Chapter 42: We Will Not Go Quietly
The drive back was heartbreaking for me. The twins would cry, and when they finally stopped crying Olivia would start up. The three of them stayed in the backseat, the young ones in their new booster seats I bought back at Walmart, and Olivia in the middle.
Mark and I were exhausted, but we couldn’t afford the risk of stopping so we pushed onward. We finally got home, and were greeted by a very worried Pack. Olivia took the kids with Mark back to his parent’s house, since they had bonded during the drive. I took a quick shower, then went downstairs to talk to my Pack and eat some dinner before bed.
“It’s bad out there,” I said, “and it’s getting worse.” I talked them through how we entered the Pack house and killed the Alphas, then everything that happened with the police and military attack on their house and the loss of all but the twins. “I just don’t understand it, why would they attack his house and kill him like that? He was going to hand the rest of us over on a silver platter!”
Jacob leaned forward, Melanie pressed into his side. “When they do this, it means they don’t need to make the deal. Either they already have the information, are confident they can still get the information after the attack, or they don’t trust him to do his part. My money would be that they figure they can still find the information they need without him.”
“How?” Craig looked at me, then at him. “Olivia told her brother to destroy his computer, his office. The whole place burned to the ground, we saw it on the news.”
It was Josh’s turn to cut in. “Nothing is truly destroyed in the age of the Internet.”
I looked at him. “What do you mean?”
“They follow the trails. We talked about Echelon earlier. The National Security Agency has all the electronic communications, phone calls, and email traffic going back YEARS stored in a data center in Utah. They know who Alpha Johnson was an Alpha, as was Principal Johnson and Michael Anderson. You go out from there to family and known acquaintances. By using facebook, phone records, emails and financial transactions, you can build a list of probable werewolves. You track those people down, then go to their friends, and so on, and so on…”
I sat back and closed my eyes, my head hurt. “So if they don’t know who I am yet, they will soon.”
He nodded. “Unless my buddies can do something about it.”
Everyone, including his parents, looked at him. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m part of a, well, community of hackers. Some of us are werewolves, some are just anti-capitalist or concerned with government intrusion into our private lives. Anyway, when this whole thing started, we had some discussions on the Dark Web and reached a general agreement. This is the opportunity to wreak havoc on the financial system, the government and powerful corporations, and blame it all on werewolves.”
I smiled at him. “You’re a fucking genius, Josh.” He smiled. “So what have you done?”
“Well, we all agreed to set up our hacks to hit at midnight tonight. The idea is that the cyberattacks are so numerous and widespread that they can’t respond to them all at once. Power grids, banking systems, government databases, it’s all on the table. We’ve spread around some really nasty viruses that haven’t been seen yet; they worm their way into a system and cause the files to repeatedly overwrite the data.” He smiled as he thought about it. “They won’t know what hit them.”
“But what about the data centers? Surely, they have backup drives, tapes, remote data centers. Two is one and one is none, as the Rangers say.” Jacob was sitting back, mulling it over.
“True… except we know where the major ones are we need to take out. The werewolves among us have divided up the targets, and the local Packs will be attacking them tonight. All four Utah packs are working together to go after the NSA supercomputers and data farm.”
My jaw was almost to the table, a whole war was being planned and my fifteen year old rent-a-hacker was up to his neck in it. “Why wasn’t I informed?”
“Need to know only. No data centers in this hick town.” I chuckled, he was right. There were no high-value targets around for us. “I have to get back, I’m doing some things in the FBI databases right now.” He got up and left for his house, and we all looked at him with a ‘what the hell just happened’ look.
My phone dinged, it was a text from an unknown number. The message was short:
“Acuvue Oasys with Hydraclear Plus -BK”
I closed the message program and opened my web surfer. Entering the text, I pulled up a website. I wasn’t sure what it meant until I read the product description. “99.4% UVA and UVB protection.” Could it be? If it filtered the light… I copied and forwarded the text to Marge with a note to order as many as she could get without arousing suspicion.
It must work, I thought, it was Black Ker approved. Cat eyes glow even worse than wolf ones, and she had been hiding her true nature for a long time. I went upstairs, taking my boys with me, and after feeding them I fell into a deep sleep until the next morning.
