Arrowhead Pack Clinic
I made sure the babies were fed, safe, and protected at the Pack House before I joined my mate at the Clinic. There were no other signs of attack, but Beta Ron was stuck at the Lundergaard’s until investigators arrived, and we would have a parade of law enforcement at our place soon. After a brief mental talk with my mate, we agreed to have the meeting in the treatment room that Frank Grimes now rested in.
We’d already done some things in preparation for the law enforcement arrival. Vic and Spider Monkey moved to Teri’s extra bedroom, where they would remain until we could move them to Oxbow Lake. We didn’t know if either of their faces would show up in front of the Task Force, but he had left blood behind. Teri thought it would be best so she could continue working with the gifted hacker on keeping us out of trouble.
I talked to Michael and Margaret, who were concerned about their people being caught up in this mess. They decided to have most of their people return to their Pack in wolf form, while they would stay behind with some of their warriors, just in case. The party was over, and the cops didn’t need to see a pool filled with naked people. A group of forty wolves led by a Beta was working its way through the woods towards home, taking advantage of the weather than kept helicopters and aircraft grounded.
The Omegas serves breakfast before everyone left, then packed up the rest of the food. We would shut down the Pack House until the police were gone.
Finally, I had the bags that Chase, Spider Monkey, and Vic returned with moved into the safe room at Beta Ron and Teri’s house. It couldn’t stay in our home with all the cops coming, and my Mom and Dad were members of the Brotherhood. Ron had no ties to the Brotherhood, so they had no cause to search there. I was shocked when I saw what was in them, more so that his brothers had refused to take more than a bag for each of their Packs. It was a lot of money, and we could do good with it, but not now. Too many people would be watching us.
The room slowly filled with people. Frank was on the bed, lying on his right side, the dozen or so bandages covering his lower back and legs hidden from us. Colletta was sitting at the head of the bed, with Frank’s head in her lap while she held his hand. I saw what Chase had told me; she was smitten with him, and her wolf was protecting him.
Teri sat at the foot of the bed; she would be linking Ron during the meeting while he waited. Michael had Margaret in his lap in a chair at the foot of the bed. Coral and Keith were standing near the door, and Roadkill had Possum in his lap on a chair by the sink. Doc had returned home with the rest of the Pack, so Chase was sitting on the rolling stool, and I perched in his lap. “A lot of stuff has happened, and we haven’t been able to talk about it all with everything going on,” Chase started. “First off, some good news.”
He nudged me, and I smiled. “I’m pregnant again. Doc confirmed it, and I’m due around Labor Day.” Our parents already knew, but my Aunt and Uncle and Teri did not. They all got up to congratulate and hug us, then sat back down. “You know that my mate is going to be insanely protective of me now, and I can’t shift. Security is going to be even more of a concern after these attacks.”
Chase recapped what had happened with the Sons and the Brotherhood; the attack on the Ryders, our taking of Harleigh to protect her, the losses at the Orlando Clubhouse and the deal he had made with Frank Grimes. “Frank has learned our secret this morning, and I’ve explained to him how we deal with these things. He has agreed to protect our secret as he has protected my family, and that is why he is here.” Everyone nodded at this; he wasn’t the only human who loved people in this Pack. “The deal was simple; I would help Frank and the DEA take down the Sons, and I’d convince the Brotherhood to stay out of the way so it didn’t spill over into a gang war. I went to San Francisco with Vic to meet Spider Monkey.”
“She’s a gifted hacker, a biker, and a Steel Lady. She helped us save Possum when she was kidnapped, and has contacts we don’t have,” I said.
“She had started hacking the Sons of Tezcatlipoca right after they hit the Ryder’s home. It was her and her friends who found out the offshore account information, and the list of member’s phone numbers. She also hacked the Los Angeles chapter computers, which is where we got the list of compromised law enforcement agents and judges,” Chase continued.
“She’s the source you were protecting,” Frank said.
“Yes. We have no one inside the Sons, but we needed you to believe it, so you didn’t figure her out. That’s one reason we told you to warn us so we could get our man out.”
