Order of Protection

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Defend the Pack

Alpha Sven’s POV

Attack coming from the north, shift to planned defensive positions, and get those suicide jockeys to grab as much as they can and set up in the choke points! Fourteen minutes to the Pack House,” I sent to all my Pack members. The allied Pack members all had one of my warriors with them, so they would relay the word. John was linking with Alpha Stan, who was sweeping in to clean up what was left of Shura’s team in the south.

Jessie was looking between me and the screens, watching the wolves pour across the border like water. The ones in front were fast, while the ones farther back carried packs loaded with weapons. “I thought the northern border was safe because it was on Alpha Pine’s land.”

“I did too. Call him and make sure he know, he’s holed up with all our women and children.” She picked up a phone and made the call while I went back to ordering defenses. “John, get ahold of Beta Peter and tell him the bad guys snuck around him. Have him move to the northern border and start pursuit, don’t give them a chance to regroup.”

“I’m on it, Alpha.”

I looked at the screens, they were at the twelve-minute line. A large map linked with the cameras and motion sensors, showing their progress real time as they charged south. “Alpha, I estimate over two hundred hostiles inbound,” my controller said.

The run was long, but the terrain forced the wolves into chokepoints we had identified. My Beta was directing the defense groups, moving them into place in the positions we’d built just for this purpose. Using boulders and steel, the fighting positions had good fields of fire and allowed a small number of wolves to put a hurt on the intruders. “How is the redeployment,” I asked as I looked at the cameras at the forward defense points.

“We can’t make the first line, not enough time with having to re-deploy from the east,” he said. “We’re sending men to the second line, and we’ve already re-deployed snipers around the Pack House to face the new threat. I’ve sent hand and gas grenades out from our reserve stocks.”

“Tell the explosives guys to deploy on the third line. They’ll need the extra three minutes to set up.” We used a layered strategy, with defensive positions roughly every three minutes hard run. The first set was only two minutes from being overrun, there was no time to set up.

“Already done, sir. We’ll get them.”

John patted my hand. “Alpha, Alpha Stan reports the southern group has been routed. He’s got eight prisoners, the rest dead. Beta Shura is among the captured, he’s unconscious.”

Good. “Ask him to send any men he can spare with my men,” I said. “Wolf form only, loop around to the east side of the compound. We can’t let them surround us.”

“Got it, sir.”

Alpha, helicopter approaching fast from the north, just over the trees,” my warrior in the second line linked. “Is that ours?”

”No, take it out.” I looked at the room. “Dammit, they brought a helicopter!”

“Our defensive position is deep in the trees, they won’t see it until it is on top of them, Alpha.” He spoke just before the camera overlooking Line 2 Position 2, with a dozen men with rifles, showed it exploding in a huge fireball that none could survive. “They’re dropping bombs, sir!”

Jessie watched the screen in horror, then ran out of the room. John raced after her.

Jessie’s POV

I couldn’t sit there and watch good men die. They were helpless against the bombs being dropped from the helicopter above, and the wolves would pour through the opening without being slowed down. I ran for the stairs, ignoring John’s yells for me to stop. “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”

“I am leveling the playing field, my love. I’ll be back.”

“JESSIE!” I closed the mind link as I burst through the door of the Pack House. I could hear the gunfire and explosions from the north as the defenders tried to hold back the horde. Using my levitation, I rose off the ground in human form, shooting north just above the treetops. I flew faster until the trees were a blur below me. I saw the helicopter a minute later, men hanging out of the the door and readying another improvised bomb. The plastic barrel had a couple of highway flares attached to the side, and they were lighting it as the pilot banked to attack the next defensive position.

I formed a fireball ahead of me, shooting it out with my thoughts. It flew towards the helicopter, growing in size as it went until it was the size of a basketball. The pilot saw it coming, banking hard right to evade. The barrel fell out, dropping to the ground and exploding in a huge fireball as the helicopter dove for the trees.

I guided the fireball, ignoring all else until it collided with the tail of the aircraft. The fireball broke the aluminum frame, and the helicopter started to spin. The pilot had no time to react. He was already just over the treetops and slammed into a tall pine a few seconds later. It dropped straight down to the rocky ground, the remaining barrels exploding and sending a huge fireball up.

I rose higher in the air, until I could see through the trees at the battle taking place below me. There were four defensive positions, three of which were still fighting. The fastest wolves were only a few hundred yards from breaking through. Some of the wolves in back, the ones with the weapons, had shifted and were pinning the defenders down while the others rushed the gap.

I started to form fireballs and shoot them down, targeting the men hiding behind rocks and trees as they fired rifles at the remaining positions. The sudden attack from above caused a panic, but it didn’t take long until they reacted.

I could hear the rifle shots and see the flashes as more and more wolves started to target me. Putting up an invisible shield, I let myself fall until I was just above the trees, then I moved to the defensive position on the far left. The position just to its right had been taken out, and the attackers were focusing their fire here, so they could bypass the other two spots. I moved quickly through the treetops, dropping into the middle of the rock semicircle as the men fought for their lives. “What do you need help with?”

