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Werewolf 23-Len

By Geraldle

Copyright © 2001

PROLOGUE-March 8,2003

Robby Hansen

"Edward, you're not abandoning me, are you? That makes me really sad." Robby said to me, sounding incredibly sorrowful.

"I'll still be available Robby, it's just that I have the whole southeast to worry about and the Council thought I was spending so much time on you that it might be a good idea, if you had your own contact in Benson, who you can go through." I said, trying to reassure him.

He laughed and said, "Gotcha, Edward. Actually I thought the last time I saw you, you looked awfully tired, so I made the suggestion to the Council that they have a doctor see you and give me my own contact, to take some of the burden off of you, and to act as your assistant."

I said, "You little brat. I heard that Ron Jansen, felt like giving you a spanking after you added Jamling to his family. I'll hold you down so he can do a good job." Robby just laughed, and I was relieved. It's awfully hard at times to remember that he's an Elder, and can literally think his way around me when he chooses.

"I already have a candidate in mind, Edward. You ran a background check on him. Leonard M. Peters. Enlisted in navy in 1989. Navy Seal, served in the Gulf war. Switched to Navy Intelligence after the war, and was there until the end of his stay in the Navy. For the last four years, he's been a counselor in Los Angeles for the police department, and for the last two years, he's been exclusively dealing with children. He enjoyed his job, but he's getting to the age when he would like to have children, so he came home to start with, since this area has more werewolves than any other single place."

"He's Rose Peters' nephew, oldest son of her oldest brother, who's a thorough bastard. Nobody can get along with him, and Len was no exception. When he came home three weeks ago, he stuck it out for a week, and since then he's been camping in the woods behind our place, before deciding whether to move on, or to find a place to stay. Since he's family and we have a big house, Edward, there used to be eight bedrooms on the second floor, and there are still six. With Mom's permission, I thought I'd invite him to stay with us until he either decides to find a place of his own, or gets married. I just have one more test before I offer him the job. We'll see how he reacts to be being attacked by a bunch of were kids."

"You're going to attack an ex-Navy Seal. Are you out of your mind, Robby?" Edward said incredulously.

"Take it easy, Edward. He knows that it's going to be kids. I've had the others watching him for the last ten days, and it hasn't seemed to disturb him any. I want to know if he has a sense of humor, Edward. After all he's going to be working with me." Robby said.

I had to laugh at that last bit. A sense of humor was absolutely essential when working with Robby, over any period of time.

ONE

Len Peters

They were good, for kids, There seemed to be eight of them altogether, though two of them never came anywhere near my camp, but doing a sweep I'd seen eight sets of small footprints, six came in close to the camp, the other two never came near. I could feel six of them right now and they were moving in much closer, obviously they intended to attack. I figured they were werewolf kids having some fun. I abruptly found out that there were seven of them. One of them was much, much better than the rest and I hadn't picked him up at all. The first warning I had was when he tackled me around the knees.

I defy anyone if taken by surprise, to stay upright when tackled around the knees, by someone who knows how. And I was no exception. I had a little time to pick a direction, and I was careful not to fold backward and land on the one who tackled me. Once I hit the ground I was swarmed under by the other six. I admired the way they negated my superior strength. I could have done something at the beginning by just falling on my tackler, but now I was helpless.

The littlest one, he must have been about five, was sitting on my chest, "I been 'lected, to welcome you back home."

I couldn't help laughing, "You call this a welcome?"

"A course, you're a werewolf too, you know how rough we play." he said seriously, and he was right, I did. This is just the type of welcome, I'd gotten from my brothers and sisters, the one and only time I went to summer camp.

"All right, everyone off," said the one who had tackled me, and as fast as they had attacked me they got off of me and then they sat in a semi-circle facing me, with legs crossed. I sat down to face them. Looking at them, I wondered. I figured they were all were, but I was sure for some reason that they weren't all werewolves. I was somewhat surprised when the littlest one got up, came, and sat of my lap. Two of them had green eyes, but one was a carrot top and the other had reddish blond hair and he said, "Barry's feeling a little insecure at the moment. My Mom has a baby due in a month or so, so he's trying to get as much cuddling as he can, just in case." There was humor in that young voice, but also understanding.

He put two fingers in his mouth, and I tensed a little. I'd known people who could blast you out of your socks with that type of whistle. It was loud but not too bad, so I relaxed, but from the twinkle in his eyes I got the impression, that if he wanted to, he was one of those people.

The two remaining members, a girl and a boy, showed up, and the boy had a wheelbarrow, with a cooler on it. They both had dark skin and they looked a lot alike so I figured they were brother and sister. A large black and gray tabby cat followed them.

The one who done all of the talking so far stood up, "Before we get to the goodies, I'll introduce everyone. Since I'm the most important I..." The boy sitting next to him swept his legs our from under him, but unlike me he didn't try to avoid falling on top of his attacker, and they began rolling around, wrestling, giggles coming from both of them. One of the two mid-size boys stood up, and he turned his back on the rest of us.

The dark girl nudged the second mid-size boy, jerked her finger over her shoulder, and then pointed at the boy on my lap. Hurriedly they moved apart. Just in time, "'Scuse me." said the little boy on my lap, glee in his voice, as he got up and launched himself at the other boy, tackling him around the waist.

The girl sighed, "Barry just loves it when Teddy does a dumb thing like that. I'll continue the introductions, they're going to be busy for a few minutes." and then she giggled. "The one talking to you at the beginning is Robby Hansen, and from the way I understand it, your grandfather is his great, great uncle on his mother's side. As you saw, he has green eyes and reddish blond hair. The one he's wrestling with is Gary Wilson with the brown hair and gray eyes, I guess he would be classed as Robby's cousin, sorta anyway. Teddy Hansen, he's the blond haired boy, and he has blue eyes, Barry Hansen-White is the littlest of the Hansen's and he was adopted."

"Lyle Swanson, who's probably itching to get in on the action, is our carrot top and he has green eyes as well. He's one of Lily Swanson's sons, so he's your first cousin. All of them are werewolves."

"The two dark ones, with brown hair and eyes, are Gypsys, and they're brother and sister. Wil and Cary Wilkins. Angelo, with the very light blond hair and blue eyes is Merfolk, and is in the process of being adopted by Steve and Carrie Ross, who have already adopted me, and I'm Jenna Ross. As you can see I have black hair and eyes, and am at least partly Native American, and I'm Sasquatch."

"Without even turning around, I can tell that by now Robby is sitting on top of Gary, or getting close. Robby's the best wrestler here. Teddy is a couple of years older than Barry so he usually wins, but Barry's so small that he can be slippery and hard to hold so quite often he manages a draw."

I asked, "Do you ever get involved."

She batted her eyes in false innocence, "Me, get involved in a rough sport like wrestling... Of course. I can beat everyone except for Robby, on a regular basis and I even beat him occasionally. Wil and Cary are smart enough to stay out of either football or wrestling. By the way, I hope you like cats because Blue is about to introduce himself."

The black and gray cat sat in front of me and offered me his right paw. Incredulously I shook it. *Hello Leonard Peters. Do you mind if I call you Len?* I shook my head, he couldn't really be using mind speech with me, could he?"

Jenna answered me, "If you think you're imagining that he's talking to you, you aren't. He's not really a cat and when it comes to mind speech he can speak to any were in were form, when they're in human form he speaks through Robby, and that way he can talk to any were, whether they're in were form or not." I should have paid more attention to what she said then.

