Chapter 5: Lockdown
One Month Later
We’re on lockdown.
Alpha Clark refuses to let me leave the compound, it is too dangerous for me. Not only am I an unmated woman, but I am a doctor in a time doctors are urgently needed.
The Pack Doctor network is shrinking. There were just over a hundred of us in North America when this started, now there are only sixty. Most of the losses occurred when males reacted badly to the loss or distress of their mate, lashing out at the doctor who was helpless to stop it. At least two had been kidnapped, never to be heard from again.
I hadn’t been able to visit our allied Packs in three weeks. The other Alphas were given a choice; bring their patients to me or leave them here. I now had a dozen pregnant women and their mates staying at the Pack House, down from sixteen women who first arrived. In the five weeks since this started, our Pack had lost five women and another twelve had been lost in allied Packs. No one was farther along than twenty-four weeks right now.
I now had two full-time guards, Matt had been joined by Donovan, another warrior. The kidnappings had scared the Pack, who was hoping that I could find a way to fix this before more women and babies died. The widowers from other Packs were picked up by their Pack members if they didn’t go feral quickly; of the five widowers in our Pack, four were now dead.
I thought back to that first Pack meeting after my trip to Duluth; to say it hadn’t gone well was an understatement. Alpha Clark had to use his command three times to get people to settle down, and when I mentioned I might have to sacrifice the babies? I needed an escort out of there. Matt and Beta Charles had walked me back to my apartment, locking me in and guarding the building, until the Alphas had gotten everyone settled again.
I met one on one over the following days with the pregnant women in our Pack and briefed them on what I knew, and what the treatment options were. They were not comfortable conversations, nor were the decisions easy. The women all wanted me to save the babies, the men to save their mates. I wanted to do both. All of the women were put on restrictions, no heavy lifting, no long standing. I wanted them resting and protected until I knew what was causing this.
The premature infant care equipment I had ordered had arrived, and I was hoping I could get them to 26 weeks without incident; at least that way, I had a chance to save the baby. Jessica was getting a crash course on neonatal intensive care, I had her studying the procedures, so she could be ready. I fully expected to deliver a baby and be focused on saving the mother, so it would fall to her to save the baby. It was a big ask, but she was up for it.
I dressed for the day and walked out of my bedroom. “Morning Donovan,” I said. He’d been sleeping on my couch since being assigned. An unmated twenty-year-old, he had an impressive physique from his warrior training and was a good kid.
“Morning Doc. Same old same ol’ today?”
“Yes,” I said as I grabbed a rain jacket. “I’ve got appointments booked all morning, then I’ll be in my office or the lab the rest of the day.” I met with each pregnant woman daily, building a database I hope would help me predict when the fever and bleeding would start. The appointments weren’t happy, so many had been lost that pregnancy was looked at as a death sentence.
He followed me out as we joined Matt downstairs and went to the Pack House for breakfast. I still sat at the head table, but Matt sat next to me now, and Donovan sat at a nearby table. It was early, six in the morning, and this far north it was before sunrise as we walked across the frosty ground towards the house. We were halfway there when an alarm sounded.
Everyone froze for a moment, then Matt threw me over his shoulder and started running with me towards the Pack House. Donovan had shifted, his big grey and black wolf sniffing the air. It was the attack horn, someone was here. “What’s going on?”
“Unknown wolves are coming across the border,” Matt said. Wolves were pouring out of the Pack House and surrounding homes, while women and children were running back in. I knew the Pack had a safe room, but I wasn’t a member, so I wasn’t privy to details. All I saw was Matt’s ass and all the other people going the same way. We went down some stairs and through a thick door, then I was set on a cot next to Luna Connie.
Matt waited until all the people were inside, then he left and closed the door behind him. The door was latched from the inside, and it became quiet except for the sniffles and crying of the children. I got up, checking each of the pregnant women, starting with the Luna, making sure they stayed calm. I wasn’t sure if stress would cause trouble.
My real worry was if any of their mates were killed. I was pretty sure that the trauma of losing him would threaten the baby as well.
It was a tense time, and I wished again I had a Pack link so I could stay informed. It was a half hour or so later that the all-clear was given and we opened the door. Alpha Clark was on the other side. “We’re having a Pack Meeting in the dining hall,” he said.
“Good, I’m hungry,” Connie said as she kissed him.
We went back upstairs, and the kitchen help broke off to restart preparations. Matt sat me down at the head table. “It’s going to be a few minutes, the kitchen shut down everything when the attack horn sounded.” The young ones were running around, making sure everyone had milk, juice and cereal while we waited for the hot foot to be ready.
I looked to a table in the back, where a dozen or so older men and boys sat down, wearing old clothes that came from the stores of spares we kept around the compound. I recognized some of them. “Grand Marais pack? They were the threat?”
