Let's Make a Deal
We walked out of the clinic, holding hands, when I remembered something. “I need something of his, the more it means to him the better, remember?”
He saw one of the Vermillion guards. “Joe, where are the vehicles we captured? I need to find something of Beta Shura’s.”
“I have to check first, everything has to go through the Council now.” He linked to someone, and a minute later Robert and Francois, accompanied by Alpha Stan and another Alpha, were walking towards to us on the lawn.
“Chairmen,” I said as John and bowed our heads slightly in respect. “I need access to Beta Shura’s possessions.”
“That was mentioned, but not why,” Robert said.
“I can do a location spell, it’s how we found out where Luna Linnea was being held,” I said. “The spell gives a direction, and last time I was able to use astral projection to ‘see’ where she was. It probably won’t show us exactly where he is if he’s in a car, but I should be able to get a direction. We can focus our efforts that way.”
“Take my helicopter,” Alpha Stan said. The two Chairs looked at him. “It makes sense, she can give us a direction and the helicopter can get there faster than anything else. It’s perfect for directing people on the ground, we can track him and get people vectored to intercept.”
“You have a helicopter here?”
“I will in five minutes, I called it when we got word he escaped,” he said. “Jesse and John can go up with the pilot, and one other.”
“I’ll go,” Robert said. “I can direct my men from the air. Francois, you can stay in the Alpha’s office with the other Alphas and my security force. Stan, is the pilot one of us?”
“No, he’s human,” he said.
“Then we have to be careful how we communicate. As far as he knows, we’re looking for a runaway.”
Robert sent a man to Shura’s vehicle, while we made plans on how to handle things. Alpha Stan would stay here, and we would use radios or cellphones if we were outside of link range. As the helicopter came in for a landing, we ran off with what we found in his wallet, a photo of him and Polina on their mating day. John helped me up and I slid over, then he jumped in and closed the back door. We both buckled ourselves in and put on the headsets and microphones, both noise-cancelling, we could use to communicate among the four of us.
As we took off, Robert sent the pilot to the north, towards Michael’s pack. I took the photo in my hands, closing my eyes, trying to block everything out so my magic could flow. “Keep quiet please,” I said as I lowered my head. I did my meditation exercises, clearing my mind, focusing only on my breathing until I finally dropped into a relaxed state.
I felt the photo in my hands, trying to feel the attachment left by Shura to it. I could feel my arms starting to tingle. Opening my eyes I could see the green glow surrounding my hands and the photo. Looking up, a line went to the right, just in front of where John’s arm was, and through the door hinge on the right side. I pointed that direction, and John told the pilot to bank to the right. I continued to focus until the line was going forward through the pilot’s seat, and we were steady on course. John got on the radio, giving our position and heading to the command center back at the Pack House, and I started to relax again. I closed my eyes and let myself go.
I felt light, and my spirit moved forward as my body was left behind. I dropped through the bottom of the helicopter and flew forward, ghosting at incredible speed as I flew over the trees and lakes. In a few more seconds, I was flying over the top of a dark green Jeep Cherokee. It was traveling fast on the empty road, heading east into the state forest land. I moved my projection down through the roof into the moving vehicle, sitting behind them. Shura was on the phone, talking rapidly in Russian; I couldn’t follow the whole conversation, I wasn’t good enough in the language yet, but I picked up enough to realize he was arranging a plane. The driver I didn’t recognize, but the decal on the car showed it was part of the Iron Range Pack fleet. I didn’t want to drain myself, so I let myself be pulled back into my body. I opened my eyes, the green glow still there, the line now slightly to the right of where it had been before. “Change course five degrees to the right,” I said, and the pilot complied.
“You all right,” John asked me without touching me.
“Yes.” I looked down at the line, we were headed the right direction now. “We’re looking for a green Jeep Cherokee hardtop, Shura is in the passenger seat, one of the Iron Range guys is driving,” I said. “He’s trying to arrange an aircraft.”
