Dominant Species

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We Are the Dominant Species

Carl woke well before sundown, as an Alpha he had trained himself to function on little sleep. His days had been so busy with Pack business that he became an early riser out of necessity; in the time before the others woke, he could concentrate on his work.

Looking down at the beautiful woman in his arms, work was the farthest thing from his mind. Justine was sleeping deeply, her arm draped over his right shoulder while her head pillowed on his left. A leg was tossed over his, and as he gazed at her form his body responded. He memorized her face, moving the dark hair out of the way. It was cut short enough to tuck under her surgical cap, but was just enough to cover her eyes. He couldn’t have that, her eyes were a pool that drew him to jump in.

She twitched and opened her eyes as he continued to gently stroke her face and neck. He smiled down at her, still shocked he had found her. She returned the smile, and started to sit up, but grimaced a little as the soreness from the previous night made itself apparent. Although both were inexperienced, they quickly figured things out and had exhausted themselves in repeated bliss. She focused on his face. “Turn me? Please?”

“Of course, Justine. I’ll be as gentle as I can.” He rolled her on top of him, giving her the ability to control the pace and penetration. She lined him up, rubbing him on her rapidly moistening sex she lowered herself onto him.

“Ohhh fuck…” She closed her eyes as he filled her, it stretched and it pushed and it hurt but it felt oh so good to do it. He reached up and cupped her breasts, his thumbs flicking across the hardening nipples. She started moving as the pain left, rising slowly and dropping back down with a loud moan. Carl sat up and scooted them towards the wall, never leaving her as he easily lifted her weight. She moaned as the new position caused new places to be stimulated. They rose together to a peak, and as she broke apart in his arms he lunged forward, shifted teeth biting deep into the junction of neck and shoulder, as she screamed in pain and pleasure. He released her, licking the blood that leaked out, as they wound back down to normal again.

“You will be a great Alpha Female, I can feel your strength and my wolf is giddy at the thought of you being at my side.” Carl hugged her tight as she rested her forehead on his. “This will work out well, we can go to Salmon for the talks and you should hit your fevers by daybreak.”

She smiled at him. “You will stay with me and help me, right?”

“I never want to leave your side again,” he said as he captured her lips with his.

When the sun was below the mountains, the assembled wolves gathered around Alpha Carl. “Tonight we run, not as individuals, not even as a Pack, but as something greater. We run together as allies and friends. Shift!” The wolves shifted who hadn’t already, some had packs or bags they could carry in their mouths. Carl had Justine, who was dressed in jeans, top and sweater for the long run with a small backpack for their things. They would both be staying a few days until she completed Wolf U. Carl’s large wolf, obviously an Alpha compared to the mostly normal rank wolves around him, laid on the ground so she could get on. As he stood up, she adjusted her grip. With a powerful howl, the twenty-three wolves from Henderson headed south.

“Come on, let’s get to work.” Reggie pulled Donald along towards the meeting room the Alphas would be using. Carl wasn’t here yet, neither was Calvin, but there were things they could do. “We need to start laying out the parameters of the Alliance Agreement. I’d like to get as much done as we can before the others arrive so we can spend more time agreeing and less time writing.”

Donald walked with him, his heart clearly elsewhere. Without Silvia, being an Alpha was pointless. His wolf was mad at him for leaving his mate in North Fork when she was upset; he needed to deliver people here, but she was upset at him and had turned away as he drove off. Twice he had left to find her parents and twice he had returned without them.

Alpha Robert joined them, having dropped Tammy off at the clinic. The gathering was about more than just the Alphas, each functional area had representatives that would meet. There was no point in every Pack raising rabbits, for instance; one or two could focus on doing it on a large scale, then trade with the others. Information and training would be just as valuable, as they all had to learn skills long forgotten in the age of technology. It wasn’t that there wasn’t a Wal-Mart, there was, it was just burned out and looted. You had to learn to get water, cook, wash clothes, grow food and heat buildings in a way your great-great grandparents might have done. Tammy was going to meet with the surviving medical professionals to work out the best way to provide health care to the Packs.