When I turned on the news while feeding the boys, it had gone nuts. The stories were one after another.
Multiple banks had been hacked, raising fears that they wouldn’t be able to open after the Labor Day holiday.
Multiple blackouts had occurred as hackers sabotaged the electric grid, plunging several big cities into darkness.
An attack on the Utah data center storing the NSA archive looked like it was successful, even though the agency refused to comment on the damage. News footage showed the huge facility in flames as men and werewolves ran around and set more explosives.
At the NSA headquarters and multiple agencies in Washington, DC, all hell had broken loose just after I went to bed. When word got around that the Government was using ultraviolet light to identify werewolves, the wolves didn’t wait for the checks to come. Some shifted and attacked their coworkers, using the chaos that resulted to escape. Others did what they could to protect their species; equipment was damaged, case files destroyed, computers destroyed, and leaders assassinated. At NSA headquarters, two werewolves in the computer room killed the other techs after locking down the entrances and disabling the overrides. As police and agents frantically tried to break in the impenetrable doors, they calmly destroyed every single tape, hard drive and electronic storage device before setting the whole place on fire.
Eighteen refineries across the country had shutdowns from what was later determined to be physical or computer sabotage. Most would take weeks to restart, leading some pundits to predict gas prices would double and we would see lines at the pump for the first time since the 70′s.
In police departments and military units across the country, werewolves were causing havoc. They attacked their former coworkers, interfered with ongoing operations and warned Packs of upcoming attacks.
Hundreds of false werewolf sightings and Pack locations were called in. This tactic, called SWATTING, resulted in innocent human families being targeted for no-knock raids or bombings. The sheer number of false attacks would put a damper on government operations for months to come.
I laughed a little as I watched the news anchors squirm, almost shocked that this was happening. What did they THINK would happen when they turned against us? Would we just give up, walking hand in hand to our deaths because they were afraid of us? Hardly.
Wolves are predators, we are the hunters, not the hunted.
We will give our lives to protect our families and our Pack.
Above all, we will survive.
It was time humans learned this.
Marge and Mabel were laying out breakfast as I came down. Craig had already finished, he was in the living room watching the coverage with a few other Pack members. I handed the twins off to Melanie, she and Jacob were on the couch together. I could tell by the way she looked at them that she was looking forward to her first heat, and hopefully babies of her own.
Nadine and Natalie were already at the table, eating stacks of pancakes. I grabbed a plate and loaded it up, extra bacon and blueberries, and sat down with them.
The door opened and Olivia walked in with Mark. They were each carrying one of the twins, who had matching red eyes and tousled hair. Tom and Shelley followed behind. Mabel hurried out to meet them, assuring them we had plenty of food for them since they had showed up unannounced.
“Good morning Craig, Ella, everyone,” she said. “Sorry about dropping in like this, but we had a rough night. The twins wanted to see their Alphas.”
“That’s not a problem,” Craig said. He held his arms out and the two ran over to him as soon as they were set down. Even without their wolves, they felt a pull to him, an instinctual knowledge that he was there to protect them. They fell into his arms, both crying about their parents and how they missed them. Craig’s wolf was forward, his Pack members were hurting and needed his comfort. It didn’t matter that they were human, or that they had barely met yesterday.
Mabel ushered the adults to the table and set about getting food ready for them. She put her hand on Olivia’s shoulder as she set a plate in front of her. “How are you doing, dear?”
She looked up at her, tears welling in her eyes. “It’s hard,” she said. “Everything is different, muted, softer. I don’t have the speed or the strength I used to.” She looked at Ella. “I’m so sorry, Ella. I didn’t know until yesterday just how much we took from you that weekend.”
I got up and walked around to her, giving her a hug. “You didn’t take anything from me, Olivia, we’ve been through this. I’ve forgiven you for your part in it all, you need to let it go as well.” She nodded into my shoulder as she cried it out. “Now you need to eat.”
She started to cut up her pancakes as Mark looked over at me. “We were talking to each other about when I would make the change, Ella. I wanted to be bonded with her in that way, and now I don’t know what to do.”
