tagNonHumanRose Ch. 16-20

Rose Ch. 16-20

bypartwolf©

I worked into the night as Gunny rested, the painkillers keeping him down. He would move once in a while, his leg moving over mine or his nose smelling me next to him. He was on his side again, and I was sitting up against pillows with his head on my lap and my computer on the table above me.

Craig and Luis had been thrown together as the people in charge of the investigation, quickly forging a friendship as they worked. He stayed at a hotel in Albuquerque overnight, since the team worked well into the evening. Luis had them working several angles, all of which were long shots.

The first was traffic cameras. We were going through images from every camera within a ten-block radius of both the shooting and where the getaway car had been found. Each plate was run, each image added to the database. Craig had them give priority to out-of-state plates, as we thought it likely the killer was not a New Mexico native. There were thousands of cars to screen, and for each car we had to search the databases for owners and drivers. We were going to take the database we had developed and run it against cell phone records, toll roads, employment records, school attendance, credit card receipts and any other information we could find until we could exclude that person from consideration.

The ones we couldn't exclude would get more screening.

The relational database Natalie was developing was going to be key. We had received the information from the Department of Defense, Federal law enforcement and other agencies. We looked at other sources as well; competitive shooting clubs, private shooting academies, Olympic shooters, and even those outside the USA. Alerts were set up so if someone showed up in one place, it would find it in another. We were still very early in the screening process; data was still being entered and validated. It was not a scientific process; we could make the query specific, and find a few suspects, or make it general and find thousands.

The third was the clues they had left behind. We didn't believe the Scrabble pieces were left there without reason, the shooter was trying to tell us something, teasing us with the puzzle. We had a team of National Security Agency people, computer geeks and cryptologists looking at the possible combinations that the letters could represent. We also had a psychologist from the FBI Profiling division arrive to join the team, and he was particularly interested in the letter and the Scrabble pieces. His initial thoughts were forwarded to me in an email:

The combination of methods used in the killings thus far speak to an intelligent, motivated killer. The attacks show a significant level of planning, as well as an understanding of what she is up against. These are apparently randomly selected targets, yet the act itself is planned in detail; evidence is destroyed or minimized, escape routes are easily available, and in the latest attack a vehicle switch was part of the escape. The subject is not done killing, and is taunting us to find her.

She is not afraid of being caught or killed, she is afraid of not completing her planned revenge.

The selection of random targets speaks to a broad-based hatred towards the Werewolves. The use of language like "race-traitor" indicates hostility towards humans who cooperate or join with them. The genus of such hatred is unknown, and is not recent. This revenge has been long planned.

Her suffering was personal. Either she was directly harmed, or her husband or close family was killed or injured and she blames the Packs. The harm is likely ongoing in her mind.

In addition to the criteria already set for the particular skills this person has, I would add the following to the search:

-Those killed or seriously injured in the Were War or its aftermath, extending to wives/widows and close family.

-Women with unresolved claims for losses suffered during the war.

-Women who have been divorced for reason of their husband finding a Werewolf mate.

-Women who showed opposition to the peace treaty and the end of the war with the wolves.

It is also likely that there are more than one subject involved. The investigation has already explored this due to the quick getaways after shootings, but the methods of a serial killer rarely diverge this much. In two cases, the killings were at close quarters, while the others were all at significant range. A shooter who was doing this for the thrill of the kill would not enjoy long range, while one who prefers to be isolated from their victim would not kill with a knife. If it is one person, then the method of the kill is secondary to achieving the kill itself and making the escape."

I closed up the laptop and went to take a shower, finishing my business late into the evening. When I came back out, Wendy was checking his vitals and giving him his pain medication. "Don't you sleep?"

She laughed quietly. "Doc will take the next one, but one of us needs to be around while we have a patient in this condition. Don't worry, I have other stuff to do than monitor his vitals."

I got back into bed after she finished and she tucked me in. "Tomorrow will be worse," she said. "He will feel better and will want to get up and do more. You can't let him."

"He is stubborn," I said.

"Am not," he whispered to me. I didn't argue with him yet, I just snuggled in and let my body keep his warm as we both fell asleep.

