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The Genevieve Device - Chapter 1 :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 5
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Biting Chill - Chapter 33 :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 0
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Biting Chill - Chapter 32 :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 0
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Biting Chill - Chapter 31 :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 0
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A Killer in the Cabin :iconconnor18:Connor18 2 6
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Biting Chill - Chapter 30 :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 0
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Dark and Derelict - Part 2 (Ending) :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 2
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Dark and Derelict - Part 1 :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 2
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Biting Chill - Chapter 29 :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 2
Literature
Love Outlasts
A whole day, one whole God-forsaken day we had been holed up in this old gas station. When the infection began in Seattle, we had no idea what to do, where to go. They were everywhere, up every street, down every alley, it’s a wonder we weren’t torn apart by them. Though, we didn’t escape unharmed.
Now I was looking out the window, a Browning .308 bolt-action hunting rifle clutched in my hands. The sun had gone down and everything was quiet here, but in the distance, above the trees, I could make out the Seattle skyline, and the rising plumes of smoke and occasional flashes of explosions.
The National Guard had been deployed but had barely entered the city before hundreds of turned people, the ones who didn’t die of the infection, burst out of every apartment window, alley or sewer grate. They pulled back and had resorted to bombing highly infected areas, but I saw Olympia in the distance getting hit, where my apartment was, so either things were really bad ther
:iconConnor18:Connor18
:iconconnor18:Connor18 5 17
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Biting Chill - Chapter 28 :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 3
Toasters by Connor18 Toasters :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 2 Spiders by Connor18 Spiders :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 7
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Biting Chill - Chapter 27 :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 2
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The Psychic's Curse Part 2 (Ending) :iconconnor18:Connor18 0 9
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The Psychic's Curse Part 1 :iconconnor18:Connor18 1 11

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So Ralen-Lykos recently posted something like this and I participated, and as the rules go you can post one yourself (but you guys don't have to if you don't want to!)

Started by macncheesycheese.deviantart.co…

1. Tell you something I learned about you by looking at your dA page for 20 seconds.
2. Tell you a colour you remind me of.
3. Tell you what element I believe you belong to (e.g. water, fire, air, earth, etc.).
4. Tell you what animal you remind me of. (Everyone loves furries!)
5. Ask you a question, and you must answer. (You really don't have to!)
6. Tell you something I like about you or your art.
7. Give you a nickname. 
8. Tell you what am I watching/listening to right now.
9. Tell you what food/ flavor/smell you remind me of.
10. Tell you to do this in your journal too, if you haven't already. (Optional)

Oh boy, here goes!
  • Drinking: A HOT CUP'O JOE

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I stepped off the transport along with a group of around twenty others. Above me a sound dinged and then a white light blinked on above the metal threshold.

“Inter-System Shuttle H-98 is now departing for... Alpha Centauri.” Spoke a robotic sounding, cheerful female voice. Alpha Centauri was a long way at warp, I half wondered how long it would take as I marched down the dark grey, cold hallways that were barely lit by failing lights.

There was no chatter here, no talk amongst happy holiday-makers. This wasn’t a place you’d find families with children or old people lounging around, waiting for their transport.

In fact, most of the people on the shuttle had already been armed with an impressive array of weaponry, although we had to give it up temporarily when we boarded. I walked amongst mercs, bandits, gangsters and all manner of troublemakers. To say the least, my heart was pounding. It pounded faster as we passed heavily armed guards wielding large automatic coilrifles.

I glanced right and saw out of the window and into deep space. There was nothing but stars as far as the eye could even make out. Then there was the shuttle, a long pen shaped object with a massive ring around the middle and many flashing lights. It approached a large circular object floating in the distance, a warp lane built to centralise inter-system travel. The warp drive onboard wouldn’t work without one of those rings to give it access first.

Slowing down my pace, I watched as the ship approached, slowed using its forward thrusters, and the suddenly it shot through the gate with no momentum at all. In a flash it was gone, the transport that had brought me here had now left me, and I was on my own.

I was determined however. I couldn’t let my family down, not like this. We already had enough trouble back home as it was.

A brief glance in the glass and I caught my reflection. My tanned skin was speckled with sweat from the hot, humid environment of the shuttlecraft, and my dark stubble made me look dirty and unkempt. My face was still youthful, perhaps too youthful as I seemed to be a common target for thugs but I got away, most of the time without a scratch. Along with all of that, I wore a white tanktop, a pair of beige cargoes and an old olive coloured military backpack with clips. My rifle hung over my shoulder by a leather strap; it was an old kind of army firearm from back home, standard issue for those who performed national service. It was shaped similarly to those ancient AK rifles from Earth I always saw in old movies, but without any wood on it at all and was much more modern looking.

I turned back and headed onwards, through a sliding automatic door. Ahead I watched the other passengers turn left and right at a walkway ahead. As I approached, I heard a lot of echoing voices and the mechanical sounds of power tools and machines. Then there was the smell as I approached, the smell of freshly cooking noodles and the spices to go with them

Stepping out onto the metal platform, my eyes widened briefly at the amazing sight all around.

Called The Donut, this space station orbited an uninhabited barren world, lifeless and nearly without atmosphere, but was rich in iron hence the main reason for the station being here. Its dark grey surface loomed ominously close above through the windows, but these weren’t ordinary windows. They were made from a specialised substance that could withstand direct impacts from fast flying space debris and small arms fire. As I looked down I saw other parts of the station in the distance. The living quarters were their own thing, housing a couple thousand people here. They were large cubes with windows and lights, housing as utilitarian as it gets. A dry-dock floated in the distance to the right of the housing area, where private ships were anchored, most likely owned by people living within this system. Most ships were banged up old things, bought over the net at low prices and probably had inter-planetary engines out of date by over two centuries.

Around me the station stretched into a donut shape, giving it its name, with three levels bustling with heavy activity. I leaned over and looked down at the floor and saw hundreds of people all going about their business. Some wore suits and were flanked by armed guards. Others wore dusters or heavy coats concealing armoured vests. Others still looked like pilgrims or slum-dwellers, dressed in ratty clothing and with the barest of equipment on them.

Not all were human though. I spotted many, many wolves amongst the crowd. More than enough to make me shiver, as I knew they were stronger than the average human. I saw a few foxes as well but they tended to stay together in their little pilgrimage groups. It made me wish I had someone else with me too. Both were descendants of animals from Earth who were experimented on by humans hundreds of years ago. They escaped and made their way to different parts of the Orion Arm, and hundreds of years later, here we all were.

Looking around, I spotted some stairs leading down to the lower floors. I quickly made my way down them, keeping my head low and eyes averted from everyone else. I didn’t want any trouble. I kept an extra strong grip on my backpack and rifle too, just in case.

As I reached the ground, I looked around for an information kiosk. I spotted a tall, glass display that was empty. I walked up to it and pulled out my Smartphone, a touch-screen device with a rubber outer casing for added ruggedness. After flipping through it for the Site-Connection button, the symbol of a radar dish and three curved lines coming out of it, I pressed it and watched the glass screen in front of me light up.

“Welcome to Donut station!” Spoke a cheery, upper class sounding male voice. I couldn’t pin-point the accent, but I had heard it from old Earth movies before.

“Locate the bar.”

“Locating pub, please wait...” He said.

Within a split second a map popped up, both on the screen and on my phone.

“Pub located. Your handheld device has also been updated. Please have a pleasant day!”

“Oh yeah, sure.” I replied sarcastically, turning and walking away as a group of armed men walked up the kiosk after me. I kept an arm on my pack and glanced at my phone from time to time, checking on the map. I couldn’t focus with all of this noise so I ducked into a maintenance corridor quickly and got the general direction. I then set off for the bar, intent on getting a drink and hopefully renting some hired help for my mission.

--

The bar, having been located down what felt like a thousand useless corridors filled with strange people, was probably the nicest looking place here. The other section was all squared off, darkened glass, giving a beautiful view of the sun and the planet together.

It wasn’t packed either, just four other human patrons and the bartender, a black skinned man with a shaved head who was busy flipping through channels on the thin television screen above the bar. I wandered over and sat on one of the stools, covered in what felt like real leather.

“Hey bro, what would you like?” He asked. The accent was similar to people from the old American colonies back in my home nation’s territory.

“Just a beer please, a weak one.”

“You mean a cheap one.” He chuckled, turning around to fish inside a cooler.

I ignored the comment and stared up at the television screen. A blonde news reporter sat in front of a desk speaking in French about something, but I couldn’t understand it. I could see military ships from Earth and Olumian space together, firing on a large golden craft of some sort that shot back with beams of golden energy. More than likely this was about the war against the Holy Union.

“It’s all bullshit these days.” Sighed the bartender, sliding a beer and a clean glass in front of me, “Same old shit.”

“Yeah, that broadcast looks familiar...”

He nodded, “Near Mahar space, apparently the Union decided one of the Mahar worlds was going to be a new weapons testing site. Then the FEC and Olumians showed up and whooped their ass, KA’POW!” He shouted, making martial arts moves.

I chuckled along with him as we watched the fuzzy broadcast.
Feeling a presence moving around me, I quickly looked right and saw nothing, then left and nearly dropped my drink in shock.

To the left of me sat down a strong, heavily armed and scarred wolf wearing cold-weather military gear. It had a dark look on its face as if it were up to no good or planning something. Its fur was mostly grey with some light brown and beige markings around its face and going down its neck, and the fur was incredibly fluffy and looked soft.

“What’s up Jess, you want a Boston Gold Stout?”

She, I could recognise the voice as a woman, nodded and spoke in a gruff, strange accent, “Yes.”

I couldn’t help but stare at her, never having seen one of these wolves so close. Of course there were all of the movies, all of the videos online, but never in the flesh or fur in this case.

She turned and eyed me with her deep, ocean blue eyes and a small scowl on her face.

“Sorry.” I spoke meekly, turning back to the television screen.

I heard her sigh and take a sip of the stout straight from the bottle, leaving the glass behind. She got up and walked past me, mumbling something to herself as she stalked over to a lone table at the other side of the bar.

“Who was that?” I asked the bartender in a hushed tone as he walked back over.

“That, is Jessie. Most fearsome merc in this region, she’s one of the best. From the Bloodletter clan apparently, trained from birth to be great warriors.”

I gasped, “Bloodletter? Holy shit! Why’s she in such a bad mood?”

He shrugged, “Says her mom’s not doing so awesome back home. Probably worried, I know I’d have been if I still had parents.”

“What happened to yours?” I asked.

He shrugged, “Disease. They lived in a shithole, died there, it happens.”

I leaned back, “Huh... Sorry to hear that.”

“It doesn’t matter anyway, long time ago. Anyway, Jess is a mercenary pretty much, lived a hell of a long time for one too.”

“Is she hireable?”

He raised his hands to the sides, “You can only go and ask her, I don’t know any more than that.”

I thanked him and grabbed my drink as I walked over to the table she was sat at, lost in thought. She turned, saw me and looked annoyed as hell, sighed and turned away again.

