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White Wolf

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The Soldier didn’t know when the mission went wrong. He was given his orders and handler and then the handler died. The Soldier was currently hiding behind a counter with a knife out and his hand over a worker.

Another bullet went overhead. The Soldier surveyed the room and then ran. It vaulted over a table and out the window. A bullet slammed into his metal arm. It spun from the impact and landed roughly on the road.

The Soldier rolled out of view and behind cover picking up a discarded gun. It began reloading a gun and remained crouched behind a wall. It’s handler was staying undercover at a nearby restaurant with a group of cowering citizens. The handler face went pale as he began gesturing behind him.

The handler had drawn too much attention to himself and the tell-tale of a red dot fell on him. The Soldier saw a shadow shift on the ground in front of him.

It spun slamming the gun into a male of roughly forty years of age. The Soldier shot him and turned back to reline up the sniper.

The delay had cost it the handler. The citizens were screaming and running. The Soldier relined up the sniper and then fired.

The Soldier began running to confirm the death (kill all of them) and left the dead handler. The Soldier reached the sniper and after confirming the lack of breathing and substantial amount of blood checked for a pulse.

The Soldier was met with a gun to the throat. The Soldier froze and the sniper shifted from laying on the ground to sitting and leaning against the wall.

The Soldier shifted and the gun was shoved against him (It-A handler screamed at him-it before stomping on his chest). The sniper had received a wound to the right arm and had fallen off of the tower. The Soldier should have waited longer before approaching.

The Soldier calculated scenarios. The wall was brick and new. The Soldier could bash his head against it but that wouldn’t be fast enough to stop the shooting. The Soldier discarded the clothes lines and hanging plants at the moment.

The metal arm needed calibration and the Soldier was under orders to not reveal it. The Sniper had used his injured arm to pull out a walkie-talkie. He began talking.

“I have the man who’s been picking off Net’s people.”

The Soldier turned his attention onto what they were saying.

“What? That dude’s like a fighting machine. How?”

The Sniper was still bleeding but it had slowed. The Soldier wondered if it was from blood loss or a fast healing rate.

The Sniper had pulled his mask down. The Soldier memorized the face in case he escaped.

“He thought I was dead and came too close. I’m holding a gun to his throat- Don’t move.”

The Soldier froze again and didn’t react when the gun was shoved against his throat. It didn’t matter. The sniper had revealed at least one person the Soldier had missed. The Soldier stabbed the arm with nail.

The sniper hissed and dropped the gun to grab at his arm. The Soldier attacked. The sniper fell to the ground with a snapped neck. Then the body started growing.

The Soldier shot it until it stopped. The walkie-talkie was still on. The voice (female-mid twenties? Boston accent. The Soldier ignored the flash of blond hair.) was talking.

“Scott? Scott? Where are you?”

The Soldier headed back to the handler with the walkie-talkie. Then stopped. The Handler was dead.

If the Handler was dead, the Soldier should abandon the mission and hide until a new one came.

The Soldier dropped the walkie-talkie and left. The first step would be in infiltration until retrieval came.

The Soldier found a high place and observed what most people were wearing. Grey baggy jeans were frequent along with similar colored jackets and a white shirt underneath.

Another frequency was a lack of a beard and hair a few inches long. The Soldier merged in with a crowd and after numerous pick pocketing, the Soldier headed for a barber.

The Soldier burned the place down to hide the dead bodies and looting of the place. (Leave no witnesses, how hard is it? A handler was screaming at him, hands pounding on his chest.) It was not because he-it had stabbed the man when he approached with a sharp object from behind.

The Soldier did not burn down the store with the employee’s who ignored the Soldier. The Soldier did hide a body of the one that bothered h-it.

The Soldier wandered the city before sleeping in the Hydra van. It was not ideal but with tinted windows it worked.

The Soldier did not use the money the handler had left. The Soldier recalled hiding under windows waiting for a moment to steal food. The Soldier dismissed them. Previous (Blond hair flashed in front of his-its eyes) missions did not matter.

The Soldier made certain to move enough to not be caught.

It was three weeks until someone talked to him again. The Soldier was walking past and an old man called out, “Son, come here.”

The Soldier approached. The man was old and his hands shook as he put them on the Soldiers shoulder. The man started talking and the Soldier let him.

“Oh, I’m so glad you got a chance to visit me out in the city. I’ve been lonely, James. You’re grandmother died and then the bank expired. Do you remember her?”

The man laughed and patted the bench to the side of him. The Soldier sat obediently. “Of course, you don’t. You were young back then. What were you five?”

The man did not seem to require the Soldier answering the questions. The Soldier let the man continue. “Oh, it’s a shame you couldn’t see Julia before her death but I’m glad you could come. You look a lot like her and your quiet too.”

The man had wrapped an arm around the Soldiers shoulders. The Soldier let him. It would not be beneficial to kill in front of witnesses. The man did not require input and kept talking. “Julia, oh she was so sad when you couldn’t see her but I guess you were busy with your job. She left you some letters and do you remember those pictures of all the places you had been? She kept those in a box. It’s yours if you want.”

The man was leaning into the Soldier now. Most of the weight was on him-it. “She also kept all of those drawings we used to do. I think if we went looking we might be able to find the first picture we drew together. You remember, don’t you?”

The man did not stop talking. The Soldier did not respond to these questions. The man was not a handler. “It was the back garden and all of the roses were in bloom. You had just come to stay with us for the first time. We were both in the back garden and it was the first time little five year old you had ever seen us. Your grandmother was wearing those new pants that the sisters had made her. You remember the sisters, don’t you?”

The man stared at the Soldier. The Soldier took a moment to realise the man required a response. (For a moment there were blue eyes staring at him-it with a cheeky grin.) “Affirmative.” The Soldier should not have responded.

The man was fully leaning onto the Soldier and tried to chuckle but started coughing. The Soldier remained motionless and watched. “You still talk like you’re in the army but it has been only two months since you got off duty. Oh, we’ll call up all of your old friend and have a party.”

The man was laying his head on the Soldier’s shoulder. “The pack will be thrilled that you’re back, you know.”

The man began snoring softly. The Soldier remained where he was until the man woke up.

The sun was dimming into the sunset when he did. The man slowly woke still putting most of the weight on the Soldier. He woke slowly and when he saw the Soldier he cursed. “-Did I mistake you for my son?”

The Soldier took a moment to calibrate and recall Designation: James was before replying, “Affirmative.”

The man let out a breath and got off of the Soldier. He stood up and adjusted his scarf. “I’m terribly sorry about that. Do you want to come over and have some tea?”

The Soldier nodded not wanting to draw more attention. Several people had smiled at him-it as they walked. It was a two hour walk to a small cottage in a semi-defensible position. The windows showed little of the inside house but allowed for semi-optimal sniping. The trees were climbable and had giant glasses similar to claw marks that would allow for easy climbing.

The man led the Soldier in and stopped to put his jacket and hat up. The Soldier stood in the doorway waiting for orders from the man.

Why was the Soldier accepting orders from the man? The man was not his alpha. Handler.

The Soldier reached for his knife. (High chance of neighbors-do not draw attention)

The man turned towards him with red eyes and talked in a voice that screamed authority. “Leave it.”

The Soldier left the knife and pulled out a different one. The Soldier slammed into the man and aimed for vitals. The man looked wide eyed with his blue eyes bulging as he hit the floor.

His eyes flashed red. “Stop.”

The Soldier stopped and remained motionless waiting for orders. His-The Soldiers eyes narrowed. Why was he-the Soldier obeying? The man was not his handler.

The man winced and felt his back. His eyes were blue again. His eyes turned red again. “Get off of me.”

The Soldier compiled before pulling out another knife and trying to kill the man again. The man yelled in alarm. Than his eyes were red again. “Stop attacking.”

The Soldier stopped. The Soldier was baffled. Why was he obeying?

The man huffed irritated. “You are more trouble than you’re worth.”

The Soldier nodded putting the knife away and pulling out a gun. The man cursed and his eyes turned red again. “Stop. Don’t move. Don’t think. Don’t breathe.”

The Soldier stared at him immobile. It calculated he-it had three minutes and forty three seconds of air left. The Soldier pulled out a grenade. The man’s eyes flashed red and the Soldier froze. The man growled. He had pulled back his lips and the Soldier observed a transformation of teeth to sharper canine and back to normal human teeth. “Be loyal to me.”

The Soldier remained frozen. The man was his new handler. Objective: protect. Error: Codes not said. Handler Designation: Alpha. Errors: Codes not said.

The Soldier remained tense hands wavering over the pin of the grenade; eyes locked with the man. The man was slowly beginning to pant and looked exceedingly frustrated.

A door creaked open to the left. The Soldier should have observed the new threat. He-it did not move. “Don’t move I’ll take care of him Alpha.”

Designation: New Threat. Objective: Protect Alpha. Error: Codes not said. Alpha is not primary objective. Designate Handler: Alpha. Error: Codes not said. Overridden. Objective: Wait for retrieval. Secondary Objective: Defend. Tertiary Objective: Find a safe place and calibrate arm. Current Primary Objective: Eliminate threats. Secondary Primary Objective: Acquire weapon.

The Soldier gauged the distance based on the shadow of Designation: New Threat. The Soldier pulled the pin and rolled it under the Designation: Alpha (ERROR). It shoved the gun up towards the ceiling and heard a young girl scream from above.