“Good job, baby, keep tracking him.” I was exhausted again, struggling to keep my eyes open. Healing took a lot of energy from me, and astral projection took more. I didn’t know how much longer I could keep this up. “Stan, he’s trying to arrange a flight. Are their any airstrips or airfields in the direction he is heading?”
I could feel the connection slipping, I fought to keep it going but it was like I was fading. The green glow faded, and I closed my eyes as I fell into the land of nod.
Beta John’s POV
“She’s fallen asleep,” I told Robert over the headset.
“Damn. At least we know what we are looking for and in general where.” He was looking out the front, scanning the dirt and paved roads below for signs of the Jeep.
“Alpha, Jessie ran out of gas, we don’t have a direction capability anymore. Do you have any idea where he is?” I was linking my GPS data, heading and airspeed to him, so they could plot things on a map. “She said he was trying to arrange a flight, is there an airfield that direction?”
”Hang on a minute, we’re checking the plot.” It didn’t take long. “He could be heading for Ely Municipal Airport, that’s about fifteen miles to your northeast.”
I turned on the intercom. “How much flight time do we have?”
“Thirty minutes. If you need to go back, we need to turn around soon or I’ll have to stop in Ely to refuel. That’s the closest airport with a fueling facility.” He pointed to his navigation equipment, showing where the airport was, just to the north of the direction we had been heading.
“Head for the airport, we can refuel there and go back into the air when we have a better idea of where our man is,” I said. “Alpha, we’re heading for Ely Airport. We’ll let Jessie rest and get the bird refueled, hopefully we’ll be waiting for him. With no ability to sense direction, we’re flying blind here.”
“I agree, Beta. Keep Jessie safe, we’re sending help your way. We have notified all the Packs on the North Shore, all are responding to help with finding him. He’s got a good head start, but he can’t hide forever.”
”He’s wanted by the Russians, so he won’t be flying commercial either. We should let the Canadian packs know too, just in case he tries to make his way out of the country through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area or Superior National Park.” It would take a while to run overland, especially with the lakes not fully frozen over yet, but it was doable.
Beta Shura’s POV
I sent a text to the number I’d memorized, a burner phone that Polina kept with her at all times. ”Out running, friend cancelled, see you in two.” The message wouldn’t trigger any surveillance, and she would understand he meant he was on the run, the mission failed, and he would be back in two days. When it when through, I crushed the phone.
“Hey, that was MY phone,” my driver said.
I rolled down the window and tossed the pieces into the woods. “I hope you had insurance on it.”
He growled and kept driving fast, he wanted me gone as quickly as I wanted to be gone. I saw the road sign for Ely, 10 miles. I couldn’t wait to get out of this place and get home to my love.
The small aircraft that was coming for me would take me to Lake Elmo, and from there I would take a cab to the airport. When I came in, I rented a storage locker with my getaway kit- money, identification, disguise, everything I would need to pass as Sergey Dubrovky, a Moscow lawyer who traveled on business to America occasionally. I already had a return ticket to Moscow purchased, I would just have to move up the date.
“Have you heard anything over the Pack link,” I asked.
“No, too far away,” he said. “It will only be a couple more minutes.”
We drove on in silence until he turned into the small airport; not much, a couple hangars, an administration building and a fuel truck that was refueling a helicopter. There were a couple of planes tied down near the runway, and I could see more in the open hangar across the way. “Just drop me at the admin building,” I said. My plane wouldn’t arrive for another hour.
He pulled into the lot and stopped in front of the small brick building. I got out, leaning back in I stared him down. “Keep driving through town, go towards the Canadian border then head west,” I said. “Don’t stop until after ten tonight, get a hotel, then go back home.” He nodded as I closed the door and watched him drive off. I turned to the door, opening it up I smelled a werewolf.