“Miss Jessie..?” I asked, standing there awkwardly holding my glass and my beer can.

“Just Jessie.” She grunted.

“Uh... I uh...” I stammered, trying to find the words but I was so focused on what she looked like I could hardly think straight.

“Sit.” She ordered, pointing to the chair opposite her.

I nodded quickly and set my drinks down on the table. I leaned on my arms and spoke quietly.

“I need to hire a mercenary for a mission.”

She stared at me, tilting her head to the side. She studied me up and down, various expressions crossing her face before she let out a huff and sat back.

“You couldn’t afford me, child.” She spoke dismissively.

Now I was mildly offended, “Just wait a minute there! I didn’t travel all the way from Carver just to be shrugged off as some puta kid!”

She nodded and grinned at me, “Yeah, you’re just a boy with a gun and no idea what he’s doing.”

“Yes I do!” I said, my voice going a bit higher than I’d have liked. I glanced around and leaned in closer, “I’m looking for something, an old piece of technology worth a lot of money.”

She sighed and leaned in as well, “And how much is this piece worth to you?”

“A lot. My family has debts that need paying, and I’m willing to go to hell and back to get this thing.”

She let out a grunt, though I think it may have been a laugh, “Well, I am retired.”

“What?” I asked, blinking rapidly, “No, you’re one of the best mercs around! I can afford you, I swear!”

She shook her head and waggled her finger at me, “Retired, child. I don’t do this anymore. Family calls to me and I must return to my homeworld.”

“Yeah, I heard about your mom.”

She gaped for a brief second before glancing at the bartender then back to me, “He told you didn’t he?”

I nodded.

“Bastard. Listen boy, I don’t think whatever this piece of tech is it will help anyone. There’s nothing around these parts aside from some abandoned planets.” She waved her hand dismissively.

“That’s where you’re wrong.” I pointed at her as I fished around in my pockets for my phone. I pulled it out and turned it on, flipping through files until I reached one of a schematic. It was of a spherical device with small bars pointing out of it and a digital screen on the front.

“Here, take a look at this...” I handed it to her.

She took the phone quickly and stared at the picture, moving her fingers to zoom in and out of the high quality image. She glance up at me briefly, “What is it called?”

“The Genevieve Device.” I whispered.

She narrowed her eyes at me, “And? What does it do? How old is it?”

“Supremacy wars era tech, lost on a world a long time ago. As for what it does... I dunno. All I know is that a lot of money went into making this thing.”

Her eyes widened as I mentioned Supremacy wars, “That is... centuries old.”

I nodded quickly, “You see why I want to get this thing? It’s got to be worth a hell of a lot of money to someone. So here’s what I’m thinking; I pay you to guard me whilst I search around on the planet for the device. It’s gonna be a dangerous world so I could use the backup.”

She nodded slowly, weighing up the options she had. Perhaps the idea of earning more money to help her mother would make her easier to hire?

“Let me think about this.” She handed the phone back to me, “But first, let’s talk money and experience. My going rate at the moment is around forty thousand in local credits.”

“I’ve got fifty thousand Carver Pesos, so it’s a done deal. What next?” I replied, interlocking my fingers as I leant on the table.

She tilted her head and regarded me with a curious expression, her ears twitching, “Next question; do you have military, survival or travel experience?”

I paused and gave her a shy smile, “Not... exactly.”

She sighed and slumped forward, her eyebrows lowered in annoyance, “Military experience?”

“Six months national service.” I shrugged, “We all do it.”

She bobbed her head, “Survival?”

“I can boil water.”

She frowned, “Uh... travel?”

I grimaced, “I barely left my home city of La Lanura.”

She sighed and rubbed her face, “Oh, Gods of the Clans help me. You are as green as summer grass.”

“Yeah...” I sighed.

She shook her head, “I hate babysitting jobs, but you have the money and some training, so I suppose it can’t be all bad. Fine, but this mission is the last I shall do. Do you have transportation to this world?”

I nodded, grinning, “Some guy from Mars, Tharsis region who owns a ship with a hyperdrive. We meet up with him, hop on a carrier, warp near the system in question and then hyperdrive there and then back to the shipping lane.”

“A Martian? Hmm... alright. Do you trust him?”

The question caught me off guard, “Uh, yeah I guess so. He’s like a cowboy from those old films, has a revolver and speaks with an accent but he seems cool.”

“What is a cowboy? Never mind, even those who seem ‘cool’ can be ready to stab you in the back. I will meet with this man and determine his trust’s worth.”

I shrugged, “Okay then, we’ll meet up with him in like thirty minutes anyway.”

She nodded to my beer, “Drink it, then I will take you to get better clothes.”

“What’s wrong with what I have on?” I asked in annoyance.

She shook her head, “It is a cold world child, you need warm clothes there.”

A warm feeling spread across my cheeks as I blushed with embarrassment, “Yeah, I knew that.”

She huffed, “Doubtful. What is your name?”

“Alfonso.” I said proudly, puffing up my chest, “Alfonso Belmonte, citizen of the United Human Clans.”

“Hmm, explains the strange accent you have.” She said, before sitting back with her strong looking arm leaning against the top of the seat next to her, “...and the attitude.” She downed half the bottle of beer in seconds just as I finished my first quarter. She then eyed me amusedly and grinned, showing off all of her sharp, pointy teeth, “Are you ready?”

This was going to be an experience, one way or another.

--

After finishing our beers we decided to go and buy better equipment, or better equipment for me in any case.

“Take this.” She shoved a heavy, dark green jacket into my arms suddenly. I looked down at it and gave it a feel by running my fingers over its surface. It had a texture of high quality, flexible canvas on the outside, and within it was quilted and soft, although I doubt the feathers within were real all the way out here in space.

“Feels nice.” I said as I tried it on.

The shop we were in was a survival outfitter and supplier, made more for the adventurer or merc who needed new clothes and supplies than an average Joe. Jessie ignored me and wandered over to a wall next to the double entrances either side of it. On the wall was a variety of civilian issue rations, starting from space rations or “space slop” as it was kindly named for its bland taste, all the way up to high quality, freeze dried foods imported from the Federation of Earth and her Colonies’ region of space.

Jessie took down a squared, black plastic bag with white lettering that read “MRE: Cold Weather Issue” on the front. She took two of them and gave them an inquisitive sniff before nodding and carrying them over to the counter where a bored looking young white woman sat, reading a magazine or something.

After grabbing a pair of thermal socks and underwear to go with my jacket, I quickly caught up behind her. It was almost embarrassing how I acted more like a dog than an employer, always keeping close to Jessie. I felt safer with her around though, and people seemed to give her a wide berth which suited me fine.

“Two cold weather MREs, that comes to around 120 Creds.” Said the woman, barely looking up from her magazine as she lazily thumbed through the pages. Her accent reminded me of the Tharsis guy I had hired earlier, it was that same cowboy sound from the movies.

Jessie nodded and took out her phone, pressing a few buttons on it. There was a ding and a little digital screen on the register came on with the word “Transaction Complete” emblazoned on it in white letters against a blue background.

“Thank you, come again.” She spoke with disinterest as Jessie stepped back, allowing me to pay for my items. The woman took more notice of me, and I saw her eyes light up as she gave me a polite smile.

“Well howdy there, is this all?” she said, putting down her magazine as she ran the clothes through a scanner.

“Uh, yeah!” I said, chuckling.

She nodded and pressed a button on the register.

“320 Creds.” She said, spinning the screen to me.

I pulled out my phone and it made the transaction from Pesos to Creds. The rate was good, only 135 Pesos from my bank account went into the purchase.

“So where are you from? You don’t look like a merc.” She asked me, leaning on her elbow.

“Uh, Carver.” I had to think about that. She was a pretty girl, around my age too, “You?”

“Carver..? Ooh! UHC space, eh? I was born on this station, pretty boring so I’m getting enough money to actually leave.”

“Wow, you lived your whole life here?” I honestly couldn’t believe someone could actually live here, the place was a shithole, but I kept that to myself.

“Yep, be glad to see the back of it, shrinking away into nothing but darkness and stars.” She waved her arms in the air for dramatic effect, before smiling and turning to look back at me.

I chuckled at her amusing performance, “Anyway, thanks. Maybe I’ll see you around.” I said, winking.

She giggled, “Thanks, come again!” She said, giving me a returning wink as she went back to her magazine. Jessie was looking at me with a raised eyebrow but said nothing as we left the shop. I put on my jacket and stored the other clothes within the backpack.

“Still have enough to pay me later?” She asked, walking alongside me as she gave me an amused look.

“Of course. I’ll pay you when we get to the transport.”

“No, you will pay me after the job is done.” She spoke, but it sounded more like a command.

“Uh... yeah, okay.” I stammered, not sure what to say.

“Never pay a merc before the job is done. Never ever... remember that.” She spoke again as she prodded me in the chest with a clawed finger.

“Okay, I’ll keep that in mind.” I said, rubbing my chest.

“And here...” She thrust one of the MREs into my arms, “It has got over two thousand five hundred calories. If we ration it and move slowly, there are two days worth of food in there.”

“Thanks!” I said, confused but somewhat grateful. She bought me food? I guess she thought I hadn’t already packed some, but then she’d know more than I would about this sort of thing. The bag felt like a tough kind of plastic and weighed a bit but not as much as you’d think for two thousand, five hundred calories. I shoved it into the backpack and quickly forgot about it as we walked down the ever increasingly busy corridors.

“So, how did you get so much money?” She asked me as she marched along through the crowd of noisy people, holding on to the strap of her rifle as we walked through the centre of the Donut. Even squads of armed station guards moved around us and regarded Jessie with respect.

It was an odd question of her to ask so it caught me off guard, “Do I have to tell you?”

“No, I just want to know how a pup from La Lanura got his paws on such a large sum of money. You are definitely not from a rich family judging by your...” She glanced up and down my body, “...appearance.”

I chuckled to myself, “I uh... took out a loan.”

She raised her eyebrows but kept looking ahead of us, “Ah, I see. And this is a debt you of course will pay after you sell the device, yes?”

Sighing, I shrugged, “Yeah sure. Look, the loan company was in shit anyway so I doubt they’ll come looking for me if I don’t pay up.”

“What about your family?” She asked, seemingly concerned in some way.

I shook my head, “No, honour prevents them from accosting my family for the cash.”

“But honour does not prevent you from stealing money?” She retorted slyly.

I shrugged again, “It’s not perfect but hey, it is what it is. My family is in debt and my lazy ass brothers and sisters aren’t doing anything about it, so I took matters into my own hands. My parents... don’t even know I’m gone. Or didn’t, they probably do know. I left a note anyway.”

I slouched, thinking sadly about what my mother and father must be going through. Father would certainly be drinking himself into a stupor, like he usually does. Mother would be worried sick and begging the local clan to send scouts after me. The others wouldn’t really care.

Jessie nodded, “Well, for your sake I hope this device pays off these debts of yours, because if it does not then you have just put yourself into even more debt with that loan.”