Gary and Robby were getting up, and as Jenna had said, Robby had ended up sitting on Gary and winning, Teddy was just getting into the same position, and the younger two boys got up as well. They helped brush each other off.

TWO

Robby opened the cooler. He pulled out a can of beer, "One Bud Light. Paul said if it wasn't your favorite, you'd make do." he handed it to me, and then passed out sodas, and then sandwiches, "Four roast beef sandwiches, for you Len Peters. Three each for the rest of us. Rose is responsible for cooking the roast, so you don't have to worry that I had anything to do with them."

"Who is Paul?" Having had Aunt Rose's roast beef sandwiches before I knew they would be delicious, and they were. Tender moist, and yummy.

"Paul Wilson, he's my stepfather, you went to school together, and you were both Navy Seals together, that's why Jenna said Gary was sorta my cousin, Paul is actually a cousin of his father's but Gary's grandfather adopted him when his parents were killed so he's Gary's uncle." said Robby. He took a couple of small cat dishes out of the cooler, and putting some cut up roast beef in one and put it on the ground, and Blue attacked it. There was no other word for it. He held out the other cat dish, "Do you mind sharing your beer?" I must have looked at him strangely, he shrugged, "He's not really a cat as Jenna said, he's actually about twice as old as I am, and if he wants to drink beer that's up to him. Not too much though."

I had heard of animals who liked beer, and alcohol and even tobacco, so I matched his shrug and poured a little of my beer into the dish and Robby put it down. And then went over and sat down with the others, to eat. Blue had finished his attack on the food and it was gone, but he didn't attack the beer. He lapped at it gently and with obvious enjoyment, closing his eyes in pleasure, then he opened them, *Bud Light has such a nice piquant taste, at least to a cat.*

"Blue says he's a cat and Jenna said he wasn't really a cat. Which is it?" I asked with curiosity.

Robby answered me, and I realized with shock that he hadn't stopped eating, and remembered what Jenna had said, that Blue talked through him. *He's a witch's familiar. When the Elves left, the witch's also left, and they took the race of familiars with them. He's born of cat, but he's a sport, that occurs a few times in a century, that hearkens back to that period.*

I had to think about this, so I started on my second sandwich, chewing slowly, washing it down with a bit of beer. "You're an Elder, aren't you? Only they can use mind speech in human form."

"That's true now, but two hundred years ago, when Healers were common they could also use mind-speech when in human form. The last of the Healers died out a hundred years ago. Until now. It's true that I'm an Elder, but I'm also a Healer, and I can go far deeper into the mind than an Elder ever dreamed of, and do things that Elders can only envy."

"Lyle, you were at the wedding, may I borrow your memories of that event?" The carrot topped boy nodded, with his mouth full.

Robby closed his eyes, obviously to concentrate, and after a few seconds, incredibly the scene in the forest disappeared, and I was at a wedding. It felt like I was really there. Like many werewolf wedding it was outdoors. I saw a woman I recognized as Harriet Galbraithe, no I knew she had married Richard Hansen, son of the doctor, being walked down the aisle by a limping Robby. When they reached the platform on which the minister and the groom were, I recognized a very happy Paul Wilson. From there things jumped ahead, and through Lyle's eyes I saw the Reverend make his way toward the platform, and through Lyle's memory I knew his name was Swenson.

He turned on the microphone. He began speaking, "Some of you have perhaps noticed that the only humans left here are Gypsys. Well we have another ceremony to perform today, and it has nothing to do with the wedding it concerns our people, werewolves. Would the Elders please join me on the platform."

Two men and two women got up and walked to the platform, one man and women standing on either side of Swenson. He continued, "We have been watching this one since he was born, for many of his ancestors have been Elders. We know when one of our own uses the Death Chant, and less than half a dozen have called on it in the last fifty years, and he is the only one to survive. We ask him to become a new Elder."

Without being called, Robby stood up and made his way to the platform. He stood facing them, and after looking at each of them in turn and bowing, Softly he gave an answer, "I accept, knowing the responsibilities that will now be mine. I will not shirk my duties, knowing at times I will have to judge my own kind."

He bowed his head again, and the five reached out and put their hands on his head. After a few moments, Robby turned to face his people, he bowed, and they bowed back.

Suddenly I was back in the woods. I looked at Robby, impressed more by the fact that he had used the Death Chant and survived, than by the fact that he was an Elder. All werewolves could use the Death Chant, only a few could become Elders. Obviously he was still in my mind, he smiled wryly, "It was very close." He pulled down the neck of his T shirt and I could see a scar very close to his jugular vein. "I had five other bites that came as close to killing me." he said, matter-of-factly.

"As for the Healing, that came as a gift, I'll show you sometime what happened." he said. "It's a dominant trait, and our people don't intend to lose it again. They are hopeful that I will survive long enough to have lots and lots of children, but just in case, they have samples of my cells, hidden in our labs all across the world, and if I die young, they will have absolutely no objection to using cloning to preserve that gift."

THREE

They were finished eating, as was I, and were finishing off their sodas. Teddy bounced to his feet, and going over to the cooler, he got out a second Bud Light and suddenly Blue was in my lap, purring. As Teddy offered it to me I looked down at the cat, "You don't intend to get off until I give you some more, do you?"

*True. I found this works very well with Paul.* he told me.

With resignation, I poured a little more beer in his bowl, and he abandoned me instantly. Looking at Robby, I said, "You're not the type to brag, for the sake of bragging. Exactly why have you been telling me all this?"

"Edward Franco is the principal werewolf contact in the southeastern US. Contact doesn't really describe what he does. He is an arranger. Elders get in touch with him and he arranges things they need. From simple things to very complex things. The last time I saw him, he looked awfully tired. I contacted the Council and they had one of their doctor's look at him. He's not really ill, just tired, so we want to take some of the pressure off of him. I want to offer you a job, partly as his assistant. It pays fifty thousand dollars a year, AFTER taxes."

I was impressed, while fifty thousand didn't sound like a lot, if it was after taxes and I was sure that Robby knew what he was talking about, it was pretty good pay. "You said partly as his assistant, what else do I have to do?"

"Help me," said Robby, and, "Before you ask, with what, I'll tell you a little of what I've been up to in the last few months. I had to go to Florida to find Jenna, kidnap her from a werewolf minister who was holding her captive. Edward had to alter all the computer records in Florida, to show that Jenna was actually a cousin of Steve Ross's, that's one of the thing he arranges, new backgrounds. Replace a corrupt were jaguar Elder in Prescott. To do that I had to find a way to create a new Elder to take his place. To do that I had to go to Mexico, and in the last month I've been to Nepal twice, the last time we had to bring a child out. That's another thing that Edward does, puts pressure on the state department when necessary, through various important contacts. Congressmen, Senators, lobbyists and the like."

"The Council considers me the primary expert on weres other than werewolves, and I guess I am. I have absolutely no idea now where I might end up going in the next six months. Nepal is a very real possibility again. On top of that as I said I'm a Healer, and I get one or two patients a week, at the beginning it was more like two or three but it seems to have tapered off."

"Since you're family anyway, my mother and Paul have given me permission to offer you a bedroom at our house, for as long as you want. Your dossier indicates that you like kids. Well if you accept you have to realize that all of the kids here, as well as others are in and out all day on the weekends and after school the rest of the time."

