until I came here. The moment I saw your father tonight, I knew it was true right then and there. I understood why you were drawn to me and why I always cared for you.” “This is it then? I have nothing!” Jake started to weep. “The pack I started has left me because of my fight with you. Both of the packs I have ever known have exiled me. Now, I don't even have my family either.” Jake stormed out the room. Jay turned to the others. “I think that went well.” Tala still looked concerned. “No, it is worse than I dreamed of. We have to find him before he does something stupid. If we do not, he will not last the night.” The search parties combed the Idaho woods for many hours. About four in the morning, the call came out that Jake was found in a small cave about a mile from the main camp. Alexander quickly called out first to retrieve him. “I will get him. I want him to know I will never leave him.” Tala turned to him. “No, I will go get him. I cannot have him lash out at anyone but me.” Jay grabbed Tala's hand. “Let us both go then.” “I must go alone for this.” Jay held Tala's hand harder. “You cannot go alone! What if he attacks you?” “He will try. That is what I want him to do at least. I am going to try one last time to speak reason to him.” Tala left the room to head toward Jake's cave. “Go away. Please leave me alone.” Jake begged. “Why won't you let me be? I was wrong to have tried to enslave you. Is that what you want to hear? You have taken everything from me!” “I never wished to take anything from you. I loved you but it is not the same as when I saw Jay. You came after me and I overreacted. It hurt me dearly to break your hold over me. I never stopped caring for you and I did not want to lose my hold on a normal life. Jake, you are my family now and forever. Let me give you back your pride. I never at any time said a single bad word about you publicly and I never will.” Tala stepped closer to Jake and held out his hand. “Let me be your friend again. Your passion is what drives people to action. Your gift is to rally people together. Let me help you, please.” “No orders?” Jake looked up at his cousin. “I made you sit down because I knew you needed to hear what I had to say. I should not have done that.” Tala looked hurt inside that he used his power for his own gain. “I had a bad feeling about coming here. I was sure I would start a war, but I think now that I needed to be here for you.” “For me?” Jake looks surprised. “Yes, for you.” Tala sat down next to Jake. “Join us and help us heal your spirit. It cries out in loneliness right now. You can rejoin your father's pack, I can find you a pack, or you can have a new pack of your own.” “I have no one to join me in a pack. I burned many bridges in the last few weeks. Do you think they will take me?” Jake almost sounded like he would beg his cousin to make them accept him. “That I cannot decide. I am not the head of that pack and it would not be proper to decide that unless Michael asks me.” Tala helped Jake up off the ground. “I know the only way to find out. We ask.” A few minutes later, the two young men are standing in front of Michael. “Sir Michael, Alpha of the Boise Woods Pack of the American Clan, I request permission to rejoin the pack of my birth.” “I am surprised to hear your request to be honest. If I remember correctly, you wished to leave my pack because I was holding you back. Now, you wish to return.” Michael turned to Tala for a second. Tala nodded to him. “In light of recent events, I am given pause. However, I am assured by my clan head that you are a changed wolf. I accept your request. Welcome home, Pup!” Michael opened his arms to offer Jake a hug. “Thank you Uncle for the use of your spare room. Jay and I slept wonderfully.” Tala sipped at a cup of coffee Alexander handed him. “I should be thanking you. You brought my son home. You gave me a link back to my family.” Alexander turned toward the window where he watched Jake carrying a box in from his truck. “I never thought I would have the chance to make things right.” “I would do anything for my family.” Tala put his cup in the sink. “I have to meet with Michael in a few minutes, but I do have a question.” “Anything.” Alexander looked back toward Tala. “Ask away.” Weaker than he expected his question to come out, from his lips slid four simple words. “Who was my real father?” “Real father?” Alexander looked puzzled. “I have spent a lot of time reading and there are a lot of missing things when I look at our family tree. My mother’s side is teaming with people, but not so on my father’s side. I cannot find a single lycan link. I have found my mother was 80% American and 20% Himalayan. Where do I get the 20% Saharan and 30% Amazon from?” Tala looked down. “It is just another family lie I have to figure out.” Alexander thought for a minute before answering. “I am not really sure. As you know I left years before your mother had you.” Tala sighed. “I figured I’d ask. I really hope to find him someday.” “I am sorry for the change in plans on such short notice Michael.” Jay sat down across from Michael. “Tala had a few formalities he needed to go over with you.” “You are his mate Jay. I trust you to