Chapter 1: First Steps
Becoming a paratrooper is not the hardest thing Webster has done in his life. It takes him time to adjust and the first month his body is in shambles, but he welcomes it. He chose this, and he cannot back out now. First time jumping out of an airplane is amazing. It’s everything he’s dreamed it to be and more. The rush of adrenaline and the blood pumping in his ears is amazing.
He cherishes his jump wings dearly, Harvard be damned.
Camp Toccoa, Georgia is where David meets the part of his soul, he hasn’t realized he’s missing.
Paratroopers are new to the military. Wolf Corps is the forgotten, except for the selected marine battalions.
This is one of the reasons Webster, together with his fellow paratroopers gets taken to the wolf breeding compound within Toccoa. There is a lot of noise and a lot of yapping, as pups and their mothers mix together. Packs within a bigger pack.
Many of his fellow paratroopers are taken aback, but David feels strangely calm. He has been reading about wolfthreat and the old times… This compound makes his mind set off and Web’s fingers itch for pencil and paper. It is like an amazing meadow of flowers, all blooming at the same time.
He feels something bump his leg and looks down to find a gray wolf pup nudging his leg in curiosity. His fur looks almost pale blue in this light and David cannot help, but kneel down and scratch the pup behind the ear. That’s when the animal closes its little jaws over Webster’s wrist and bites down.
Human. Friendly. Mine.
It feels almost like the world stops for a couple of seconds, before a sudden new burst of color leaps in, and David cannot breathe. There is something new in his head, a humming, he has never experienced before.
The pup looks up at him with eyes as blue as David’s own, and cocks his head to one side, sending him a taste of the scent. Dark cherries, Morpheus and ink.
Morphine, Webster decides then and there. Morphine.
“Congratulations, paratrooper,” a voice disrupts his thoughts, reminding him, that he is not alone. “You have been chosen by a wolf, and, unless you are going to commit, you should break the bond now, before it becomes too strong”.
Break? It takes Webster a second to kick is brain back into action, tune out the chatter in his head and look at his commanding officer. He suddenly feels protective over the pup.
The pup looks at him in confusion.
Mine. Not safe?
Safe, Webster’s brain supplies, and the does pup settle down.
“No, sir, I would never refuse,” he hears his own voice and sees the CO nodding in approval.
“Very well, trooper. Fill out the paperwork and report for duty to the 101st Airborne division”.
The pack sense among the 101st is a slowly building in structure. It starts as humming. Webster compares it to an un-tuned radio. It’s a constant chatter, sometimes becoming overwhelming, sometimes not being there enough.
David is assigned to Fox company. He wouldn’t care, to be honest, but there is a procedure in place, before he can have his pup with him. He gets an hour a day, before they are both released and out of quarantine.
The only other person who is also a part of the Fox with a wolf, is Ronald Speirs.
His wolf is big and black, amber eyes looking almost feral. Flame, Webster knows now, looks at David with his amber eyes and it sends a shiver down Webster’s spine. He closes his eyes and tries to slowly feel out the pack sense. Speirs is there, as is Flame and David sees Speirs nod in approval. They shake hands.
Pack. Friends. Safe.
Flame projects and Speirs offers approval at this, while his hand is still clasped in David’s. It makes Webster feel better, settled, more at home.
Being within wolfthreat puts him into a different position than those who live without a wolf. It makes him and his pack closer. Pack is a thing he has yet to learn.
His education has not provided him with understanding of wolfthreat.
It’s scary, but it’s arousing at the same time. He doesn’t know how to react to this new wave of emotion coming his way. Pack sense takes time to get used to, unless you have been born and bread in it.
He’s shown to his billet and left alone to settle in, tomorrow being an another proper training day. Webster doesn’t mind the training, but the overwhelming chatter suddenly in his head is overwhelming. He copes the last couple of hours and falls into the bed, exhausted, worried.
The army has provided manuals, books and training sessions to the future possible wolf brothers, but it’s not fully prepared. He pup, Morphine, is snoring down by David’s legs, when he feels a presence of another soldier.
The bed dips, and Webster’s eyes fly open in panic. Morphine is suddenly very awake and lets out a soft whine.
It takes David a second to recognize Speirs.
“Your wolf chose you,” Speirs says, his voice is quiet. “You accepted. Take your time to tune in to the sense. Welcome to the pack of hundred and first, trooper” and after that he is gone.
Maybe it has been Web’s imagination all along.
101st division is not just an experiment in the warfare, trying to combine wolfthreat and paratroopers, but there is no going back.
The wolfthreat has taken a liking to the Paratroopers.
Chapter 2: On the eve of the war
They started in Toccoam the pack sense strong around them.