I was seriously considering it, the thought of kids around all the time wasn't daunting. I had a lot of brothers and sisters, so I was used to it. "One other thing." Robby said slyly, and I looked up at him. "You'll probably have to chauffeur me around occasionally, so you have complete access to a mini-van,"

"Doesn't sound great, however the mini-van has been worked on. It has a high performance engine in it, and it's been roll stabilized, so that it isn't affected by the wind as a normal van or mini-van is. The body has been replaced by high tech fiber composites so that itís bullet proof. In order to roll stabilize it, a lot of extra weight has been added down at the bottom, so that if someone wants to run us off the road, they'd better have something with a bit of weight to it. It's not as fast as a sportscar, but it'll do one-forty or even a little more on a nice long straight, and we know you had several high performance vehicle courses when you were in Navy Intelligence, and you've done a bit of racing.

That sealed the deal as far as I was concerned, I loved high performance vehicles, and the chance to drive one on a regular basis even if I couldn't let it out was intoxicating. I looked at Robby and he winked at me. *I saved that for last. I wanted you to make up your mind before, I brought it up.*

I thought back at him, *I hadn't made up my mind completely.*

*Close enough.* said Robby, *Close enough.*

He said out loud, "Is there anything in your gear that you consider private?"

"No." I said, with curiosity.

"Then the rest of the gang can pack your stuff and move it to my place, if you don't object. I want you to see a little of what I do." Robby said.

"I have no objection. From the sounds of things from now on I'm going to have a lot of secrets, but I don't right now." I said.

FOUR

I heard the sound of packing up behind us as we headed toward Seamus Riley's farm. I had been getting my water from him for the last couple of weeks. "Seamus is a Gypsy and they're the only humans who always know werewolves. They can see our auras like an Elder can, though they can't see the auras of other weres. Angelo's is so light and delicate that most Elder's can't see his aura either."

"Today you're going to see me do some Healing, or at least try, but from what I've seen of young Davy Thomas, it doesn't look like a serious problem. Davy's eight and he had a normal werewolf childhood, from the time he was just under three until he was six and a half, and then he just stopped changing, and he's been unable to learn how to change by himself."

"Blue will show you what's happening, as Jenna said he uses part of my mind that I'm not using, to translate and keep track of what I'm doing." he grinned, "The other kids would say all of it. He can do that as long as I'm within about ten miles of him. For really serious problems, as a witch's familiar he can give me extra power which he skims off from me daily and stores, and also he can help me do things that I can't do normally. We don't know exactly what that entails yet aside from the fact that I can see the virtue in herbs and drugs, and I can see where even trace elements of drugs are, and tell whether they're harmful or not."

"Jenna is a Dream Caster, something the Sasquatch thought was lost as well. Once they communicated between far flung communities of Sasquatch. Through her dreams she can contact others, unfortunately we don't know of any other Sasquatch Dream Casters. When I was given the gift of Healing, I could see the dreams, but they were very faint, after I bonded with Blue in San Francisco and came home, what she sent was amplified, and I could actually communicate a little. Enough to know her name and about where she was. So we went down and got her."

He waved at Seamus Riley, who was sitting on a lawn chair, taking in the sun, and Seamus waved back. "We've turned Seamus's barn into a clinic, and a couple of hotel like rooms where people can stay, and as the Healer I'm in charge. If there are any questions asked I'll answer them, so please ignore any questions that might be asked of you that relate to what I do. Mainly, because for now you don't know what I do or how I do it."

*****

It wasn't really set up much like a clinic, there were two rooms as Robby had said, somewhat like full service hotel rooms, each with two double beds, and a small kitchenette, and its own bathroom, plus an entertainment center. The rest just consisted of a comfortable room, the only incongruity was that there was a hospitable bed. There was oxygen available but no other drugs or medication. There was a comfortable waiting room which was part of that room itself. Robby said that he didn't do anything that couldn't be watched by anyone, but what he did was pretty boring and nobody could actually see what he did, unless Blue helped him or her.

He also said the hospitable bed was only to show that it was actually a clinic, sort of to make it official as it were. It reassured the adults to see it.

When he greeted the Thomas's he was warm and confident, but there was no doubting that he was in charge. He had the manner of an Elder, and that also seemed to reassure the Thomas adults. Davy was a shy black haired boy, a little small for his age, and he had a lack of confidence about him. I figured that was due to the fact that he wasn't able to change like his older brothers and sisters. The fact that he had older siblings came out in the talk that Robby had with him, after he took him over to the bed and sat him on the side of it,

Obviously, Robby was used to talking to children, he soon had Davy at ease and giggling. I heard a few elephant jokes in the conversation, as well as a few other jokes. Blue hopped up on the comfortable armchair that I was sitting on and sat in my lap, and he gave me a view of Robby's mind. It was no wonder he didn't care if anyone watched him. He was concentrating on Davy and he was no longer even aware that there was anyone else in the room.

Finally he had Davy lie down on the bed, and told him it that if he got sleepy it was fine if he went to sleep. Blue said to me, *I'll give you a view of the auras of the other werewolves in the room, and remember I'm showing you what Robby sees, so it will be much clearer than any Elder would see.*

He started with the Thomas's, and suddenly they seemed to be surrounded by a yellow light, it wasn't evenly placed, in some areas it was very light and almost invisible, and in other it was muddied and thick. *That's a normal werewolf. Yours is somewhat better, Robby says you have more potential than an ordinary werewolf, though not that of an Elder.*

My aura was more evenly distributed, there were no really thin areas and no really thick areas. *Now for Robby. This is what I see, so I don't know if it's exactly what he would see or not.* The difference between my aura and Robby's was incredible, his was much brighter, and it was clean and crisp, and it just gave you a sense of the power that his small body contained. *Now, last I'll show you what Robby is seeing in Davy's aura.* Davy's was much like his parents, but there was a reddish tinge running through it. *That is how a werewolf Healer knows that a problem exists, an Elder wouldn't even see the reddish tinge. Of course red isn't the only color that can show up, it's just the most common.*

He said very dryly as Robby had Davy lie down on the bed. *Now comes the exciting part.*

*Exciting?* from his tone I gathered it would be anything but.

*Yeah, like watching paint dry.* he said sarcastically. We watched as Robby ran his hands above Davy's body a couple of times and then stopped, and I saw their auras join together. Blue commented, *He passed his hands over Davy's body to locate the point of the strongest energy flow of Davy's body and now that he's found it he's going into a trance, and locking Davy into a trance as well. You won't see much now, but a bit of his magic is leaching slowly into Davy's body, and finding the areas that are blocking the ability to change. He can't actually do the change himself, he has to persuade Davy's body to do the changes. That's why it takes so long.*

*It's not something that you want to do very often, but watch closely, it shouldn't take much more than an hour. A more serious problem can take much longer, and I usually help in those instances, but with a case like this I could only lop off maybe five minutes, so it's not really worth it.* Blue said.

Obediently I watched closely, and as the hour passed I distinctly saw the red disappear from Davy's aura, and when Robby broke the trance the red was completely gone. Ten minutes later there was a black and white puppy on the bed and yapping with joy. Blue let me have a quick peek, and all four people, Robby included, were filled with ecstasy.

Robby let Davy have five minutes of fun and then he got back to work to get Davy to change back. Remembering, I knew that would take a while, and it would be hard. It took about twenty minutes, and Davy was wringing wet with sweat and trembling with the effort. Robby undressed him and toweled him dry, then redressed him in dry clothing.