The Alphas smiled and greeted the various Pack members and humans who were gathered in small groups. There was a palpable excitement in the air, a feeling best summed up as Hope. After all the death and sickness and horror brought on by the solar flare, they were starting to rally together and see a way forward. The excitement just built with each new group that had arrived, and more were expected throughout the night. By daybreak, they expected over four hundred adults to be here.

They entered the meeting room and Reggie adjusted the oil lamp that was providing illumination. The conference table was covered with a large map of the area. Post-it notes were attached in various locations, showing the status of the town or the Pack as they now knew it. “So how will we work the territories,” Robert asked. He was, right now, an Alpha without a Pack or land.

Reggie pointed to the map where they had outlined the current territories of the North Fork and Salmon Packs. “You are set up in Henderson, right?” Donald nodded. Reggie used a pencil to draw a border between there are Corvallis, then extended the territory line to the mountains on either side and through the south valley. The northern portion of the valley was drawn similarly, with Corvallis as the base, and extended up to the outskirts of a burned-out Missoula. “Alpha Carl is from here,” he said pointing to Blue Mountain off to the southwest of that town. “He’s familiar with the area, and we need someone in Corvallis with the human population we still have there. At some point, if we can find another Alpha, we can set up a territory north of there that includes Missoula and the valley to the east and west.”

Alpha Robert looked at the map, wondering where he would fit in. “My problem is that I’m from Salmon and my mate Tammy works here. There’s not enough room in this town for the both of us, so to speak, unless we split the town down the middle.”

Reggie nodded. “I have a different idea. Notice anything about this map?”

“Yeah, we’re good north and south in the valleys but open in the middle.” He pointed to the area between Gibbonsville and Powder Mountain. “We’ve got an opening here at the middle, Highway 43 comes in from Montana. Tactically, we could be cut in half without knowing.”

“Exactly. The other issue is simple distance; the Pack bonds can only work so far, and we don’t have radio or telephone communications. The werewolf solution is to relay messages along the Pack bonds, then relay from Pack to Pack, but these mountains make that impossible… unless there is another Pack there. The terrain is rough, but there are plenty of areas that might work for you since there are so many cabins and vacation homes.”

“My family has a cabin here,” he pointed to a small valley a few miles south of that intersection. The North Fork of the Salmon River flowed through it, and there was enough farmland and housing in the area to support a few dozen people. “What about Gibbonsville?”

Donald let out a heavy sigh. “The main drag is pretty much gone, lots of bodies around from where the fires took out the buildings. Back up the hill the houses may be better, but they have no basements- so the whole town is gone. It would be good to have Tammy in a central location, since we have clinics in Salmon and Henderson.”

“I guess I need to make a Pack and do some exploring, then.” The others nodded. There was a commotion outside, they left the room and greeted Alpha Calvin and Luna Kelly arrived with a half dozen other wolves from North Fork. Those in wolf form were giving them excited yips, while those in human form were waving. They stepped inside a tent which had been set up as a changing booth, with plenty of extra clothing, a concession to the humans who were still embarrassed by nudity. When they came out, Kelly went down by the river park to meet the working groups while Calvin joined the other Alphas.

“Calvin, is Silvia all right?”

“She’s just fine, Donald. She’s waiting for her parents.” Calvin smiled, he knew Donald had left with the bus before he had arrived with the news.

“They are alive?”

“They are fine. They rode out the fire in her parent’s safe room, then we picked them up. They will be here later tonight, they are traveling by hay wagon so it isn’t fast. I only got there last night because we had to bring Travis back and burn him. He died when he was shot while looking for survivors south of Missoula.” Donald’s face fell, he hadn’t known about that. He closed his eyes, a tear dripping from his eye as he remembered his younger friend and warrior. He had been a good one.