Camp Toccoa, Georgia, 1942
If there is something Easy Company despises, is Captain Herbert Sobel. He is their commanding officer, a wolfless man. The clear jealousy of the men, who have bonded with wolves and now stand in front of him, at a position of attention during one of his petty examinations, is not just seen, but it can almost be smelled it in the air.
“You people, are at the position of attention!” Sobel’s voice shakes Dick Winters out if thoughts and makes him glance at the man.
Sobel has banned wolves from being present at of these inspections, because no wolf in the pack sense or out, can tolerate the way Sobel interacts with their humans. His methods of chewing out have earned him threatening growls and in the end, Colonel Sink has had to step in and make a decision. The men can join their brothers and sisters on the runs, exercises and marches, but not if Sobel is going to be threatened again.
There has been rumbling, but the men trust Winters, therefore, Winters had to be the one telling his men to leave wolves in the compound, the orders from Colonel Sink, ignoring Sobel’s glares across the mess hall.
“Change into your PT gear, we’re running Currahee!” Dick has to sigh, but still turns around and dismisses his platoon.
Currahee doesn’t bother him. It is the endless torturing hours of night marches in full pack and the petty things Sobel finds, to take away their weekend passes and punish the guys. He is aware, that it has made the guys in Easy bond closer together, wolfbrothers or not. Even though the wolfless men cannot tune into the pack sense, they are almost a pack within a pack, and nobody gets treated any different.
Now, the guys from other companies are fair game.
The wolves are anxious, pack wound up so tight, it could snap anytime. It comes down to officers to keep the guys in check. The wolf corps training is tough and hard, and Winters is sure, he will never forget anything from it.
“I ain’t goin’ up that hill,” Frank Perconte says, sitting down on his bed his wolf, Mint by his side.
Mint is one of the smallest wolves in the company. He mirrors Frank’s own small stature, but their personalities are equally bubbly. He is one of the most well-liked guys in Easy, therefore, nobody messed with Mint, even if he is a runt. Besides, nobody can outrun Perconte on an obstacle course, except maybe for Winters, if he decides to make it a competition.
Johnny Martin’s death glare doesn’t bother Frank at all. He refuses to feel guilty for the punishment, no more than anybody else. They all know Sobel’s a son of a bitch. No, wait, no offence to bitches, thank you very much.
“Come on, PT formation, let’s move, move, move!” Lipton’s voice booms from the doorway and men and wolves hit the dirt track, up the mountain again.
For bystanders it might have look like an odd column of guys, accompanied by wolves.
Military wolves are muscular, powerfully built creatures, re-introduced to the military at the beginning of the war. In-between conflicts there is little for them to do, and during the depression, the government couldn’t afford to keep wolfthreat in the strength of the old times.
Germans had been smarter, utilizing their knowledge about wolfthreat and using these wolves from the start of Hitler’s advances. Their beliefs about the Aryan ancestors and Nordic mythology went hand in hand with the legends and myths about the wolfthreat troll hunts of the old times.
America and other allies have some serious catching up to do.
“Sobel’s a genius,” Lewis Nixon says in the mess hall the morning after yet another wave of punishments.
“Lew, Beethoven was a genius,” Dick says, shaking his head and feeding Peace, his red haired wolf a bit of the questionable meat from his plate.
Nixon snorts, his own black wolf mirroring Lew’s amusement in the pack sense. Lew’s wolf, Whiskey is as flamboyant as his human, but Peace had taken an instant liking to Whiskey and Dick drifted towards Nixon in an almost subconscious manner. These two couldn’t be more different.
Easy sticks together through thick and thin, brawling it out and patching each other up afterwards. Dick takes a bit of time every day to observe his men.
Loud mouthed Joe Liebgott and his dark haired wolf, Assher share the same personality traits. They never back down from a challenge.
He’s friends with Shifty Powers and Floyd Talbert and their wolves. Shifty is a soft spoken man, a crack shot. His sister, Eveningstar, is always focused, attentive. Even though she tends to mirror Shifty, she cares deeply for the pack and the pack cares as much for her. Nobody messes with Shifty Powers.
Floyd also has a sister, Dagger. She’s sand colored and has a litter of pups, that Floyd looks after, before they are bonded with the soldiers.
Breeding is always a big deal. It is something that wolfless men will never understand, but it happens. Once a year a bitch will go into heat and the breeding will take place in a secluded location. Now, that the war is on in full swing, the new generation of pups comes in twice as strong.
Joe Toye and Bill GUarnere tend to give Winters grief. They are strong and loyal in training and pack sense, but they tend to resolve things with fists. As do their brothers.