When we left, Blue let me feel them one last time, and there was still joy, though it was a little more subdued, but there was also a feeling of peace coming from the three members of the Thomas family. Robby said goodbye to them, they would be leaving very soon, and unless something happened, he wouldn't need to see Davy again.

I felt something like awe, as we headed toward the woods and I asked him, "Davy was shaking with the effort, how much does it effect you?"

"For such a brief period, it actually seems to give me additional energy, but when I healed Gary, soon after I got the gift it took fourteen hours to persuade his body to make the required changes, and they had to carry me home and I slept most of the time for the next two or three days." Robby said, his voice serene, obviously what he had just done had been a very satisfying experience, and no wonder.

"What else can you do?" I asked.

"You'll see one of the things when we get home." he said mysteriously.

FIVE

The other kids were playing football when we got to the Hansen-Wilson house, all that is except for Wil and Cary who were sitting on the porch and playing chess. I wasn't really surprised that it was full tackle, and how hard they were hitting, since I was from a werewolf family myself. What did surprise me was that Angelo who had looked so fragile was hitting and getting hit as hard as the others, so obviously his fragility was deceptive.

As we passed though the porch, Robby said, "None of the rest of us play chess, though from your dossier, I understand you're pretty good, so you can probably give them a good game some time." He gave a wave and they both waved absently back, concentrating pretty intently on the game.

We entered the kitchen, where my Aunt Rose was doing the cooking, humming at the same time. Robby said, "She doesn't hum too badly, you probably know how bad a singer she is."

She turned around, and pointed a spoon at him, "If you want to eat tonight, no insults even if they're true." When she turned around, I realized with astonishment that she was pregnant.

"Five months," said Robby, "but she's expecting twins so she looks closer to being due than she is. That's another thing I can do as a Healer. If the problem has to do with being a werewolf, I can help werewolf couples have children." He smiled at Rose and she gave him a tender smile back, before she swept me into her arms and gave me a big hug.

After releasing me she said, "Welcome to the household, Len. I'm not usually here on weekends, but Robby's Mom is working today." and looking at her watch, she said, "and since it's three-thirty, and the bank closes at three on Saturdays, Paul should be home in about half an hour. and he'll take over from me while I go home and get our supper."

She said dryly, "I know you don't work for me, but I'm assigning you the task of keeping Robby well away from anything to do with cooking, except for the microwave. I don't know if what he cooks is actually poisonous, nobody's ever dared try anything he cooked to find out, not even Robby."

As we headed for the stairs, Robby said, "Unfortunately, it's absolutely true." He shrugged with good humor.

At the top of the stairs, he pointed down the hallway. "At the end is the master bedroom. It used to be two rooms, but it was made into one, I think by the first of our ancestors to occupy this house. That means they don't need a separate room for a nursery. There are five other bedrooms on this floor, plus the computer room which used to be a bedroom."

"Teddy, Barry and I occupy the second one on the left away from the Master bedroom, and you and the computer room are at this end, the bathroom is right next door to you. There's a second bathroom downstairs that has just been expanded into a full bathroom, with a tub and a shower as well as a toilet."

He opened the door to what was now to be my bedroom. It was a good sized house and all of the bedrooms were a nice size, unlike some modern houses. "I hope you like old, because all the furniture is old fashioned. Your tent and sleeping bag have been put in the attic, and the rest of your stuff is in or around the bed, until you decide where to put it. It's got good closet space, and two bureaus."

SIX

He opened the opposite door, to what he called the computer room, and there was a total of five computers. From the chairs at two of them, I assumed that they were Barry and Teddy's, which Robby confirmed. "Mom and Paul share the third one, but they both have laptops. The other two are yours and mine."

All the chairs were very comfortable, unlike many home computer chairs and he said, "Grab a chair." and he took one and Blue jumped up and sat in his lap. Not sure exactly what was going on, I took another.

He said, "Comp Two up." and one of the computer monitors turned on, with Windows on the screen, "These computers are only a couple of months old and they're almost totally controlled by voice. Of course they can be used with the keyboard as well and you might want to establish keyboard passwords just in case something happens to the voice system."

"Voice Print recorder on, Secondary User activation. Just start talking Len, first give your name and what you prefer to be called, and then give a good sample of your voice, that's how it's protected. It's ignoring my voice because it's already been recorded, as the Primary User."

I cleared my throat, "Leonard Michael Peters, Len, and for a sample, well if it was good enough for Thomas Edison, it's good enough for me. 'Mary had a little lamb, it's fleece was white as snow, and everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go.'"

<Activation of Secondary User complete. Transmitting.>

I looked at Robby and raised my eyebrow. "It's transmitting your voice print throughout our entire network, so that you can log on."

<Transmission complete, all network responses received. Full activation complete.>

Robby said, "Browser activate. Goto stephenkingfiction.com, forum Cycle of the Werewolf, Bypass."

I asked, "Your idea?"

He looked at me reprovingly, then giggled, "No, someone else, with a weird sense of humor."

A white screen came up on the monitor, and the computer voice spoke, <Yes Elder, how may we help you?> Simultaneously the same thing was printed on the screen.

"If you don't want the computer to answer out loud all you have to do is say Mute preceded by Comp, and then to reverse it use the same command." Robby said, "Comp, send, Just introducing Edward's new assistant to the computer capabilities." That was also repeated on the screen except for the first two words.

<Very well, Elder>

"So, Len is there something that you'd desperately like to know?" I thought for a few seconds.

"Well, there's a friend of mine when I was in Navy Intelligence. Thomas Whit, we had a bet on a football game and I lost, but I was on assignment at the time, by the time I returned he'd been separated, so I still owe him a hundred bucks."

"Comp Mute. Query, whereabouts of Thomas Whit, former Navy Intelligence."

A picture of Thomas came up on the screen, but I felt a hollow feeling in my chest, above the picture, it said DECEASED, and it gave a date and the date Feb 28, 2003 barely a week old. It gave his statistics. He was six feet six inches tall and weighed over two hundred and sixty pounds.

Robby tensed, as he explained later he was getting one of his feelings that something was wrong, and they were seldom wrong. His voice showed his trepidation. "Query, how did Thomas Whit die?"

'Murder. Gunshot wounds, two to the chest.'

"Query, show any murders that occurred using the same gun?"

'None.'

"Query, show any murders of males killed in the last ten years over six feet six inches tall, and over two hundred and fifty pounds, in the mid or far west."

'Twenty-eight'

"Query, list similarities.

'Seven.' and it listed seven names. They'd all been killed with gunshot wounds to the chest.

"Comp, put pictures on the big screen." said Robby.

Suddenly the wall behind the computer lit up, which startled me. I hadn't realized that it was a screen, and seven pictures appeared. I saw one thing right away, and so did Robby.

"Comp, Eliminate all names of persons who did not attend Stanhope College." Three of the pictures disappeared.

"Query. Display pictures on big screen of all people murdered who attended Stanhope College, during the same time period, 1987 to 1990."

Five additional pictures appeared on the big screen, two more men and three women.

"Query, any similarities between the murders?"

'All were shot in the chest.'

"Query, where did murders occur?"

Edmonton 1 1994

Elliot 1 2003

Portland 2 1997, 2002

San Francisco 1 1998

Seattle 2 1999, 2001

Vancouver 1 2000

"Comp One up." Robby's voice was really strained now, and I was just as tense, we had just discovered a serial killer, Robby was obviously in my mind, because he said, "I think it's worse than that. I think they're all Sasquatch."