He opened his eyes, as his mind processed that Silvia would be arriving and he would get to meet her parents at last. He hoped she wouldn’t still be mad at him, he had to fix their relationship soon because his wolf was going nuts that he hadn’t marked her yet. They all filed back into the room; Calvin agreed with their ideas for territories, so they just needed Alpha Carl and they could settle that issue for good. Reggie had a copy of the Pack agreement that North Fork had with the other surrounding Packs before the flare. While they were waiting, they would go through it and work out some rules that fit their new world.

Silvia walked back and forth nervously at the north end of town, looking for her parents. Things were quiet; most of the Pack had already left for North Fork. Michelle was playing in the grass on the side of the road, and Zach was already down in Salmon, so it was just them.

She wrapped her arms around herself, the waiting was driving her nuts. She looked up at the sky; the Northern Lights weren’t as prevalent as before. They suspected the solar activity had dropped back to normal, which was good, but she missed the shifting colors.

She looked up as a strange noise came from up the road; it was like a stampede, but softer. She looked up again, just in time to see a shooting star flying across. “I wish… I wish my parents get to meet Donald and like him.” When she opened her eyes again, movement up the road caught her eye. Wolves. A whole Pack thundering down upon her, made different only by the woman who was riding the lead wolf like a small horse.

She picked up s as they came to a stop by her. The woman jumped off, patting the wolf’s neck. “Holy cow that is fun! I’m Doc Jenkins, Justine Jenkins. You waiting for someone?”

“My parents, they are coming down from Corvallis in a hay trailer I guess.”

“Well, we left Henderson before they got there, but I’m sure they are fine. The road is clear and it’s a nice night.” She looked around. “Everyone already in Salmon?”

“Pretty much. I’ll go with my parents when they get here.” Justine climbed back on, and her wolf howled as they headed back down the road. “Travel safe,” she yelled after them.

She waited two more hours before the noise of a diesel engine echoed through the canyon walls. She picked up l and started running towards the noise, unwilling to delay even another minute the reunion. She saw headlights as the tractor rounded the bend, and a minute later it was stopped in front of her.

“MOM! DAD! JACOB!” She was so focused on looking in the back she didn’t see her father jumping down from the tractor behind her. He caught up to her, hugging her and Michelle in his strong arms as he cried in happiness. “Daddy?”

“Yes baby, we’re here.” He let go and she turned and hugged him, then they were almost knocked over as Ann crashed into them. Tears flowed freely as they broke up, with Ann taking her granddaughter in her arms.

“Where’s Jacob?” She looked around, the trailer was full of people but she didn’t see him.

“He’s got the change fever,” Daniel replied.

“I had to bite him, his vision was gone. He should wake up sometime during the day tomorrow.” Derek was leaning over the railing at them, Eric by his side. “He got some vision back before the fevers, he should be fine.”

“Come on up here, we’ve got lots to talk about.” Eric met them at the back and helped the three up while Daniel got back on the tractor. Putting it in gear, he headed down the road for Salmon and the big gathering.

Howls of greeting met Alpha Carl and the other wolves entered the town of Salmon. They ran to the park where most of the people were gathered, and soon were shifted and being hugged by humans and Pack alike. The four Alphas met him as he exited the tent, his arm around Justine possessively.

“Doc? You and…” Donald looked between the two in shock.

Justine looked at her man with adoring eyes. “Yes, we’re mates!” She showed off the bite on her neck to prove it.

“Oh wow,” Calvin said. “Congratulations Carl, you got yourself a good woman there.”

Carl nodded. “I’m the luckiest man in the world. I lost everything I had, and now I’ve gained more than I ever hoped.” He kissed her gently as they were embraced by the others. “Now I just need to talk to you guys about a Pack. Justine is already set up in Henderson, so it makes sense that I take that territory.”

Donald laughed. “I guess it’s a good thing we laid the territories out in pencil, then.” He gave Carl a hug. “I’ll take Corvallis then.”