Grimacing, I turned away from her, “Yes, it was a dishonourable thing to do and the local clan of the neighbourhood wouldn’t be happy with how I’ve done it, but I had no choice. If they want to denounce me as a horrible son of the clan, then let them. My family is far more important than their stupid opinions!”

She smiled, “I am glad some humans still remember family for what it is.”

Did she... did she almost approve of what I’ve done?

I thought about it as we made our way towards the dry-docks, where I’d be meeting our pilot for the second time. I hoped she’d find him trustworthy as much as I found him amusing.

--

The station’s hanger was located at the far end, down a couple of long corridors. We took a small tram with four other people, all foxes dressed in hooded gear who quietly watched us, down a long hallway towards a larger room. When we reached the room, it was grand.

Hanging from the ceilings or locked in place on the ground were all manner of smaller ships, from personal craft to small people carriers or cargo haulers. I looked around and saw pink and red neon lights at one end that read “bar” in bright lettering. I shrugged and guessed that’s where he’d be. With Jessie in tow and the foxes moving away and talking in hushed tones to one another, we walked towards the bar.

“Where is this pilot?” Jessie asked, putting her hands on her hips as she looked around, still looking angry. Could’ve just been the way she was though.

I spotted a man dressed in a leather duster with one of those strange brimmed hats from the old movies on his head. He sat there drinking a small whisky and talking to the bar lady, a middle aged woman with long brown hair and a wrinkled face.

“That’s the guy.” I said, pointing at him. We walked over, and the bar lady upon seeing us must have said something to him. The man turned around and we saw his face. He was white and middle-aged, with a few wrinkles here and there from stress in his life. He had a wide moustache over his top lip but nothing else on his face. His hair was short and also greying, but not to any major degree.

He smiled warmly at us and tipped his hat, “Howdy Alfonso!”

“Hey Tony. I found some help, so this is Jessie who’ll be joining us.” I said, standing aside as I introduced her.

Tony stood up and stepped over to Jessie who looked him up and down, studying him as she had me. He extended his hand out towards her and she regarded it momentarily before taking it with her other and shaking it with a firm grip.

“Good to meet you Jessie. I’m Tony Colombo, one of the best pilots around.”

Jessie bowed her head to the side, “Jessie of the Bloodletter Clan, experienced warrior and mercenary.”

Tony nodded and broke the handshake, “Interesting, I think I’ve heard of you around somewhere. Anyway, I’ll show you to my bird, the Celestial Steed.” He said, gesturing for us to follow. He nodded and waved at the woman behind the bar who leant on her elbow and waved goodbye with a big smile on her face.

We followed Tony over to a smooth looking, dark grey ship. It had four round thrusters in an upside-down V shape on its back, four landing gears locked in place and another two thrusters either side on small, short arms to help it hover.

The body was long and smooth, but it was just bigger and wider than a bus back home in La Lanura. The cockpit sat up front, all glass with metal bars going through it, keeping it strengthened and attached to the main hull. A long tube hung down from the ceiling and was connected to the ship through the top of it, filling it up with something.

“This is her!” Tony said, gesturing wide with both arms at the craft, “She’s a fast one, has a hyperdrive and can go in and out of atmosphere in minutes.”

Jessie nodded and smiled, walking up to it. She put her hand on the craft and ran it along, feeling the shape of it or something, I didn’t know. To me, a ship was a ship.

Tony walked back to me, still watching Jessie, “You sure you can trust this gal, kid?” He whispered.

I nodded, “She hasn’t done me wrong so far. Hell, she’s been showing me what I need for the planet, even bought me a ration pack.”

He nodded, “She could still stab you in the back, even if she seems like good people.”

I chuckled, “That’s funny, she said the same of you when I told her about you.”

Tony raised his eyebrows and tilted his head as he looked at me quizzically. Jessie then spoke up.

“It is a fine craft you have here Mr. Colombo, I think she will do just fine!” She shouted as she walked back to us.

Tony shrugged, “Well then, let’s not delay! I’ll show you to your quarters on the ship. It’s a bit cramped but it’s got a shower and a television.”

We walked around to the other side where Tony rolled up the sleeve of his right arm. On it was an arm mounted computer with a yellow display showing the outline of the ship. He pressed a button, and with a hiss the side opened downwards, revealing a small pressurised airlock.

“Ladies first.” He gestured to me. I laughed and shook my head, stepping up the metal stairs into the small chamber.

When we were all in, Tony pressed another button and the door closed up, leaving us in darkness. Jessie looked around curiously, sniffing the air before red lights lining the sides of the walls blinked on and there was another hissing sound. The door leading into the ship opened up after a moment and we walked in.

The Celestial Steed had a short but wide metal hallway that was brightly lit and the floor was covered in a rough black carpet, which to our right led to the cockpit with a sliding door that was open. To our left it went down past the two crew quarters, a small seating area around a metal table which sat in what looked like the Arm’s smallest kitchen, and then a bigger double door at the back which housed the cargo area, and behind that the power plant and hyperdrive generator.

Tony told Jessie where everything was and then invited us up to the cockpit. Inside was a lone, soft looking chair mounted on a single spine that could rotate around, with two sticks on the armrest and some buttons for movement control. There were touch screen consoles both at arm height and above that gave various details about the ship and what was around us. Other than two lockers near the door Jessie and I were stood in, there wasn’t much else or much more space. Tony sat down and grinned at us as he spun around.

“Yeehaw!” He whooped as he turned to face the front of the cockpit. He took off his hat and hung it on the edge of a console, then pressed a button on the armrest of his chair. Lights blinked on and a humming noise filled the inside of the ship. He picked up a small earpiece and fitted it on his right ear. A button was pressed and the pipe above us disconnected and folded up. I watched through the glass above us as it folded into a small module in the ceiling.

“Donut station, this is Celestial Steed. We’ll be departing for a nearby freighter taking us on as passengers to another system. Requesting permission to undock and fly out of the hanger.” Tony spoke in his trademark accent.

“Roger that Celestial Steed, we have you on sensors. You are clear to undock and head to airlock 4, have a safe flight!” A male voice spoke back.

We took off. The ship rumbled and then the ground fell away from us. I felt a slight shake as we slowly accelerated forwards towards a large, dark door with a white ‘4’ painted on it at the end of the hanger. It opened to reveal a large chamber which we gently entered. I saw to the right a small glass room with three men dressed in matching coveralls watching us and talking to one another. Tony gave them a thumbs up and they returned it before the door in front of us opened up.

We were greeted with open space. Then I felt completely weightless.

“Whoa!” I shouted as my legs rose up behind me.

“Oh god damnit.” Tony grumbled as he pushed a couple of buttons. I felt a hand grab my left calf and push me down just as the feeling of gravity returned and I landed into a kneel. It was Jessie, who looked a bit confused as she righted herself from a crouch to a stand.

“Sorry fellas, that was me forgetting to turn on the anti-grav again...” Tony turned to speak, the turned back as he took hold of the two sticks on either end of the armrests.

“Watch your systems, cowboy.” Jessie said, shaking her head.

“Okay your majesty.” Tony wobbled his head from side to side mockingly as he watched the console.

We quickly turned and headed back towards the space station. The size of it from out here was incredible. The centre was the donut obviously, but I never realised how many cube-like modules and smaller corridors there were. Overall, there had to be a couple of kilometres worth of space station if you stretched it all out.

“She’s big...” I whispered, thinking out loud as we buzzed over a coms tower stretching out of the top of the middle of the donut.

“Oh kid, you should see some of the stuff around Mars. You ain’t seen big ‘till you’ve seen a station that housed over ten thousand people at once.” Tony said, briefly glancing at me over the seat.

“Ten thousand? God!” I replied. The thought of that many people on a space station was incredible on its own.

“Yep, all of them work in mines around the Oort cloud, so it’s easier for them to live on a station than on a planet. They get shipped out in the morning and get back at night.”

Jessie’s ears twitched and she became very interested, “Oh? Wolves just mine planets or drag asteroids. Rarely do we have such a dedicated operation.”

Tony shrugged, pressing a few buttons and performing gentle manoeuvres, “Probably an FEC thing, ‘specially since shuttles down to Mars and Tharsis city are so cheap. It’s our country that owns that station too, we’re pretty proud of it.” He said with a prideful grin.

“Country?” Jessie asked, “I thought Mars was a unified planet?”

Tony shook his head, “No no no, it’s definitely not. I mean, we’re not sending tanks and bombers at one another anymore, but we’re not unified. I mean hell, Earth ain’t even unified and they’re still going strong somehow.”

“Is Mars still a dusty old rock?” Jessie asked, giving me an amused grin and a wink.

Tony scoffed, “Dusty old rock... Nah, she’s got some green on her and... Whoa!”

A smaller personal craft darted right under us as Tony quickly pulled back on his stick. He spoke into his microphone, “Watch where yer going ya damn fool!”

We got a strange reply, sounding quite possibly Chinese but I couldn’t understand it. He sounded angry in any case.

“Chinese colonial sons of bitches...” Tony grumbled.

“Whoa, watch the racism grandpa!” I said, holding my hand up. I still chuckled though, it was pretty funny hearing him say that.

He shrugged, “Eh, you don’t know ‘em like I do. Anyway, there’s our ride outta here!”

He pointed straight ahead at a long ship docked to one of the outer docking ports. It was obviously too big to fit in the hanger, so it was parked out here. It must have been over three hundred meters long, and had the number “084” painted in white on the side. Its main body was all black with blinking red lights lining the thick, ribbed spine, but the detachable cargo hold that made up its belly was a sandy yellow. There was a large door on the side that opened up as we approached it.

“This is Martian Shipping Theta One. Celestial Steed you are cleared for docking. Welcome back captain!” Spoke a rough sounding, feminine voice over the radio.

“Thank you kindly.” Tony said, pulling back on the sticks as we slowed and started moving down as we approached the opening. Inside I could see all manner of large metal boxes and crates, but no airlock. It must be exposed to vacuum constantly. The outer hull looked thick though, probably to protect the contents from background radiation.

“Captain? You command this vessel?” Jessie asked, looking impressed.

Tony waved his hand in the air, “Naw, I used to command one just like it years ago, before I started up this business.”

We landed with a clunk inside the hanger. All around us was a light grey, well lit cargo hold with dozens of large crates around us. In the distance I could see two men in white space suits walking around, and one held a clipboard or something as if they were taking note of the cargo.

“Right, you two can go and make yourselves comfortable in your quarters. I need to go and talk to a few of the guys, make sure they know where we want to be dropped off. Back room is locked and this cockpit is locked until I get back, just so you know.” He said as he spun around with a mechanical whizzing sound before standing up. We followed him out and he pressed a button on his arm computer. Sure enough, we heard the cockpit lock with a thud, as did the door down at the other end leading to the cargo hold.

“I won’t be ten minutes.” He said, giving us a quick salute before heading out into the airlock.

I looked to Jessie, “So... what now?”