"Comp One conference call, Sheriff Ron Jansen, Barnaby Ross, Hary Hansen and Norm Peters, and a Sasquatch Elder in the Canadian prairie provinces."

<Ron Jansen, on line>

<Hary Hansen and Norm Peters on line>

<Barnaby Ross on line>

<Pierre Michel on line>

"Hello, everybody, there are a total of seven people on line, right now. My name is Robby Hansen. Only one of you doesn't know me. Barney we also have a Pierre Michel from Canada. Please assure him that I'm legit."

"Hello, Pierre, I don't know what this is about, but Robby is a werewolf Elder and also a Healer." said Barnaby.

"Okay, Barney. If you're lying I can always break your arm." Pierre said with humor.

"With me is Len Peters. I'll start with you Ron, since you're the most recent. One week ago a Thomas Whit was murdered, two gunshot wounds to the chest. Was he Sasquatch?" Robby asked.

"Yes he was Robby. How did you even know of his death, it has local interest but, I didn't think it had made the national papers." said Ron.

"Len owed him one hundred dollars on a football bet and since we were trying out the system, he asked for the location of Thomas Whit. Everything important that happens in the US is flagged and entered into our database." Robby said. "Pierre, you're next, and you're the oldest, close to ten years, a Paul Rousseau was shot in the chest, in 1994. Was he also one of your people?"

"Yes, he was Robby, he was a good friend." said Michel.

"Barney, there's a total of six in your area of interest, 1 in San Francisco, 2 in Portland, 2 in Seattle, and 1 in Vancouver. Three were woman, and three were men. The first was six years ago, the last eight months ago, I don't think I'm going out on a limb in saying that they were all Sasquatch."

"Yes you're right, Robby. Some of them I wouldn't have even have heard about except that they died by violence. We have a serial killer." Ross said.

"A very unusual serial killer for a were. A few months ago, we had a rogue werewolf, he was a serial killer, and I terminated him," Robby said, matter of factly. "I talked to my grandfather afterwards, and he's a Werewolf Historian, and we had an interesting discussion. I also had an interesting discussion about rogues and serial killers with you Barney."

"Serial killers, are not common among our peoples but they do occur. In every case that has occurred in modern times, with modern weapons readily available, they've never been used. The were has always relied on the old fashioned weapon, his own body. Well my people are a little more bloodthirsty than Sasquatch, but in the last one hundred and fifty years, there have been nine of my people and seven of yours. Sixteen in total. Those who killed exclusively their own kind. Three of each."

"All of a sudden Barney, there is an additional potential serial killer, and this one goes completely against the pattern. He/she is using a gun. Another thing about this one, all the deceased attended Stanhope College, though not all graduated, they were there at the same time. That's why I've got you and Mom on the line, Norm. Carrie Ross attended Stanhope College during the same time period."

"We'll set up the plan that Edward and you devised, to cover the Ross family, Robby." Norm said.

"Thanks, Norm, Mom. That's all for now. I'll be going to Colorado so I'll see you when I get back. Barney, Pierre, you're going to have to get a list of the people from those years, and see if you can find out how many are your people. I don't envy your task. You do know that they'll most likely be in their thirties or older and that's about it." and he gave the exact dates.

"This is the full list, I'll go by place, Paul Rousseau, Edmonton, Thomas Whit, Elliot, Terrence Philips, Portland, Marie Sales, Portland, Annie Regent, San Francisco, Trevor Potts, Seattle, Teresa Yance, Seattle, and David Sears, Vancouver. I'll talk to you Barney, Pierre, I don't know if we'll talk again or not, but I'm sorry it had to be under these circumstances. Bye."

"Ron, the murder is only a week old so I assume the crime scene is still sealed. Can I get a look at it?" Robby said.

"I assume you'll be bringing Blue?" Ron said

"Yes, I'll also be bringing Len Peters, the Council felt there should be a full time contact in Benson, and he'll also be helping the primary werewolf contact in the southeast." Robby said. "I don't know how soon I'll be there, but it'll be tonight sometime. Bye."

"Goodbye, Robby, see you tonight." Ron said.

"Comp One, contact, Sam Reynolds." Robby said.

<Sam Reynolds contacted>

"Reynolds," said a gruff voice.

"It's Robby, Sam. Is the Lear anywhere close to Prescott?"

"It's in Prescott, Robby. Since Alameda doesn't have a family and she's an old fashioned girl, she felt that Gerardo Cepeda, should act as her father in this matter, so we're in discussion, so to speak." Reynolds said.

"I won't ask you why, but I think I can guess," said Robby suppressed humor in his voice, "Can I borrow the Lear?"

"It's all yours. I'll tell Jeannie." and I heard a click, of a phone being hung up.

"Sam doesn't like saying goodbye, and since he and his two brothers are worth about five hundred million dollars between them, he can get away with it." Robby said, with humor. "Comp One contact Joey Gallo."

<Andrea Gallo on line>

"Andrea, Robby Hansen, is Joey available, I just need a helicopter ride into the city." he said.

"Sure, Robby, in fact he's out at the airport, taking care of his baby, he might even be in the air. I'll give him a call. You want to be picked up at Seamus's." she said.

"Yes, I do, thanks. I'll see you. Bye Andrea." said Robby.

"Bye, Robby." she said.

"Andrea is Edward Franco's niece, and she's also married to Joey Gallo. who owns a nightclub in Prescott. When it became necessary to retrieve her from Julius Gallo, we liberated a helicopter from him. We were unable to return it as we first intended, so I gave it to Joey as a wedding present, since he's a helicopter pilot."

"Comp Two inform contact, that we'll be going to Elliot, Colorado. Logoff. Shut down. It doesn't really shut down," he said to me, "it just goes into suspend mode, without removing the power to it, or if there's something wrong with it, it literally can't be turned off. Comp One shut down. You just have to use Comp and it'll respond to that, but since I'm the primary user of both machines I have to be more specific."

"I've got a bag which I keep packed all the time, but then again as a kid I don't need a heck of a lot. Though, I'm going to have to add some cold weather gear. As an adult you need junk like shaving gear and all that type of stuff, so it might be a good idea to make up a bag with duplicate items so all you have to do is pick it up and go. I hope you have some cold weather gear?" I assured him that I did, being an avid skier.

SEVEN

I was still pretty accustomed to traveling light, and it only took me five minutes to pack my additional stuff, my cold weather gear had never been unpacked. Robby said not to bother with formal clothes. If they were needed, we would buy them. Obviously, Joey Gallo was in the air, because he called Robby on his cell phone less than a half-hour later. In that time Robby handed out a few more goodies. A Federal firearms license good in all fifty-one states. Three credit cards and I was staggered when he told me the credit limit on each was pegged at one million dollars. He also carried the same credit cards with the same credit limit. New drivers license, which now listed my occupation as security agent, which meant a glorified bodyguard. That was so that I could get the firearms license.

He said the firm Ricard's Security, that I was now purported to belong to actually existed, and I would be paid through them, and it was entirely made up of weres. Up to a few months ago they were all werewolves, but since then they had started taking Sasquatch and a few jaguar weres. In fact, I remembered hearing about it when I was in Naval Intelligence, and it was considered one of the top agencies of its type around.