take over for him here.” Michael motioned for Jay to proceed. Jay took out a sheet of paper with the questions his father told him he needed to answer. “First, do you have an offshoot pack? Anyone that you use to keep new blood?” Michael seemed prepared for that question. “No, we usually would participate in the fairs and gatherings for proper diversity.” “Good. Now are you planning to change your council representative?” Michael was not ready for that question. “Change? We do not have a representative. Our pack is so small that we never could send someone even part time.” Jay was taken aback. “What? Your pack is decent size. Could you spare no one at all? I am sure two members would not have been a burden.” “What do you mean two? We were told that we would have to staff a whole office at our expense. I was also told by Faolán that my pack needed to be over two hundred members for us to be included.” Jay sat shocked for a second. “I am so sorry Michael. I never dreamed that he could lie to you like that. A pack must only be registered to have someone on the council. I will speak to my father later about that. My last question, since all the others are now irrelevant, is to ask if you will accept our invitation to visit us when our clans' main camp is finished.” “I am so sorry Michael. I was selfish to send Jay in my place yesterday.” Tala was sitting across from Michael. “I just needed to reconnect with my family. I should not have ignored the rest of my clan.” “I think it was best for you to do what you did.” Michael looked Tala straight in the eye. “Jay was able to do things that you and I would not have been able to. His knowledge is what figured out we were being cheated. He brought over the new pack paperwork last night and I signed it already. All it needs is your signature.” Tala signed on the line making Michael's pack officially a member of the American clan. “Have you thought about who you want to send to the council?” “Yes, and it someone I think you should meet. I invited him to come by.” Just as Michael said it, there was a knock on the door. “Please come in Hawk.” “You called to see me Michael.” Tala turned to see a young man about his age come in the door. “It is nice to meet you...” Tala stopped talking the moment he saw the man's face. Hawk stared back at him for a second. “You are. I mean you're. You're him.” “I used to be.” Tala barely got out but could not stop staring at the man's face. “I am Tala.” “Tala.” Hawk seemed to weight the name in his head. “I am...” “Yes, you are Hawk.” Tala felt like he was staring into a mirror of himself. “I know you somehow.” Michael spoke up for a second. “Tala, your uncle asked me to do a check for him. Our records show that Haih Bia'isa here was born in North Dakota about a year after you were.” Tala seemed confused. “Hawk, if you would please explain who you are.” “My father was from Boise area. He met a woman in Florida while he was visiting different packs on business. They fell in love and they moved back here for a few months. She was homesick and traveled back to North Dakota. A long-distance relationship didn’t work out. She told him that she was pregnant and that she met a man and they were to be married. He never heard from her again.” “What was his name?” Hawk quietly said, “Lucas.” “Did you say Lucas?” Tala sat up rigid. “Yes.” “My mother talked a of a Lucas from when she was young. So that must be my father's real name. Wait a second.” Tala turned to Michael. “Is he?” Hawk answered before Michael could. “I am your brother Tala.” Tala fell to his knees crying. “How is this possible that I didn’t know?” Hawk got down on his knees to look at Tala's face. “Someone found out who you were. Dad had work through others to hide you. They moved you to Arizona when you were young so no one would find out.” “Why hide me?” Hawk gets a bit indignant before speaking. “Your parents should never have been together. It was forbidden! It is still illegal to be of more than three clans and we are four. The only reason I am not dead is that our father sent me here and made it look like I was a stray. Michael has been hiding me under the nose of Alexander ever since.” Tala perked up with a thought. “Can I meet him?” Hawk sighed sadly. “No. My mother and he mated about a year after you were born. They were on a trip and she got sick. She passed when I was five and as you know, a mated pair die together. I found out when it was in the paper. I never got to say goodbye.” Tala takes in everything for a second and hugs Hawk as hard as he can. “I don't know what to say. In less than a month, I went from having just a mate to having a whole family.” Michael gave the two brothers a second to finish their hug. “Your uncle was hard to keep in the dark about Hawk. It is time for him to be more than a simple laborer. I think he is ready to join his brother. I wish to nominate Hawk to be his pack representative.”
