Chapter 4: Leverage
“So the people of the valley sent a message up the hill,
asking for the buried treasure,
tons of gold for which they’d kill.
Came an answer from the kingdom
“with our brothers we will share.
All the secrets of our mountain, all the riches buried there.”
Now the valley cried with anger,
“mount your horses, draw your swords”
And they killed the mountain people,
so they won their just reward.
Now they stood beside the treasure,
on the mountain dark and red.
Turned the stone and looked beneath it;
PEACE ON EARTH was all it said.
Go ahead and hate your neighbor
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of heaven
Justify it in the end
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away.”
Joni Mitchell, “One Tin Soldier”
Johnson Pack Territory
Derek disconnected from the satellite phone, rage coursing through him as he considered what the message meant. He looked at the mountains of the Northern Rockies tried to calm his breathing as the possibilities bounced around his head. Amanda placed her hand on his shoulder, her touch instantly calming him. He looked down at his beautiful and pregnant mate, the worry in his face evident. “It’s Renee’s pack. They are in trouble, lots of trouble, and they need our help. Robert and some others have been arrested, and Renee is having pregnancy complications and cannot leave the hospital.” He gave her a quick rundown of what they knew.
“Go then, gather the fighters and get down there. I will stay here with a few fighters and those who can’t fight.” He nodded, reluctant to leave her but knowing he had to. “Your sister needs you. She will need all of us.”
He sent out the call to his Pack, he told them what was going on and asked for volunteers only. “I won’t hold it against anyone who can’t leave their mate or doesn’t want this fight. I don’t know how bad it will be and I can’t promise you will return. Those who want to go, gear up and meet me at the motor pool in 30 minutes.”
He returned to his tent were Amanda was already packing his bag. He opened a case from below his bed, removing the Colt M4 rifle and magazines. He checked the bullets, bringing a mix of normal and Wolfsbane core, and slung it over his back. Turning back to his mate, he lifted her chin so he could see her eyes. “I don’t know how long I will be, love. Keep the Pack and our baby safe for me.”
“We won’t take any risks, my love. After what happened to Renee, we won’t send anyone out and we will stay close to the safe room.” The safe room in the basement of their new Pack house was military grade, with thick reinforced concrete walls lined with steel plating. It could hold them all for weeks if needed. It was only knowing this that Derek could even consider leaving her behind.
“I’ll call you each evening on the satellite phone to keep you in the loop.” With that, he gathered her in his arms and gave her the kind of kiss that could last her weeks. “Be safe, love.”
“You keep them safe, Derek. Leave no enemy alive. This HAS to be end.” Tears ran down her face as he walked away to meet the men. Forty heavily armed werewolves were saying their goodbyes to their friends and mates, and soon they were on the way to the charter plane they had quickly arranged. Lawyers they would have to pick up on the way, they had plenty of guns and money.
South of Los Cruces
Agent-in-Charge Warren’s phone buzzed in his jacket pocket, waking him up. He glanced at the caller ID and accepted it. “Hi Kim, how are you?”
“Good, Henry. Hey, I was reviewing the files of the people you’ve arrested and I have an idea. You can’t put these people in the general population of a prison, not only are they stronger than the others but they can communicate with each other telepathically. It will make it near impossible to interrogate them effectively.”
He sat back, nowhere in their planning did they consider the special needs of arresting a half dozen Werewolves. He pinched the bridge of his nose. “What do you suggest?”
“There are people with a lot more experience in this stuff than what the FBI has. They know how to get information from them, how to handle them, how to stay safe. You don’t want any of your people turned by accident again.”
“Who are these people?”
“It’s a CIA black site. During the war, they were responsible for gathering intelligence from captured werewolves.”
Henry closed his eyes. “You want me to bring the CIA into this?”
“We have reason to believe the Gila Pack was working with the cartels prior to this drug war breaking out. These Packs have a loyalty and code of silence that would make the Corsicans envious. Normal interrogation, you’ll get nothing. Information on the Cartels is highly perishable, if you don’t get answers in the next 24 hours it may not help us end this bloodshed.”
Henry knew they were holding most on the national security warrants, but since the detainees included a well-known Werewolf leader and a nationally known reporter, they had no chance of keeping them hidden from the press.
“What are you suggesting?”