He called a conference of all of the kids, and Rose and told them about what we had found out. That Carrie could be in danger and he was putting a round the clock guard on the whole family. A mini-van and a car pulled up in front of the house and four men in casual clothes got out. I could tell they were all armed. He introduced the four to the kids and said that one of them would always be watching Angelo and Jenna. When they had to go somewhere, they would use either the car or mini-van. He said that there would be two each on Steve and Carrie.

He said his mother and Norm should be at their place right now, explaining the arrangements. The men in the mini-van left but the car stayed.

*****

His cell phone rang, just after the mini-van left, telling us Joey had arrived. We grabbed our bags and Rose gave us a ride over to Seamus Riley's place, which broke up the group, Angelo and Jenna getting a ride home and the rest of the kids came with us in Rose's mini-van.

On the way, Robby told me, *It was originally planned to protect me and my family. The Council insisted on it. They are all auxiliary police officers with the same rights as ordinary police officers. In fact all of them have been through a police academy, and all graduated. Some spent time as active police officers, others joined various security firms. Now they all belong to Ricard's Security, only their employment is a little more solid than yours.*

I was somewhat surprised when Robby introduced me to Joey Gallo. He was about thirty-five and an atypical Italian, but he had a sense of humor about him, and I liked him on sight. He had blond hair, was light skinned with gray eyes, and he was about fifth-generation Italian, so his family had been in the US for a very long time. At about six feet, he was about three inches shorter than I was, and he didn't have the movie star look that I had.

You would think that would have hindered me, in my intelligence days, but actually if you play it right, it's as good a way to hide as blending into the crowd. Hiding by being in plain sight. Act like a dumb hunk and you've got the perfect disguise.

EIGHT

Robby Hansen

It was interesting seeing the first meeting between Jeannie Reynolds and Len Peters. They bristled at each other, and they seemed to dislike each other on sight. Being able to dip into their minds, I was able to see that a lot of it was show. They were both independent people, and they were attracted to each other, and the very idea of giving up any their independence was unthinkable to either of them. For now at any rate.

I was a little wary of wary of Ron Jansen, when he greeted us at the airport. Last time I had been come here, Ariel his wife had passed on the message that he was thinking of giving me a good spanking, but there was good humor in his voice as he greeted us, so I figured that I was forgiven. The humor faded when we began talking about Thomas Whit. Ron didn't know him that well, just more or less by sight, but the murder had occurred in his county and he was pissed, and the man had been a good friend of Len's, who was obviously in a somber mood.

Ron had brought one of his deputies, Gord Daily, a werewolf who I had met on the previous visit. He was there to drive Jeannie and Don Leggett, the other pilot, to our motel. When he got into the car that he was using, he apologized that he had made reservations at the motel for all of us. He would have liked to invite all of us into his home, but there were too many of us this time. This time it wasn't a couple of charter pilots who had stayed at a motel and me, but two pilots who were friends, and Len Peters and me.

*****

Ron Jansen

It was good to see Robby again. He was a little wary at first, remembering my threat of giving him a good spanking, but that had been then, Jamling had in the last couple of weeks became a well loved member of our family, and I was no longer annoyed at Robby. I gave him a hug, being careful of Blue in his arms, and shook hands with Len Peters. I knew he was probably a werewolf, and I was impressed. He weighed about two thirty, I outweighed him by fifty pounds, but I wouldn't have wanted to tangle with him, unless I absolutely had to.

He had the look of one of those dumb Hollywood hunks and he was playing it to the hilt, but there was an intelligence there that belied his looks. At the same time I felt that he was letting me see what was really there behind the facade, that with someone he didn't trust, they would get no glimpse of that intelligence.

As we headed for Thomas Whit's house, I learned that he had served with Whit for five years in Naval Intelligence and they had been good friends. There was a somberness in his mood, that indicated his sorrow.

*****

It didn't take long to get there and as we were getting out of the car, I remembered the envelope that I had been given for Robby. "Robby, a Sasquatch Courier from the Council, gave me an envelope to give to you. I'll give it to you inside, where you can read it."

Lifting the tape I unlocked the door, switched on the hall light, and gave him the envelope. He opened it, read it, and then read it out loud. He put Blue down and the cat disappeared.

'Robby Hansen

The Council asks you to take complete charge of this case. In the normal course of events, the man whose death you are looking into would be in charge, since he worked for the Council as a troubleshooter. Since he was our most experienced investigator, we ask you to find his killer and the killer of the other seven, and deal with him.

Frederick Ames

Roger Dalton

Eric Sorenson'

*Robby, in here.* said Blue, letting all of us hear him.

We walked into the dining room, which was straight back from the front door, and it had been transformed into a study. There was the outline where the body had been found. Robby stood looking at it for about a minute, and then said, "He knew his attacker, and trusted him completely." he waved his arm around, "This is no longer a dining room. This was Thomas's most sacred place. The place he worked." He fingered the door we had just entered. "This is a new lock, and both the door leading to the living room and the kitchen also have new locks. I don't say the locks have been put in just recently, but right after Whit moved back here, permanently. I bet you had to unlock those two doors, to extend your investigation beyond this room, right Ron?"

"Quite right." I said.

Robby turned to Len, "You worked with him for several years, Len, just who would he allow access to this room?"

"As you say Robby, only someone he'd known for a while and trusted absolutely." Len said quietly.

He held up the envelope, "And who would he trust, so completely?"

"A Council Courier." I said, heart sinking. It would change how we regarded the Couriers from now on.

"Not only a Courier, but one he's seen quite often, I would say. One who's been in town often enough that he's so familiar to your people that they would inadvertently ignore his presence. I doubt if the message he was carrying this time would be genuine, but I assume important documents would be encrypted, and he would bring it back here, to decrypt it, bringing the Courier with him as he usually did."

"A man/woman so trusted that Thomas Whit would think nothing of turning his back on him, and when he turned around again, he was shot in the chest. He probably didn't have enough time before he died to know that he had been betrayed." Robby said.

"Blue, letís see if we can find a trace of his DNA, forget the study, he probably never came more than a couple of feet inside, though the door is a possibility. Was it open or closed when you found him, after the neighbor reported her suspicions."

I looked at my notebook, "Closed."

"Careless," said Robby, under his breath.

I looked at Len Peters and he was looking with fascination at Robby. Obviously this was the first time he'd seen Robby make deductions, 'Well,' I thought, with a little humor, 'Get used to it, if you're going to be working with him on a regular basis. This is why he's an Elder at twelve.'

"I was annoyed that I could get so little information from Tenzing's DNA when he showed up here, so Blue and I have been doing some practicing. We can get much more now than we could then. We can tell if the person is were and what type of were the person is even in human form, and come within one or two years of age." Robby said.

He was disappointed with the door, but he found something on the wall that separated the stairway from the hallway. "Blue." and the cat came to him and he picked him up. Putting his hand on the wall, he closed his eyes and concentrated. "Definitely Sasquatch, but too young, he's only about thirty or thirty-one. Unless he was a child prodigy, he was only about thirteen or fourteen, when the others started at Stanhope College. He would only have been about college age himself when the others graduated, so even if he attended Stanhope, it would have been after them."

He turned and looked at me, "Ron, would you go and get my bag?"

I looked at Len and he shrugged. I went out to the jeep to get Robby's bag and when I came back in he went back into the study, and then he took a laptop computer out of his bag. He looked at Len, eyes twinkling, "I'm not usually this high tech, normally I would have called and asked Edward to look up what I want, but as I said, I'm trying to take some of the pressure off of him. I didn't get a change to show you your laptop, but it's just about identical to this one. Unfortunately this one isn't voice activated."