It rolled behind the couch twisting and dislocating the Designation: New Threat’s shoulder. An explosion happened and the Designation: New Threat let out a scream as shrapnel hit him. The Soldier pulled out a knife and jabbed it into the Designation: New Threat’s throat.

It slit from one side to another to verify death. The Soldier slid up to check if the room (Designation: Living room.) was cleared.

The room was empty but had obvious scorch marks.

Primary Objections: Completed. Secondary Primary Objections: Completed. Secondary Objective: Dismissed. Primary Objective: Scan for threats. The Soldier slid to the stairs. The rest of the building Designation: House (blue eyes, cheering, a new apartment of their-no) had to be cleared.

The Soldier walked up the stairs. He scanned above. There was a door directly in front of the stairs. Door directly to his left side. A door at the end of the left hallway and one to his right.

The Soldier stepped on the top step and heard it creak. There was a muffled gasp to the left. It shot through the wall and heard a scream. The Soldier reclaimed based off of the noise.

There was movement in the corner of his eye. Designated Handler: Alpha (Overridden) groaned sitting up before calling out. “Sarah, you good?”

The person to his left took another gasp. Primary Objective Redesigned: Obtain Hostage.

The Soldier slinked out of view of the Designated Handler: Alpha (Overridden). He slid open the storage closet Designation: Linen Closet. A young female girl (child, pup, Alpha’s Objective: Protect. Overridden.) had her hand pressed over her mouth and was whimpering.Tears were blurring her vision lowering her sight by up to fifteen percent. Designation: Hostage.

The Soldier grabbed her shirt and pulled her out and into the hallway. She dropped her hand and took a breath. The Soldier covered it with it’s hand.

He-it headed down the hallway and entered the bedroom silently shutting the door behind it. The Soldier slid open the window and gauged the window to the tree. Footsteps started coming up the stairs. “Sarah?”

The Soldier pointed the gun at her head ignoring the quiet grinds. (Tertiary Objective switched to Secondary.) “Reassure.”

Sarah looked at him-it scared and sniffling before calling out. “I-I’m fine, Dad.”

The footsteps squealed on the top of the stairs. “You sure?”

Sarah looked at the Soldier. “Y-yeah.”

The footsteps froze. “Sarah?”

The Soldier had shifted his body out onto the tree all that was left was Designation: Hostage. “Y-yeah, Dad.”

“Did you try to shoot him?”

Sarah squirmed to look at the Soldier. The Soldier nodded. “Y-yeah.”

The Soldier pulled Designation: Hostage out onto the tree limb. Footsteps started walking towards the door. The Soldier jumped down pulling Designation: Hostage with it.

Designation: Hostage squeaked. The Soldier prodded her with the gun before moving. “Sarah? What was that? Sarah! Unlock this door! Sarah answer me!”

The Soldier ran carrying Designation: Hostage with him-it. There was a cracking sound and then the man (Designation Handler Overridden) let out a wordless cry.

The Soldier had reached the end of the fifth block when footsteps were heard running after him. It dropped Designation: Hostage turning around and throwing a grenade at a large black wolf. Designation: Threat Priority reared back just in time to expose the guts to the grenade. Designation: Hostage screamed when she hit the ground. The Soldier ignored her and pulled out a gun. (Priority Switched to Secondary Objective. Primary Objective: Eliminate Threats) Aim. Fire. Aim. Fire. Aim. Fire. Designation: Threat Priority shook his head and snarled before charging in shoulder first to take the majority of the damage. Aim. Fire. Knee hit. Aim. Fire. Joint destroyed. Aim. Fire. Shoulder injured.

The wolf slammed into him before biting down on the Soldier’s metal arm. Teeth barely bit into the edges of the flesh. (Threat Level: Increasing. Action: Eliminate.) Reload. Teeth sank further in yanked back as best as Threat could. Aim. Eyes widened on the wolf before releasing the arm (Priority) and jerking backwards. Fire. Inside of skull hit. Confirm kill. The Soldier emptied the other five bullets into the skull.

Priorities switched. Primary Objective: Dispose of Body. Secondary Primary Objective: Secure Hostage. Secondary Goal: Find safe house and re-calibrate arm.

Solution: Cleared base.

The Soldier tugged the Hostage onto her feet and dragged her and the wolf into the house. He-it dumped the body onto the living room and dropped the Designation: Hostage onto the couch. It stared at the body formulating a plan for the body. (Blue eyes laughed with him. “Waste not want not after all.”)

The Soldier headed to the kitchen and came back with an apple and the all of the knives. Designation: Hostage was crying on the sofa. The Soldier sat down on the sofa and peeled the apple along with coring it. He-it ate the apple skin and core including the seeds before handing Designation: Hostage a slice. She was crying silently; hand shove to her mouth to muffle herself.

The Soldier pulled the hand away and placed a slice in it. “Order: Eat.”

Designation: Hostage cried harder. The Soldier froze. (Blue eyes were crying. He was telling him to calm down and patting the back.) Something seemed to snap in place. The Soldier place the metal arm on the back and patted it quietly. Designation: Hostage cried louder. He placed an apple slice in her hand.

She looked at the peeled apple slices while crying. The Soldier repeated himself. “Order: Eat.”

She slowly nibbled on it while sniffling. The Soldier handed her the next and then the next and then the next until the apple was eaten.

The Soldier pushed her slowly down on the couch. “Order: Sleep.”

The Soldier checked the knives and set to work on Primary Objective: Handle body. He set to work He put the guts in a large pickle jar. The pickle juice he used for the eyes. The liver and tongue were put in the oven. The organs were cleaned and everything was packaged and placed in the fridge and freezer. The unusable parts were placed in a hanging tomato plant for fertilizer.

The Soldier used all of the salt in the house on the pelt and then set to work cleaning. He double checked Designation: Hostage was asleep before heading out to retrieve materials to fix and improve the new base.

Primary Goal: Locate and retrieve items to fix and improve the new base. Secondary Primary Goal: Locate and retrieve items to calibrate arm. Secondary goal: Locate and retrieve more salt and other necessary items. Territory goal: Wait for retrieval.

The Soldier spent five hours locating. Eliminating threats of gangs who had the necessary items and retrieving all necessary items to the temporary base.

A new one would have to be located. In the meantime, the Soldier began working. Numerous cars that used to belong to the Red Caps, a small gang. (Designation: Idle threat or bait. Tertiary Goal: Remove all threats from base or use all threats for maximum gain before eliminating.)

The cars were stripped of their parts and metal until they simply did not exist. The Soldier lined all walls and floors with metal before replacing the walls and floors with better ones. Carpeted for silence and warmth. All parts and scrap metal were placed in the storeroom (Designation: Garage) and neatly organised for ease of use.

Primary Goal: Accomplished. Secondary Primary Goal: Accomplished. New Primary Goal: Recalibrate arm.

Designation: Hostage had woken up and was watching the Soldier slowly pry apart his arm and clean each and every gear before checking if it needed replacing. Wires were the hardest to clean as were the holes in between the gears. Designation: Hostage bit her lip before taking a deep breath. “I-I have pipe cleaners in my room. That Could Help?”

The Soldier stared at Designation: Hostage. “Order: Repeat.”

Designation: Hostage looked about to cry. “I-I would you like pipe cleaner for that?”

The Soldier did not know what a Designation: Pipe Cleaner was. “Query: Designation: Pipe cleaner.”

Designation: Hostage looked even more scared. “It um-can be used to clean small things like your gears.”

The Soldier considered. “Order: Show.”

Designation: Hostage slid off of the couch and slowly walked towards the desk. She slid open the first door and grabbed something inside. The Soldier tensed. She pulled out a handful of colorful…

The Soldier did not know what the Designation was. Designation: Hostage smile nervously. “Se-See pipe cleaners!”

The Soldier stared at them considering. “Order: Retrieve.”

She walked over and held them out as far away from herself and as close to him as she could. ”Here you go!”

There was a ninety four percent possibility that was a fake tone. The Soldier ignored it, grabbing her wrist instead. She whimpered and the Soldier loosened his grip. The Soldier waited for her to stop breathing so fast. It took thirty minutes and fifty two seconds. She stared at him teary eyed. The Soldier pulled her in front of him. “Order: Sit.”

She sat down in front of him. The Soldier held one of the Designation: Pipe cleaners out along with a gear. (Designation: Left divide for wrist mobility factor with wiring. Alternative Designation: A144) “Order: Show.”

She stared at the pipe cleaner uncomprehendingly for a moment before slowly using the pipe cleaner to clear the first hole. This one was for an axle. It took three minutes and she used the entire pipe cleaner that she look horrified at. “Has this never been cleaned?”

The Soldier tilted his head to the side feeling irritated all of a sudden. “Previous cleaning of A144 was seven years six months three day four hours twelve minutes and fifteen seconds.”

Designation: Hostage looked horrified before gulping. The entire day was spent cleaning and re-calibrating the arm. The Soldier considered the small sleeping form before moving back to Primary Goal: Find permanent base. The Soldier needed somewhere in New York for Tertiary Goal: Wait for relocation.

The Soldier searched appropriate mediums before heading to a place with enough resources. (Designation: Idle threats. Alternative Designation: Gangs. Orders: Eliminate or drain for resources before eliminating.) There was one large apartment building with a man in charge. Fresh back from war and nobody had seen him in four years. The man had the same build and height along with looks as the Soldier. He scooped him out before heading back.