His mind was already jumping ahead. “You wanted the warning for yourself.”
This is where we had to trust Frank with a secret that could destroy us. “We did,” Chase said. “Spider had figured out the Sons owned a building through a shell company two blocks away, and we watched as cars from different Chapters drove in, and drove out lighter. We hit the building when you hit the Clubhouse, killed six of their men, and drove off with a pallet full of their cash.”
Frank’s eyes got wide as he took the news in. “I figured it was money, we knew it wasn’t drugs, and guns weren’t valuable enough.”
“We didn’t know about the tunnel, and that’s how Vic got shot twice. A guy came up behind us as he was leaving and got him in the back. I patched him up, and he’s recovering here now.”
“Where is the cash,” Frank asked.
“Our share is hidden away. We took away the Club’s income source, savings, and cash in less than a day. At the same time, the information we gave them allowed you to build a RICO case and arrest every patched member you can tie to the drugs. I thought we did enough, but the Sons aren’t done with us yet. Frank, what you don’t know about the Sons is that they aren’t all human. Their Presidents are Jaguar shifters; like us, they are strong, live long lives, and are hard to kill. They use humans to accomplish their work for them. They know Rori and I are werewolves, and our Pack is involved. That is why they are moving members up here, to go to war.”
“It doesn’t make sense last night then,” Colletta said. “The attackers were all human. Why not wait until they had numbers to take us all on?”
“I don’t know,” Chase said. “Maybe they had people in place, and with the storm, they thought they could take out the leadership. It’s not like we can ask them.”
“Four Jaguars attacked us last week and we killed them all in the tunnels. This morning was their second try to kill Heather and our Alphas,” Teri said.
Chase looked around. “That catches us up on the Sons, unless you have anything else to add, Frank.”
“If the Presidents are jaguars, they are all on the loose and backed by the Sinaloa cartel. Cleaning up the clubs won’t be enough.” He rested back in Colletta’s lap. “I’m officially suspended, and Frank Donovan is no longer on the task force. The Task Force didn't warn us that the Sons were on their way, and that was intentional. I don’t think we can trust them.”
“I agree,” I said. “Now we need to talk about what has happened around here.” I told them all about the surprise visit from Chairman Coffey, and how the Council was coming down on our Pack in particular. “There is only one other Pack that has a Trusted Affiliate; we have the other eleven between my parents, our lawyer, and the Steel Ladies. Our visible support of the Brotherhood is another risk they are no longer comfortable with us taking. He insisted that we must withdraw from human interactions, stay out of the news, and keep our nature from humans. The Council will not approve any more Trusted Affiliate requests. They will demand humans who discover us be killed immediately, as our laws require.”
I looked over at Colletta as I said this; her wolf was coming forward to protect him. I gave her a minute to gain control again. “Wolf problems?”
She nodded. “Frank is not our mate, but he has proven himself to my wolf. She will protect him to protect my human side.”
“You aren’t the only one,” Chase said. “Spider Monkey doesn’t know Vic’s secret yet, but he has claimed her just as Colletta has claimed Frank. Then we have Harleigh, I mean Heather, holed up somewhere with Greg. What if she learns what we are?”
“We will not allow the Council to dictate what happens to our Pack members,” I said.
“That could be dangerous,” Michael replied. “The Council is the ultimate law, and you accepted their rule. If you refuse to do what the Chairman demands, and the full Council backs him, other Packs are bound by law to remove you as Alphas and restore order.”
“Surely you wouldn’t do that,” I said to my Uncle.
“I would not, I imagine your brothers would not, but it would be a real mess. Many of the Packs agree with the Chairman. They find your actions reckless, those of immature Alphas endangering us all. The worst-case scenario is that sides are chosen, and civil war breaks out between the Packs. It could be a long and destructive war, one that we might not win.”
Colletta turned pale. “Surely we could find a way to avoid war.”