The five Alphas walked together to the office to continue their work as Justine headed to the Clinic. She would meet with the other medical professionals to figure out how to meet the needs of the Packs and humans around them, while other groups were doing the same for other subjects. Food, sanitation, agriculture, power; in each area they pledged to support each other and find solutions to their problems.

They all met down at the Park for lunch, a huge and rowdy affair with heaps of food and even a makeshift band for entertainment. Bonds were made, mates were found, and a good time was had by all.

The music stopped and everyone looked up as the sound of a helicopter filled the valley.

All of the occupants of Salmon watched as the helicopter circled overhead, a searchlight illuminating the ground before it. For all except those involved in the Missoula attack, it was the first time they had seen an aircraft since the sun ruined everything. The helicopter circled the town once at about a thousand feet, then lined up for the landing spot on the roof of the clinic. Flares had been lit to mark the edge of the landing pad, and one of the Salmon wolves held flares in each hand to guide them in.

“Warriors,” Alpha Reggie said over the bond, “we believe these men to be friends but are taking no chances. I want one escort with each person off that helicopter, and two more watching each from a distance. Make it look, well, casual. We’re watching but not obviously watching, all right?” The warriors responded, they knew the Air National Guard guys had helped in the Battle of Missoula but weren’t sure what their intentions were here. They would protect their Pack, always.

“Come on, everyone.” Alpha Calvin gathered the four Alphas and the Lunas present and started walking towards the clinic. They were the leaders, they needed to be there to greet the military when they arrived. They walked through the facility, with Carl just making a slight detour to grab his mate, since she hadn’t learned how to mind link him yet. They went up the wide stairway that went to the roof and opened the door just as the helicopter was on final approach. “Stay back here and cover your eyes until they land,” he warned.

The aircraft landed and started to shut down. A man exited in Air Force dress blues, he had grey hair and a set of eyes that had seen too much in his life. He stepped towards them, putting his pisscutter hat on with the silver eagle indicating his rank as Colonel, as two armed airmen flanked him. The Alphas did not miss that all were armed, the escorts with M4 rifles and holstered pistols, and the Colonel with a pistol. A few moments later the doors opened and the pilot and copilot got out, both dressed in flight suits with pistols holstered under their shoulders. One of the pilots started to walk around and inspect the aircraft with a flashlight, they figured he would stay with the craft and they were right. The other jogged to catch up to his boss.

The blades finally stopped and it was quiet again. The Alphas stepped forward, Reggie and Josi in front as they were the host Alphas. “Welcome to Salmon, Colonel. I’m Alpha Reggie Wolfe, leader of this town, and my mate and Luna Josi. Your men briefed you on what we are, right?”

He nodded. “Colonel Michael Kent. I’m glad to see a town that looks like it is still functioning.” He was smiling, but it didn’t look sincere to the Alphas. Senior officers often were very political and could put on a face if they needed to.

They shook hands then Reggie walked down the line, shaking hands with Beta Kennedy and the other flight crew members. “Good to see you guys again, everyone is thankful you showed up with air support when you did. You guys saved lives that night.” The men seemed happier to see them than their Colonel did, especially Capt. Kennedy, who was a werewolf.

Reggie led the Colonel and his men down the welcoming line, introducing him to the four other Alphas along with their territories. “This is Alpha Calvin Ross, of North Fork. His mate Kelly is back home.” Calvin shook his hand and they moved on. “Alpha Robert Stevens and his mate Tammy, they are going to form a Pack up in the mountains between this valley and the Bitterroot River valley.”

“New pack?” The Colonel held onto Robert’s hand as he looked at him.

“Yes, I was recently turned into a werewolf by Tammy here when she realized I was hers. When I completed the change, I found out I was an Alpha. I’m working with them to establish a Pack and a territory. Tammy is a Nurse Practitioner, she will be forming a satellite clinic in the mountains between the ones in Salmon and Henderson.” Robert couldn’t help noticing the look that Kent had, like he had just found something he was looking for. He watched carefully as she shook his hand and he moved on.