The man was big, but he was hunched over the desk looking at something. He looked up, and I saw his eyes- full of hate and malice. I reached for my gun, but a needle plunged into my neck as a hand grabbed my wrist.
The last thing I remembered was the man behind the desk smiling as he stood up.
Water poured onto my face, waking me up. I looked around, the room was dim, but my eyes saw enough. I recognized the man from behind the counter at the airport, and he was smiling at me. “Welcome back, you piece of shit,” he said with a smile that spoke of pain.
I tried to move, but I couldn’t. I was tied down, head down below my feet, on a large wooden plank. My wrists were shackled in silver, attached to chains that wrapped my waist. My legs were chained near the top of the plank. ”Who da fuck are you?”
He smiled. “I’m Beta John Pearson of the Highlands Pack in Scotland. That probably doesn’t mean much to you. What matters to the rest of your short-ass existence is that I’m Jessie Donato’s mate.” Now I understood, I had tried to kill his woman and his wolf wanted blood.
I looked around, no one else was here. I’d used a rig like this, it was a setup for waterboarding. “You fucking punk! Do you know who you are messing with? Who I work for?”
“Sure, I know. But let me fill you in on a few things that have changed during your vacation in Minnesota.” He got up and walked over, setting a chair down near my head. “Yuri Zubkov is a dead man walking. He’s defaulted on a loan to the Sicilians. The Russian Police are crawling up his ass right now, seizing assets left and right, arresting his men, shutting down his operations. The few people he has left are in hiding and won’t stay that way for long. The Russian Police are working with the FBI, they had an informant inside your operation that gave them everything. They have already shut down human trafficking and smuggling operations on both sides of the Atlantic. In short, he’s done. They haven’t found him yet, but it’s only a matter of time until they do. And when they find Yuri, they’ll find Polina with him.”
“Yuri will survive, so will my Polina.”
“I don’t think so. You see, you’ve been out for a while and the Councils have already held his trial in absentia. He’s been found guilty of kidnapping and attempted murder of a Luna and ordering the unprovoked attack on a sovereign Pack, the evidence of both overwhelming. He’s been sentenced to death, said sentence to be carried out on sight. He’s no threat to my Jessie. She’s going to receive her birthright, the leadership of the Moscow Pack, and Yevgheny’s estate.” He laughed. “The sad part is that none of this would have happened if your boss just would have paid attention to his own business. He could have purchased the Moscow Mafia businesses and left us the Pack and the money, but he was greedy and wanted it all. Who’d have thought the daughter created when Yevgheny raped one of his dancers would end up taking his family and his legacy down.”
I thought about it for a while, if he was telling the truth there was only one explanation. He’d been given to me to torture to death. “So what is next?”
“I want Yuri to face justice, he doesn’t deserve a quick death, nor to commit suicide to avoid what is coming. I know Polina is with him, and I know he’s well hidden. I want the police to find him and take him alive, and you’re going to help me.”
“Why would I do that?”
“Because we know where his hiding place is, Shura. In 24 hours, the police will be given the location and the military will blast its way in. They will kill everyone in the room, including your Polina. Instead, I want her to let the police in. If you convince her to give herself up and Yuri is arrested, the Council will commute both your sentences from death to life imprisonment.”
“Why would you do that?”
“I want Yuri to face human justice, I want werewolf and human Mob operations shut down. He doesn’t deserve a quick death, nor to commit suicide to avoid what is coming. I know Polina is with him, and I know he’s well hidden. I want the police to find him and take him alive, and you’re going to help me.”
“And if I don’t?”
He smiled and took the hose from the wall. “Then you and I get to spend a lot of time together, Shura. I can torture you to the edge of death, then have my mate heal you so we can start all over again. I can do this for years if I want; the Council has granted me control over your life. Hell, I might sell tickets, I bet there are a bunch of people who would pay big money to beat the living shit out of you.”
I closed my eyes, thinking about it. “I need a phone,” I said.