She shrugged, “Now I go and prepare for a rest, perhaps clean my gun.” She said, marching towards the crew quarters.

“Good idea!” I said as I hurriedly followed after her, pretty much unsure of what to do now anyway.

One thing was for certain though; I was definitely back on track for an adventure.
The Genevieve Device - Chapter 1
Alfonso Belmonte, a young city boy from the human planet of Carver finds himself aboard a space station on the fringes of neutral territory. Looking to put together a small team to find an artefact said to be worth a very large sum of money, he meets a mercenary woman with an attitude and a cowboy space pilot from Mars. Will they find the artefact? Even more, will it really be worth the risk?

--

Well, here's a new story set in my sci-fi universe. Hopefully this one's an enjoyable read, I'm still finding my feet with regards to science fiction like this. Criticism welcome! Please don't be afraid to point out any mistakes either!
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It had been almost a full day since I got back to the house. Between then and now some guys from Harriet had driven back with some pieces of scrap metal, nails, barbed wire and other stuff to reinforce the fence whilst Natan and his team left for the Jekyll and Hyde base. A while after, I had remembered those brownies and decided to share them with everyone in hut, and it turns out they weren’t just regular chocolate brownies either. Even though we all had smaller portions, Eldwin was having little giggle fits, Amaline had the dopiest smile on her face and Brian was knocked out on the couch. The other guys didn’t fare much better.

A few hours after, once we all had sobered up, Brian had to drive back for Toby’s funeral so I decided to go along with him, I figured I owed the man that much at least. However, before I did that I decided I needed to get a wash.

I found a big metal bucket one of the guys had brought over from the town down the road and took it out into the woods, just behind the hill along with some firewood. I set up a fire, boiled up some snow and proceeded to wash myself in hot, oily water with a bar of soap I had in the hut. It sobered me up well and I used the soap to wash my boxers, socks and shirt, too. I left the fire going and left them out to dry hanging on a wooden stick propped up by two others. Then I heard the crunching of snow, and Amaline suddenly appeared from behind the hill and came around holding a towel for me.

“Whoa! Amaline!” I exclaimed, trying to hide myself with a pair of wet boxers.

She tilted her head and smiled at me, her ears relaxing and making her look more playful than threatening. She approached me and handed me the towel whilst I handed her the boxers to hang back up over the fire. A bit awkward but I had no choice.

I took the towel to dry myself off, but just as I threw it up to dry my head I felt her take hold of it instead. She gently massaged my scalp, I say gently but her claws still scratched me through the thin fabric. She turned me around to dry my face, where we started to get a bit closer. We were almost up against one another, her nose blowing steam in my face and her warm body sliding right up against me. She started undoing the zip on her coat, then in one motion she threw it off and it landed on a dead bush. She then took off the rest of her garments, throwing them away before she stood there with only her underwear, a pair of black knickers that looked far too modern to be from her world, and a black bra to match.

“It’s a bit too cold for that, isn’t it?” I whispered, chuckling nervously. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to move this quickly in our uh, relationship, but I was feeling tense. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to let my hair down for a little while, would it?

She smiled at me and tilted her head down, “We could get warm together, yes?”

I nodded, “Sure.”

She grinned and stepped closer, stalking up to me. I had to hold back a squeal as she quickly grabbed my arm and pulled me right up to her.

She pushed her body up against me, but I pointed to the hill where on the other side we could hear talking and laughing. She giggled, as did I, and we moved around behind a large tree, wrapping our arms around one another. She touched her nose against mine and looked down at me, her eyes looking the happiest I had ever seen them since we first met. Her ears wiggled around, making me chuckle as I reached up to touch them. I stroked her right ear, using my fingernails to scratch around the side and up the outside experimentally as she closed her eyes and relaxed. She opened them and shook her head, taking hold of my hand and leading it away.

Her head leaned in closer, her mouth opening up just a little. I couldn’t get any taller than I was and felt pathetic. She suddenly leant in and her mouth clamped down over mine, kissing me and forcing me to bend backwards as my belly and groin rubbed up against her body. I wrapped my leg around hers and felt her fluffy tail do the same, gently coming to rest at my hip. Then I tried something else, something I had always wanted to try with a woman; I wrapped my other leg around her other hip, and my heart leapt with joy as she pulled me up with one hand keeping me in place by the small of my back. Now she was the only thing keeping me from falling, and Jesus Christ it was the hottest thing in the world.

I broke the kiss briefly, “Oh... I’ve always wanted a woman who could do that...” I moaned.

She smiled and shushed me as she placed a finger over my mouth, before gently pulling my head back by the hair as she bared her teeth right at my throat. I didn’t get what it meant at first, but I suddenly felt as though I should either try and take back some control or just let her do whatever she wanted to me. It felt like an old, instinctive gesture.

My hands tried to take hold of her body, running up and down her as they tried to find some kind of grip to pull myself up further, but like the werewolves of legend I had no chance against her. They came to rest at her sides, my hands instead feeling the way around and over her belly, running over the soft fur covering each rock-hard muscle. She let go of my head and pulled her head back, teeth still bared.

I broke the silence with a quiet chuckle and a whisper, “Christ, your muscles are bigger than min-”

She clamped her mouth down over mine, trying to silence me. She was irritated by my rebelliousness, but at the same time I knew she liked it.

Now, I certainly doubted if anyone from my world has ever French kissed a French werewolf, and I didn’t think many psychic humans had either, but with Amaline it was both the strangest and most pleasurable experience I had ever felt. The feelings I felt, the amount of raw... energy, raw, emotional psychic energy just emanating from her as she practically dominated me made me want to fall down to my knees in adoration and call her my empress. She could force me to the ground and take me then and there, I wouldn’t care. I just wanted this beautiful woman all to myself.

Her ears twisted back and flattened against her skull as her eyes started glowing a deep jade green colour. I closed my own eyes as she forced me backwards even more, to the point that I’d have fallen down had she not been holding on to me. I felt her hand climb up from my back as a strange buzzing sensation leapt from her fingertips and into my spine, raising all the hairs on my body as I started to arch my back even more.  She pulled her head back and stared down at me, as if studying the helpless prey cradled in her arms.

Her claws dug into my bare back skin, and I moaned at first as she gently dragged her claws back down my spine, unaware of the changes in her expression as my eyes were still shut. Every time her claw scratched each vertebra, I shuddered. I sensed that she was testing me, wanting to see my reaction to being forced to submit to her like this, to be so vulnerable. But when I opened my eyes and saw the predatory look in hers, I immediately broke my hold and became frightened. I fell to the snow and looked up at her as she loomed over me.

“Whoa, Amaline, what..?” I gasped, still on that high. The look she gave me after I interrupted the kiss made me scared. It was a look that asked me why I had shown such fear, and told me that it was precisely the wrong thing to do at that moment. Her lips curled up and she stood with a slight hunch, staring down at me. She looked ready to go for me then and there. But part of me knew it wasn’t aggressive, that she meant no harm to me and she was trying to tell me off, that I shouldn’t have done that and instead should have let her take control.

But a part of me wanted to be the one in control of her, to have such a powerful woman by my side would be incredible.

“What the hell..?” I moaned as I rubbed my head. These thoughts just came out of nowhere; I was shocked that I hadn’t even noticed it until now.

Amaline’s ears suddenly perked back up, her eyes stopped glowing as intensely and I even noticed her fur stop standing on end as she stood up straight. In fact, I didn’t even notice it was standing on end in the first place; I was so focused on what had just gone through my mind. Was that related to us being psychic? It had to have been.

She raised her hand to her neck and coughed to clear her throat of the growl, “Frank... I-”

“Well, I was not expecting to see this after what Felix told me.” A familiar voice spoke to my right.

I turned and saw Eldwin leaning against a tree with his arms down by his sides in a relaxed posture. As I scrambled to my feet off of the freezing snow, Amaline moved in front of me and hunched over, claws at the ready. It was purely on instinct I think, and she pushed her back against me, keeping her body between me and Eldwin. A growl rose up in her throat again as Eldwin raised an eyebrow.

“Honey, it’s only Eldwin!” I said, putting my hands on her hips. Her growling stopped just as I did that. I felt her shudder and she let out a sigh. She moved to the side, her ears low as she ever so slightly lowered her head to me. I was taken aback when I realised what was going on - she was being submissive to me.

“F-Frank,” She stammered, “I am s-sorry.”

I spoke quietly as I laid my hand on her shoulder, “It’s okay hun, you just... you just frightened me, that’s all.”

“...And dominated you as well, but you are both very powerful. I think you wanted her to do it.” Eldwin grinned, showing off all of his teeth.

“And just how long have you been watching us, peeping tom?” I asked, annoyed. Could we not get a few moments of privacy around here?

He chuckled, “Long enough to know you have no idea what having a werewolf lady is like.”

I couldn’t stop myself. I scoffed, “Like you’d know.”

Damnit.

Thankfully he seemed more amused than angered. He chuckled, “I wouldn’t. However, just be thankful Amaline is not part of my breed.” He pushed off of the tree with his shoulder and slowly walked towards us, “If I was in Amaline’s position, I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself from having you.”

The way he said that and looked at me with those piercing predatory eyes sent a shiver up my spine, “What do you mean?”

He snorted, “You know what I mean. A werewolf’s instincts are a powerful thing, it is why we stay amongst our own kind, or attempt to turn those we love into wolves when possible. As for my breed? Well, the closer you are to the original breed than the man, the stronger the instincts become.”

“Yeah well, just don’t sneak up on us again.” I replied, still more annoyed than scared, “And don’t try and intimidate me like that again either, I’m not weak.”

Well shit, that came right out of nowhere. I tried to hide my shock at what I had just said by attempting to look extra tough.

Amaline crossed her arms over her chest just as I said that and quietly snarled at Eldwin, giving me some much needed backup.

He raised his hands up in the air and backed away, smiling from ear to ear, “Oh my, Frank. When did you get so brave?”

Amaline was stood right by my side the whole time, backing me up.

Eldwin tilted his head as he looked at the two of us, both naked and Amaline standing at the ready, body half turned towards him and her fingers bent into a claw shape.

He rubbed his chin, “Interesting indeed... It seems as though you both are beginning to share a connection with one another, your minds trying to find some sort of balance...”

“What?” I asked flatly.

“There was a power play going on earlier, when you kissed her. Had that gone on any longer, you would both be... on the ground, shall we say. A werewolf of Amaline’s breed has strong willpower and weaker instinct than my breed, so I am not surprised she snapped out of it. But, for a noble werewolf lady of any breed to submit to a human psychic? You certainly do have power, Frank, and it is beginning to really rear its head now.”

I just shrugged, “I’ve still got no idea what’s going on.”

Just then a breeze blew between my legs and I felt the chill shoot straight up my body. I then realised that I was standing there completely naked in front of Eldwin. I raced over to the fire and quickly grabbed my grey boxer briefs, throwing my legs through the holes before dragging them up to my waist.