The Soldier waited for Designation: Hostage to wake. When she did wake rubbing blearily at her eyes and yawning the Soldier placed a hand on her shoulder. She screamed and fell off of the couch. She breathed hard before taking a deep breath and holding it then releasing the breath. The Soldier waited before grabbing her hand and placing unfurling her fist. He placed an orange slice in it. “Order: Eat.”

She did and he gave her the next. “Order: Eat.”

“Order: Eat.”

“Query: Requirements.”

Designation: Hostage stared at him blankly. “I don’t know what that means.”

“Query: Requirements.”

“I have to use the bathroom?”

“Order: Trail.”

The Soldier stood up and started walking to the bathroom. Designation: Hostage followed. “So that means you want me to follow you?”

“Affirmative.”

“What does Query mean?”

The Soldier wondered how to explain. “Question.”

“Query.”

“Affirmative.”

Designation: Hostage stood outside the bathroom and wrinkled her nose. “But I haven’t asked anything yet.”

The Soldier stared down at her. “Affirmative.”

Designation: Hostage stared at him before blinking. “Oh! Okay. I get it now. What are we doing today?”

The Soldier stared at her. Children shouldn’t be left alone right? “Primary Objective: Locate and secure base. Secondary Goal: Update acquired base. Tertiary Goal: Wait for retrieval.”

Designation: Hostage headed into the bathroom. The Soldier followed before remembering protocol from previous handlers (“Man, you really are a sicko. Hey, if you like it so much, why don’t you get on your hands and knees and start lic-”No) and pausing.

Designation: Hostages. Alternative Designation: Bait. Alternative Designation: Security until specified terms are met. Orders: Do not let out of sight, do not use useless ones, eliminate after use.

Designation: Hostage does not meet these Designitations. Primary Goal: Update Designation: Unknown.

The Soldier slid into the bathroom. The previous orders will be upheld until the Designation is finished. When Designation: Unknown finished and detoxed (Alternative Designation: Wash) their hands, Soldier led them to the dining room. They moved to the dining room and placed a saucer of meat and one of vegetables in front of them. “Order: Eat.”

She hesitated and poked it slowly before picking up one sniffing it. Her stomach growled. She ate eagerly devouring all of it and then looked over to Soldier who was silently watching her eat. “Query?”

“Affirmative.”

“Is-is there any more?”

“Affirmative. Order: Trail.”

The Soldier led her through to the kitchen. He-it served her another plate. “Order: Eat until calorie level has been sustained.”

She wrinkled her nose. “What does that mean?”

The Soldier opened his mouth to answer. Designation: Unknown continued. “Wait, I think I got it. Calories are like food energy and you are asking me to eat until I’m full.”

“Negative. Order.”

She wrinkled her nose more. “You’re telling me to eat until I’m full?”

The Soldier nodded. Children of this age needed positive reinforcement, correct? He stiffly placed a hand on her head before lifting and lowering it a few times. She did not look re-insured nor was she eating. The Soldier repeated the order. “Order: Eat until calorie level has been sustained.”

Designation: Unknown ate all of the cooked meat and kept eating. She preferred meat and the Soldier had plenty of already cooked meat. The problem remained of the Designation: Unknown’s designation. “Query: Preference of Species of Animal Kingdom.”

She stared at him gnawing on her lower lip. “Query?”

“Order: State Query all at once, clearly and distinctly.”

She closed her eyes and mumbled. “Okay you’re telling me to ask me questions all at the same time and clearly and distinctly. You are also asking my preference of species of something or other.”

She reopened her eyes and looked at me-the Soldier. “Query: My favorite animal?”

“Order: Request Clarification with a clarification or clarify.”

She took another bite of head cheese I had made. (Blue eyes made it with me in a previous mission. Previous missions do not matter.) Then she continued. “Clarification? You are asking my favorite animal?”

“Affirmative.”

She hesitated, glancing around the room. “I like spiders. They make really pretty webs.”

“Affirmative. Designation given: Hóng zhīzhū.”

“Monchichi?”

I-The Soldier stared at her blankly until she did it right. “Clarification: Ha-Ho-He-NaTeatu?”

The accent was horrible. “Affirmative. Hóng zhīzhū.”

“Nateachu? That sounds a lot like Natasha.”

The Soldier recognized the importance of adjusting one's Designation. “...Affirmative. Designation: Hóng zhīzhū. Alternative Designation: Natasha.”

Natasha smiled nervously and finished the rest of the head cheese. “What are we doing today?”

The Soldier stared at her. “Negative. Order: Utilise Query.”

Natasha (Designation: Red Spider. Alternative Designation: Red Soldier.) looked terrified again. “Query: What are we doing today?”

“Negative. Clarification of Order: Mision parameters of concise with queries.”

Natasha scowled losing a little bit of her fear. “Why is this so complicated?”

“Negative. Order: Utilise Query.” The Soldier did not mind repeating orders and directions until they were understood unlike it’s handlers.

Natasha did not seem happy. “But why?”

“Negative. Order: Utilise Query.”

Natasha scowled harder before getting up and placing the dishes in the sink. The Soldier began cleaning up. It was a subroutine of Tertiary Goal: Wait for retrieval; leave no trace. Natasha began drying. She thought for a little bit. “Query: Why?”

The Soldier thought for a little bit as he washed. “Designation: Zimniy Kod. Alternative Designation: Dialect Used by Zimniy Soldat. Alternative Designation: Code utilized by Hydra for easy identification of Zimniy Soldat. Alternative Designation: Ease and clarification of communication in all fields. Alternative Designation: Practice for on field communication in the dialect by Zimniy Soldat. Alternative Designation: Unique Dialect provides easy identification of imposters.”

Natasha stared at him mouth a gape and dishes forgotten. “What does that mean?”

The Soldier pried the cloth out of Natasha’s hands and began drying. “Negative. Order: Utilize Query.”

Natasha crossed her arms. “Well I’m not a Zimmi Soder so I don't have to.”

The Soldier put up the last of the dishes and drained the sink before grabbing the knife near by Natasha (who stiffened) and placing her on the ground. “Negative. Order: Utilize Zimniy Kod.”

Natasha scowled. “Why?”

“Negative. Order: Utilise Query.”

She scowled even more. “Query. Why?”

I would fix the-The Soldier would fix her accent later. “Clarification: Orders.”

Natasha stomped her foot. The Soldier reacted and threw a knife near her head. Natasha inhaled sharply. The Soldier turned around to see a wide eyed Natasha dangling from her clothing with a knife through it.

The Soldier turned back and finished sharpening the knives and putting them back. This took five minutes. The Soldier turned back around and pulled the knife out of the wall. Natasha landed with a wide eyed look on the floor. The Soldier grabbed her wrist and she didn’t react. “Orders: Trail.”

Natasha followed quietly still wide eyed to her room. The Soldier let go of her hand. “Orders: Acquire and utilize new equipment for blending in with midday crowd. Colors of grey and dark colors are acceptable. Dark Blue is acceptable.”

Natasha nodded wide eyed and quietly sorted through her clothing before coming back. The Soldier watched her standing nervously holding onto some of it. “Order: Utilize.”

Natasha nodded hastily and then the Soldier led her to the top of a nearby building. He-it set up a sniper he had acquired. Natasha sat at the edge. The Soldier passed her a camouflage blanket. “Order: Utilize.”

Natasha nodded and wrapped it around her. “Query?”

The Soldier started surveying the street. “Affirmative.”

“What are we doing?”

“Primary Objective: Eliminate target. Secondary Primary Objective: Obtain a permanent base.”

Natasha huffed and slid down near one of the larger vents. “But what are you doing now?”

The Soldier trailed the man down the street. The man hesitated before bolting. The Soldier cursed under his breath reclaimed and trailed. “Eliminating target.”

He fired. The man yelped clutching at his shoulder and rolled into an alley way out of view.  Two woman shot up right and ran into it. The Soldier cursed again and fired again. One of the women headed back out and vomited. The Soldier fired again. She collapsed.

Natasha looked scared again. The Soldier packed up and headed back down to the street. He took the back alley way to the place.

There was a blood trail but nobody other then the woman. The Soldier searched for a blood trail for a moment before he heard sirens. He took Natasha who was being quiet and headed home-to the temporary base.

Natasha sat on the couch as the Soldier salted and dealt with the wold hide. Natasha spoke quietly and quickly. “Why did you try to fight the Bloodclaw leader?”

The Soldier paused to look at her. “Clarification.”

Natasha struggled with words. “Um, D-Dad used to argue with them about territory a lot. They own a lot of housing with safe houses and also have a blockade on the butchers. Dad fights them trying to get it removed but it’s hard because we still have to work and buy meat from their stores. They also took over one of the better schools. Luckily the Southmoons are fighting them from below us so they aren’t focusing on us.”

The Soldier needed to learn this intel. “Order: Report all intel.”

Natasha stared at him with a wrinkled nose. “You want me to tell you what I know?”

The Soldier set about pulling out maps and filling in what he had found out about territories. “Affirmative. Order: Utilize Clarification.”

Natasha nodded. “There’s a lot of packs out there. Where should I start?”

The Soldier found a map and colored pencils. “Clarification: Packs.”

Natasha stared at him. “You know wolf packs. Like werewolves.”

The Soldier began drawing and shading the territories. “Clarification: Werewolves.”