The next day was as predicted. Gunny started to feel better, hell, he was feeling frisky, but Doc's orders were orders. Being naked in bed with him might have been good for his cat, but it was hell for me. His scent called for me, his hand was continually wandering across my body and setting it on fire. He was pulling out every trick in the book to get me to give in and make love to him.

Thankfully, Renee expected this and invited me to lunch. Gunny needed X-rays, a change of dressings, and a lung capacity check while I was gone. Doc was also going to have him shift to his panther form and back a few times to stimulate healing.

Lunch was nice, we had it out on the deck near the koi pond that was her favorite. We had time, so she showed me around the Pack House and surrounding grounds. Finally, it was time to go back. "Doc says they are done," she said, "and he can start to move around. No exerting himself, anything farther than the bathroom is a no. He can sit in the chair as long as he is helped up, and he can use a wheelchair if you want to take him anywhere."

"So, when you say no exerting himself..."

She laughed. "New mates. No sex, Rose. Not even if you do all the work."

I got back to the room and found him dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. He was sitting in the big recliner, watching the news channel. He patted his legs with his good hand, I saw he had new and smaller bandages on his wounds and his arm was now in a normal sling. "Doc says I'm doing great," he said. "Now come here and help me out with this painful swelling."

I snorted. "Doc also relayed to Alpha Renee what your restrictions were, Gunny. You're on medical hold." I pulled my phone out and set it on the nearby table before climbing in and snuggling next to him. "Rest up, it's only been a day," I said.

"A day feels like forever since we made love," he whined.

We settled in, and were almost asleep when my phone started ringing. I looked at the screen, it was Josh. "Josh? Is everything all right?" All kinds of things went through my head, it was just after one and Charlotte was still in school.

"Charlotte is fine, Mom." God, I was SO not used to him calling me that, but in this world a mate was forever so he was going to be my son-in-law. "A question though... did you need me to protect Charlotte from others, or others from Charlotte?"

"What happened, Josh." I was losing patience, and Gunny was starting to growl a little.

"I'm sending you the video. Call me back when you've watched it, we're almost home."

"Home? With Charlotte? Josh, what the hell happened?"

"Just watch, Mom," Charlotte said in the background. They hung up, and I went my mail program. When the file booted up, it showed the hallway of the school. I found Charlotte in the right corner, pulling books out of her locker. A group of good-looking guys, probably athletes, were walking down the hallway behind her. They said something, she turned around, said something and then went back to her locker. I saw the lead guy say something to his friends, then he moved behind Charlotte and reached around and squeezed her boobs hard.

The next ten seconds was Youtube gold. She raised her elbow and spun to her left, sending it into his jaw and sending him staggering back a step. Her right hand grabbed his hand and pulled him forward, lifting her right knee into his crotch so hard he was lifted clean off the ground. Even Gunny groaned in sympathy pain, his hand moving down to protect his package. As he was bent over, she grabbed the back of his jacket, then lifted her knee into his face as she pulled his head down. His head flew back, blood spraying over her white skirt, and he was knocked clean out.

The guys he was with were standing around, looking between their unconscious friend and a very pissed off and trained young woman. They did the right thing, and ran. Charlotte turned around, grabbed a folder out of her locker and walked away like it was nothing. It took another thirty seconds for a teacher to arrive, and he was still out when the ambulance arrived. As they were loading him up, I saw another teacher leading Charlotte by the arm down the hallway, Josh following at a distance.

"Holy shit," Gunny said. "Once she takes the change she's going to be a real force. Just like her Momma."

"I think that boy will learn not to sexually assault women, don't you?" Pride was in my voice as I backed the video up and played it again.

"I think his friends will find his balls the next county over," Gunny said. "But yeah, I think the word will get around not to mess with the new girl."

We finished the video, then I called Charlotte. "Are you all right, baby?"

She snorted. "I'm fine, Mom. My knee is a little bruised and I got a cut on my elbow from his tooth, but the nurse took care of it."

"Any blowback from the Principal?"

"No, not once they watched the tape. Patrick won't be playing linebacker on Friday, though. They are going to suspend him once he wakes up, and the cops have been given the tape. The school resource officer knows I plan to file sexual assault charges and I gave a police statement. He'll be a registered sex offender by Christmas."

"What the hell did he say to you?"