I gave him a hug as well. “You don’t have to do anything right away, Mark. Right now it’s probably best you are human, it is safer for the both of you, and our Pack needs humans to help us survive. When you are ready, if you still want to, I’m sure Craig will do it for you.”
“What about us? We’re in the thick of this as well.” Tom held Shelley’s hand. “How can we help?”
“I think we need a Pack meeting this morning, I’ve got a few ideas. Marge, did you order those contacts?”
“Yep, a whole case of them. They are arriving tomorrow, should be here by ten by overnight air.” Luckily, only passenger aviation had been shut down, the cargo lines were still operating. “Craig, bring the twins in here so they can eat.”
He carried them in and set them in the booster seats, they squealed with delight at what was on their plates. Marge had made Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes, with blueberries for eyes and mouth and whipped cream. They murmured “Thank you” as they dug in. While they were cutting it up, she set another plate with an egg and bacon on it next to them, alone with some juice.
When everyone was done, we asked Natalie to take the boys to the theater room and I put Frozen on the big screen for them. The three cuddled up together in one of the theater chairs together and I left them, leaving the door open. I might not hear, but the werewolves would know if something was wrong.
Everyone was waiting in the living room for me to get back, except one. “Where’s Josh?”
John chuckled. “He’s sleeping, he was up all night. I don’t know everything he did, but I know he was working on a banking system. He was saying something about hitting the lottery when he finally went to sleep.”
I sat next to Craig as he opened the meeting up. “A lot has changed in the last day, so I wanted to talk out a few things with you all. The most concerning item is that the humans have figured out a way to identify us as werewolves while in human form, by using a black light to detect the wolf vision in our eyes. This makes it extremely dangerous to be out in public, and you know how they react to us.”
I picked it up. “We ran into the checkpoint on the highway yesterday; you all know what Olivia did to get us through. I don’t want anyone else to have to give up what she did. There was a car ahead of us, the guy was caught and tried to escape but they cut him down. He never had a chance.” I wiped a tear away. “There is no mercy, no due process. They are killing us like rabid animals.”
Jacob nodded. “I’ve been looking at their tactics; they’ve had to shift a little because of the sheer number of false reports. Now what they do is surround the house, then send a squad in to do eye checks. If they find werewolves, even one, they level the place. I’m worried that your name or your parent’s name is out there somewhere, Ella, and it leads them to us.”
“How can we stop them? I know Josh and his hackers are doing some things, but they can’t catch it all.” The whole situation made me nervous as hell.
“I don’t think we can, so here’s what I would do. All the werewolves go underground, along with everything that points to our existence. We need to clear out your office first, that place would be a treasure trove of intelligence if they took this house.” I nodded. “The humans stay above ground in case there is a raid, they can go out and pass the test, even offer to let them search the house.”
“And if they attack anyway?”
“Then the humans have to be the sacrifice so the rest of us can live. I can rig up explosives to bring the house down on top of us if we need to. They will be using drones or cameras, they will know how many people are up top, and they will keep looking until they find all their bodies.” I looked down, it sucked but he was right- we couldn’t let them keep looking until they found the safe room.
“I think we should leave some false info for them,” John said. “We leave a computer in the office, on the hard drive we put false info on pack locations. Select random government employees and military, put them on a list of contacts friendly to us. Maybe have an old-fashioned Rolodex in the desk with those names.”
“I like that,” Craig said. “Until we get the contacts and find out if they work, that’s our priority. I want everything and everybody who is going to the safe room down there by this afternoon. I think it makes sense to have Tom and Shelley return to their house and prepare it, and Olivia and Mark should take a house as well. Tom, I need to get papers filed showing that the titles to your houses have been transferred to you and Mark from our shell company. Everyone else will be in our big safe room.”
“What about the twins?” Olivia looked at us, pleading in her eyes.
“They’ve bonded to you already, Olivia, and since they are human it makes sense for them to stay with you two. If you’re all right with that.” I could see the attachment they already had, they clung to it like their favorite blanket.
She squeezed Mark’s hand and smiled. “We would like that.”
Craig smiled at them. “No hurry, but if you decide later you want to adopt them, we would all support that. Tom and Shelley, that goes for you too. They deserve a family again.”
We all do, I thought. The meeting broke up and we all got to work, the radios and TV coverage a constant companion.