Natasha stared at him with a wide open mouth for a moment. “You don’t know anything?”

The Soldier added in sniper locations he had located along with vital places like food and water. “Affirmative.” He tested the strange marker (Designation: HI-LITER. The Original) before using it for roads and making it different colors for the danger levels.

Natasha sat down and appeared to be thinking. “Can-Query?”

Forests and dense foliage were marked with the light blue one. This map would have to be destroyed after the Soldier had finished using it. “Affirmative.”

Natasha seemed nervous. “Can I ask one of Dad’s pack members to explain it to you?” She continued blurting out the words. “They would be able to ex-clarify it better then I would.”

The Soldier studied the map and grabbed a fine graphite pencil. (Designation: Mechanical) He started adding in topography. “Clarify: Pack are assets.”

Natasha frowned and then walked over to the bookshelf and grabbed a dictionary. “How is that spelled?”

The Soldier would have to scout more around the permanent base. “Order: Utilize query.”

Natasha nodded. “Query: How is that spelled?”

The Soldier used a red highlighter for manholes to sewers. “Clarification: A-S-S-E-T-S.”

Natasha shuffled through the dictionary (Designation: Webster) for a while before putting it back up. “Yes. You defeated Da-the last Alpha so now you’re the new one.”

The Soldier slowly added a few finishing touches to the map. “Order: Utilise Affirmative.”

Natasha looked at the ground and made a strange breathing sound. “Affirmative.”

The Soldier came over. Natasha was crying quietly. He patted her on the head and waited for her to stop. When she did the Soldier showed her the map. “Order: Memorize.”

Natasha grabbed it and looked it over for a while. “Okay.” The Soldier shook his head and Natasha hesitated. “I mean affirmative?”

The Soldier nodded briefly before awkwardly patting Natasha on the head. “Affirmative.”

The Soldier headed to the kitchen and lit it on fire before washing it down the drain. Natasha was on the phone. The Soldier waited for her to finish. “-so could you pretty please come over Peter? Um, no. Yes, the Alpha wants you. Please and I’ll ask if you should bring anything.”

Natasha turned and to the Soldier. “Should Peter bring anything?”

The Sniper considered. “Affirmative. Requirements: Salt.”

Natasha turned back to the phone. “Bring some Salt, please. Uh-huh. Thank you, Peter.”

Half an hour later a black car swerved into the driveway and a scowling man with a bag of groceries got out. The Soldier prepared to shoot from the cracked open window. Natasha looked outside and then at him and frantically shook her head. “No no no no. That’s Peter. He’s an, um, asset.”

The Soldier considered for a moment before nodding and aimed at a spot that would only cripple. He-it waited for Designation: Peter (Alternate Designation: Omega. Alternate Designation: Pack. Overridden. Alternate Designation: Asset. Orders: Protect.) to come inside the base.

The doorbell rang and the Soldier did not nearly shoot Peter. Natasha sat up and turned towards the door. Then she bit her lip and turned towards the Soldier. “Query?”

The Soldier nodded. “Can I go let Peter in?”

The Soldier lowered the gun. “Affirmative.”

Natasha sped off and slammed the door open. “Hi, Peter!”

Peter ruffled her hair. “Hey, pip squeak. Why does your Dad want to talk to me? And for that matter is he alright? We all felt something happen.”

Natasha bit her lip. “Um.”

She shut the door behind him. Peter looked politely bemused. He took a deep breath and froze. “Someone’s here. Get behind me and be careful.”

Natasha shifted from foot to foot looking at the ground. “Dad’s sorta dead.”

Peter just stopped and stared at her. Then he began laughing. Something seemed off in his eyes when he spoke again. “Is he really?”

Natasha sniffled and rubbed at her face. “Uh, affirmative.”

Peter grinned widely and showing off far too many teeth. “Well, was that all then? I’ll send someone by to take-”

Natasha shook her head furiously. “Uh, sir, mr., I don’t know his name, asked me about werewolves and I called you here because you’re better at me then explaining.”

Peter paused and took a breath. “Is he-Why does he have a gun? And why does the whole place smell like blood and metal and-”

Peter knew the Soldier had a gun. Most likely some type of E.S.P. ability. This would be troublesome if Peter was not an Asset. (Something howled in his head-Pack. Overridden. Pack is not an acceptable designation.) However, Natasha had confirmed Peter’s designation. The Soldier laid down the gun on the table with a slight clunk. The Soldier slid into the entrance room silently.

Peter was standing with his back to the Soldier. Natasha’s eyes darted towards him and then back to Peter. “So, can you explain about werewolves to him?”

Peter froze breathing shifting to a light barely noticeable sound. “Their right behind me, aren't they?”

The Soldier replied. “Affirmative.”

Peter remained still except for raising his hands into the air like a Designation: Hostage. “Are you going to shoot me if I turn around?”

The Soldier considered. “Negative.”

Peter slowly turned to face the Soldier. Peter kept his hands in the air. The Soldier stared at him for a moment before withdrawing back into the dining room. Natasha drifted after him. The Soldier silently considered when was the last time Natasha ate. He pulled out a knife. Peter hesitated for a step and then followed him at a slightly larger distance. The Soldier peeled an apple and handed a slice to Natasha. “Order: Eat.”

Natasha nodded and took the slice before nibbling on it. Peter slowly sank into the opposite sofa. “So, ah, where is Derek?”

The Soldier considered for a moment. The Soldier did not have a Designation: Derek. “Clarification: Derek.”

Peter blinked at him. Natasha sat down also after throwing away the apple skins into the compost. “Derek was my dad. The big black wolf.”

The Soldier glanced back to Peter. “Threat eliminated.”

Peter stared at him. “What?”

The Soldier stared back. “Affirmative.”

Peter continued staring. “He’s dead?”

The Soldier stared back. “Affirmative.”

Peter was mainly emotionless but seemed slightly excited. “Like dead, dead not coming back.”

The Soldier kept staring. “Affirmative.”

Peter began laughing and relaxed in the chair. “That’s nicel.”

The Soldier did not understand Peter’s reaction. The Soldier decided to continue along the conversation. “Clarify: Werewolves.”

Peter seemed to have some type of gleam in his eyes. “Right, what do you want to know?”

The Soldier considered. “Clarification: Everything relevant.”

Peter stared at the Soldier. “Huh. You’re really jacked up aren’t you?”

The Soldier did not understand the question. Peter laughed again although it didn’t seem quite as strange. “Alright then. In a werewolf pack there is an Alpha. The Alpha can come in a variety of sizes and colors but generally the Alpha is black because black wolves are better at fighting. This is just what I’ve been told anyways. Nevertheless, Alpha’s are nowadays black wolves. After that you have Beta’s who are in charge when the Alpha isn’t there and Omega’s who were lone wolves that are at the bottom of werewolf society.”

Peter’s lips curled up again. Sharp canines slowly slid back into human teeth. “Werewolves in general are spread through a bite or more accurately saliva into the bloodstream. Alpha bites can turn anyone into Betas. Beta bites can turn someone into a Beta and Omega bites turn you into a lone wolf. A lone wolf is one without a pack. Lone wolves adopted into a pack become an Omega. Betas and Omegas can become lone wolves by leaving a pack and Alphas stay the same no matter what.”

Natasha placed a cup of water in front of Peter. Peter nodded at her before taking a drink. “The only way to tell what one is if the Alpha produces pheromones, which they can do at will. Unless you’re an Omega in which case you always do it. Other then that Alphas can command people usually their eyes turn red when they do so. Beta’s can command Omegas and their eyes turn blue. You can’t fight it off. Believe me I’ve tried.”

The Soldier field that away under Designation: ESP mind control. Peter another drink. “A werewolf who is at odds with their wolf goes through a painful change every full moon and sometimes if they're upset enough. One in sync can transform at will and is in werewolf form every full moon but they’ll remember being in werewolf form.”

Natasha placed another cup of water in front of Peter. Peter chugged it and placed it to the side. “This behaviour is nothing like actual wolf behaviour. I believe this is because either you or your wolf believe you’re trapped changing pack dynamic. A pack of werewolves is generally an Alpha their wife and kids, a Beta or four, and an Omega to take the brunt of their anger. Being a lone wolf is better and worse then being an Omega. On one hand you can move around freely, On the other even Omegas treat you like shi-”

Peter glanced at Natasha who had gotten another glass of water. “Meanlly. Werewolves can heal from most injuries and it takes silver or a really bad injury to leave a scar. Another thing is that most werewolves have a unique ability. I for example can share memories through some weird tentacle thing. Oh and most werewolves have enhanced senses. They also tend to leave a distinct smell that animals and werewolves can smell but is odorless to humans.”

Peter scratched at his chin. “I don’t think I’m forgetting anything. Well, we are allergic to wolfsbane and Mountain Ash makes us want to run away. Not certain about the specifics of that one but it is what it is.”

Peter drank some more water. The Soldier stared at him some more. Peter frowned looking him up and down. “I can smell blood on you, you practically smell of guns and blood, but I don’t see where you were bitten. Oh and what did happen to Derek?”

The Soldier starred as he enters all of the information he had been given into Designations and Orders. “The threat was eliminated.”

Peter coughed into his fist. “Ah, did you do it?”

Water began running in the kitchen. The Soldier headed over to see Natasha standing on a chair with the cups Peter had drank out of. The Soldier intervene and began cleaning up. (Tertiary objective: Wait for retrieval. Orders: Leave no trace.)