“I’ve made contact with their Black Ops people already and they have agreed, but they can’t take them all. I suggest we pick the two most likely to break and turn them over while you take the rest to Dallas. Let my team and the CIA interrogate them while you go after the others. We will share any information we get with you. Once the others learn we have cooperating witnesses, their code of silence will break.”
“How can you do that?”
“That’s my problem. Just know that it won’t be illegal and you will still be able to use the information in court.” She could hear the gears churning in his head.
“OK, which two?”
“Caleb and Maria. She has already given evidence to us against the Cartels, and has a relationship with my office. Caleb is her new mate, he will do anything to protect her.”
“What if they are under Alpha command not to talk?”
“You just leave that to me, Henry. Give me 24 hours, if we don’t get results we’ll deliver them to you in Dallas.”
Gila Pack Clinic
Nap complete, Renee took care of her business and got on the phone. It was time to deal with the Council, but first she had to talk to counsel. Dialing a number, she soon heard William Post answer. “Hi William, this is Renee. Are you on your way?”
“Yes, we’re in the car now, a few hours out. I’m bringing my newly hired paralegal with me. By the way, I’ve hired criminal defense counsel in Dallas already. I’ve got one for the ones under the Homeland Security warrant, and another for Robert. Both are respected and experienced in their fields... well, as experienced as anyone can be in defending an Alpha against a forced turn charge. They will be meeting with them as soon as they are processed into jail. You should be getting the retainer contracts by courier in the next hour or two.”
“Thank you, I don’t want them in jail a minute longer than they have to be.”
“I understand, Alpha, but we are in national security territory with these sealed warrants. The government is going to fight to deny bail. As for Robert, the charge carries a potential death penalty. I’m told that bail will not be allowed, not unless the charges are reduced.” He paused, knowing that this news was difficult but part of his job was to provide unvarnished counsel. “As soon as we arrive I’ll get the office set up and we can meet and discuss more in private. Anything else?”
“Yes, the agent that was scratched is still here, in the room next to me with an FBI minder.” There was silence for a while. “I convinced them that it was for the best, we have experience with turns and it will go better for her if an Alpha is around to stamp dominance on her wolf when it comes out. He also recognizes that it is in our interest to make sure she survives the turn.”
“I understand, Renee, but I wish you had talked to me first. This opens up all kinds of civil liability for the Pack, not just for Robert.”
“She’s going to be a werewolf, I’m the Alpha here, she’s my responsibility.” My tone was firm, he knew not to argue. “Now, one last thing. We don’t have many lawyers who make Pack Law a specialty, but I’d like you to look at something for me.”
“What can I do?”
“Stanley Diggs’ brother has filed a complaint with the Werewolf council stating that I forfeited the Alpha challenge as soon as I had a Pack member interfere. I need someone to look at the Pack laws in question, hopefully fresh eyes will find something.”
“Sounds like fun. Have someone email me the information and I’ll give you my opinion. I still can’t believe you did that, Renee. A part of me was dying watching him do that to you.”
Renee laughed. “Yeah, a big part of me was dying too. Let me know what you think when you get here.” She linked a Pack member with his email address and instructions. “I have a few more calls to make, I’ll warn the sentries you are coming. Have a good trip, William.”
She hung up and made her next call. Elder Richard Grey answered quickly. “Good afternoon, Elder, this is Alpha Renee Hastings.”
“Alpha! My goodness. Your mate is all over the news up here!”
“Yes, there is a lot going on here. I have a request for you. I’ve had some complications in my pregnancy and my Pack doctor has placed me on bed rest. With Robert in jail, we won’t be able to make the hearing next week.”
There was a long pause on the line. “I can ask for a delay, but Alpha Diggs is under no obligation to grant one. If you don’t show, it’s a default judgment. You’ll lose everything.”
“I’m not asking for a delay, Elder, I’m asking for a location change. Here, in my Pack hospital room, at noon tomorrow. I want this done and over with so I can focus on everything else going on.”
“I can make some calls. It’s normal for these to be on neutral territory for the safety of the packs involved.”
“I will send you a note stating that the hospital is neutral ground, and grant the Council and Alpha Diggs and his party safe passage. I would ask that the Council members escort him on and off my land, that is why I want a midday hearing. The Council is welcome to stay here if they wish, or we can arrange lodging in Albuquerque.”