One of the Vermillion warriors, I think his name was Nathan, looked at me. His eyes got wide before he went back to firing his rifle. “Slow them down, they can’t get past us,” he said. I looked at the gap, the arrowhead of running wolves was less than fifty yards away.

Focusing, I called forth my ice-making powers and laid down a thin layer on the bare ground. The wind swirled as it formed, and the result would have been comical if it wasn’t so serious. Thirty wolves at a full sprint suddenly looked like Bambi on a frozen pond.

The defenders focused their fire on the wolves as they slid and piled up along the trail. Dozens were cut down in the crossfire as they struggled to get back to their feet. A cheer went up as the column stopped, and the wounded attempted to retreat.

I was too busy shooting fireballs through the trees at the men I could see. My efforts were not unnoticed by the attackers, who started firing heavily on our position. My shield was taking round after round off of it, the men were starting to run out of ammunition, and I could feel myself weakening.

I was beginning to think that flying off like that wasn’t my smartest move. I let my mental block down. “I’m sorry, baby. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“Hold on, love. We’re coming for you.”

I stopped the fireballs to conserve my remaining energy. As more and more fighters ran out of ammunition, I pulled them inside the shield I was maintaining with my dwindling energy. We could see the enemy moving forward, tree to tree, their entire force moving towards ours. They were getting farther and farther from the defensive positions to our right, and they were probably running out of ammunition as well. These groups had to reposition here quickly and didn’t bring a lot of gear.

“I’m out,” the last defender said as he tossed his AR-15 aside.

“Get in here,” I said. Three men out of the twelve were dead, four were wounded, and all of us were helpless now. I kept the shield going over us as I heard the sounds of gunfire coming closer, the sounds of paws on the ground heralding their arrival.

A powerful howl shook the trees, and a new rumble was heard from behind us. “JOHN!” Tears ran down my face as I watched my mate, wearing a pack laden with rifles and full magazines, leading a group of dozens of warriors towards us. He leaped over the rocks at the back of our fighting position, shifting as he landed and coming to a stop. “You came…”

“Load up,” he told the men as he tossed them full thirty-round magazines. They each grabbed a couple and loaded their rifles, taking positions back at the front of the fighting post. The men with him filled in the line, and the tide of battle shifted with them.

I looked across, more men had poured into the vacant position to close the breach, and a few brought ammunition and men to the other two positions. The attackers had been repelled and were now trying to fight their way out of the kill zone that had reformed in front of them. The men who had come in were skilled and fresh, and they exacted a heavy toll on the remaining wolves. The attackers didn’t have the rifles or the volume of ammunition to get into a static fight with us. The return fire was withering by the minute.

It sounded like World War Three as we pushed them back. I kept my head down, trying to focus on rebuilding my magic, when the firing suddenly slowed. “CEASE FIRE,” the Vermillion Pack warrior shouted.

“Did they surrender?”

“No, but we don’t want to shoot our friends.” I looked out, and from behind and the right I saw wolves tear through the remaining wolves before they could react. Howls and screams filled the air, and a minute later it was quiet.

The men shifted and I recognized Alpha Stan and Beta Peter among the men looking over the bloody battlefield.

We had won.

Alpha Sven’s POV

I sat down in the chair, the adrenaline coursing through me as I watched the battle on the cameras. We had all been shocked when Jessie entered the fray, especially as she did. John was going nuts, and ran after her. I quickly sent men to follow him, telling them to grab rifles and ammunition and take them forward.

Now that it was over, I could see how decisive that impulsive action had been. The helicopter had created the opening, and the third line of defense wasn’t ready yet. The attackers were so many, they would have broken through our lines and had a clear run to the Pack House.

Send medical support to the second line immediately,” I sent to my Pack. “Squads, take non-critical injuries to the lawn in front of the clinic.” Stretcher-bearers and medics moved out, they would stabilize the seriously wounded in the field. Our clinic staff had been augmented by three Pack Doctors and six Nurses, all provided by allied Packs for the battle. “Deactivate all explosives and safe all weapons. Squad leaders, report to your Betas with casualty reports.”

I needed my mate. Linnea was still recovering from her captivity, and I had left her in the safe room with several guards during the battle. I linked them to bring her to me. While I was watching, I focused a camera on the fighting position Jessie had joined. I could see John was nuclear-grade pissed at her, his body language spoke of his anger and his worry. She was on her knees, her hands over one of my men. “Nathan, what’s going on with Jessie?”

“She’s fine, but she won’t be sitting down for a week after John gets her alone tonight,” he said with a hint of humor. “She’s almost worn out but is insisting on healing Carl. She’s telling John that it doesn’t matter if she passes out now since the battle is past.”

“Don’t get between mates, Nathan, but tell her she saved the day.” It was true; the casualty reports were coming in. We had lost a total of twenty-one wolves, with another thirty-one suffering significant injuries. Over half of that total had come from the helicopter fire-bombing the defensive position early on, and without her intervention, the helicopter would have taken out more.

I watched as she lifted her hands from the man, then tried to stand. Her legs collapsed under her, and John caught her in his arms and guided her to the ground. She had exhausted herself for us.

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