Someone moved to the other side quietly and the Soldier spun pushing a knife to his neck. Peter made a strangled sound and the Soldier dropped the knife before catching it and sliding it away. Natasha was staring frozen halfway to the kitchen and the dining room carrying the chair. The Soldier tilted Peter’s head up and Peter made a strange gulping sound before letting out a whine. The Soldier judged the fine scratch on the throat before grabbing Peter’s hand and dragging him to the first aid kit in the bathroom. Natasha wordlessly followed.

Peter was trying to shrug the Soldier off. “I’m fine, really it’s just a scratch. It’ll heal in no time flat.”

The Soldier poured hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant on it. Peter made a half strangled whimper. The Soldier ignored it and bandaged Peter’s neck. Peter watched him warily as the Soldier put up the first aid kit.

The Soldier turned back around uncertain of what to say. (Blue eyes scowled at him. “Don’t you know when you mess up you say sorry. It might not work all the time but it helps-” No. Previous missions are relevant.) The Soldier stared at Peter struggling with the words. “Clarification: Apology. Query: Status.”

Peter blinked back before waving a hand dismissively. “Ah, I’m fine. I’m used to it.”

The Soldier felt something snarl and completely agreed. “Negative. Overridden. Order: Tertiary goal: Locate Soldier and report injuries from all.”

Peter stood stock still staring at him. The Soldier opened the mirror and caught a glance of red eyes fading to brown. He ignored it and went to go wash dishes. Natasha and Peter trailed after. Peter coughed. “Ah, do you know you are using an Alpha command with every order?”

The Soldier glanced at him. “Negative.”

Peter frowned. “It’s quite true.”

The Soldier turned towards the dishes. In the window he saw Natasha grabbing a chair and beginning to drag it. “Natasha. Order: Stop.”

My-The Soldiers eyes flashed red and then shifted to brown again. Natasha froze. She left the chair and came over. “Query? Why?”

The Soldier handed Peter dishes to dry. Peter was watching him carefully. The Soldier responded. “Negative. Order: Utilise clarify.”

Peter was quiet eyes darting back and forth. Natasha huffed before chewing on her lip. Peter shook his head and she stopped before talking. “Clarify: Why?”

The Soldier paused. Children most likely required praise for something well done. Something howled in agreement. The Soldier awkwardly patted her on the head. “Affirmative. Clarification: Dragging chair leaves traces.”

Natasha looked up at him and Peter kept looking between them with a worried look on his face. Natasha hmfed. “Query? Can you help me reach the top shelf? Clarification? I want to get down my backpack. I still have to do homework.”

The Soldier stared at her. Peter kept looking back and forth looking slightly more worried. “Clarify: School, homework.”

Peter looked between both of them. He seemed nervous and slid between them. “I’ll explain. You go get your homework.”

The Soldier lifted his head to look at Peter. The Soldier started moving to the dining room. “Clarify: School, homework.”

Peter followed. The Soldier picked up the chair and looked at Natasha. Natasha showed him the entryway and he placed the chair down. Natasha climbed up and grabbed a bag. She headed upstairs. The Soldier followed quietly. Peter coughed. The Soldier glanced at him. “Ah, Sarah-”

“Clarify: Sarah.”

Peter frowned. “Sarah. The girl.”

The Soldier stared back. “Designation: Natasha.”

Peter blinked. “Alright. Natasha has school tomorrow as Christmas break would have ended. She most likely hasn’t done her homework.”

The Soldier stared at him. “Query: Skills in medical aid.”

Peter stared at the Soldier. “You are really messed up, aren’t you? I have plenty but it’s mainly for disinfecting and serious wounds.”

The Soldier and began pulling off his shirt except for the one sleeve. (The sleeve was a separate thing that had to be taken off separately. Peter tensed up and eyes the window. “Order-”

Peter seemed to be breathing rapidly. The Soldier paused. He slowly reached out and grabbed his wrist. “Calm.”

Peter took a deep breath and slowly stopped. He remained wide eyed and glancing around the room. The Soldier considered. Peter has a bad reaction when ordered. Solution: utilise a different accent. The Soldier flipped into a Boston accent. “Do a friend a favor? Could you help me out with this wound?”

Peter just stared at him. Then he looked at the wound. Then he began cursing before getting up and dragging the Soldier to bathroom and first aid kit. “What the-I mean just-Did you-Why is it just left open? Did you even put disinfectant on it? How long have you had it? Why haven’t you done anything with it?”

The wound was mildly serious. Several oozing punctures from about three inches off his metal arm. The punctures had been dragged off leaving mild gashes that started at half an inch and ended at two centimeters deep. The gashes were about two inches long and the skin around was turning yellow and swollen. The sleeves of his shirt over there were tight so it had kept it from bleeding too bad after a new shirt was put on. Peter poked it and a wave of pain ran through the Soldier.

Peter was cursing and then squeezed pushing out puss and the rest of the matted scab. The Soldier remained motionless. Peter kept prodding his shoulder and cursing. “How much does this hurt on a scale of one to ten?”

The Soldier considered for a moment. “Designation: Five and a half.”

Something whimpered inside of him. He quietly calmed it. The Soldier remained motionless as Peter kept squeezing the infection out. “Why didn’t you do anything about it?”

The Soldier heard a low snarl whine. He quietly calmed it. “Overridden. Clarification: Not primary goal.”

Peter cursed some more. “You’re really messed up aren’t you? What do you mean five anyways? It’s gotta be at least a seven.”

Peter grabbed something from the first aid kit and whistled. “Man, this is going to hurt.”

The Soldier started answering the question. “Designation: 5. Alternate Designation: Distracting. Designation: 6 Alternate Designation-”

Peter poured hydrogen peroxide on the wound. The Soldier decided to join the whimpering in his mind. He remained still not breathing. Peter waved a hand in front of the Soldier’s face. “-hey, you alive? Hello?”

The Soldier could feel canines poking his tongue and unclenched his jaw. Blood filled his mouth. “Status: Operational.”

Peter looked relieved. “Thank goodness for that I thought you were a goner…”

As Peter was talking, the Soldier stood up and spat blood into the sink. He turned on the faucet and then turned it off before sitting down. “Status: Operational.”

Peter nodded and then poured more. The Soldier joined whimpering. He could almost feel soft fur cuddled against him as they tried to ignore the pain. “How much does that hurt?”

The Soldier buried both hands metal and flesh into the soft fur and snuggled against it. “Status: Operational.”

Peter frowned. He poked the bright red wound. “You can do stuff with that?”

The Soldier buried his face into the fur and felt three furred legs and one metal. Then he could smell and see so much better. The hearing was also useful. Peter was suppressing his scent. Natasha was outside the door radiating fear. She was watching through the cracks. He could see her reflection, hand over mouth, on the shower rods reflection. Peter was about to pour some more but the Soldier grabbed his arm. Peter froze and the Soldier could feel his heartbeat pick up for a moment before dropping down to a fake relaxed slow. The Soldier would wonder about Peter being able to control his heartbeat, later.

Right now, the Soldier slowly stood up and slide the door open. Natasha stared at him wide eyed. “Are you alright?”

The Soldier nodded and could smell the worry running off of her. He reached out and patted her head. “Affirmative.”

He paused and whimper suggested something. Kinds of did. He had a feeling something was lost in translation. The Soldier flicked Natasha’s nose. She jerked back and rubbed at her nose. “Order: Utilise query.”

Peter coughed. “Natasha go do your homework. Alpha sit back down.”

The Soldier assigned the Designation: Alpha to the same one the Designation: Eliminated threat gave him. James.

Whimper agreed. The Soldier did not believe he was being mind controlled like (A red skull was laughing-no. Previous missions are unnecessary.) sometime else.

Peter poured more hydrogen peroxide and worked poking and prodding the wound and bandaging them until they were clean and sore and not quite so swollen and stiff. The mobility was slightly restricted by the bandages.

The Soldier wondered if he should switch over to a simpler Designation. Natasha and Peter both had a simpler one. Whimper thought so the Soldier-James did.

Peter had finished and tossed the empty peroxide bottle in the trash. “Do you want to meet the rest of the pack today or are you good?”

Th-James considered before deciding. “Clarify: Pack are S-James’ assets.”

Peter stared at him. “You are really broken but yeah.”

James nodded. “Affirmative.”

Peter nodded back. “Alright then. I’ll teach you how to howl for them. You just got ta semi-change and think about family with your wolf. Oh and howl.”

Th-James trailed Peter along the way to the top of the house. Whimper seemed excited and James needed to review all of the resources available to him. He looked up at the moon and it seemed so much more important than before. Whimper practically walked beside him and James buried both hands into the fur mentally.

James throat stretched and he howled at the moon. Whimper howled with him. James wasn’t certain what a family was or a pack but he wondered what it would be like to have one. Whimper wanted friends to play with and pack to run with. James agreed training was important and backup on missions would be nice.

They stopped and turned towards Peter unaware of how their eyes were golden and glowing. Peter stared at them and began laughing until he was crying. “You’re really something aren’t you.”

James was uncertain of what to do so he copied previous behavior he had seen. Mothers often hugged crying children right? James awkwardly pulled up Peter and let Peter wrapped his hands around and hug him. Peter was getting James shirt wet but it could be washed.