  14. After a small dinner, they return to the motel rooms. Toby’s cell phone rings. “Good evening Tobias. Yes, the council has adopted the change to the charter. I must speak with Tala before I can give you any answers.” Toby put Rolf on hold when he got Tala's attention. “It is Rolf.” “They passed the amendment?” “Yes; he needs to speak with you though. He is on hold for you.” Tala picked up the phone to greet his caller. “Good evening Master Reid. How can I help you tonight?” “Master Tala, this is an official call. You are requested to attend a meeting with the council as soon as plausible. You will be asked for your selection for the seat currently vacant of the Circle of Five.” “I was told that this position was for the senior council.” “I can explain more when you arrive, but the council has rolled back the senior council amendment to the charter. Before said senior council was created, there existed the Circle of Five. It is a member of each family and is operated a bit differently than the senior council. The Circle cannot be questioned.” “I understand. I will inform my candidate of the change and arrive when I can. Can I assume that this meeting would be in the morning?” “If you are able, the council can still meet tonight. We are not afraid of the dark.” Rolf tried not to chuckle at his last statement. “But we can wait, if you need.” “Then hold for a second while I check to see if I can gather the troops for tonight.” Tala put Rolf back on hold. “Björn, are you ready? I can postpone if you need more time.” “I am ready. As long as I have the blessing of my family, I am ready for anything.” Björn smiled at his wife. “Shall we?” Tala picked up the phone. “Master Reid, we will arrive in about thirty minutes. It is time we completed the circle again.” “He what?” The Himalayan wolf on the phone was quite angry. “How did he find someone so fast? Never mind that we need a plan to solve this complication. Do we know who he is selecting?” “No Master, he didn't give the name to Master Reid during the conversation.” “We know he isn't pack with that American upstart. The council never granted him a pack license before it adjourned. Can we use that? I am unfamiliar with the rules of selection when it comes to the Circle. I never dreamed I would have to think about it.” “I will raise the objection when we meet tonight. Is there anything else we can use?” “Work on your paws. Use anything that you think will work but not get us in trouble.” Vukasin hung up the phone and straightened his tie before exiting his small office and heading to the council chambers. “I call this emergency meeting to order. We are gathered here tonight to select the members of the Circle of Five. The first four members have been selected by their families and we are left with the nomination for the American clan member. Master Tala, as leader of the American clan, whom do you wish to bring forth as your selection.” “Members of the council, I wish to nominate Björn Chase. He is my blood 4th cousin, twice removed, as well as my loyal pack member.” The council rose to their feet. Master Vukasin took the first verbal jab at Tala. “How can you have a pack without a license? Didn't your alpha teach you any of the laws?” “Toby gave me copies of all the council bylaws to read over.” Tala holds up a copy of the council charter. Toby spoke up to be heard over the clamor. “I have here a copy of an official pack permit signed by two clan leaders. As we all know, that is all that is required when the council is adjourned.” “We know that you would sign anything for your son's mate, but what other fool would sign for this brand-new wolf to get a pack license?” Tala smiled and spoke directly to Vukasin. “Why, I did naturally. I have the power and the right as given to me by the council. One can only assume that was how the first packs were started.” “I object!” This time is was a Saharan pack representative. “I will not let you stand that and make a joke of the council. I demand that the document be certified as invalid.” “That is enough! This is not a general council meeting. Only the senior councilmen shall bring forth objections.” Master Raul shouted. “Master Tala is correct. We did give him the power as a clan leader. I will accept the document. From what I hear, the Saharans' object.” Master Ulrik answered. “Unlike my clan brother, I see the validity of the document. I will accept it. What say the Himalayans'?” “We do not accept the document.” Rolf speaks up. “As the final vote, I will accept the document on behalf of the Celts. The document is declared valid with a vote of 3-1. Now back to the main topic of this meeting. Björn Chase, please step forward.” Björn took his place in the center of the council chamber. “I have only one question for you. Do you take this position of your own free will?” “Yes, it was my choice and my choice alone to take this position. I received excellent advice from my dear wife, but it is I alone that decided.” Rolf sat down and allowed the next member question Björn. The next to speak was Raul. “Mr. Chase, what do you know of how this council works?” “I have in my past career work in constitutional law. This is very similar to that. We have laws based on the council charter and the council must enforce them. I understand that instead of assisting in the welfare of my client, I am tasked with the furtherance of an entire race.” “Well said. Thank you, Mr. Chase” Master Ulrik stood next. “Mr. Chase, isn't it