When we stopped for a thankfully wolf free lunch at a buffet style restaurant, we at last had the chance to talk over what had happened. Riding a bike at a hundred and some klicks is not conducive to analytical conversation. Once our first plates were empty, Gerard ventured, “Don’t you think that running into Barry and his friends was a bit too much of a coincidence?”
This was something I had been mulling over while we were on the road, so I answered pretty quickly. “Actually no. I have a feeling that there are a lot of these little unaffiliated groups all scattered around medium sized towns which are well away from any pack territory. If Barry was used for only a single venture, then the other nasty jobs will have been done by others, in fact at least a dozen others. Instinct tells me that there may be way more than that dozen, all linked to the people who killed my dad, without them even knowing they were soldiers in an undeclared war. If there are as many little mini-packs as I suspect, then running into one of them wasn’t luck, it was simply a matter of time.”
“You know you are implying that the conspiracy is bigger than you thought?” I nodded, suddenly needing to fortify myself with another helping. Information was the key, and we didn’t have enough.
What had genuinely been good luck had been my first use of telekinesis; rather I should say my first intentional use. Also lucky was that Gerard hadn’t noticed or guessed it had been me that made the waitress chuck her whole trayload over Barry. I should probably practice it when I had the time, though with him eternally hovering, it was more like when I could lose him.
Replete, I called Hamish. He would have been in his office on the West coast for a couple of hours by now, and I wanted to find out when he would be reading my dad’s Will to the Alphas. Before I could even broach that subject, he told me, “Moon, I had a chance to think on the way home, and when I read my messages this morning, the ones that came into the office while I was away, I had a brainstorm. I think I can identify at least one source of your problems.”
That was a professionally polite way of putting things, and since he was on a roll, I merely said, “Go on.”
“One of the standing instructions your father gave me was very explicit. I was always to tell anyone who inquired about purchasing any of his properties that he would never sell. This was particularly true with what you would refer to as undeveloped or wilderness land. He was adamant that the same applied to the mineral rights which attached to that land, as they could be sold separately. Since he died, my office has received several inquiries in the hope that this might change, especially as the prospective buyers believe that I might have to dispose of some assets to satisfy the taxes on your father’s estate.”
“So I did a little cursory digging, just checking out the particular parcels and rights that had garnered the most interest. You know what I found? It looks like you father was sitting on a potential bonanza.” I could hear him rustling papers over the phone with my enhanced hearing before he came back on. “Here it is. A couple of oil majors are interested in properties in Alaska. In Canada, it’s land next to proven claims for precious metals, and in the lower forty-eight they seem to be interested in water rights, not to mention several other things, including coal.”
“You mean my dad frustrated all sorts of people who couldn’t understand why he didn’t want his assets exploited?”
“That’s right. I expect they assumed that he was rather eccentric, and didn’t need the extra money. Of course it’s true he didn’t, but the real reason is now clear to me. He just didn’t want anyone to have an excuse to be on his land and have them disturbing his wolves, some of whom might be seen in places real wolves weren’t supposed to live.”
It didn’t take much for me to make the connection. “You think that the people or entities who want to buy my dad’s properties or mineral rights may be part of the conspiracy?”
“Exactly,” he replied. “If it was purely wolf run companies who did the exploitation, then the chance of exposure wouldn’t be an issue. Not only that, but the potential is there for them to make rather a lot of money.”
“So, just getting hold of certain mineral rights would provide them with enough income long term that they wouldn’t have to worry about losing out on the financial support my dad gave them?”
“Yes, Miss Moon, it seems that way.”
“Give me a moment Hamish, I have to think.” It took me a minute or two, but he was patient, and when my brain had settled, and I had thought things through, I said, “We will send you a listing of all the Alphas, and I want to know if any of them have an interest in any of the organizations that have made a purchase inquiry for any mineral rights or land with good potential in the last quarter century.”
“Good idea,” he agreed.
“Oh, and I would like you to have this search conducted by an outside firm you have never used before. It isn’t impossible that they have someone inside your office.”
He paused for quite a bit before saying, “I understand, now is there anything else?”
“Yes,” I remembered, recalling the original reason for my call. “When are you going to read my dad’s Will, and pass on my instructions?”
“I thought the day after tomorrow.”
“Fine,” I replied, “and thank you.”
Hanging up and turning to Gerard, I asked, “Get all that?”
He nodded, and then asked, “What now?”
“Now we have a couple of days to kill.”
I expected him to stay in character, and he did, by snaking an arm around my waist and whispering, “Where shall we go?”
Letting him leave his arm where it was, I told him “Go West, old man, go West.” He may not have appreciated my misquote, but he didn’t let go. We ended up in Winnipeg, where we stopped at another steakhouse. He was getting predictable, and in more ways than one.
With dinner finished, it was time to check into a hotel. There was a Fairmont here, but for some reason I decided to give it a miss, and ended up at the Hilton. It was time for me to have some alone time, as I wanted to experiment with my TK, and see what I could do. I decided that the wolf world could eventually know about my ability to heal, and also that I could force a shift, but this I wanted secret, even from Gerard. He wasn’t happy about me leaving him, but he most likely needed some alone time too, so I took off.