Richard paused for a minute. “You know, that would work. Medical facilities have always been considered neutral ground. I will personally assume responsibility for his escort. Are you sure you are up to this, Renee? I don’t want you to challenge your babies health over this.”
Renee laughed. “Doc said I had to stay in bed, he doesn’t get to make me sit around doing nothing. I look forward to your visit.” She passed along contact information, and an hour later he called back to confirm the visit. She laid back to take a nap, the challenge didn’t bother her. They had plenty of money, she just hated it when assholes came out on top. And Alpha Marcus Diggs was a major league asshole.
Southern New Mexico
The driver pointed to the exit where the rendezvous would take place. “Boss, we have two DEA vans waiting for us.” Henry still didn’t like this, but a few calls to his bosses and Justice directed it to happen. Pulling alongside, he got out and greeted Kim Corrigan.
“Do you have the prisoner transfer order, Kim?”
“Of course, all the paperwork is ready. I need your signature here and here.” He signed and her men moved off to the transport van. Opening the back door, four heavily armored DEA agents moved in. Unlocking Maria’s shackles from the floor, the four each took a limb and carried her out, stomach down. She was crying uncontrollably and begging Caleb to help.
“WHERE ARE YOU TAKING HER?” Caleb struggled against his restraints as Maria’s pleas for help over the link assaulted him. The rest of the Pack was just as upset, the van was starting to rock as they all struggled to go help her.
The DEA agents came back a few minutes later, this time with cattle prods out. “Shut the fuck up and stay still or we’ll light you up.” Moving to Caleb, they unhooked him from the van and carried him out. The shackles allowed the four to do so despite his struggles. The door was closed and the convoy started up again.
Robert reached out over the bond. “Caleb, Maria, I need you guys to calm down and focus. You still have each other, it’s going to be all right. Do you know where they are taking you?”
Caleb responded nervously. “They said the place we are going doesn’t officially exist, and no Werewolf has left there alive.” They could feel them struggling against their captors but the link soon went dead.
Gila Pack Hospital
Renee was just finishing her dinner when there was a knock on the door. She looked up to see her lawyer poke his head in. “William! Come on in!” He came in trailed by a young woman who was nervously looking around the room, trying to hide behind the legal pad she carried.
“Hello Alpha Renee, it is good to see you again. How are your babies doing?”
“Still under observation, but I’m improving. I just think that my overprotective doctor got direction from my overprotective mate before he was taken. They won’t let me do a thing. It’s driving me nuts.”
William laughed, he took her outstretched hand and brought it up to his nose, as he had learned was the proper way to greet an Alpha female. “This is Jenny Adams, she is a paralegal I’ve hired to help get the office set up.” Jenny nervously moved forward and, as he had instructed, greeted the Alpha as well. “She’s a little nervous, this is her first time being around werewolves.”
“You have nothing to worry about, Jenny. My Pack members will make you feel welcome.” Using the link, he sent their images to the Pack along with what they were here for and to be friendly to them. “Did you have a chance to review the Pack law material I sent you?”
“Yes, and I have an idea but I need to review what happened again with you. I was able to watch the video online, that video will be important to our case.”
“Ugh. I don’t ever want to watch that video.” William sat in the chair next to her bed and opened his laptop. They spent the next hour going over everything until their case was ready.
Tahoe Pack Convoy
Northern New Mexico
It was all falling into place for them. The call from Elder Grey came at a good time for them. His invasion force filled the five large SUV’s behind him, and his allies were sending similar forces. There was no way that Pack would withstand the assault, and once that bitch Renee was gone, he would take all she had. He didn’t want to tip his hand to the elders or the Council, so he quickly agreed to the hearing tomorrow and promised to meet him at the hotel lobby at 10 AM to be escorted onto Pack lands. All the fighters would be in place in Albuquerque hotels by then.
First her money, then her Pack, then her life.
He couldn’t reach Robert, but once Renee was dead it wouldn’t matter, no man could survive losing two mates. He just had to wait until the Elders were gone, then his men could sweep through.
Pacifico Sur Cartel Headquarters
Near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Hector Beltron put down the phone and sat on the bed, trying to process it all. The news about the Gila pack was startling- not only the arrests of a number of his senior people, but Alpha Roberts himself being held for a capital offense? This was creating a power vacuum of major proportions, and Hector didn’t want to be on the wrong side of it when the vacuum was resolved. Quickly calling his security center, he called for a meeting in thirty minutes in the conference room with his senior leadership.