true that you have been without pack for fifteen years? Isn't also true that that you refused to accept the leadership that your pack's beta asserted when you took control of said pack?” “It is true for both questions. The new alpha and I did not agree on politics, so I chose to leave and forcibly break away from the only pack of wolves I knew. I was also at that time nineteen years old. I wanted to make it on my own like every other teenager. I took many loans and got the best education I could. I was so successful that I have already repaid all my outstanding debts. I owe it all to my inability to sleep. I never really got over the chaos in my mind.” “I am sorry you felt you needed to do that to succeed. I never realized you were so young when you left your only family.” A young wolf hands a packet of papers to Vukasin. He reads them and then stands to ask questions of Björn. “Mr. Chase, my assistant has brought me a copy of your file. It states that your markings are a smudge at best and that your transformation is too weak to materialize on regular occasions. How do you expect to be an effective leader when you are hardly a wolf?” “I beg your pardon Master Vukasin.” Tala interrupted politely. “But I do believe your records are quite inaccurate. When I inspected his marks, they were very clear and sharp. As for his transformation, I would assume that a 70% purebred American wolf would be a remarkable sight. I have seen the wolf of a 45% Himalayan like you to be very austere.” Vukasin did his best not to lash out at the comment Tala made. “Then let him prove it,” he growled. Björn looked over at Tala with a petrified look. Tala returned a reassuring smile and nods. Björn removed his shirt so the council could see his highly defined American clan markings. He waited a few minutes for any council member that wanted to inspect his shoulder before he removed his pants and started to transform. A very powerful Great Plains wolf soon stood before them. He walked around the chamber for a few minutes and then changed back to his human form. He very quietly spoke. “Are you placated Master Vukasin?” “Yes.” Vukasin sat down. Rolf stood once more. “I declare on behalf of the rest of the Circle, that our fifth member will be Master Björn Chase. This meeting is once again adjourned and the Circle will be meeting within the week to discuss the rest of the transition items that must be addressed.” “Björn, are you okay?” Tala looked over to the wolf sitting in the next across from him. “Is something wrong?” “No, I am just worried that I'm not good enough for what I agreed to.” Björn looked over to Tala with a worried face. “What if...” “No what ifs! You are going to be great and that is that.” Björn sighed. “I know that I can do, it's just I don't know if I can really do it.” Tala shook his head and went back to reading his book. The plane they were on was headed to Portland, Oregon so they could find a suitable builder for the houses that needed to be built. Toby had taken his private jet home and the rest had flown commercial. In a matter of a few days, Tala had gone from finding a new pack member to having to build him a house inside of his yet to be built compound. “Lisbeth, have you thought about what kind of house you want yet?” “No but I do have a few questions to ask before I really get down to deciding.” Lisbeth turned to look at Jay. “Should I really do this? Is it really worth the pain?” “Is it worth the pain you would cause him if you did not accept the offer? Could you live with yourself knowing he would have to watch you? He wants kids and a family, but it might not turn out well. He would lose himself if he lost you.” “No, it is not worth his continued pain. I will not let him be in pain.” Lisbeth's resolve strengthened. “Who has to do it?” “You know that answer already. Until then though, come sit next to be for a second.” Jay patted the seat next to him. She walked over and sat down. “Close your eyes and focus on the woods. I know that you are very small part lycan so I will have to draw the spirit out a bit before he can use it to change you. In those woods, I want you to find a white oak. Focus all your energy on finding the one white oak in a pine forest. Very good Lisbeth I can already feel it. Keep focus on finding that tree.” “Master Tala,” the pilot came on over the speakers above their heads. “We are arriving in Portland now. There will be a car waiting to take you to Cathlamet when you are done meeting with the builder.” Tala picked up the phone to call up to the front. “What do you mean meet with the builder? We have not picked anyone.” “I am sorry. I thought you knew that the only building company out here was the crew employed by Master Tobias.” “No, I did not know that and he never said anything about it to me either. Thank you for letting me know.” Tala hung up the phone, turned to Jay, and simply tilted his head. “Do not look at me! I never was told anything about what my dad had going on outside of the world I chose to live in. Do you think he will charge us?” Jay sat with an amused but puzzled face. “That is what I am afraid off. Either we get it all for free and next to free or we pay an arm and a leg