George Luz is the comedian of the company. IF there is anybody who can pick up their spirits, is George. Him and Dusty, his silver companion, are always there to cause mischief.
Then there is the trio.
Malarkey, Muck and Penkala. Dick doesn’t even know where to begin. He usually puts the thought about them in the back of his head unless he has to deal with their antics.
Their ranks are not the biggest in the military, but Winters regards each and every one of them, wolfbrother or no, to be a valuable part of this company.
Winters has stopped counting the times Sobel has gotten lost. That man cannot read a map. It frustrates the men and the wolves who could show him, if he let them. The frustration rumbles through the pack sense, and the men grab their brothers and sisters by their fur and hold on. This is not their fight.
Lewis is not convinced when they have a chat about it in the barracks, ready to move out.
“We just keep training the men,” Dick is firm on his opinion and Nixon shrugs.
"I'm I interrupting?" a voice jumps in.
"No, no." Winters says. "Lt. Lewis Nixon, Lt. Harry Welsh, just in from the 82nd".
"Congratulations on your promotion," Welsh says and his sister rumbles under her breath.
To Nixon, they both resemble lepricahuns, but them being in the military is just a rumor. Nixon doesn't dismiss the idea. He instantly likes the guy, though. Welsh has been busted down for fighting a couple of times and that sits well with Lew.
"What's up?" Winters steer the conversation.
"I hear a lot of rumblings," Welsh says and his hand tightens in his sister's fur.
"Who, Sobel? We were just talking about that," Nixon supplies, offering the other men half a grin.
"So, he gets jumpy in the field".
"He gets jumpy and you get killed".
"Yeah, listen, if we're discussing this, we should keep it between ourselves," Dick says.
It has to be kept out of the pack sense. The possibility of wolves turning feral if they disagree strongly on something looms clearly in his mind. They cannot afford it at this stage. It has to be kept strictly among the human officers. His brother disagrees, but Dick just shakes his head at Peace.
We have to obey out commanding officers, he says. There is no other way.
Peace and Whiskey both look almost offended by the notion.
Aldbourne and Upottery, England 1943-1944
Travelling to England is long and tedious. Everybody hates it. The wolves are restless and tired, even though they try to move around as much as it is possible in the crammed space. There are too many people to properly exercise, so wolves move almost constantly to keep their legs working and tire themselves out. They are not used to being on the water for such long periods of time, and their brothers are concerned. The close quarters feel almost like captivity and the pack, used to the vast open spaces of Toccoa, feels almost trapped. Humans know how to deal with it, but for their brothers and sisters it is not as easy. Winters just prays that no bitch goes into heat, because that could easily turn way too messy. It doesn't, and when they finally touch down in England, he breathes a sigh of relief.
Aldbourne is a quiet British town, not really seeing much action. It now has American troops living with the residents, who are all right with it, but the wolves have to be quartered separately, and they clearly dislike the separation.
Sobel and the common sense doesn’t change. It just now comes under even more scrutiny than before. Winters has to work twice as hard to keep Peace from snapping at Sobel. Whiskey, on the other hand, seems almost bore by Sobel's antics and keeps Nixon company at the Battalion.
The shit starts really rolling down hill when Winters puts himself up for the court martial procedure. But, actually, it's his own way of flipping Sobel off, not that he would ever admit steeping so low. He doesn't like swearing, but Herbert Sobel might have just earned a good streak of curses, muttered under breath. Dick decides to go for the court martial, because he is tired of the unreasonable demands and petty little rmarks coming his way.
The pack sense rumbles and rumbles and then boils over. The officers are unhappy, the wolves are unhappy, the men are outraged. Losing Winters to battalion mess is not acceptable. They take action, sitting around a table in their make shift HQ in a barn in England.
Dick feels the rumble go through the pack sense, but nobody reaches out to him, and he continues gis duties as a mess officer, even though Peace is pacing around, clearly in distress. Even the constant presence of Whiskey doesn't calm the alpha wolf down. There is, once again, nothing Dick can do, but wait and what is going on. The rebellion from his officers makes him secretly proud, but he doesn't think it is the right decision to make. They could all be shot for mutiny. He scolds them and their brothers and sisters, but the pack is once again at peace, ready for anything to come their way.
Not shot, though. Everybody breathes a big sigh of relief, even if one of the wolfless officers is trasfered out of company alltogether and Mike Ranney is busted down to private. But it has had the effect. Nobody knows the details, except for maybe Lew Nixon, but nobody cares. Sobel gets transferred.
They have trained hard and they are ready for the next step. Now they have to figure out how to jump out of airplanes. And then how to do that with their companion wolves strapped to them with all the additional gear.
The parachute training is the most exciting thing most of them had done in their lives.
They are going to invade Europe.