“This is Alpha Carl Johnson, his Pack is forming up in Henderson. His mate Justine is a surgeon and is running the clinic up there.” All the other Alphas could see him perk up at the mention of her being a surgeon, and it made them nervous.

“And finally, Alpha Donald Ross will be forming the Pack in Corvallis. His mate Silvia will arrive later, she is still in North Fork waiting on her parents. They escaped the fire in Missoula.”

“Fire? What fire? Captain Kennedy said things were fairly intact up there.”

“They were until the wildfire swept through the next day. We barely escaped town with our lives, the wind blew it hard and spread fast. There’s not much left up there, we did manage to rescue a few dozen survivors but that’s probably it.” The Colonel’s face fell, Missoula was a major town in the area and now it was empty and in ruins.

“Come on, then, I’ll show you around.” He led the way down the stairs, the other Alphas taking up the rear. None of them really trusted the man, but they had agreed to make a go at turning the military into an ally. Reggie introduced them to some of the staff and showed the rooms where those with change fever were being watched over. The Lunas present went back to their tasks while the tour continued; there were many questions about the process and how the Packs had turned this clinic into a center for human turnings.

After the clinic, he led them out to where Wolf U was taking place; they were lucky enough to see a turning occur, and how Reggie stepped in as Alpha to ground the wolf. They saw both classroom and practical instruction in werewolf life and tasks, like simple tracking and basic fighting in human and wolf forms. Colonel Kent winced as he watched men and women being slammed to the ground, only to bounce back up and get back in the fight.

They left the wolves behind and went to the park area where lunch was still being served and the band was just playing. “You guys hungry?”

The men nodded, with Capt. Kennedy almost salivating at the smell of the barbecue. “You know it, Alpha.”

They went through the line and filed out to the picnic tables. The Colonel motioned to his men, they spread out and joined various groups as he stayed with the Alphas. Reggie watched as his men moved unobtrusively to keep track of everyone.

As they ate, they briefed the Colonel on how they were governing their territories. They taught him basic Pack structure, and how they were going to treat those who wanted to be with the Pack but not turned, as well as those who wanted nothing to do with them. Calvin as the eldest led this discussion. “We don’t force anyone, it’s against our nature. The Pack bond is one voluntarily entered into, like a big family. It only works when each person has a place and a common goal.”

Donald picked it up from there. “So far, our focus has been on finding and saving the humans we can. We’re not done, our searches of the area have not been deliberate and thorough yet, but we have found and saved hundreds so far. Hey Doc!” He waved Marcus over. “Doctor Marcus is a former Green Beret medic, combat wounded. He became a werewolf about a decade ago when he found his mate, and has been the Pack Doctor for this area since he completed medical school.”

Michael watched him come over, taking in the eye patch and the artificial leg. “The change couldn’t fix his war wounds?”

Marcus replied, humans often forgot how sensitive werewolf hearing was. “The change can heal injuries, cure most illnesses and give you a better immune system, but it can’t regrow limbs or eyes. We’re wolves, not salamanders.” The others laughed as he sat down at the table. “You have medical questions?”

“Yes,” said Michael, “What have you been able to fix with humans who have been overexposed?”

“If they are still alive, we are almost always able to save them. The radiation kills by destroying multiple organs, overwhelming the human ability to heal. When we bite them, the change gives them turbo healing. We’ve had people in comas, literally on their deathbed, and we’ve seen them through. The first patients I had were those two blondes there.” He pointed over to where Britney and Bethany were eating with their mates. “Bethany had severe sunburn, radiation sickness and vision loss. Britney wasn’t as bad, but did go into cardiac arrest during the change. The bite saved them both, they were fully healed within days of being bitten by their mates.”

“But our experience is that vision loss is permanent,” he replied.