Eldwin shook his head and looked at me like I was stupid, “I have seen you naked before, you know.”

I checked the big coat I had taken from the werewolf town. It was nice and warm now. I quickly threw it over my shoulders and wrapped myself in the warm furs.

“Yeah well, that was a dream, it doesn’t count.”

“No, they had you naked after they washed you.”

I stopped just as I got my arm through my sleeve, “Wait, I was naked? And you guys washed me naked? And you were there? Why!?” I asked incredulously, firing question after question as I grew more and more uncomfortable thinking about it.

“Why not? You are a guest, we always make sure our guests are comfortable, well fed and generally happy. Traditionally guests may use our baths when they visit, it is an ancient custom. Besides, Anton and another healer did it with sponges and only washed your upper body and lower legs and feet, do not worry. Also because we needed to know you weren’t carrying any weapons in... you know.”

“But... why?!” I asked in a higher pitch, purely out of horror and shock.

He sighed and rolled his eyes, “Because I needed your body to be relaxed for when I entered your mind. That, and well, Anton had run out of muscle relaxant.” He shrugged, “That usually works for interrogations.”

“Not loup garou custom, Eldwin.” Amaline shook her head with one lip curled up, almost in disgust actually, “We not do that where I come from.”

He bowed his head, “Of course my lady, but I was Secret Service, it is my training. Only the towns far out in the sticks do the washing thing, in the city I rarely hear of neighbours being allowed to wash themselves in each other’s flats on a regular basis.” He chuckled again, “That would be... awkward?”

Amaline tilted her head, sounding almost disgusted, “That is a strange custom, Eldwin.”

“It is merely an ancient custom from the time of our ancestors. But, if I may speak up about you and Frank, my lady..?” He paused, his head tilted, waiting for Amaline to give the all clear.

She regarded him cautiously and nodded. He continued, “I do believe it best if you and Frank tread carefully with your relationship, in many ways of the word. There is nothing more I can say to both of you, really, other than the relationship will be quite instinctive and... primal. When your instincts flare up again, tell Frank and teach him what they mean.”

Amaline looked to me and smiled at me, making me feel warm, “I will.”

“I merely ask that you do this. If you want to have a long-lasting relationship with a human psychic, this may be the best, safest way.”

“I know, I had a human partner before. Long ago”

I turned to her, “You’ve been with a human before?”

She bobbed her head up and down, smiling as she spoke in the sweetest, softest voice, “Yes... a kind man, very gentle. Like you.”

I think I blushed at that point, and felt a few other things as well.

Eldwin winked at me, “See, you’re not the only one. Mistress Charpentier knows what she is doing.”

Amaline shot daggers at him before turning back to me, “We will go... slowly?”

I chuckled, “Like take the relationship slowly?” She nodded enthusiastically, “Probably a good idea, we’ll just try and take it nice and slow from here on, get an idea for one another. No sneaking up on each other and trying to get frisky in the woods, eh?”

“A good plan.” Eldwin said with a smile, “Now, Brian is ready to leave whenever you are.”

“Okay, I guess I’m heading out. Shit, I was enjoying that.”

“Oh, and Felix asked me to tell you to stop grinding your groin against Amaline’s leg, it makes him uncomfortable.” He added with a cheeky grin.

“Tell him I told him to fuck off.” I replied.

Eldwin threw back his head and laughed again and turned around, walking away.

Amaline and I got our clothes on and we all headed back to the hut, with me dragging the bucket along behind me by a piece of string.

Amaline had walked ahead as Eldwin drew closer to me. I braced myself for something horrible.

“Ah, Frank, you have no idea what you are getting yourself into, do you pup?” He put his arm around my shoulder and patted it, chuckling.

I just stared ahead, still annoyed.

He patted me on the shoulder and gave me a squeeze before letting go, “Oh, my boy, you will learn. You will certainly learn.” He finished, walking on ahead.

I made a mental note: Werewolves were weird as hell.
Biting Chill - Chapter 33
So this is a bit of new ground for me. I wanted to add in a pretty sfw sexy (if you could call it that) scene but I'm not sure if it works. If anyone has any criticism about anything, please feel free to share!

Chapter 1: connor18.deviantart.com/art/Bi…

Next Chapter: It is a mystery...
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We eventually arrived back at the hut. The journey was uneventful; no demons to speak of and no trolls, other monsters or animals. Even the birds had been silent which was unusual, but I guess the demons might have had something to do with that?

We were met at my fence by two men with AK rifles, both with scopes mounted on them. The two men wore heavy parkas, light backpacks and ski goggles along with thick beanie hats. They tensed up at the sight of the wolves but relaxed more when they saw me and Felix.

They let us in, keeping a watchful eye on the wolves, and the wolves did likewise with the men. Brian walked out of the hut and nodded to me, looking solemn but not angry with me. That was something that had been playing on the back of my mind.

“Hey Frank, Felix, Amaline, you guys alright?” He asked, rubbing his hand together as he breathed out steam with each word.

We all nodded. I spoke up first, “Yeah thanks, we’re fine. One of the wolves told us what had happened here. I’m so sorry Brian.”

He looked at the ground, the corners of his mouth turned down for just a split second before he shrugged, “It wasn’t your fault Frank. Besides, that’s the risk we all took coming out here, Toby knew that too. Christ, he was a good man though.”

I sighed, “They were after me, those fucking demons. They came here first then attacked us up in the werewolf town.”

He nodded and straightened up, “One of the messengers told us. I don’t like this one fucking bit, mate.”

I shook my head, “Me neither, everything’s just so fucking shady at the moment.” I said, anger biting at my voice.

One of the wolves coughed to clear his throat, which was when I remembered that they were still with us. God, they were silent as hell.

I turned my head to glance at them and then looked back to Brian, “Anyway, this is Brian. Brian, these guys are from the town. The big man in the cloak is Eldwin,” I said, as the werewolf did an old fashioned looking bow, “And uh, the other guys are part of their military force here.”

The men all introduced themselves whilst Brian stared at them with wide eyes. They finished, then Brian put his hands on his hips, “Nice to meet you guys,” He said, then whistled, “Some nice gear you’re packing; machine guns, some RGD grenades, and are those modified 6b27 helmets?”

One of the wolves, the dark grey one called Tolek, nodded and grinned showing off all of his teeth as if he was excited to be talking about their military equipment, “Yes, we copied the design off some human version and our manufacturers shaped it to better fit werewolf heads. It lacks any ear holes, but they designed those areas to allow for sound to come in. Then they added the electronic gear like a UV flashlight for lighting up spirits and for seeing other things you cannot normally see, that sort of thing.”

Brian nodded and looked at the helmet again, “Nice one. I’ve never used the UV stuff before, but we do have Tac helmets like those back in Eden, usually law enforcement or Special Forces.”

Tolek frowned. I tensed up; I knew that the wolves didn’t like people from Eden.

“You are from Eden?” Tolek asked, tilting his head very much like a wolf.

Brian shrugged, “Yeah, I was reservists, stationed on the outskirts.”

Tolek grunted and nodded, “A nice place, Eden, or so I hear.”

Brian shrugged, “Yeah, it’s alright. Not much to do though, no action.”

As he stood, quietly listening in on the conversation, Eldwin’s ears quickly perked up and he grinned, “Ah, you are an action man?” He said, chuckling.

Brain scoffed, “Yeah, I’m nowhere near badass enough.”

They shared a chuckle before the conversation turned to the matter of the demons. We all went inside the cabin to discuss what was to be done, but I noticed the injured wolf guy wasn’t here anymore, and as a matter of fact, neither was Toby’s body. I assumed that some of the guys had driven back with both of them.

I was back at the stove, cooking some food for everyone. Thankfully I had some venison left over from my last kill and a couple of the guys had set up snares and caught some rabbits. They were already skinned and had the bones taken out so it was just a matter of cutting them up.

Once I had done all that I went to work sticking some rabbits in a stew with some tinned vegetables and some chilli spice I had laying around. I noticed some of my tinned food was gone, but I didn’t mind at all. The guys could happily help themselves to whatever I had after what had happened, especially since I had access to a couple of towns now.

After reheating the venison I served it on four large plates along with ample supply of sweet, curry beans. Whilst the guys were busy talking about the demons, matters of security and whatever else was the main topic for today, I melted some snow and started boiling it and adding some more every now and then, making about two litres or so, primarily for coffee. Then I finished up the stew, got a bunch of bowls out and a metal ladle from the cupboard and let everyone help themselves.

...And then all of the wolves took the venison and beans, leaving rabbit and veggie stew for the rest of us, including Amaline. However, it seems like only us humans and Eldwin were interested in coffee, the others wouldn’t touch the stuff. I asked Eldwin why.

“Wolves tend to drink tea more than coffee.” Eldwin answered my question before he daintily sipped on a hot mug that was far too small for his big werewolf fingers, “Mmm... I love it though.”

I swallowed a mouthful of stewed rabbit and vegetables, “Any reason why?”

He shook his head before taking a small, polite forkful of venison and beans, again on a utensil far too small for him, whilst the other wolves scoffed theirs without a care for manners. Not that I minded though.

“No, we just do not grow coffee beans so much as tea leaves, perhaps more of a cultural thing. We also tend to live in cooler places; coffee does not grow well there without expensive, specialist greenhouses.”

Brian had been keeping quiet as he ate, but was obviously listening in. He had been talking to the wolves a lot, and they had been awfully chatty with him considering they weren’t supposed to like Eden people. They were both soldiers though, so maybe that was something they had in common?

“So how come you all speak English so well?” Brian finally asked after he finished his bowl of stew.

“I studied English in school, alongside Romanian. My heritage is German apparently, I never knew my parents, and I grew up in the German side of town so I have the accent, but I don’t speak it so well. We all learn at least two languages; English and our native tongue. I obviously learned Romanian and English, but I do know a little German.”

Brian smiled, “Huh, a German born Romanian speaker. What town if you don’t mind me asking you?”

Eldwin gestured while still holding his empty fork, although he did it with an air of upper class, “Priporu. It is the capital of our nation, roughly three hundred thousand wolves live in the city, then a few tens of thousands around the outskirts and forests. It is a very Eastern European looking place, the architecture is... uh, perhaps Tsarist, I believe the term is, yes? Like the time period, but the technology is modern. It is also cold, and there are many mines in the nearby mountains.”

“Sounds nice.” Brian said, nodding, “How far away is it from Utopia?”

Eldwin rolled his eyes up and bobbed his head, his lips moving as he silently counted, “Maybe... six or seven worlds away? A few weeks travel on foot, but the portals will have changed recently, so it could be farther. We usually make our own portals when we need to, but that can sometimes draw attention from other creatures.”

I swallowed a piece of rabbit just as he said that and almost choked, “Uh, what other creatures?”

“You know; spirits, wraiths, creeps, sometimes demons.” Eldwin said as if it were the most normal thing, “The normal creatures.”

“Haven’t met any of them yet, apart from the demons.” I said. I chuckled and rubbed my face, “Christ, it’s so damn weird that we talk about this shit like its normal.”