Michael shook his head. “What happened today is only going to harden these attitudes. Instead of retreating and avoiding notice, you’re front and center in the biggest story of the year. Not only will Law Enforcement be all over this place soon, so will the Press. If Coffey has the backing of the Council, they could already be working on sanctions. If you don’t eliminate the humans who know of our nature, they may do it for you.”
Now several of us were growling, me among them. These humans were family and had proven their loyalty.
He looked over at Frank. “If I had a do-over, I would have told you to leave Orlando alone and cut ties with the Club. The Chairman is right; the more close contact you have with humans, the greater the chance of exposure and complications.”
“We can’t go back now,” I said. “We need to figure out how we’re going to handle this problem we have in my kitchen and stairways.”
“You can’t hide what happened here without inviting more suspicion,” Teri said. “We’ve already got a Deputy across the lake, and more will be here soon. Frank is right, if we try and hide anything in the scene, they’ll figure it out. Short of burning your house down, I don’t know how to hide it.”
“I have a question,” Frank asked. “Carlotta told me your wolf nature comes from a blood curse passed down to your descendants. Can it be detected in your DNA?”
“No, our DNA is the same as a humans,” I said.
He thought for a second. “In wolf form, it’s still the same DNA?” Chase nodded. “You have a bigger problem than you think.”
“What,” Michael asked.
“Crimes scene is going to be all over this place, and there’s blood from the fighting everywhere. The two Pack members who died, were both in wolf form?”
Coral answered for me. “Vicki emptied her pistol then shifted, while Patricia shifted immediately. Both are in their wolf forms, as we can’t shift without conscious thought.”
He lifted his head slightly off her legs. “You guys are behaving as if you have a secret to protect, and you don’t even realize that your secret is already gone.” I gasped, not understanding yet.
“The blood,” Chase said.
“Yes. The police will sample all the blood, expecting some to be canine, but all will be human. The bodies, including the ‘dogs,’ will be evidence. You can’t explain away a wolf with human DNA.”
“Shit,” Coral said. “We need to remove the bodies.”
“It won’t work. The blood won’t match the victims, and Crime Scene will easily pick up the removal.”
“We burn down the house then,” I said, hating the thought.
“Do that, and you’ll never get the police out of here,” Frank said. “You can’t cover up evidence and be treated like a victim. They’ll discover the tunnels, and they will dig into the lives of everyone who lives here. Hell, the Task Force is already doing that. They’ve been given your old identity as Treasure Olson. Right now, teams are digging through both of your backgrounds, looking for how you got your money, and who your associates are. Give them a week, and they’ll pull enough strings they will have a list of every Pack and every Werewolf in the country, just based on their record and phone searches.”
“Oh, fuck,” I said. “I’ve endangered you all.”
“Almost all of you are guilty of something. I won’t speak of a woman’s age, but with your long lifespans, you must have changed your identities a few times?” They all nodded. “Felony identity theft. Fraud. Tax evasion. Filing false affidavits, birth, and death certificates. Insurance fraud. Once you start pulling strings, it all comes down. Your kind thinks that they can withdraw and keep your secret, and I’m telling you that your behaviors are inevitably going to expose it.”
“He’s right,” Colletta said. “It’s getting harder to manage identities all the time, and it’s no longer possible to live outside the system. What do we do?”
Frank laid his head down and looked up at her. “When you have a secret you don’t want to come out, but you KNOW it is going to come out, what would you do?”
“Tell the secret myself, so I could manage how it happened,” Colletta said.
“And that is what you need to do here, and quickly. Do it before the Task Force blows your lives apart.”
I leaned back against my mate’s chest, the enormity of it all finally hitting. Frank was right; the horse was out of the barn, and the door was locked closed. “How do we do this?”
“Quickly,” I said. “We need to call an emergency Council meeting. We can’t do something that affects every Pack like this without warning them first.”
“Let me help you with the Government,” Frank said. “I have contacts in Homeland Security and Justice. Let me talk with them, see if we can limit this to the highest levels of government. It’s the only way to pull the Task Force back before it all blows up.”
The Arrowhead members got a mental send from the warrior at the gate; a snowplow had arrived with three Sheriff Department cruisers following it. Our time was up.