Elsewhere in the city, most everyone seemed to stop and listen to the haunting melody. A darker duller undertone that almost seemed flat and a light bright overly young and cheerful one. It was a song of unsurety and want and family. It was one of playing and training and running and missions and pack. The harmony merged of not knowing but wanting a family, a pack, won’t you please be ours?

Most lone wolves watched the moonset trying to ignore the haunting melody because it couldn’t be true and no one would want them, right?

A few cried and others laughed and several omegas and a few betas left because anything was better than this.

James had used the new salt and had under Peter’s advice used all of the remaining food and vegetables and pasta to make a stir fry. James thought it was far too much food but Peter disagreed. Whimper wanted to eat it raw but James threw an image of a parasite at him and now Whimper wanted to eat cooked. Along with deer. Cooked.

Peter was frying it and James was showing Natasha how to cut apples for fruit salad when the doorbell rang.

James grabbed a gun and slid into shooting range. There was a man that twitches every couple seconds and was fiddling with his fingers. He smelled of garbage and nervousness. The man kept twisting to look behind him every few seconds. Natasha opened the door and he stared at her. Whimper bounced. (Pack! Pack! Pack!) James was uncertain. Whimper growled. (Mine now.) James questioned. Whimper howled triumphantly. James agreed. The man was alert.

James slid the gun away and moved into view. The man looked ready to bolt and then took a step backwards and glanced to the left. Nearest escape route.

James stared at him and Whimper bounced around. The man took another step backwards. James shot out a hand and grabbed his wrist. The man leapt off the porch and James pulled him back inside ignoring the smell of garbage. The man flailed legs becoming furry and tail dragging.

James dropped the now wolf onto the couch and sat down opposite. “Query: Status.”

The wolf whined and tilted to show it’s neck. It’s tail made a couple of nervous wags before stopping. James could count the wolves ribs.

James pointed at the couch. “Order: Stay.”

The wolf whined again and twisted to show more neck. There was a patch of thin fur that went in a circle around the wolf. James grabbed a plate of stir fry and silverware. He returned and placed it along with several slices of stale bread and water. “Order: Eat.”

The wolf slowly sniffed the plate and then began shoveling it as fast as it could. James grabbed several fancy looking brushes and a pair of scissors. He came back and sat next to the wolf. Peter was bemusedly filling up the plate every time. James waved over Natasha. “Query: Mission: Primary Goal: Assist with-”

James gestured at the wolf. Natasha giggled and climbed into James lap. James gave her a baffled look before ignoring it. They set to work. The wolf froze as soon as the brushing first started. It carefully turned and looked at them and watched carefully as they kept going.

It took half an hour and the wolf looked better off even though they had snipped off major sections of fur to get rid of the mats. Natasha was using a fancy boar bristle brush when the window was tapped one. James turned and looked as a boy of maybe seven with a determined look on his face tapped on the glass.

James opened it and the kid hesitated and then climbed in. He stuck his hand out towards James. James slowly took it. “I can do a lot of things so don’t count me out and I can be really useful to you so you should hear me out.”

The kid smelled nervous and desperate. (Blue eyes was scared. Real scared-no. Previous missions aren’t relevant.) James shook his head and all of a sudden the kid looked real sad. He shuffled nervously. “Okay, yeah. I’ll just go then. Sorry about being a both-”

James ignored the kids words and dragged him into the living room and sitting him down besides Natasha. Peter dropped food on his plate and then James picked up a comb and set to work on the boys hair. The kid tilted his head with the combs sometimes and also winced but he didn’t complain.

Neither did he touch the food. James pulled up his shirt and the kid yelped twisting away and trying to bat at James. James ignored it and poked each rib before dropping the shirt. “Order: Eat.”

The kid looked at him with big blue eyes. “What?”

James struggled with the words for a moment. “Clarification: Status is unacceptable.”

The kid stared at James. Natasha shot up behind him. “He means you’re too thin.”

The kid looked at the plate then back up to James. “Is it all for me?”

James nodded. “Affirmative.”

The kid picked up the fork and tentatively ate slowly. Then he too began gobbling the food up. James tapped wolf and wolf looked up from where it was hiding behind the sofa. “Order: Trail.”

The wolf stood up unsteadily with one paw twisted one way and the other three forwards. The tail had a painful looking bend and one leg was being limped on. It’s stomach was slightly disgorged. The Sold-James frowned before picking up wolf and carrying it up stairs. He entered the bathroom and carefully set the wolf into the shower. Then he turned on the shower. The wolf whined and shut it’s eyes really tight but stayed still.

James worked with the dog shampoo he had found and set to work. Then he placed the human shampoo and conditioner near the shower. He also placed a towel near it too. James threw in a pair of clothing Natasha’s father had in the drawers. “Order: Clean human form.”

Then James headed back downstairs just as the door opened. A pregnant lady with a yellow bruise on her arms stood there. She looked nervous. James felt the urge to punch something and Whimper didn’t know what was going on but new pack had puppies!

James opened the door wider and automatically slipped into a Boston accent. “Madame, come on. Won’t you have some food?”

She slinked in.

At the end of the night several more wondered if they had made the right choice to ignore it and several more gave up after wandering the streets searching. Peter was irritated that Natasha’s dad’s pack had decided not to show up. Natasha spent time with the boy who showed up and the man slinked down wearing pants and a shirt that hung around his frame. Peter took one look at him and scowled. “Get in the car. I’ll drive you to the hospital.”

The man nearly jumped and flinched at the same time. “Ah-I-I’ll be… I’ll be fine.”

He attempted to smile and made a grimace in the end. James shook his head. Whimper wondered about the effectiveness of Zimniy Kod as a dialect. James agreed somewhat. Whimper questioned why. James pointed out how useful it was in missions for ease in communication. Whimper shrugged and then begin bouncing at the newest person. James heard the doorbell ring.

Peter opened it and stared. “Loup.”

Loup was short thin man wearing ragged moth eaten clothing. “Peter.” Loup hesitated for a moment. “How have you been?”

Peter stared at Loup and then turned to semi face James. “Alpha, talk to him. I’m taking our friend to the hospital.”

The man that was not Loup limped with Peter to the car. Loup looked nervous James opened the door wider and stepped to the side. Loup slowly walked in scanning everything for threats. James guided him into the living room and settled him the man’s previous seat. Loup looked around curiously. “This is Dere-”

James placed a plate of stir fry in front of Loup. Loup picked up a fork. “This for me?”

James nodded. “Affirmative.”

Blue Eyes threw himself in front of Loup who jerked back. “Hi! What’s your name? Mine’s Jorg.” (Blond hair, brown eyes, laughter, “Never thought I’d see the day where I worked with an American to take down Hitler.” No. Previous missions are irrelevant.)

The lady, with puppies included Whimper, smiled with shadowed eyes. “My name is…”

The lady looked lost. James sat down and took her hand. “Zhizhu.” Whimper asked if that would be rude. “If you need one.”

The lady smiled brightly. “Jijo. I like it.”

James felt like whacking his head against something.

Night came, Loup went home with promises to stop by tomorrow while the rest went to sleep. Natasha slept on the couch while Jorg, not Blue Eyes questioned Whimper, slept in the bed. James did another round and made certain all was well before heading back out to find Peter. Whimper offered to help and James used to him to cut down on the amount of time it would have taken from backtracking.

Peter was sitting in the waiting room pacing. James remained standing watching him. Peter froze put on a smile, suppressed his scent, slowed his heartbeat to normal, and sauntered over. James stared at him. Peter kept smiling, “James, boss, dear pall of mine, what’s wrong?”

Whimper thought he understood why Zimniy Kod was used as a language. To stop all this uselessness. James admitted it was a possibility. “Report status.”

Peter nodded. Nothing in him changed and his heart rate remained perfectly normal. “Oh, I’m fine and Net, that’s the man, is in surgery for his leg and tailbone. The doctors say that after the cast is removed he should be good as new.”

James blinked and hesitated before slowly placing an arm on his shoulder. “Please report status?” (Little girl, older than him, “Please is the magic word. Please is the magic word.” No. Previous missions are irrelevant.)

Peter stared at him before laughing. “Oh, I’m fine. I just paid ten grand out of pocket for the surgery not to mention that the cast anthesia cast another couple grand but oh yes I’m just bloody fine.”

Peter spat out the last word. His scent and heart rate didn’t change. Whimper was confused. James replied that he was faking them or supressing them. Whimper wondered why. James replied not all handlers are nice. Whimper huddled up by James to avoid bad memories. James slowly patted Peter’s shoulder. “Have you written the check yet?”

Peter shook his head no but remained otherwise mute. “I was just about to.”

James nodded and pulled out a checkbook he kept just in case before writing a check for twenty thousand. He showed it to Peter. “Is this enough?”

Peter just gaped at him. “Do you mind if I get the extra paid to me in cash?”

James shook his head no and then waited. Peter smelled the tiniest bit of relieved and then they waited. Net got out two hours later and still high. James and Peter drove him home. Net got the spare bedroom and Peter went to the other spare bedroom.

James stretched before running a bath and filling it with ice and going to sleep in it. Natasha woke him up with a grin. “Did you fall asleep in the bath?”

James felt overly warm from the lukewarm bath and nodded. Natasha hummed. “Well, it snowed so I don’t have any school today or tomorrow. Query? What are we doing today?”

James grabbed a towel and got dressed. His clothing would need washing tomorrow but for now James wore a spare. His arm was sore from the bandages.