He reached around behind Thomas Whit's computer and pulled out a connector. "I noticed that Thomas has a satellite dish, and voila, an Internet connection, he was even nice enough to put his user name and password on the monitor. Now if it hasn't been disconnected because of his death, we can do a little snooping. Drag up some chairs, this could take a while."

He plugged the Internet connection into the back of his laptop and turned it on. It took him a few minutes to get the Internet connection to work, but once it was set up Whit's old user name and password worked fine. He launched the browser and went to stephenkingfiction.com, and then to the forum Cycle of the Werewolf. I had to laugh at that. He shrugged his shoulders, a grin on his face, "As I told Len, it wasn't my suggestion, it's been up for several years." He entered a password and the screen went blank and then white, a short sentence appearing on the screen, 'Yes Elder, how may we help you."

He typed, 'Give me access to the database of the Sasquatch Courier files."

'Working....'

And then the database came up. You could search for several criteria. In one of the search boxes he put, 'age 28 to 32' and in the second, 'college Stanhope College'. and he used the trackball to move the cursor to GO and pressed.

Only one entry came up. He clicked on it and got a picture and dossier. Robby said, He read it off, "David Evans, thirty, resident of Seattle. Well, there's the one who pulled the trigger, but is he our murderer?" he asked to the world at large.

He saved the dossier to the hard drive. Then pressing ESC he backed out of the Courier database. He entered a second question, 'Give me a list of all Sasquatches who attended Stanhope College during following dates.' "Hopefully they've had enough time to contact the Elders and find out the information, it's only been a about three hours, so we may have to wait until tomorrow," and he entered a set of dates, and I noticed he didn't ask for only the dates when our murder victims had attended but, for the four years immediately after as well.

He ended up with a total of twenty-nine names. "Good, they've at least made a start." he began to scroll though the names, and I had no idea of what he was looking for, but obviously he found it. He leaned back and put his hands behind his head, "And there's our murderer."

*****

Len Peters

I have to admit I was impressed, the way he had approached everything since we entered the house had been fully professional, and looking at the screen not knowing what I was looking for, I was sure he was right. It was obvious enough when I saw it, the last name on the screen, Arthur Evans, the same last name as of the Courier, and he had attended, Stanhope College covering the dates of the murder victims, plus almost three additional years, to become a psychologist.

He turned his big green eyes on me, and I felt apprehensive for some reason. He smiled and I felt even more wary. "I said that I was the first Healer for a hundred years. Well that's true, but there are aspects of Healers that crop up quite often. Unfortunately the Healing ability isn't one of them, but one of the abilities that's essential to a Healer is the ability to read auras. That ability is fairly common, but normal Elders can't see it, but I see it all the time. You have that ability Len, and I'd like to see if I can awaken it, I think it's necessary to resolve this case."

I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but after thinking it over, I nodded. He stood up and said, "Close your eyes, Len." and I did. I felt his fingers touch my forehead and a pleasant feeling in my head, which lasted about thirty seconds. "Okay Len, you can open your eyes now." I was a little prepared, Blue had shown me auras earlier that day but it was still a shock when I opened my eyes and looked at Robby and Ron, and saw them surrounded by light. I would learn that after a while you didn't even notice it, it was just a part of you, but right now, it was new and surprising. I didn't see the same thing when I looked at Robby as Blue had showed me, it was more like the way the Thomas's had been, though it was a little finer, and clearer.

Looking at Ron, his aura looked very much like the Thomas's but there was a difference. After a couple of minutes of looking I realized that if I hadn't know he was Sasquatch, I would have been able tell he was were and know he wasn't a werewolf. Robby sat down again, looking at me and saying calmly, "That's what I needed to know. Suppose Arthur Evans has that ability, to see auras, and sometimes such abilities spontaneously develop, without having to be awakened.

Robby said, "Look at his size. He's above average for a human, but he's tiny for a Sasquatch, barely six feet, and two hundred and ten pounds. All three of the woman are as tall as Carrie Ross, who's six feet four inches in height, or taller. But if Arthur had the ability to tell that they were Sasquatch, and he's arrogant, human woman are beneath him, so only Sasquatch are good enough for him. Of course in his arrogance, he never considered they might turn him down for any reason. He would have invited them out on a date. With women that tall, they would tend to say no, simply because the height difference would be so evident. There wasn't anything personal in it but he took it personally. The first time would have been a shock, but he would have shrugged it off, and then it happened again and again."

"He knows there's nothing wrong with him, so there must be something wrong with the women, so he begins to hate them, and then their close friends. And then suddenly a cousin falls into his hands. Arthur Evans and David Evans. They're both Sasquatch, and when last names are the same, normally they're related, and see where his residence is. Portland and Stanhope College is only twenty miles outside of Portland. What do you want to bet that David Evans lived at his home all through his college years, and he visits his cousin quite often?"

"After college his cousin becomes a Courier for the Council. An ideal situation for Arthur, he wants revenge, and he has access to drugs and possibly hypnosis. He prepares his cousin for a year, and then points him at one of the group of friends surrounding the women. He chooses a fairly isolated region, or it's chosen for him because that's the region David is a Courier in, because after Paul Rousseau in Edmonton there's a gap of almost three years, before the next is killed."

"Time that David has spent rising in the service. Now he's a more important Courier and Arthur can get down to real business, and in the next six years there are seven more killed, including three of the women he had come to hate. They may have been the only women or there may be others?"

NINE

"Let's see how accurate my guesses have been," he said. he clicked on Arthur Evans dossier to bring it onto the screen then saved it to the hard drive. Minimizing it he brought up David Evans dossier. "Employment Council Courier. Sept 1994 to March 1997. Stationed northwest, but not including coastal regions, area included Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

"Transferred to coastal regions, April 1997 to present, area included, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, northern California. So he was in the areas where all the murders occurred during the right time period. Also the Council is located in Seattle, so if Thomas Whit was their chief investigator David Evans was probably one of the Courier's they used to contact Whit, possibly the chief Courier."

"Lets find out where he lived during his college period?"

He clicked on college, and of course, Stanhope College came up.

'Residence during college period. 'Lived with Arthur Evans, cousin, Portland 1991-1994.'

"And Arthur is a relative. Lets see Arthur's dossier." and he maximized it to full screen." For some reason even though I had never seen him before, he looked familiar, I thought.

"He looks a bit like Tenzing, don't you think, Ron?" Robby said, and I knew now why he looked so familiar.

"He does, I was trying to think why he seemed so recognizable." I said.

Robby said, "I wonder, if I underestimated our Mr. Evans. Let's start with his bio."

There wasn't really a lot of interesting things at the start, birth Jan 17, 1968 so he was just thirty-five, the rest was just childhood stuff, so Robby scrolled through it. He suddenly stopped, and read out loud, "Richard Evans, born March 4, 1964, died from a fall from a cliff Sept 2, 1968, only companion at time Arthur Evans, ruled accidental death. Interesting the first born son suddenly dies, so Arthur is now the sole heir."

He continued to scroll through it, then stopped again, "August 18, 1986, parents die in boating accident. Speed boat ran right into larger cabin cruiser, no sign of alcohol involved. Ruled death by misadventure. Arthur starting to look more and more dangerous, will was made in such a way that Arthur inherited on his eighteenth birthday which was already past, so he came into the full amount right away. Something in the fifty million dollar mark, there were some bequests to long time employees, totaling a couple of million dollars. An interesting fact, all of the long term employees quit, the only ones that stayed had only worked for the Evans's for a short time. Not a very likable employer, perhaps, or maybe they simply didn't trust him?"