“Without the change it would be,” replied Marcus, “but the change does more than just repair the eye cells that are damaged. It actually grows new ones, very sensitive black and white receptors similar to what a real wolf has. They are what give us the ability to see in little to no light. It’s a big reason why so many humans have requested the change; until the ozone layer reforms, you can’t be out during the day, and human vision at night is very limited. Well, you add to it the added strength, ability to sense your true mate, and being able to run around in wolf form and you see why it is attractive to them. I’ve personally turned over a hundred, and almost every person I ask wants it after they learn about it.”

“But what if they are really bad? Surely you don’t change them without consent.” He looked at the Alphas, wondering how widespread this is.

“Yes, I do, and don’t call me Shirley.” The table cracked up. “We will always ask when we can, if not them then a relative, but some people were too far gone to ask. We couldn’t just let them die.”

Calvin spoke up. “North Fork wasn’t that big a town before this, and we had lived there for generations. We… well, I couldn’t sit back and watch my friends and neighbors die and do nothing about it. At the time, it was expressly against the Laws that the National Council had passed, and I could still be removed and killed for it. No one expected that this would occur, that we would wake up and find ninety percent of the population dead and the rest dying. I saved what I could, and I’d do it again.”

“That was why we developed Wolf U here, and centralized the process of turning,” Reggie said. “We had so many sick and injured coming in, then there were the mates and those who requested the change. It just made sense. We cooperated as Packs before this happened, but we operate almost as one Pack now.”

“How far out have you explored?”

Donald spoke up. “We’ve used anything we can find. Old school buses, classic cars, farm vehicles, even tractors. You just need to find something old enough that it doesn’t have electronics that are affected by the solar flare- no engine computers or electronic fuel injection. There’s plenty of gas and diesel out there once you find them. Search and drive at night, and during the day if you stay inside and cover the windows you should be fine.”

Their meal was interrupted by the honk of a tractor horn and joyful howls and yells as a hay wagon pulled into town. “I’ve gotta go, sorry!” Donald jumped up and ran towards the tractor.

“Don’t worry about him,” Calvin said. “His mate is here. She is human, she was saved by Marcus here shortly after the event.”

“We were running from North Fork to here, and Luna Josi was with me. We came upon a car; the driver had been shot, the kids were crying in the back seat and the woman was being raped by three men over the front hood.” He looked around for a moment, it still pissed him off. “We killed the bastards. Later on, we found out she was Donald’s mate. It hasn’t been easy for him, she is slowly accepting the bond. She wasn’t going to settle down until Donald found out if her family in Missoula was all right, that’s actually why we went north in the first place.”

They all stopped as the tractor did; Silvia jumped off into Donald’s arms, kissing him passionately until he set her down. He helped her parents down, then handed off her brother to be carried into the clinic. “We found her family,” Calvin said, “But they got trapped in the fire. The boy lost his vision, he has it back now but is going through the fevers.” As they watched, a medium sized silver and black wolf ran through the crowd and jumped up and started licking them all. “That’s her son, Zach. He’s one of the students in Wolf U right now.”

They walked around for a while longer, stopping in to talk to the different groups. Finally, Michael looked at the position of the moon and whistled to his men. “Roll out in fifteen, men. Get the helo warmed up.” They stopped their conversations, Capt. Kennedy started heading back to the clinic. “Alphas, do you mind if I address everyone before I leave?”

“No problem. Let us get them together.” The three Alphas with packs used the bond to call everyone available to the park. They noticed the two men protecting the Colonel had moved closer and had weapons at the ready. Looking at each other, they knew it couldn’t be good.

Alpha Reggie stood on top of a table and put his hands out, the crowd immediately quieted. “Colonel Kent of the Montana National Guard would like to say a few words before they leave tonight.”

The Colonel climbed up as Reggie got down. He had a command presence about him that almost rivaled that of an Alpha. “Citizens of Idaho, I thank you for your hospitality tonight. Our nation has undergone a severe blow; almost our entire population has been wiped out, and we’ve been tossed back to the pre-industrial age. Those of you that have survived, that work together and build up our nation again, are true heroes and I salute you.”