Peter groggily stared at James as he was pulled into the bathroom. James pulled off the bandages and waited for Peter. Peter stared at him blinking before sighing and setting to work. Peter hadn’t wanted to sew infected tissue so he had waited for tomorrow to do it. The wounds were almost completely gone and the infection was slightly better.

Peter disinfected. Sewed a little bit and rubbed a disinfectant (Designation: Neosporin) on it. Then he put new bandages on James’ shoulders and headed back to bed.

Net was up and had been looking in the fridge. He backed up against the wall. “S-sorry… Sorry, I, um, I-I just wanted to get some… some milk, ya know?”

James stared at Net and nodded before pulling out the gallon of milk and putting it on the counter. Net stared at him owlishly and James pulled out two cups. He poured two and slid one over to Net. Net hesitantly lifted it to his lips and squeezed his eyes shut as if waiting for something. A moment later, Net drained the cup as fast as physically possible and then slowly placed the cup down and watching James moves. Whimper didn’t like that Net treated them like a threat. James told Whimper we’d have to reassure him. Whimper bounced around and suggested food. James pointed out the milk. Whimper suggested better food.

James cracked two, he glanced at Net, make it four eggs into the cup and set to work making scrambled eggs. Net started slinking off. Whimper whined. “Net.”

Net froze and turned back towards him. There was no scent but his heartbeat was frantic. “Ah, um, y-yes sir?”

James blinked. Whimper suggested bread. Bread was nice and light on the stomach. “Ah, could you be so kind as to grab a stale bag of bread from the pantry.”

Whimper wondered what dialect that was. James believed it to be an Island to the west and south of Alaska when talking to Americans. Net nodded and ran off. He bolted as fast as he could in a cast.

Net came back just in time to see two plates being served and Natasha who was awake and Net were given. Net carefully put the bread down and started backing off again. James glanced at him. “Net, would you like to eat that plate?”

Net froze and glanced around nervously his hands found his way from his pant pockets to his jacket pockets and back. “A-ah, for, um… For me?”

James nodded. He didn’t know what mission had given him this knowledge but it was useful. (Where are we? Small Island east and south of the Russian Hydra base. We’re going to be here a while, best make yourself comfortable.) “Please, do me a favor doll. I couldn’t bear to eat it all and much less see food go to waste, yeah?”

Net was about to eat as fast as humanly possible but James shot out and grabbed his wrist. “Calm, Net, yeah? No reason to worry. There’s enough time, yeah?”

Net slowly nodded. James smiled and ruffled his hair. (Mr. White can we have some candy, yeah? Can we? No, yeah. I got some work to do, yeah?)

Net ate slowly for Net. He finished before Net and washed his dishes before putting them away. James handed him a stale piece of bread which Net did his best not to eat all at once but slowly nibble on. Net made the piece of bread last thirty seconds.

James tapped Natasha. “Orders: Acquire and utilise new equipment for blending in with midday crowd. Colors of grey and dark colors are acceptable. Dark Blue is acceptable.”

Natasha nodded before huffing. “Why does Net get normal talk and I get Zimmya sod?”

James stared at her and Natasha shifted. “I’m sorry Net. That was mean.”

James nodded and finished cleaning up by the time Natasha had changed into dark blue. He handed her a large black coat and headed outside. The cold was refreshing and ten minutes later, Natasha was huddled under a camoflauge blanket while James was setting up his sniper. He waited for his target and was rewarded when his target with a large band aid plaster over his temples. James lined up and fired. The man was in a dark alleyway and collapsed dead.

James packed up and headed down with Natasha. Natasha hung onto James at the site of the dead body. James had suspected silver would do the trick.

Now was merely disposing of the body and replacing the man. James hid his target James. He fed it in little pieces to a truck of pigs that was nearby. Natasha hung around with James as he finished his errands including double checking all paperwork and finances were ready to be taken care of.

James headed home just to see Loup and Peter staring it out. Whimper whined. Natasha seemed confused. James placed a hand both of their shoulders and they started. Peter glanced at him and slipped into that blank state of his. Loup dropped his gaze to ground and radiated his hurt and anger. Whimper wished they would get along. James agreed.

James glance left then right between the both of them. “Peter: Report conflict status.”

Peter remained that same blank but smiled. “Ok, so, a while back Loup betrayed my family that took him in-”

Loup radiated pain and anger and hurt. Whimper really wanted to help but was uncertain how. James wasn’t either. “That’s bull. You turned me in.”

Peter was still blank and smiling. “You murdered someone and decided it wasn’t enough so you got my parents murdered.”

Loup was angry and hurt and angry. “You turned me in. I tried to warn you but you shot me down.”

Peter was still blank and smiling. “You murdered my brother.”

Whimper whimpered. James comforted Whimper. Loup snarled. Hurt. Hurt. Hurt. “He deserved it.”

Peter was still blank and smiling. “He was innocent.”

Loup sneered. “He most definitely was not.”

Peter snarled, teeth twisting into a snarl. He took a step past James and towards Loup. “I am going to kill you. Slowly and painfully.”

Net was twisting his hands in the background. Loup took a breath and seemed to resign. “Yeah, you’re right. I deserve this. I killed your brother and while there are so many excuses I could give, it wouldn’t change the fact and it won’t bring them back. You never got to see them again and you want me dead. I can see why and I deserve it. But-”

Loup’s eyes flashed darkly and took a step towards. Peter tensed stepping back. “-if you do then all I ask is to see you. I want to see my killers face so I can die knowing I made amends. Look me in my eyes and do it. When you kill me I want to see you do it. I know nothing can make it better and if this will help you feel whole again then do it. But I want to see your face when you do it. I want to die knowing, I made amends.”

Loup took another step nearly on top of Peter. Net was twisting his hands and looked nervous. Peter glared back and his hands sharpened to claws before he cursed and shoved his hands into his pockets. Loup stared down and Peter snarled before walking away.

James hesitated before following. Peter entered a nearby park and snarled before attacking a tree. His scent was still suppressed but his heart was high again. Peter grew claws and tackled it, slashing at the tree leaving deep gouges.

James watched. In the end Peter kicked a tree an hour later and started heading back. James trailed behind quietly and Peter spun. “What do you want? I got you some people to boss around and you-”

James remembered (Blue Eyes was mad writhing and twisting and yelping at James he was fine) hugging someone before when they were like this so he did so. Peter snarled and clawed at his back but the Sol-James ignored it. The wounds would heal. They always did.

Peter sunk canine teeth into his flesh shoulder and bit down. James winced and ignored it. Peter stopped after about a minute. Peter snarled at him before trying to jerk back. James let him and Peter landed on the ground, face covered in James’ blood. “What the heck is wrong with you? If I’d bitten your neck you’d be dead.”

James squatted next to him. “You are upset. I will heal in time.”

Peter just stared at him before laughing and kept laughing until he was crying. James quietly hugged him as he picked Peter up. Then James led a hiccuping, laughing Peter after him. Net paled dramatically at the sight of the two and almost bolted. James let Peter into the bathroom and sat down on the toilet. Peter shook his head and dumped hydrogen peroxide on it.

Whimper curled up in a corner and James quietly calmed Whimper. After that Peter bandaged James and Net quietly watched with his leg in a cast.

James stood up and headed back out alone this time. It took two hours to finish cleaning up the mess, he had made and to insert himself into the system legally.

James headed home and slept in the now half-way empty freezer. Net opened it to him and Whimper took a moment to wake up after James. Net stared at James as he got out. Whimper pointed out that Net was still thin and James absently nodded as he grabbed meat and vegetables and precooked noodles for breakfast. Net seemed halfway in awe as James made an adequate serving size for seven people according to the instructions.

After Net ate, James handed him a key. Today he used a Canadian dialect. “Sorry, but I got you an apartment. Everyone has one now.”

Net just stared at James. Whimper bounced around before pausing. The big den-apartment building, James corrected- could host a larger pack. A larger pack would mean more people to play with.

Peter headed back downstairs wearing one of the Eliminated Target’s suits. “Right. I’m off to work. I’ll be back by four.”

He grabbed a plate of stir fry and headed off. Jijo headed in through the front door and the boy came out of the closet. “I’m back.”

James nodded and handed her a key and the boy one. Natasha stumbled downstairs. “Do I have to go to school today?”

James held up a hand and Natasha scowled. “Query. School. Do I have to go?”

James shook his head no. “Negative.”

Natasha scowled, smelling irritated as she ate food. Jijo laughed and ruffled her hair. “Now, what are these for?”

She held up the key, James just gave her. “Apartments.”

She blinked before smiling even more. “Wonderful. Where?”

Jijo kept smiling as James rattled off an address. “Why exactly do we have an apartment in Bloodclaw territory?”

James tilted his head trying to translate into a dialect, she would understand. “The target was eliminated for appropriation of his resources.”

He mentally nodded and Whimper wagged. The boy openly gaped. “You killed the Alpha of Bloodclaw.”

Whimper barked proud of all the recognition they were getting. James nodded. “Affirmative.”

The boy just gaped. Net stared harder and even Jijo looked startled. Natasha ignored it all in favor of eating. James continued consumption of breakfast. There was a timid sounding knock on the door. James snapped into action sliding a gun out of view and sliding it open. Loup shifted from foot to foot. “Hello, sir. Um, do you still want me?”