because there is no one else to do it.” Tala sighed. “I guess we will find out really soon. He is waiting for us by the stairs.” “What?!? How do you know that?” Jay looked almost angry. “I would know when my father is around.” “I am right here, remember? I am your alpha and my presence would be a stronger influence.” Tala pinched Jay's mind for a second to prove the point. “I can sense him there. He is the leader of a clan you know as well my ability to hear wolf spirits.” “Greetings Master Tobias,” Tala and all the other bowed to him as they reached the ground from disembarking the small jet. “What have I told you about bowing to me Tala? I will excuse Björn this time, but he is never to bow down to me either.” Toby tried to keep a serious face as long as he could but within ten seconds was smiling. “I guess you have heard that I own all the building companies in the area?” Tala glanced over at his mate for a second before turning back to Toby. “Yes, the pilot let me in on that fact.” “Good, we can go over the plans in the car as we head to your new clan lands.” Jay pointed towards a large SUV parked alongside the tarmac of the small airport. “We have a lot to discuss on more topics then I realized. I see that Jay has been grooming this fine young woman for her husband to turn. I will assess how you are doing and what you will need still need for that to happen.” They all got into the car and were headed east toward the ferry across the Columbia River. “First, the land you now own is just north of Cathlamet and east of Rosberg. It lays between Hwy 4 and Hwy 506 and is very rough and mountainous. I am sure a few rocks will not stop the four of you for long. The forestry service put in some roads so you can get around in SUVs and ATVs. Second, I have some plans here I had drawn up a few years ago and never started to build. They include a central meeting house and office space and then a well separated housing plan so that over time you could have up to three packs on the land at once. My lands are just north of you so I can help as much as you need.” “Thank you Toby. These plans look wonderful.” Tala turned to Jay. “Do you like them?” “Yes, my father always did wonderful work. I am just still a bit overwhelmed.” Jay turned to Toby. “This just happening so fast. It is weird not hearing you in the back of my head.” “It is fast for me too. Normally an alpha will be able to sense and hear his pack. The moment you mated with Tala I lost you in my mind. I did not let you see me cry that day, but I missed you the moment you left my mind.” Toby gave Jay a hug as best he could wearing a seatbelt. “That being said, how are you doing Tala? Has the link settled down with Björn?” “It has. We are both happy that it was not as bad as we thought it might be.” “Excellent news to hear. Now to the new topic at hand. Björn, Jay has been working to draw your wife's wolf spirit out. I can feel it starting to rise already and at this point we need to make a choice. If Jay draws it out much more, it is possible that she could mate with your wolf. It makes things harder if that happens but will create a bond so strong that no one can break it.” Toby turns to look at Lisbeth. “We could have Tala turn you when you are ready and then your wolves could mate without that bond. The second option is the safer option when building up packs. If the wolf doing the full mating bite is an alpha, then a pack could be split off and allegiance can change.” Lisbeth took a second to think before turning to Tala. “Will you turn me then Tala? Not today but in the next few days?” “Yes Lisbeth, I would be honored to turn you. From what I know of wolf spirits so far, you might not want to do any more of the things Jay had you doing earlier.” “Very correct Tala.” Toby turned to Lisbeth. “Just let your wolf sleep for a while and all will be well.” “Toby, how long was that drive,” Tala questioned. “My butt is killing me!” Toby laughed. “That my friend was two and a half hours of fine Oregon nature.” Jay turned to ward Toby. “Is it possible to get an airstrip put in?” “Yes, I think might be possible. I have one a few miles north of my main camp and it was easy to have approved. It takes just as long from Beaverton as it does Napavine, so we flew you in there.” “Wow!” Tala looked out the window to take in the size of what was now his land to manage. “All of this is our land. I do not even know where to start.” “Funny you should say that.” Toby laughed and opened the plans he had in his hand. “Over here is the largest of the forestry roads and goes up to a small clearing about a mile up there. The next smaller road is about 2 miles north and ends in a clearing as well but much smaller. The first thing would be to make a road between them and put your main camp in the large clearing. We will make a road that goes up a ways and then put the main house there. Off of the small clearing we can put in driveways to other houses.” “Björn, do you want your house here,” Tala points to a place near the main camp, “or do you want it near the other clearing?” “Honey?” Björn looks over to his wife. “Your choice.” “It looks like the clearings are spread further then the beginnings of