He tutted, “You are still young. Eventually you will meet them, that is why we want to train you.”

‘Probably not the only reason but ok.’ I thought to myself.

Brian spoke up before I had a chance to. He put his bowl down before starting, “That’s actually something I wanted to talk to you about.”

Eldwin nodded, “Of course. I assume you have been briefed on this artefact everyone is looking for?”

Brian nodded and put his hands behind his back, “Mh-hm.”

“Well, we would like to know where it is as well. The last thing anybody needs is the demons getting their hands on it. That is why we want to help train Frank.”

Brian sighed, “Yeah, we’ve already lost two people over this damn thing.”

Eldwin narrowed his eyes and raised his hand to his chest, “I do not think the demons were here looking for just the artefact.”

Brian was definitely paying attention now, “Why then? They killed one of ours, injured your own men.”

The dark furred wolf put down his food and gestured to me, “I believe they were after this one.” He turned his head and looked at me. Gone were the predatory eyes or the lusty expression; instead there was a dark, serious face with lips tightly pressed and eyebrows lowered, as if he were calculating something very important. I got the feeling that this was the professional side of Eldwin we were looking at.

Brian looked to me and furrowed his eyebrows, presenting the same reaction I had; why on Earth would demons target me?

“Before either of you speak up;” Eldwin held up his hand, “This is my own opinion and until I figure out the facts, it will remain an opinion. I believe they were after Frank for his power, or something to do with it.”

I held up my hand and released some wavy energy out of the skin that made a light ‘wub’ sound. Everyone, even the wolves, turned to look at me. Natan even tried to do it himself and was briefly successful, but it wasn’t nearly as noticeable as mine.

“Jesus, that never fails to freak me out.” Brian said with a grin.

“Even I cannot do it like you.” Natan said, staring at his hand, “Strange, humans are not normally so good this early.”

“It’s been like this ever since I first had it last year.” I said.

“Frank, tell me; what did you say to me after I saved you from the demons?” Eldwin asked, putting his hands behind his back, looking more and more like a military officer every second.

I squinted and put my fingers to my temples as I tried to recall the events. I remembered being held down, the strange power the demon dog things did when they touched my forehead, but there was something before that...

“Ah, what was it again?” I spoke to myself as I racked my brain, “Christ, it’s like there’s nothing there.”

Eldwin frowned at me, “What do you mean?”

I gestured wildly, “I dunno, like the memory is gone. I know something happened, but there’s just nothing there, it’s blank.”

Natan’s ears perked up and he looked at me suspiciously, “That is very strange.” He said, tilting his head, “Like something is blocking his memory.”

Eldwin nodded and sighed out of his nose, “Demon work.” He said.

Then the guy took two steps towards me suddenly and raised his hand in my direction, making me back off, “Whoa, whoa, Eldwin? What’s going on, man?”

He shook his head, “Sorry Frank. May I place my palm on your forehead? I wish to see if I can unlock the memory.”

I blinked a couple of times in complete bewilderment, “What?”

“Think about the moment as I am connected, sometimes having another person thinking alongside you can help. I may be able to locate the memory.”

I glanced at Brian who just shrugged and looked as freaked out as I was.

“It won’t hurt.” Eldwin said, nodding at me reassuringly. As bad as he was sometimes, I got the feeling he really didn’t want to hurt me.

I sighed, put down the rabbit stew and moved a bit closer, “Alright then. Please don’t dig up any private stuff about me that might embarrass..., uh, everyone in the world.”

“Oh no, that has already been done.” He smiled and raised an eyebrow. A couple of the wolves grinned, amused by the joke.

I sighed, “Just get it over with, please.”

He placed his palm on my forehead and closed his eyes. All of a sudden a wave of energy swept over me, raising the hairs on my arms and neck and completely draining me of energy at the same time. I felt lethargic and was about to fall over when a large arm caught me around my shoulders before I fell.

“Stop fighting it, Frank, I won’t hurt you.” Eldwin said, but it sounded more like a command.

I heard Brian say something and out of the corner of my eye I saw Felix fall on the bed, his eyes shut.

“It’s ok, I’m not being hurt.” I barely managed to say, “Just... tired.”

Then my head started feeling warmer. I closed my eyes and tried to think about that moment, focusing on every detail there.

I almost had it...

--

There were dragging sounds, and lots of chittering and growling noises.

I moved towards the sounds through an odd mist that surrounded everything, walking past trees and bushes as I followed the noise. My vision was distorted around the edges and everything bright had a blurry tint to it.  I heard snow crunching beside me and turned to see Eldwin standing there. He glanced down at me and nodded.

Then we saw them. The demons, a few small dog-like ones and a big skeletal one in heavy plated armour that was dragging a body along.

Wait, that was me! I was watching myself!

“It is a memory, Frank. Nothing we can do here but watch.” Eldwin said, reading my thoughts. His voice sounded like an echo, or as if he was standing in a large stone chamber.

We followed the demons along until they stopped. The demons noticed that I was breathing heavily, with my chest rising up and down at a faster rate than normal as if I was beginning to hyperventilate. One of the demons who was in front turned to look at me with a snarl on its face that disappeared the moment it saw my face. We moved a bit closer to get a better look when I saw my leg fly out and catch the demon in the face, letting out a strong blast of energy with bluish tint to it. The demon flew back meters before landing in the snow, skidding along to a stop.

“Holy shit...” I breathed, but even that sounded echoey.

I watched as my memory version of me rolled backwards and up to his feet.

“I can’t do that!” I exclaimed.

Eldwin kept quiet and tilted his head, his ears and nose twitching with curiosity as he stood with his arms crossed, rubbing the bottom of his chin with his finger thoughtfully.

Then memory me started fighting the demons. Holy shit, I don’t think I’ve ever punched, ducked or dodged like that before in my life. I was beating the shit out of the big guy, dodging his attacks and delivering blow after blow, with the most furious eyes I’ve ever seen. Then I saw myself become preoccupied with the demons who were hissing something.

“What are they saying?” I asked Eldwin.

He narrowed his eyes and focused, listening in. I saw his nose start to twitch even more as he concentrated.

“Katroo, they are saying Katroo.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

He turned to look at me briefly with a blank expression before turning back to the fighting, “I do not know.”

That was a lie. I knew he was keeping something from me, like it was a feeling or something. Then I saw as the big demon guy barrelled into me, knocking me down and holding me there as the demons did their weird power thing. When that one guy placed his hand on my forehead I actually started feeling weak again, and my vision started spinning.

“That is enough.” Eldwin said.

Then a bright flash of light, and loads of white lines moving past me really fast...

--

I awoke on the couch sitting up gasping, with four werewolves and three humans standing over me, staring at my face.

I blinked a couple of times and rubbed my eyes. I looked to my right and saw Eldwin sitting beside me, leaning on his knees and looking at me thoughtfully.

“You okay Frank?” Brian asked, “Felix just fucking passed out on the bed when the werewolf,” He cleared his throat and looked at Eldwin, “Sorry... When Eldwin put his hand on your head.”

Eldwin’s eyes rolled over to look at Brian and he shook his head and blinked, not bothered in the slightest by what Brian had said.

“How is Felix?” I asked, looking around for him, moving groggily.

Amaline pointed to the bed and smiled at me, “Fine, Frank. Just sleeping.”

“Thank God.” I groaned. The other two men helped me to my feet as the wolves moved about the room to make space. I thanked the guys and walked over to Felix who was lying with his head on the pillow. I nudged his arm.

“Hey, sleepy trapper, wake up.”

He stirred and mumbled something before turning over.

I looked to the others and chuckled, stumbling for a moment before righting myself as I lost balance, “He really is out cold.”

Brian shrugged, “It’s so strange how things that affect you affect him.”

“Psychic link,” Eldwin said before getting up with a groan, “It... ah! It happens between spirits and psychics, it is part of the symbiotic connection.”

“Symbiotic... that explains a lot.” Brian nodded, “I didn’t know about that.”

Eldwin shrugged and grinned, “Eh, you learn new things everyday around here.”

Brian snorted, “I hear you on that one.”

“Anyway, what is the plan then, Frank?” Eldwin asked me, crossing his arms.

I shrugged, “Find out where these Jekyll and Hyde guys are,” I flattened my hand and moved it away from me in a straight line “And from there figure out where my missing colleague is.”

He narrowed his eyes and turned his head to the side, “Not right away though?”

I nodded, I thought better now than never, “No time like the present. The faster we are, the faster we can put all of this behind us.”

He shook his head, “No no no, I don’t think you are in any condition to go running off right away.”

I started to protest, “What..!”

He held up his hand, silencing me, “You have been through a lot these past few days, I saw it in your memories. For now we take the time off and rest. I will have Natan and his team scout out the Jekyll and Hyde base, we know where it is and we can judge their defences and threat level. Once they report back, then we will decide what to do.”

I couldn’t argue. I wasn’t particularly tired, but in situations like this it crept up on you. Better rest now than end up tired later. Besides, Amaline had her arms crossed and was giving me the look that told me I should listen to Eldwin.

“Sure, I suppose.” I shrugged. I was still unhappy about it.

He smiled and leant against the wall of the cabin, “You young ones are always so eager. Take it from me; a good night’s rest is never to be taken for granted.”

“He’s got a point, Frank.” Brian said, “You go out there, or anywhere on this planet, running on fumes and you’ll end up dead. Stay around here, I’ll call town and let them know what’s going on. We’ve set up a basic campsite and the other guys should be coming back with a truck load of gear for fortifying this position.”

Eldwin raised his eyebrows and stood up straight, arms at his sides. The wolf looked damn intimidating and it wasn’t hard to see how he made secret service, “Fortifying? This close to our territory? I don’t think so, human.”

I noticed the other wolves tense up, ready to act just as Eldwin started to get annoyed. Amaline moved a bit closer to her gun and I noticed her hand slide up her body to where her knife was hidden. She gave me a look that told me to get ready.

This could go from zero to ten in no time if things went south.

Brian crossed his arms, “And what? So you’re just going to leave a perfectly good radio station undefended? There are more towns down south! If we get this up to full operational status we could have new trade lanes coming up from down in B.C. Plus, Frank and the rest of us are sitting ducks down here; without protection we’re dead if those demons attack again.”

Eldwin raised his eyebrows and tilted his head, putting his hands on his hips and looking at Brian in an ‘oh really?’ sort of way. I got the feeling he was expecting Brian to back down, but I knew that wasn’t going to work.

I saw in Eldwin’s body language and tone that he was trying to be reasonable, “The council in our village will not tolerate this. It will be seen as a preparation for war, Brian.”

I quickly thought out some kind of plan. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work, but if I could just get the idea in their heads, then maybe...

“Okay guys, look!” I said, slowly moving between them with my arms up, “I get that this is a dodgy situation, and I get that the werewolves are territorial and that Harriet wants to expand. Why not compromise?”

“What do you propose?” Eldwin asked, looking at me expectantly.