He waited for the applause to die down. “As of today, this entire region is under Martial Law. All government entities will report to me, and I report to NORAD in Colorado. Under the terms of Martial Law, I have the authority to commandeer any people or assets I deem necessary to deal with the problems surrounding this region. That includes vehicles, medical supplies and personnel, generators, pumps and other items critical to the recovery effort. You all have done a great job, but there are thousands of people out there that haven’t seen help, and that is our focus right now.”

The sounds of outrage built until the Alphas silenced it by mental command. “What is your intent, Colonel?” Reggie looked up, hugging Josi tightly.

“We’re going to rebuild the country, not just this little portion of it.” He jumped down and started to walk through the crowd, which was becoming restless again. His guard closed in, weapons at the ready.

He had almost made it through when a young woman stepped from the group to stand in front of him. With a look of disgust, she slapped him across the face as his guard looked on. “Who the FUCK are you to come in here and demand anything?” He looked back at her, anger boiling, as she continued. “My name is Christine, I lived up in Missoula. When the criminals took over, I was one of the women they imprisoned and used for their pleasure as they ran roughshod over my town. EVERY FUCKING TIME one of them raped me, EVERY NIGHT when we clung to each other, we would pray to God that the US Military would come to our rescue. And you know what? You sat in your fucking bunker and did nothing while I was being raped by the fifth man that night.”

She pulled Brian out to stand with her, linking her hand with his. “This man, my mate, hadn’t taken an oath to defend this country. He risked his life, so did he and he…” as she pointed to others, “and many others, solely because they thought it was the right thing to do. Werewolves and humans, working together, saved me and my friends and gave me a chance at a better life.”

“We did participate in that attack, Ma’am,” the Colonel responded.

“And then you flew off to your base, returning only to eat our food and demand from us what we need to rebuild our towns. You know what? Fuck you. We don’t need you here. Go save someone who wants saving, our Packs will be fine.” She stood aside as the Colonel rushed by her. They hustled back to their helicopter, which was already spinning, and moments later were lifting off.

Alpha Calvin had followed them, stopping to talk to Brian and Christine. She looked horrified by what she had done; they both bent their heads down. “I’m sorry, Alpha, it wasn’t my place to say that.”

Calvin laughed. “Maybe not, but I think you expressed things better than I could have. There’s no way in hell that I’m letting my people be taken away, much less what we need here to rebuild.”

Alpha Carl nodded. “And I will never let my mate be taken away. She may volunteer to help, but this isn’t right. It isn’t the America we want to have.”

Colonel Kent rubbed his eyes, the visit hadn’t gone as he had planned. Moving to the communications room, he sat at the microphone and called his commander at NORAD.

“General, we learned a lot tonight. The good news is that the area between Salmon and Missoula will be self-sufficient soon. They are organized, efficient and require minimal aid if any.”

“And the bad news, Colonel?”

“It reminds me a little of Somalia, General. Their allegiance, it isn’t to the United States of America any more. These werewolves, they are loyal to Pack first and foremost. You can work with them, but they won’t accept command from anyone else, it’s not in the Alpha’s nature. They are working together well, but their highest government appears to be their Alpha Council.”

“And why is this such a problem?”

“You have to understand the difference between humans and werewolves, General. It’s an evolutionary leap between us and them. They are stronger, healthier, can see better, they can communicate over distances using telepathy. They are also organized, with a defined structure and unit discipline. Our only advantage is our helicopter; they can use our weapons as well as we can, and you know there are thousands of them out there for them to use. If they ever decided to attack us, we wouldn’t stand a chance.”

He paused for a moment. “And they are growing. They are turning and training humans at a rapid rate, they are building an army under our noses. We can’t let them get more established, or we won’t have a chance. They are truly the dominant species now.”

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