"Well, I didn't know who he was and I'd never showed any interest in him. Jane says he's got a reputation as a player. He said, 'Hey baby, want the ride of your life?' I told him I only dated MEN. That's when he decided to grab my tits."

"He's lucky she beat him up before I got to him," Josh said.

"I think this worked out fine, it would raise too many questions if you fought for her, Josh. Now, get her home safe and I'll call you later. Oh, and show the video to Jacob. I'm sure he'd love to see his training in action, that looked more Krav Maga than Taekwondo."

"Jacob says it doesn't have to be pretty, just effective. He's right. I'll show him and the others, plus it's already up on my Twitter and has over 500 retweets in thirty minutes. And Mom? We're coming for dinner. Since I was let off school early, Ella said she'd bring us there and we can drive back early in the morning for school."

"Wonderful. I've got to go, we love you." I hung up and put the phone on the table. "I'd say that guy made a near-fatal error in victim selection."

Gunny pulled me tight. "Never fuck with a Conspiell. Now, fucking a Conspiell is perfectly fine," he said as he tried to move my hand over his hardening shaft.

"STOP IT," I said with a bit of a growl to my voice. "No nookie until the Doc okays it."

"This sucks," he said as his head fell back to the cushion. He closed his eyes and soon was snoring softly. I turned the television sound down and pulled out my phone; going to my email, I forwarded the video to Alpha Renee, thinking she would appreciate it. Women who had been raped, or avoided rape, loved to see the tables be turned on the attacker.

I had made it through my email when Alpha Craig called me. "Rose, it's Craig. There's been another shooting. I'll get someone to drive you to the airport, we're wheels up in forty minutes," he said as he hung up.

I raced to the bathroom, then quickly dressed in my FBI attire and gear. I sent a quick text to Charlotte, telling her I had to go out of town on short notice, but she could come stay with Gunny if she wanted.

Doc came in with one of the Pack warriors. "Jerry will drive you, the car's waiting outside." I looked down at the sleeping Gunny. "I'll tell him when he wakes," he said.

"Where are we going?"

"Nebraska," Jerry said. "The Superior Pack."

Ch. 17

I leaned down and kissed Gunny goodbye, then grabbed my stuff and walked out. My clothes had been laundered and packed, and Renee was waiting with a cooler filled with drinks and sandwiches for the road. I hugged her, thanking her for everything, then I followed Jerry to the waiting sedan.

I called Craig back once we were on the road. "What happened, Alpha?"

"Details are sketchy, but it looks like a drive-by shooting. One dead, a Pack warrior in training. She was 16. Single gunshot at close range while she was sitting in her car making a right turn."

"Please tell me there was a witness," I said.

"Nothing, a passing car found them. The local police called it in when they found a scrabble piece in the car, like someone had tossed it in. The letter 'L', one point."

T T T H H R M S was already written in my notebook, I added an 'L' to the end. Tapping my pen against the pad, I came up with nothing. Another clue bought at the cost of a life. "Anything from the coding guys?"

"They've added the new information, and are using a program to sift through the possibilities. They don't have any single word that contains every one of those letters, so they are thinking it might be a name or a phrase. What they are doing now is sifting through the millions of possibilities looking for something that makes up actual words."

"Any other ideas from the team?"

"Not really. We didn't find anything new in the Cascade or Telluride Pack cases, and right now Rob Smith and Melody Post are on their way to the Adirondack Pack. We're still adding names to the database, and the cameras haven't given us anything to go on yet. The call center is up and running, thousands of tips have called in but nothing good yet, according to Nadine. Listen, we just arrived at the plane, I'll talk to you more when you get here."

He hung up so I took the time to call Charlotte. "Hi, baby. Did you see my text?"

"Yes," she said dejectedly. "We're getting ready to leave now. Do you know how long you'll be gone? Ella said there was another killing in Nebraska."

"No, but at least a day. Can you pack a day's worth of clothes for me and a couple days' worth for Gunny? He's able to move around some now and I'm sure he's getting restless."

"Sure Mom. Alpha Renee has guest rooms, right? So Josh and I can stay there?"

I had to push down my protectiveness, of course they would want to be together but I was still her mom. "Actually, honey, I need you to do something for me." She wouldn't like this as much but it would help and it would make ME sleep easier. "You know that Gunny will heal faster if he's with someone."