“Hector, darling, what has made you so tense?” Nichole sat up in his bed, the silk sheets slipping down to uncover her large breasts and pale skin. “I thought you were coming to bed with me.”
“Business, my love.” He reached out and grasped her hand. “I will be back later, but I don’t know when. Right now I want a shower and a change of clothes.” He stood up and walked to the bathroom, discarding his clothes along the way. Nichole followed him into the bathroom, turning on the shower and gathering towels before she pulled him in after her. She took a cloth and body wash and cleaned him front and back while he was lost in thought.
“Baby, let me take care of you before you go.” After rinsing him off, she dropped to her knees and sucked his limp dick into her mouth. She swirled her tongue around, teasing him and then came off to lick it from base to tip. Her wet blonde hair was falling around her face as she worked him to hardness. Her attentions, as always, were successful in arousing him quickly and soon she was bobbing on his full length. Every few strokes she would push forward, gagging slightly as he pushed down her throat. She worshiped his tool with her mouth, which now was long enough she could only fit half in before she had to start swallowing it. She put everything she had learned about pleasuring him into it, swirling her tongue around his tip then massaging it with her throat when deep. Hector closed his eyes, the sensation was so intense that if he wasn’t distracted in his mind she would have gotten her reward by now. He didn’t want just her talented mouth, though. He wanted her ass.
He reached to the shelf to grab the tube of lubricant. Grabbing her hand, he put some on her fingers. She grinned around his shaft as she saw what he wanted. She dropped that hand down and plunged the fingers into her ass while her other hand steadied her on his hip. She gave herself a few good strokes, then held her hand out for more. She pulled back from him as he turned off the shower and filled her hand with lube. She quickly coated his long and narrow cock with it, stroking it a few more times to make sure it was covered. “Stand up and put your hands on the the wall.” She immediately complied, and he pushed her forward into the shower wall until her hands were at waist level and her head was almost touching. “What do you want, Nichole?”
“Your cock... I need your cock in my ass. Please, Hector, give it to me. Fuck my ass...uhhh...ohhh...FUCK you feel good in me!” She closed her eyes as he pressed into her, her ring giving way as her ass stretched to accommodate him. He kept pressing until he was buried balls deep in her. “So full... so good... oh god it feels so good....” He withdrew just as slowly, and she let out a continuous moan until he paused again.
“What do you want, Nicole?”
“Oh god... fuck me... fuck me hard I need it so bad... please AAAAAH!” She screamed as he slammed forward this time, the burning in her ass competing with the pleasure she was getting. She tried to talk but he was pounding into her and she couldn’t get her breath, all she could do was moan and hold on for the ride. She reached back with the lubed hand, holding her cheek out of the way to allow him better access. He reached around her, his fingers finding her clit and rubbing it as he continued to fuck her hard. She built closer and closer to a huge orgasm, and when it broke she screamed and clamped down on him hard. He took one last stroke then emptied himself into her, holding her up by her waist as her legs gave way under her. He stayed still, the only movement being the swell of his cock as he pumped jet after jet deep insider her.
He gently lowered her to her knees, still buried in her, and turned the shower back on. He kept an arm around her chest, holding her to his chest until the tremors stopped and she could open her eyes again. She reached behind her head to hold his. “I love you, Hector.”
He kissed her shoulder as he gently withdrew, his come dropping onto the shower floor as he did. “I love you too, Nicole. Now let’s get clean again, I have work to do.” He set her on the small seat as he washed himself, then he stood her up and washed her, paying particular attention to her ass. “Don’t wait up, I will be gone for a couple days.” With a kiss he left her and got dressed.
Ten minutes later he was at the head of the conference table. His security chief presented the updates on the Gila pack, then he asked for opinions on what it meant. Victor Alvarez, his lawyer and close friend, summed it up best. “They will never be weaker than they are now, and everyone knows it. The first to attack will take it over. With a young Alpha restricted to a hospital bed, they cannot defend themselves. It’s just a question of who does it.”
Hector looked around. “Get a team together and get them in place nearby. I want fifty or more men, heavily armed and ready by tomorrow night to move on my orders. I also want people watching every road in and out of there, I need to know if anyone starts a raid.” The men jumped to their feet and raced to carry out his direction.