“They were refugees,” Matt said. I was going to ask more, but Alpha Clark walked to his chair and raised his hand, the room instantly going quiet.
“Early this morning, the Grand Marais pack was attacked and overrun. The Alpha, Beta, all senior leadership is dead.” There was an uproar in the room, some people had relatives there. He growled, and they went silent again. “Most importantly, they didn’t stay. This wasn’t about land or taking over the Pack, all they took was the women and the girls. Any who put up a fight, and any mated males were killed.”
There were wails of grief and outrage at the news. I looked at my plate; it was starting to happen. The most primal urge of a wolf was to procreate, to see his line continue. No women, no offspring. If they didn’t have enough of their own, they would steal from others. They killed the mated males so their unmated males could take the women as forced mates, the younger ones would be kept prisoner until they were of childbearing age then mated off. They might even be sold or traded to other Packs.
Women of childbearing age had just become the currency of the werewolf world.
The Luna stood, and immediately there was quiet again. “This threat is real and imminent; we have just lost an ally, and we are a large Pack with many women. In order to better protect us, all females will be moving to the Pack House today. Males living here who are unmated will be temporarily housed in the outer homes. Beta Denise and Gamma Virginia will make the housing arrangements this morning, and all are to be in place tonight. After breakfast, start packing if you are going to be moving.”
“Is that really necessary, Alphas?” A young man said from a back table, his young mate in his arms.
Alpha Clark growled a little at the challenge. “Yes. The wolves this morning did not have hostile intent, they stopped when confronted, but a surprise attack like at Grand Marais would leave us with no time. We need to have all the females in this building, or we may not make it to the safe room in time.” The man exposed his neck and sat, pulling his mate onto his lap.
The conversations started as the Alphas sat down and the food came out. I looked over at the Alpha pair. “My apartment is with the clinic for a reason, am I to stay there or move?”
“You’ll be moving in here as well, Vivian,” Connie said. “In fact, we would like to have you make a room here into a satellite office for normal checkups and such. That way we don’t have women in other buildings unless there is a medical emergency,” she said.
“Yes, Luna. I will need some help setting it up.”
“Your escorts can assist, along with Jessica, and I’ll give you more if you need it. Will you have enough supplies?”
I thought about it for a moment, I had topped off my supply orders recently. “I think so. Since I’m not visiting other Packs, I could move the gear from my truck into the new office, that should reduce what I need to take from the Clinic. I’ll move this morning if you have a spot picked out for me, then I can do the appointments in the afternoon.”
“I’ll show you after breakfast,” she said. Werewolves ate a lot for their size to begin with, but pregnant she-wolves took it to eleven. She had a stack of bacon on her big plate, along with a half-dozen pancakes and six eggs. I took the last two pieces of bacon, earning me a glare from Matt, then I laughed and put one on his plate.
The mood of the Pack was somber and nervous, people were constantly looking around. The Alphas had doubled normal patrols, and the visiting members of the other three Packs had called home to warn them. I finished my meal, talking with Virginia for a bit about where to put the pregnant females, until the Alphas were done. Connie brought us to an empty office at the near end of the administrative wing of the big building. It wasn’t huge, but it had an attached bathroom with shower and was big enough. “I’ll need to bring in some cabinets and move the exam table from the clinic,” I said, “But this should work well. Thank you, Luna.” She smiled and moved off, her had nervously running over her baby bump. She was now fifteen weeks along; the last female to get pregnant in the spring heat cycle, she had the longest to go until the baby was viable.
I explained to Matt what I needed, and he sent Jessica and two others to start removing needed equipment from the clinic exam room. I made a quick call to my father, warning him of what was going on. They hadn’t seen Pack raids in southern Minnesota yet, but there had been kidnappings and forced matings. He didn’t have any new news on the deaths, he had lost another woman this past week and had no pregnant women left over twenty weeks.
The three of us worked to remove the stuff we didn’t need from the small office. We turned the desk so it was against the back wall and window, and brought up a wardrobe and some bookshelves from storage in the basement. We moved the exam table in; it was a standard clinic model with adjustable height and stirrups. I also had a spare medical light brought in and installed on the ceiling above it.
We spent the rest of the morning moving supplies in from my truck, then filling in the gaps from the supply room at the clinic. By lunch, we turned the room into a usable space for routine medical care. I brought a sign-up sheet with me and had all the pregnant women sign up for a time spot for their daily exams.
At lunch, the Alpha asked for volunteers to go to the Grand Marais pack and look for survivors and clues as to who had done this. Other than him and the Gamma, every person he picked for the trip was unmated. They left shortly after I started my appointments and returned just before sundown. They hadn’t found anyone; they built a huge pyre to cremate the eighteen dead and cleaned out any useful items from the homes. Nobody was going to go back there, no Pack leadership was left, and there were no families. They would return later, preparing the land for sale, as Alpha Clark took their assets into his in exchange for taking in the survivors.