"MOM! He's NAKED under there!"

"Doc is going to have his shift, have him go into his cat form and you go sleep with him. His panther already sees you as his daughter so it's the next best thing to me. If you want, you can have Josh go wolf and sleep on the other side. That's the only way you all get to be together, young lady. If you don't like it, I'm sure I can get Renee to give you separate rooms."

She huffed a little, but she was smart enough to take what she could get. She'd already confessed to me that she slept so much better when Josh was around, and he was always in his wolf form for it. "FINE. Just because they are so comfy to snuggle into, even if they DO leave hair all over my jammies. If one of them starts licking my face I'm going MMA on their ass, though."

It was true, I had gone through more tape rolls to keep black hairs off my work clothes than I could believe. It was like having twenty cats in the house. "Tell Gunny I have a job for him. He knows the capabilities of the shooter, I need him to send his advice on defending against her to all the Packs."

"Got it, Mom. Hey, Alpha Ella wants to talk to you."

I had to admit it was weird, looking to a woman more than ten years my junior as my leader, but Craig and Ella were both born to lead and I could see how well they did it. "Rose?"

"Hi Ella, thanks for helping with those two," I said.

"It's no problem, and we all love Charlotte. She kicks ass like a werecat already. Do you want me to get anything else other than clothes?"

"No, but if you would, Alpha command both Gunny and Josh to remain in their animal forms all night. The last thing I need is for her to wake up with two naked guy next to her." She laughed and said she would. "Now, one other thing I just thought about. The killer was in New Mexico and is in south central Nebraska now. We need to warn the Packs to the North and East that she could be on their way. Keep their people close, watch the borders, report anything suspicious."

"Will do, Rose. Have a good trip, and catch this woman before she kills more," she said.

We reached the airfield, and Jerry drove into the hangar where the private jet was waiting, its engines already idling. He grabbed my bag and escorted me to the stairs, and as soon as I was inside the door was closed. We were taxiing out for takeoff by the time I got my seatbelt on.

"How is Gunny doing, Rose?"

"He's being a pain in my ass, William," I said as I adjusted my seat. I was sitting next to Alpha Craig, William Post was across from me, and Linda Remington was next to him. "Doc puts him on bedrest and he thinks that means he can have sex all day long. I would have whapped him with a rolled-up newspaper until I realized that's only for canines," I said.

"He's just found his mate, his instinct is to claim and mate," Craig said. "Frankly, I'm amazed your neck is still clear."

I laughed. "No time for that, his cat doesn't like it but his human side understands. Plus, Ella put Alpha command on him. He just insists on having his scent on and in me at all times."

"You aren't fully his yet, his cat sees that as a way of warning off rivals. You'll just have to put up with it until your mating is complete."

"What brings you here, William?"

"I'm continuing on to New York, meeting Melody and Rob there. Once they are done we'll come back to Superior and bring you guys home when we are done."

We were airborne, climbing rapidly to the northeast. "So bring me up to speed with the case," I said.

Craig's laptop was connected to the television that lowered down from the ceiling, and he soon had the details of the case so far. The first thing up was a picture, looking like a yearbook photo, of a young girl with long, light brown hair in her cheerleading uniform. "Victim was Denise Young, age sixteen, junior at Superior High School. Cheerleader, debate team, honor roll. She was in training to become a Pack Warrior like her father. No mate or boyfriend, nothing showed up in the Internet searches out of the norm. She was driving home from practice to her home fifteen miles northeast of Superior."

He clicked on another photo, this one a crime scene. It was a four-way stop with turn lanes; her car had driven across the intersection and the front end of her Dodge Neon was stuck in the soft mud before the cornfield, right turn signal on. He clicked on a different view, then a picture through the driver's side window. She was buckled in, her head hanging forward and almost touching the steering wheel. The exit wound had removed a large chunk from the back of her head, and parts of flesh and brain were spattered over the seat and the passenger side window. "The car was still in drive, wheels spinning." He clicked on the next photo, taken after she had been removed from the vehicle. A hole was just above the right corner of her mouth. "Single shot, large caliber handgun. No powder burns, so it wasn't point-blank range."

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