“Well, you know how I was talking about having a coalition between the werewolves and the Cartographers Guild? Yeah?” He nodded, “Well, we could do the same with the radio station. Harriet is a hell of a long drive from here, but the werewolf town, Lupescu right? It’s right next door, practically. If both sides watch over this place, together, we could have a really secure line of communication between Harriet and the other towns down south, whatever they are, and with each other.”

“And what would we get out of this?” Natan asked, crossing his hands over his waist as he raised an eyebrow.

“A hell of a lot more trade for a start, and sooner or later you’re going to run into people from Harriet anyway. Now, from what I hear neither of you like the Jekyll and Hyde crew, and those demons... well they murdered Toby, so already we have common enemies. If we start working together on this, we could build up a better... relationship I guess? I know you wolves don’t use radio here but hey, it’s the twenty first century; gotta modernise sometime.”

“So,” Eldwin put his weight on one foot and leant to the side, his arms crossed, “We get a little bit of trade and long range communication. Is that it?”

“And better relations with Harriet. We all need to work together out here, more so if we’re going to start expanding.”

Brian started nodding in agreement, “And we could talk to the airship captains coming in from Cavalier, Jann’ir or Avalon at this radio station, get a new supply route going south.” I raised my eyebrows at the mention of Avalon. Was it a world I hadn’t heard of yet? A city maybe? Regardless, I let Brian continue.

“The wolf village could get foreign goods from another world like new clothes, fuel, tinned food, metals, electronics and plastic. I mean, the town down the road just needs some reinforcing and a few scrap metal walls. We could have a new trading post; it’d be a fab spot for the airships to stop once we cut some trees down.”

Eldwin rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “You know, I never thought of that. I hear of airships around here, but I was not exactly sure of their purpose. Electronics and metals are things we could use, yes. We are running out of metals for sure as the supplies we have are, well, meagre is putting it lightly. We very rarely get deliveries from the homeland.”

Brian nodded, “Yeah, and we breed goats and grow cotton and oat crops, any excess that isn’t being sold off can be traded to you guys for whatever you have in excess.”

I grinned, “Yeah, and have people from both towns looking after the place. A halfway point between the north and the south, between uh... wolf and man, I guess.”

Eldwin snorted, “How poetic.”

I threw my arms to the side, “I try.”

Natan shrugged and nodded, “A fine idea, but not all of the council will like it. You know well yourself, Eldwin, that the General does not tolerate humans much.”

Eldwin raised his finger, “But Gabrielle does, as do a few of the others. And last I checked, our town was under the Duchess’s rule, not Martial Law. What she says will go whether General Frederick likes it or not, and even he cannot say no to such grand possibilities.”

Natan waved his arms in front of him, “You have a good point, sir.”

Eldwin turned to Brian, “Very well, I will take the offer you and Frank have suggested and present it to the Duchess and the council. At the very least it will raise a few eyebrows and put the idea in their heads.”

Brian turned his head sideways and regarded the werewolf curiously, “I thought you’d be against it, honestly.”

The secret service werewolf shook his head and chuckled, “No, I like humans! I find your cultures fascinating. No, I was worried about armed conflict. I have been through enough wars in my seventy eight years of life that I tend to see things from a military perspective. I was just worried that your town would start encroaching on our territory and try to destroy us.”

Brian shrugged, “Same here... Wait! You’re seventy eight?”

Eldwin bobbed his head from side to side and smiled, “Give or take a few months.”

Brian raised his eyebrows, “Looking good for an old boy. Still working out?”

Eldwin crossed his arms and smiled, “An old boy...” He scoffed, “I can out do you pups in push-ups, pull-ups, cross country and swimming!”

“Uh huh, well we’ll just have to see about that sometime.”

“Oh, I think I’d very much like that.” Eldwin fixed Brian with a dark confidant stare.

I sighed and chuckled with pure relief, “Thank God for reasonable people.”

I looked at Amaline who was smiling at me, her arms down by her side. She raised her eyebrows, looking relieved as well.

Damn, I was on a roll today!

Then Felix woke up, looked around and blinked a couple of times, rubbing his eyes.

He yawned, “Ah... what did I miss?”

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We made it to the river where Basil was waiting for us. He held something in his hand and had a solemn look about him. Anna and Hilda were there as well, wielding rifles and wearing their body armour. They flanked him and had expressionless faces. I was starting to get worried as we approached.

“Amaline!” Basil shouted with a cupped hand in front of his mouth.

“Basil? What is wrong?” She, in decent English, as she ran ahead.

He walked up to her and threw his arms around her, giving her a heavy hug. His chin rested on her shoulder blade and he closed his eyes for a moment before letting go, “Take this, sister.”

He handed the object, a wide but thin silver box. Amaline took it and opened it up; obviously silver didn’t hurt werewolves here. She gasped as she looked inside, and then threw her arms around her brother.

I walked closer as Amaline let go and turned around. I saw faint tears running down her face, but she had a smile on so it wasn’t anything bad.

“My family picture.” She said quietly and with a sniff, handing me the box. Felix looked at it over my shoulder.

It was a strong, heavy thing, about as thin and as wide as a tablet computer. Engraved on it were scenes of humans and werewolves, all wearing what looked like medieval armour as they bowed down to some important looking werewolves sitting on thrones. The symbol of what looked like a sun was engraved on a long, triangular shield, held aloft by the seated wolves with their arms in the air and wavy lines reaching out to it.

I opened up the case and inside was an old timey, black and white picture of a family wearing period dresses. Only they were all werewolves. I saw an older, distinguished male wolf with a thick, black mane of fur and long braided hair in an expensive looking suit with bulging muscles, a light furred female werewolf in a flowing dress and her hair done in a neat bun with piercing eyes, though I also noticed some muscles on her arms and legs, and two slightly younger looking wolves flanking either side. One was wearing a male’s button-up suit and clasped his hands as they hung at his waist and the other some kind of American Indian type of dress that looked well crafted and beautiful, even without the colour, and was fitted close to the skin, ever so slightly accentuating her body. No one smiled, but I had heard that people generally didn’t with these types of photographs. Behind them was a large, two story house that looked very periodic, perhaps mid to late eighteenth century. It had a wide open garden with a few trees and a shed sitting in the middle and a thick, dark forest behind it. Beyond that I could just barely make out the tops of tree covered jagged mountains.

Basil leant in and pointed in order to the two older wolves, “Mother and father, and the younger ones are...”

“You and Amaline.” I said, grinning. It was the strangest looking photograph I had ever seen, and the thought that I was holding a genuine photo from the eighteenth century in my hands was bizarre and exciting at the same time, “Wow.”

“Now take it out and look underneath.” He said.

I took it out and looked. What lay underneath was the same shot only they were all...

Human.

I gasped as I looked at a human Amaline wearing the Indian dress, her long hair all braided and her face youthful and gorgeous. She looked stunningly beautiful even in this photo, but I still saw the wild, serious look in her eyes as she stared through me from picture. They were the eyes of a hunter.

Basil was there looking like a distinguished young gentleman, only he was rocking short, combed hair and no beard or moustache. He still looked manly, as did his father who had long, thick hair running down his shoulders and a thick bushy beard. The mother had her hair all neatly done up in a bun still and had a very serious expression, I could see the resemblance between her and Amaline, and I could even see where she got her facial features from.

“Jesus... that was a nightmare.” Basil chuckled as he swept his hand through his head fur, “Mother wanted a picture of us shifted and human, and of course we had to get new clothes fitted. Mine wasn’t a problem, but Amaline insisted that she wear her two...” he paused as though he were about to say something rude, “ahem, ‘First Nation’ dresses. Then father had to get fitted again, as did mother since muscles get bigger in our werewolf bodies. The pictures are roughly two years old.”

“You guys look sort of, uh... rich, I guess? For the time period, I think.” I said awkwardly, trying not to sound rude.

He shrugged and nodded, unfazed by my question or awkwardness, “We were a well-off family. Mother and father were noble wolves and came from France, but father always wanted to help the local tribes out. He got my sister involved and she loved the culture.”

“But not you?” I asked.

“I couldn’t give less of a shit.” He scoffed, “I’d rather go out hunting and drinking with the other men from town than go to one of their silly dances.”

Amaline shot daggers from eyes at her brother, who only looked amused as he winked at her.

“So you were all werewolves?” I asked, “Like a period werewolf town?”

He shook his head, his regal mane shaking around with him. I could easily see him having a noble lineage, “No, most were human. Those that knew, which was most of the town, didn’t care about it. Our nation was not like this one; we were always involved with humans and helped protect them. Hell, back in the medieval times we ruled over humans as lupine lords and ladies in France, Poland and some other countries.”

I spoke slowly, amazed, “Jesus Christ... I really need to visit that place sometime. There must be tons of history there.”

“Too much.” He chuckled, “We have it hanging all over the walls in picture frames. Anyway, I joined this nation more as a... gesture from my people and for something to do. I will go back one day to see mother and father. I want to talk to the wolves in charge of our expedition and tell them what we have found here, in Utopia.”

“Thank you, brother.” Amaline said, bowing her head to her brother with a beaming smile, which he returned.

“Fascinating.” Eldwin said, his eyes wide. Between him and Basil, I could see a stark difference. Basil looked far more human in both appearance and stance and the general way he carried himself, whereas Eldwin stalked rather than walked, and his legs looked like a wolf’s legs instead of a human’s unlike Basil and Amaline. “I have heard of a nation that protected humans, but I did not know you belonged to them, Basil. Why didn’t either of you say you were noble wolves? We could have made you more comfortable, gave you better lodgings.”

Basil shrugged, “You know I like a challenge, Eldwin. It is also good to prove myself and live up to the Charpentier family name.”

“You have more than done that, my friend.” He said approvingly, “Still, it is not every day you meet the son of a wolf lord.”

“Wow, nobles? Royalty is still that important where you are?” I asked.

“We are still in the eighteenth century Frank, remember?” Basil said, looking at me like I was a fool.

“Yeah, I guess. We don’t really have that in my world. I mean, we have like the Queen of Britain or the King of Sweden, but they’re just royal families, they don’t do much. It’s all Democracies and Republics now.”

Basil nodded, “So I hear. Things like the United Nations , correct?”

“Yeah, how did you know?”

He shrugged and grinned, “I do my homework, as you say. Most worlds of similar time periods to yours have such organisations. Most of the time, anyway.”

“Most of the time?” I asked, feeling slightly uncertain and apprehensive. I could imagine, though.

He shrugged, “Some are... less ‘democratic’ and more ‘do as I say’ if you know what I mean.”

I nodded, “Yeah.”

Sounded like a few worlds were no-go areas then. I needed to find out which were which sometime, probably back at the Guild.

“Anyway, I shall not keep you any longer.” Basil said to us, standing up straight. He turned to his sister, who was giving him a gentle, sisterly look as he moved closer to hug her.

“Amaline, Tu vas me manquer, mais rappelez-vous que je suis toujours là quand vous avez besoin de moi.”