Finding a suitably quiet place meant I had to leave the city. Fortunately Beaudry Provincial Park was only six miles away, and was plenty big enough to get lost in. There was still enough moonlight for me to see easily once I had parked the bike, and it didn’t take long for me to find a secluded spot. Well, what to do? Start small was the obvious answer, so I picked up a pebble about the size of the bullet I had taken from Superintendent Hawkins. That was easy enough. Over the next hour or so I experimented with speed, direction, and even holding whatever it was in mid-air, as the items got progressively larger. My limit seemed to be a couple of pounds, at least for the moment. Perhaps over time, like every other muscle that we use, it might get stronger, but I doubted that would happen before my current problems were resolved. Well pleased with my evening’s experiments, I made my way back.
“Moon,” he greeted me as soon as I opened the door to our suite; “there has been quite a bit of coverage of the kidnapping attempt.”
“Good or bad?”
“Not sure,” he replied, showing a rare streak of honesty. “They made out the OPP to be heroes, especially Superintendent Hawkins, who was shot, and they didn’t mention the prisoners that got away. Short segment on you, portrayed as a vulnerable child.” At this point he couldn’t stop a rather vulgar stream of gurgling laughter from escaping. “Sorry,” he said, when he had control of himself, “pretty much everything they said was a bit off, however that snippet took the cake.”
“Actually, I would be worried if they managed to get it right. That would be more of a problem.”
“True, now I also have news of our prisoner. He’s dead.”
“He was tortured to death?”
“Of course not,” Gerard replied, quite offended. “That would have been very unprofessional. He did himself in. Grew enough fangs to shred an artery and keep it open. It was totally unexpected.”
It was a game changer in fact. Suicide was not normal amongst werewolves, except when they had lost their mate, and only then if they had been together for close to a century. It suggested that suicide was preferable to any punishment he would have suffered for speaking. “It seems that my adversaries are a lot more venal than I had thought.” I told him. And that the conspiracy was more widespread, but I was a bit too shaken to verbalize it.
“Remember that they are werewolves, and that they are trying to turn our whole world on its head. Eggs and omelets.”
“Then it appears that I will have to get appropriately nasty myself.”
“Before then, why don’t you get nasty with me?”
Way to change the subject, and what a lousy line. Randy bastard. I knew he couldn’t help it, and that he was partially serious. Yes, the poor guy had had to put up with my teenage moods for a few days, so he deserved something. I gave him a big hug, even though I knew it would only make him want more. Apart from the fact that I had spent most of the last three years in a girl’s only boarding school, I knew plenty about sex. Being a wolf I had to, in fact I couldn’t have avoided it even if I’d wanted to. It was all part and parcel of being around wolves. That didn’t mean I had indulged, because I hadn’t, and I wasn’t going to start now. If nothing else, it wasn’t the time. “I’m sorry, nothing happening. If you want to go out and amuse yourself, that’s fine. I’m going to sleep.” I then undressed and changed in front of him, as we wolves don’t do modesty, and crawled into my bed. Whether he went out or not, I never knew, although I hoped he did. I was asleep in moments.
When I woke the next morning, Gerard wasn’t up so I guessed he was still sleeping. I took the opportunity to read a bit more of the package that Hamish had given me from my dad. I needed to know all about the Alphas, and dad had bequeathed me potted bios and analyses of each one. Once I had read them through, something which took a good half hour, I came across another document. It said:
Moon, below you will find the combination to my safe. There is a lot of useful stuff inside. There is a set of discs with the name of every single werewolf in North America on it, except unknown bastards and those born recently. Nobody knows I have them.
There are documents relating to our ancestry. These are relevant as werewolves, or at least one nation of them, were native to this continent, and we all have some of their blood. I have attempted to acquire all their lands over the years, and there are details of those parcels I haven’t bought yet. I would like you to buy them, and Hamish has standing orders to advise me, and now you, if they ever come on the market. I’m sure you will eventually work out why.
I always feared that if anyone dared to murder me, then they would have to have many allies. This information could provide you with some very powerful weapons to use against them if handled carefully.
Realization dawned, and I couldn’t help a loud “Oh shit!” tumble from my mouth. Of course this woke Gerard. “Good morning,” I said, as he lurched sleepily around the door, and flopped onto the end of the bed.”I trust you had a satisfactory evening.” In other words, please tell me you got laid.
“I slept tolerably well.” Damn, he hadn’t. “What are we doing today?”
“I’ve got a lot to think about.” And life would be way easier if you weren’t so forward and horny.
“I need to get in touch with someone from my dad’s packs that I know I can trust, but the only person I can be a hundred percent sure about is my mum.”
“Call her then. You have to start somewhere,” he said,
“If I call her from this room, we’ll have to leave immediately afterwards, as I’m sure her phone will be bugged. So let’s start getting ready to leave first. I didn’t phone for another two hours, as both of us had to spend time in the bathroom, and because we never eat a small breakfast. By then I figured she should be awake.
“Moon, honey,” she answered, happiness warring with panic in her voice, “so wonderful to hear your voice. We heard about the kidnapping attempts. How awful for you. How are you?…” I held the phone away from my ear until she ran down.
In the end, I had a chance to get a word in. “Mum, I’m fine, but I can only trust a very few people right now, so I can’t be there. Is there anyone with you to help you through this horrible time?”
“Oh yes, Vanessa’s here, she’s been wonderful, and Uncle Paul is helping a lot too.” I kept the conversation going for a while, without telling her anything, as I now knew that someone she didn’t trust was around. Uncle Paul was her least favorite person, and his name was our personal code for when things were screwed up.