James nodded sliding the door open the rest of the way and led him to the dining room where breakfast was being served. James handed him a plate and slinked off to the temporary workshop. There he went to work tanning at the wolf hide. Loup left half an hour in.

Natasha entered. “What are we doing today?”

James considered sorting through, his goals. He asked Whimper and Whimper bounced around excitedly before suggesting securing the den for Jijo. If Jijo didn’t like the new den, they’d have to go to a new one. James considered and agreed. If the new apartment was unsatisfactory then locating a new one would be the primary goal. Wait. “Order: Utilise query.”

Natasha huffed. “Query. Goals and stuff for today.”

James awkwardly patted her head. “Affirmative. Primary goals: Relocate and affirm status of the new permanent base. Secondary Goal: Relocate all furniture and items.”

Natasha already knew the territory goal so that didn't need repeating. Natasha nodded before running off. James tracked down Jijo with Whimper’s help. “Jijo, doll. You ready to check out the new place? See if it’s worth every penny?”

Jijo smiled bemused. “You are the weirdest Alpha, I have ever met. Sure let’s go. I’ll grab Jorg.”

Whimper and James were confused. “Clarify: Jorg.”

Jijo froze smile in place. “You know, the little boy.”

Whimper barked happily and ran a circle. James nodded and tracked down Loup. He was in a small apartment next door to the base. Loup looked up from where he was curled up with a book with two wolves, both a dark grey. Whimper howled about how Loup betrayed them. James shushed Whimper and Whimper growled at the wolves. James shushed Shimper again. He explained that if they were Loup’s assets, they were their assets.

Whimper paced cautiously keeping an eye on them. The wolves had gotten up and started growling. Loup was frozen staring at James where he had come in through the open window. James looked around assessing the place.

It smelled of a lot of wolves. Almost all of them were female and there was one large angry smell. Whimper howled in triumph. That was the man they had sniped earlier. The place was full of bookshelves that looked roughed up by claws and teeth.

James turned his attention back to Loup who was still pale. Whimper barked at the wolf on the left. James hushed them again. He explained how Peter had said that if they eliminated the previous Designation: Alpha then they were the new Alpha.

Whimper eyed the one on the right suspiciously and nearly growled when she got to close. James grabbed his fur near the neck. He mentally shook his head no. Whimper stared back before huffing and flopping on the ground and keeping an eye on the two wolves.

Loup slowly stood up. “James.”

James directed his attention outwards. “Affirmative.”

Loup smiled nervously. “Why did you just come in through the thirty second floor window.”

James slid on another accent. Whimper slowly sniffed at one of the female wolves. “I had no clue where you lived so I followed your scent and bounced on up, you know?”

Loup smiled nervously. The two wolves smelled confused and Whimper smelled them deeper. Whimper seemed confused and hid behind James to think.

Loup coughed and spoke up. “Well, then. Did you need something?”

The wolf on the left was looking back and forth between the two. While the one on the right was slowly slinking closer. James ignored them and pulled out the paperwork. “Affirmative. Mission parameters: Designation: Loup distracts.”

Loup stared at James. “Could you repeat that?”

James did so and Loup sighed. “Could you repeat that in a way I can understand?”

James considered how to do so. “I need you to be a distraction.”

The two wolves began growling again and the one on the right sprang at them. James deflected. A wolf was heavy and large but easy to move around. This wolf was attacking as if it was a human taught to brawl. Ineffective. Whimper huffed at James pointing at that the wolf was a human.

James spun taking the new wolf in and pulling it by it scruff. Loup stood up looking panicked. “Stop.”

Loup’s eyes were bright blue and the two wolves froze. James paused and slowly slid away the knife he had pulled out. Whimper reared back howling. Loup was challenging them. James told Whimper how ridiculous that was. Whimper snarled before attempting to lung at Loup. James could feel his muscles tense and his teeth change. Overridden.

Whimper spun snarling at James before attacking James mentally. James blinked and slowly reached out and repeated the patting movement that worked on Natasha before.

Ten seconds passed, no one moving. James continued mentally patting Whimper who was biting down on the metal arm snarling. James didn’t think Whimper knew it wasn’t real.

Loup seemed even nervous. He was tilting his head up and showing his neck. Whimper howled to bite it. James reached out and grabbed tightly on Whimper fur. Whimper turned to look at him confused and then froze. Whimper whined as it nuzzled James arm. James slowly patted Whimper and pointed out that Loup had done nothing wrong. Whimper seemed confused at that.

Loup was avoiding eye contact and was showing off even more of his neck. “Sorry, sir. Sorry, Alpha.”

James blinked confused and Whimper paused to think about this instead of getting self righteously angry again. James patted him proudly. James recalled that positive reinforcement was useful. James reached out and patted Loup’s hair. “You are.. Fine. Thank you.”

James dropped his arm and Loup just stared at him before coughing and bringing his head back in. “Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

James blinked before slowly shaking his head. Loup looked slightly confused. “Yes? Thank you, si-James.”

James patted him again. Loup nodded hesitantly. Whimper sighed and then slowly licked James hair. James ignored it and Whimper curled up along his backside. The wolf on the left looked between the two of them before sitting on her back haunches and shifting into a human girl. The girl looked about thirteen. Nearly twice the age of Natasha.

The other wolf that had attacked shifted into a fifteen year old girl. James considered before dismissing them as threats. Loup was still staring at him. James refocused back on him and then Loup started talking. “Where are we going?”

James rattled off the address and both of the girls had gotten up. The fifteen year old had her face to the side of James and was sniffing him. Whimper pulled back and sniffed her back. Whimper licked James hair before announcing that they were pack now. James sighed and Loup took a breath in before freezing.

“You’re a double alpha.”

James had never felt more confused in his life. Loup stared at him in awe and the girl (Pack, Whimper howled running in circles) did too. James stared at Loup and Loup coughed awkwardly. “An Alpha was either born as one or killed an Alpha to become one. A double Alpha has killed more than one.”

Loup coughed awkwardly. “It’s impressive. But you most certainly weren't one last night. So how did you become one?”

James considered before recalling. Hadn’t Natasha said the eliminated target was the alpha of Bloodclaw? Whimper barked gleefully. Two packs! Double the family! “I eliminated the Bloodclaw Alpha?”

James was unused to having to discuss this in a dialect. Whimper bounced around sniffed the other girl. She smelled nervous but a little amused and curious. Whimper would've licked her face if he could.

Loup started. The fifteen year old girl turned towards him. “You got a new alpha? What would James think?”

Loup looked down at her. She had her hands on her hips. “James is dead. Now, James is the new Alpha.”

The girl blinked. “What?”

James turned to look at the other girl as Loup talked. She was watching James and she waved at him. Whimper and James were confused before Whimper suggested snuggles. James settled for waving back. She tentatively smiled.

James followed Loup to a nearby courthouse and slipped in and edited files to make James take over the previous James’s records.

Loup talked with the receptionist and then they left. James finished relocating the rest of the pack to the new apartments. Except Peter. Peter had a house and wanted to be an outlier. Whimper huffed before curling up and going back to sleep.

James got everyone situated. Natasha had moved into an apartment with Jorg and Net. Loup looked startled when James came in through a ventilation shaft and dropped all of the paperwork on him.

This took two days and then James and Whimper got into an argument. Whimper wanted to track down the rest of the other Alpha’s pack while James wanted to start clearing threats and training the (Whimper perked up, gleefully yelling pu-) children.

Peter walked in on James glaring at the wall in a nearby mall. “You are so loud.”

Whimper rolled over from where he had been growling at James and James focused on Peter. “Clarify.”

Peter rolled his eyes. “Through the pack bonds, Alpha. It’s always the nothingness of the abyss or fireworks and lately the abyss has been downright frosty.”

James blinked and Whimper tilted his head to the side. Peter smirked. “There that’s normal not whatever you’ve been doing before.”

James and Whimper shared a mental look and watched Peter closely. Whimper laid down next to James in a way they hadn’t for the past two days. Peter’s heartbeat relaxed for a moment before picking back up to that tightly controlled normal. He smiled. “There just like that.”

Whimper snorted amused. James hesitated before talking. “Clarify: Pack bonds.”

Peter openly stared at him before running his hands over his face. “Okay.”

Whimper yawned before walking to Peter and flopping next to him. Peter shuddered. “See, that, that was loud.”

Whimper tilted his head at Peter before nudging him. Peter twitched. “Okay, so pack bonds are different for everyone, mainly because they are mentaly based and everyone interprets everything differently,. I-”

Whimper began wagging his tail on the ground, eyes closed. Peter visibly shuddered before growling. “Will you stop that?”

Whimper paused staring at Peter. James mentally called him back. Whimper stood up and silently walked over. Peter looked unsure of what to do next. Whimper and James stared at him. Peter’s eyes changed back to normal and then he was moderating his heart and scent. Whimper tensed up and James waited for him to continue. Peter smiled. “I, for example, feel them as colors in the back of my head.”

James didn’t know what the danger was that had Peter so frightened. Whimper and him scanned the room before James started moving. (Primary Objective: Protect Peter. Secondary Objective: Protect Pack.) Peter froze when James pulled him in close and started walking. James kept scanning for dangers as they left.

When James was at a more secure area, he shoved Peter into the corner and moved in front. Peter looked up at him mildly. James waited two minutes before deeming it safe enough to speak. “What is the danger?”

Peter blinked.