She blinked and grinned, “Je ferai en sorte de venir vous rendre visite. Nous allons rentrer à la maison ensemble.”

Basil then turned to me after giving his sister a final bear hug. I was a bit tense, wondering what he was going to do when he suddenly extended his arm out to me. I jumped a bit and stared at it for a second before I realised he wanted to shake my hand.

I tried to grab hold of his hand as best I could, although my fingers barely touched the back of his paw. He shook it firmly though with a gentle grip for a werewolf, so as not to hurt me.

“Frank, my friend. Do watch over my sister, will you? I do wish I could come with you, but I have work to do here before I can do anything else.”

“Of course, I’ll do my damndest to make sure she doesn’t get hurt.” I said, turning to wink at Amaline who just tilted her head at me and raised her eyebrows.

He let go and stood back, “And when I leave to go back home with my sister, you will have to come with us. My family would love to meet you, and will have no qualms with Amaline and you being together.”

“I’d be honoured, it’ll be pretty interesting.” I replied, standing back and crossing my arms.

Whilst Basil said goodbye to Felix and Eldwin, I turned to Anna and Hilda who were both smiling at me. Anna, smiling? Who’d have thought?

“So, I guess I’ll be seeing you two around sometime.” I said.

Anna’s smile went away as she crossed her arms and stared down at me, “And you better not forget the drinks when you do.”

I chuckled, “No, I won’t. I’m sure you won’t let me forget anyway.”

She grinned, “That is right.”

“And I’m really sorry about earlier, Hilda. Seriously, I am sorry.” I said, preparing to be rightfully reprimanded by her.

But that wasn’t what happened. She looked solemn for a moment but then sighed and relaxed her shoulders, “No, it is fine. General Fredrick gave me a stern talking to, as they say, but I have not suffered any real backlash. It was quite romantic what you did, if foolish. Ah, if only you were my boyfriend...” She smiled at me as she clasped her hands together, blinking quickly and then twisted her head to look over at Amaline who was standing with her arms crossed with an ‘oh no you didn’t’ expression as she glared at Hilda.

“Joking my dear!” Hilda said with a giggle. Amaline shook her head and turned to talk to Felix.

“So, I guess it’s goodbye for now, then?”

They both nodded and smiled.

Then Anna pounced on me suddenly.

We fell to the floor where I felt a big arm wrap around my chest and neck as I was pulled up. Then a rough hand ruffled my hair as I yelled for her to let go. Anna was laughing as she squeezed me harder before letting me fall face first into the snow and got up.

“I see you still need to learn how to fight off a werewolf!” She chuckled.

I sorted my hair out and brushed the snow off of my face as I leant up and stared at her. Crazy werewolf woman!

“Well that was scary, the hell was that for?”

“Remember to buy us drinks!” She said, pointing at me as she walked back beside Hilda, “Or next time I have Hilda and Katrin join in!”

I grinned and got back up. Christ, These people were a complete enigma. First they want to kill you, then they’re hugging you and wrestling with you. Damn crazy...

--

We finished up saying goodbye and headed out. The woods were alive today with the sound of birdsong and the wind wasn’t quite so ugly. Eldwin had told us that he was meeting some of his squad mates up ahead who would escort us down to the wooden hut and secure the area if need be.

Meanwhile, I made a phone call.

“Hey, Michael?” I spoke.

A voice came through but the signal was weak, “Frank! I heard the news, are you okay?”

“Fine, thank you. Werewolves are okay, they helped me out. I actually need to talk to you and the mayor about them sometime, I think I have an idea that could help the two towns connect.”

I heard him grumble something under his breath, “Okay, sure, whatever. We’ve just had demons sighted around Harriet the past couple of days. You haven’t said anything about our missing friend, have you?”

I stopped and frowned, “No, of course not! Hell, the werewolves here already knew about him before I even mentioned anything. He came down here looking for that very same artefact. The wolves didn’t touch him, believe me, I’d have known if they did.”

He sighed and groaned, “Okay, looks like the cats gonna be out of the bag soon anyway. Listen, kid, I need you to find this artefact fast. If those demons are after it as well, we cannot under any circumstances let them get their hands on it.”

He continued, “Fuck, I’d honestly rather have the Jekyll and Hyde crew have it than the demons! Besides, we think the demons are being ordered about by some powerful force somewhere near Harriet, but we don’t know what or who yet. Once the Third Eye gets here then we’ll be all over it. When you get back to Harriet, be extra careful around any psychics you don’t know.”

That did not sound good at all. But who was it? Were there Satanists in Harriet then? Were the demons even Satanic or something else? I had no idea.

“Alright then, thanks for the heads up. So yeah, area around werewolf town is a no-go area for people from Harriet for now, but I’ll see if we can’t work on that sometime. Anyway, how’s everyone back in town?”

I heard him chuckle, “Everyone’s fine, Heng is recovering pretty fast with Doctor Andrews’ help. He’s still got the fucking barber shop open though, if you could believe it, even got a new werewolf guard inside, some black furred, muscle-bound Cree guy. Anyway, Aileen’s broken her shin after falling off the platform.” I heard him snigger.

“Jesus, that’s terrible!” I exclaimed. Why was he laughing at that? Broken bones are not nice.

“I told her not to! She wouldn’t listen and went higher and higher before she missed her footing and landed on her shin trying to show off. Damn thing snapped like a twig!” He said, wheezing as he laughed.

In the background I heard Aileen call him a ‘rotten bastard’.

“Oh, you know I love you honey!” Michael said, leaning away from the phone before chuckling again.

“Why is that funny?” I asked seriously.

“Oh, kid... Look, psychics heal real fast so Aileen isn’t going to be permanently damaged, alright? She’s gonna be fine and you would be too. Broken bones heal up faster and more... completely I... I guess than a normal human.”

I still thought that was pretty mean. Then again, he did have a rough background.

Ahead of us I spotted three wolves dressed in what looked like modern military gear. I actually stopped in my tracks and stared at them as they all stared back with wide, bright eyes.

They all had metal padded fibre vests, heavy helmets complete with two flashlights attached to a battery at the back, rifles with scopes that looked like some kind of box fed machine guns but built to werewolf specs, and wore dark uniforms and gear covered by heavy looking fur cloaks. They even had black military boots made for their dog feet which looked weird as hell, but looked tough. One wolf’s fur dark grey, another was white and the last had more of a multicolour marking with long patterns of brown and white amongst the grey fur. All of them had glowing green eyes and very serious expressions, and wore dark scarves around their neck and shoulders. On the side of their shoulders I spotted an insignia of some sort; a white wolf’s head and the shield over a green background, but two lightning bolts crossed over them and writing in what looked like Hungarian or Romanian underneath, or something from that part of Europe anyway.

I stood and gaped before stuttering into the phone, “I’ll uh, I’ll have to call you back Michael. We’ve just met up with the wolf squad who are going to escort us home.”

“You sound pretty freaked out, kid.” Michael asked concernedly

“They look like special forces operators, Michael.” I whispered into the phone.

“They are.” Eldwin replied from in front of me with a small smile and a raised eyebrow.

“I heard that guy say they are. Didn’t know the wolves had spec ops troops out here.”

I shook my head like he could see me, “Neither did I. I’ll speak to you soon.”

“Alright kid, stay safe and watch out. I think those demons are gunning for you.”

I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth, “Yep, I’ll keep an eye open.”

He said bye and hung up. I slipped the phone into my pants pocket and walked past Amaline and Felix to meet the werewolf squad.

“Frank, this is my squad. Meet Artur,” He gestured to the multicoloured one who nodded at me as he blinked slowly, “Natan,” He gestured to the white one who carried himself with an air of upper class. He nodded as well, “And finally Tolek.” He pointed to the dark grey one who smiled and nodded like the other two, so it had to be some kind of salute on the werewolves’ part. He seemed a bit more reserved than the other two, and had a smaller but kinder looking smile.

“Okay, I wasn’t expecting to see Spetsnaz forces.” I said with a hint of humour in my voice.

The men all chuckled and nodded, glancing at one another and grinning.

Eldwin smiled, “Ah... no, they are not Spetsnaz. These are the King’s Special Forces, or KSF Division Two, basically Special Forces. I am part of Division One, or Secret Service, and Division Three is research and development, you get the picture.” He shrugged, “I have worked with these men for decades, very reliable people.”

I turned to look at Amaline who was agape. Felix was the same, I don’t think either of them had seen modern soldiers. I was just surprised that the wolves had the technology to develop this type of gear.

“Well, shall we move?” Eldwin asked, gesturing to the open woods.

I shrugged, “I suppose so. Feels good to know we’ve got a big team now.”

So we moved out, flanked by Special Forces werewolves with modern weapons. I half wondered what else the wolves had up their sleeves, because I was certain I hadn’t seen the least of it.
Biting Chill - Chapter 31
Here's another chapter! This was uploaded late at night for me, so if anyone spots any mistakes, it's probably because I'm technically not even alive at this time. Please point them out nonetheless though!

Chapter 1: connor18.deviantart.com/art/Bi…

Next Chapter: connor18.deviantart.com/art/Bi…
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So Ralen-Lykos recently posted something like this and I participated, and as the rules go you can post one yourself (but you guys don't have to if you don't want to!)

Started by macncheesycheese.deviantart.co…

1. Tell you something I learned about you by looking at your dA page for 20 seconds.
2. Tell you a colour you remind me of.
3. Tell you what element I believe you belong to (e.g. water, fire, air, earth, etc.).
4. Tell you what animal you remind me of. (Everyone loves furries!)
5. Ask you a question, and you must answer. (You really don't have to!)
6. Tell you something I like about you or your art.
7. Give you a nickname. 
8. Tell you what am I watching/listening to right now.
9. Tell you what food/ flavor/smell you remind me of.
10. Tell you to do this in your journal too, if you haven't already. (Optional)

Oh boy, here goes!
  • Drinking: A HOT CUP'O JOE

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Connor18
Connor
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:iconihtty9877:
ihtty9877 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!
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:iconconnor18:
Connor18 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Welcome!
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:iconcjfairfield16:
CJFairfield16 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2017  Student General Artist
Duuuuude, my name is Connor too. :3
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:iconconnor18:
Connor18 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Nice! And spelled Connor, too! Thanks for the watch as well. I write stories to do with werewolves and psychics mostly, occasionally make memes and Gmod pictures.
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:iconcjfairfield16:
CJFairfield16 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2017  Student General Artist
Your welcome. Cool, werewolves and psychics....
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:icontaylornicolereed:
TaylorNicoleReed Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Just wanted to pop in and say thanks for the comment and the favorite! They both really mean a lot.
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:iconconnor18:
Connor18 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You're very welcome!
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:iconsilenceyourfears:
SilenceYourFears Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I really like your literature, keep it up man!
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:iconconnor18:
Connor18 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Hey, thanks a lot! Always glad to see people are enjoying my stuff. 
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:iconmarios1999:
marios1999 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks for the watch :D (Big Grin)
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