the roads on the highway. Is it possible to have it in between the two?” “I think that can be arranged very easily. Do you want it to be more of a main home feeling or kind of a vacation home feeling? I have some sample house layouts if you need some ideas.” Lisbeth took the pages of sample houses and flipped through them for a few minutes. “I like this one here. Three floors with a rustic feel and lots of closet space.” Björn looked at the page Lisbeth had on top and whistled. “I see why you like it. I love it too. Is it possible to have it tucked up into the hills a bit?” “That plan would work really well for that. You can have earth on three sides and treat it as a split entry. It would keep the mud down to a minimum during the rainy seasons.” Toby turned to Tala and Jay. “Any ideas gentlemen?” “I was thinking something a bit more in depth for our house.” Jay looked at Tala and he nodded. “More along the lines for your main house. Full underground floor and storage, network relays, panic room and second entrance for the rainy season.” “I fully agree. As we create the road system, we will bury fiber optic lines, power, water, sewer and gas. In the main building will be a second set of servers that mirror the main ones in your house as well as connect to the Lycan backbone servers.” “What kind of bandwidth can we get out here?” Tala looked out over the large rural space. “We are in the middle of nowhere.” “Let me take care of that. The council systems are only 10Mbit and I can get you set up with closer to 10Gbit. We will use VOIP with backup systems that can default to copper phone line in an emergency.” “How long will it take to get everything going?” Tala turned back to Toby. “I mean we have a lot to do if we are going to be building my clan back up.” “I can have Björn's house done in eight weeks or less and your main house about two weeks after that just because of the digging out of the basement areas.” “That is pretty damn fast “Lisbeth exclaimed. “Are you sure?” Toby chuckled. “Yes, I am sure. The road team will start the day after tomorrow and the digging teams will be out as soon as they can get to the spots for the foundations.” “So Toby, until then, are you willing to put us up?” Jay turned to Tala. “Our clan needs a place to rally together and find us some more family.” A few hours later, the small group is sitting in Toby's formal living room having tea. “Master Tobias, I have a message from the research building.” “Give it to me then.” Toby opens the sealed envelope and reads the short memo inside. “Excellent news boys! My team has found a group of wolves that are part American.” “That is wonderful news. Where are they at?” Tala jumps up from his chair. “When are we leaving?” “Settle down Tala! I understand you are eager to meet them.” Toby picked up his phone. “We need to file a flight plan to Boise either tonight or in the morning. I understand and I will meet you with two other passengers in a few hours.” Toby hung up the phone and turned to Björn. “I offer you my home to settle in for a while. My assistants will see you in the morning and give you a quick lesson in the old ways. I luckily still had some old information on the previous Circle I am sure you would want to review.” “I accept Toby, I am sure Lisbeth and I will be comfortable while you are flying here and there collecting up scattered packs.” Björn laughed at the looks he got from Tala and Jay. “We need all the family we can. Are you going to add them to your main pack or are you going to make them a different pack?” “That is a good question.” Jay turns to his father. “What is your advice?” “I would say to do both. If there are enough wolves that it can be done, it might be a good way to balance out the numbers so that they can have lots of room to grow. It will all depend on how things are there before the final decision can be made.” Jay thought for a second before asking his next question. “Who are they aligned under now? I mean you wouldn't have had to do research if they were in your clan.” Before Toby could answer, Tala spoke up. “I already know who they are aligned under. They are a Celtic protected pack. I think it this might not be an easy trip. Before Jake left his pack to start his own, he was a part of the pack we are going to visit. His father is a very popular Beta in the Boise pack. Claiming his pack will start a war between Jake and I again.” All the people in the room looked at Tala and blanched. Jay was the first to speak. “Are you sure?” Tala sighed. “Yes, I am sure. Based on what you know about Jake, which by the way I can read in your mind and the stuff I know about him from our interactions on set, I am one hundred percent positive that it is his former pack. The war is a guess. He is not one to stand down while I steal his family.” “I agree that this will be a tender situation. Nevertheless, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” I think we can use this to do just that. Now, we should be heading out to the plane soon. Good luck Björn and we will talk with you soon.”
  15. I am so glad that you are enjoying it. I promise it only gets better as we go.
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