Victor waited until most had left, then sat next to his friend. “We had some people research what happened in the last raid on their territory. Take a look at these aerial photographs we had taken.” He spread the photos on the desk, before and after of a section of roadway. “You can see here that they blew up a section or the wall above the road and crushed most of the convoy immediately. The helicopter was shot down and crashed by the river.” He set down another photo. “This is after they had cleared some of the debris. Most of their force was taken out by the slide, the rest they probably picked off with snipers from the ridge lines on each side.”
“What are you getting at?”
“Two things. First of all, they wouldn’t know which path people would attack on, so they must have similar defenses on other roadways. We could try and figure out where, but it really doesn’t matter. They don’t have the people to cover every approach at once, so you see how far back this ambush is from the border? That gives them time to rush a team there before the vehicles arrive.”
“So at the first indication of attack, most of their defenses will rush to the ambush point, leaving the other avenues of attack uncovered.”
“Exactly. With their experienced leadership gone, they may not consider a multi pronged attack.”
Hector pointed at the photos again. “What is the other thing?”
“It’s less likely that they have another ambush point ready on this road, so this is their weak point right now.”
Hector sat back. “Have my security detail set up transport for me, I want to be there when this goes down. Call the team leader and make sure his team is standing by just outside their border on this route until I give the word.”
CIA Interrogation Facility
“CALEB!!! CALEB HELP ME!!” Her mental scream woke him up from his sedation. Caleb’s head snapped up, his eyes taking in the cold concrete cell walls and silver plated bars of his room. He tried to sit up, but heavy leather restraints and silver covered shackles held him in place. He struggled until he realized it was futile then settled back down.
“Maria, I’m here, what is going on?”
“I can’t be locked up again... CALEB YOU HAVE TO HELP ME!”
My wolf is enraged, but he’s unable to come forward. Wolfsbane injection, they must have hit me with a low dose. I can feel my strength is down and my wolf can’t shift, but it wasn’t so much as to take the bond away. I can only lie here, listening to my mate and feeling the terror she is feeling. I scream for my jailers to come, but nothing happens to me. Maria is not so lucky.
I feel her panic, I feel it as she descends into insanity. She’s crying out for me and I’m not there for her.
She cuts off contact, I keep reaching out with the bond for her and get nothing. In a way I’m happy she is out of it for now. I can’t imagine how much damage this is going to do to her, and my failure as a man and a mate is heavy in my chest. I am startled out of it by a key opening my cell.
A woman walks in, middle aged, dressed professionally but not well- clearly someone without a lot of money. She does have a confidence that comes of authority. I glare at her, knowing that somehow she is responsible for what my Maria is going through. “Who the fuck are you?”
She laughs at me.
“My name is Agent Kim Corrigan. I’m the only one with the power to stop this. You’re off the books here- no paper trail, no phone calls, no lawyers. I can do whatever I want to you unless you give me what I want.”
I lay my head back on the bed. “What do you want?”
“Your pack made quite a little heist a few days ago. You somehow broke into the Soccorro cartel’s vault and stole his money. My people want it, and you know where it is. Tell me where it is.”
“That’s too bad.” She gets up and walks away. “You know, you WILL give me what I want to know. The only question is how much your mate suffers for your stubbornness. I’ve read the files, I know what happened to her. Can she afford for you to be so stubborn? Can she ever forgive you for not sparing her this? Think about it.”
She turns to walk away, and I scream for her to stop but she doesn’t.
When she returns, I’m ready to do anything to stop this.
She opens the cell door and steps in. I look at her, hating her more than any man has hated another, and I do what I have to do. “I want to tell you where it is.”
“I knew you’d come around. Where is it?”
“It’s buried inside a cave system, we collapsed tons of rock over the entrance. You’ll need heavy equipment to move stuff out of the way, and you’ll need me to show you where it is. The problem is, I am under Alpha order to keep it quiet and I can’t break that.”
She gives me a cruel smile. “I think I can help you with that.” She looks up into the camera in the corner and calls for them to bring in Marcus.
A large man walks into the cell, he is a werewolf and his power radiates from him. “I’m Alpha Marcus Diggs of the Tahoe pack. I understand you need a new Alpha, Caleb.”