Robby scrolled ahead, and there was nothing interesting until almost the end, "Uses hypnosis, but doesn't use drugs. Considers them old fashioned, and detrimental to his patients. He seems to know what he's talking about, he has an impressive record as a psychologist."

He leaned back in his chair again. "It looks like I was wrong about the use of drugs, and or hypnosis on David Evans. Hypnosis is still a possibility, but Couriers are chosen for their resistance to hypnosis, especially if no drugs are used as well."

Len asked, "You know that, how?"

Robby said, absently, "It came up in a conversation with Barney Ross. Barney been just about everything a Sasquatch can be, he's an Elder, he's been a member of the Council on two occasions, the last time he was chairman, he ran the Courier service for several years, and now he's a general troubleshooter for the Council."

"Okay, lets rethink my premise about drugs and hypnosis. Evans looks a lot like Tenzing. Suppose he's a throwback, like Jamling is, but in a different way. The Yeti do not have a Council which I mentioned to Ron once, also their communities are so far apart that it would be almost impossible to get three Elders together to initiate a new one, sometimes they get help from an Elder, and Tenzing has an apprentice. But sometimes Yeti Elders must develop those abilities on their own, they have rituals that they follow, that will eventually lead to an Elder."

"The death of Arthur Evans brother was just too convenient, I doubt if he had developed the abilities of an Elder at ten, so suppose he pushed him off, or there's even the possibility that it was an accident, but that gave him ideas. The idea of someone running a boat right into another, isn't ludicrous, it does in fact happen, usually there is alcohol involved but sometimes it's just plain carelessness, but again it's too convenient. Suppose by then, Arthur had begun to develop the abilities of an Elder. One of the things an Elder can do is influence the mind, say it's just rudimentary at first so it takes time to make someone do what he wants."

"But he has plenty of time, so over a period of months he works on his father, to get him to do exactly what he did, run his motorboat into a larger one, it would be very likely that his parents would be killed, but if not he could always try again. If you go by the deaths of the murder victims, even assuming Evans isn't responsible, whoever is doing it has plenty of patience."

"If he'd had the full abilities of an Elder, there's no way the women he asked would turn him down. It would only take a few minutes and they'd be falling all over him. But almost seventeen years have passed since then, we don't know to what degree his abilities have matured. We're going to have to talk to David Evans."

TEN

Barney Ross

I got a call from Robby Hansen and he told me his speculations, so we had David Evans at a safe house, where Robby could interview him. I'd looked at his mind and it was obvious that he had pulled the trigger, he remembered doing it, yet there was something wrong with his memories, there was no emotion connected with them, not even interest. You would have expected hate, or at the very least satisfaction, but there was nothing. He was asleep now. Robby said that they wouldn't be coming until morning, since he at least needed to get some sleep, before he fell down.

*****

They showed up at the safe house pretty darn early, it was only a little after eight, so he must have been pretty concerned. We woke David up and gave him breakfast, part of the reason besides feeding him was because we wanted him awake. We watched him through the one way mirror.

Robby scanned his mind quickly, before turning to us. "I said that son-of-a-bitch was arrogant. He left some memories and thought he erased others, but I'll show you what David Evans really felt."

Then we were in David's mind, we saw each of the murders one by one, and we could see his emotions now. Horror, sheer horror at what he was doing, and totally unable to stop himself, someone else's mind was controlling him. After each murder he went back to that someone, who went into his mind and erased his horror and the fact that he was acting under orders. I looked at that person and I wanted to put my fist through Arthur Evans smug face.

Robby said, "He could have given him some false emotions, but he wanted to give the impression of an amoral person, who just killed for the hell of it and didn't feel anything. That's the way he thought he arranged David's mind, and that's what he saw, he has no idea exactly what an Elder is, and that you would see the murders, but the lack of emotions would in fact puzzle you, more than anything else. And he has no idea I exist at all, and that when he thought he was erasing the emotions and knowledge he was simply obscuring them."

"What do we do?" I asked, knowing that the Council had given him complete charge.

"He runs his practice, out of his house, and he has to have video equipment to tape sessions. I think he's going to make a video confession, saying that he used drugs and hypnosis to force David to commit the murders. He supposedly doesn't use drugs, but I detect in David's memories that he has in fact used drugs on him. That will exonerate David. I'll restore David's full memories. Unlike Arthur, I could remove them completely, but it's not something I like to do. I think David's going to have to learn to live with it. I'll put a prohibition against his killing himself, and the fact that Arthur is responsible and he couldn't help himself. Barney, as an Elder if you demonstrate exactly what an Elder can do, I think his mind is stable enough to handle it."

Len asked a question, "And what happens to, dear Arthur?" obvious loathing in his voice.

Robby's voice was soft and cold, "I think Arthur's suicide would make a nice ending to the video tape, don't you."

Len had a nasty grin on his face, and I'm sure mine mirrored it.

ELEVEN

Wednesday Portland Examiner March 12, 2003

PROMINENT PSYCHOLOGIST MAKES STUNNING CONFESSION THEN KILLS SELF

A prominent Portland psychologist, makes a stunning video tape confession, indicating that he forced his cousin David Evans using drugs and hypnosis to murder eight people, and then kills himself on tape. A Coroner's Hearing is to be held this Friday.

TWELVE

Robby Hansen

"I think it was a nice touch, forcing Arthur to change his will, to leave the bulk of his estate to David, don't you, Len?" I said, my arms on the side of the pool and Len sitting with his legs dangling in the water.

Len said dryly, "I doubt that he's going to have much left by the time he finishes compensating the families of those Arthur made him kill."

"He never wanted to be rich anyway. He'll be quite satisfied if he's flat broke by that time, after all he still has a job, and after working on his mind, it's as tamperproof as I could make it." I said.

Len asked, "Who's that?" nodding toward the darkened end of the pool.

I turned around and saw a dark figure. "That's Angelo, he's shy and unlike other weres, his clothes don't change when he does so he has to start out naked." He dove into the pool and when he came up one powerful flick of his tail sent him arrowing toward us.

He came up beside us, "Hi, I'm usually alone at this time of night." I was used to it, but I could see to Len that his voice sounded strange.

"Angelo has some subtle changes that aren't visible to the naked eye. A membrane closes off his throat. Its oxygen permeable, so he can still use his lungs, though in the water he doesn't need to, his gills strain the oxygen out of the water, and also filters out pollution. Also membranes close off his nose both on the outside and inside the mouth, so water doesn't get into his sinuses. That's why his voice sounds a little strange. He can open the membrane that closes off his throat to eat or drink, but he can't eat under water." I looked at the boy, "Do you mind if I show him your shield?'

Angelo said, "No, go ahead."

"Angelo has a magical shield that covers his skin," I used my knuckles and rapped on his chest, and it sounded like knocking on a door. "Pity the poor shark or orca whale who bites him. That shield is strong enough to stop even the strongest bite. I'm pretty certain that it would stop a high velocity, high caliber bullet as well."

Angelo started moving away from the side and I heard him giggle. He was about to pull a practical joke, that only he could do. As he began to lift his tail from the water, I yelled, "Incoming!" and sunk under the water, just as he brought his tail down with one powerful stroke. I was holding myself off from the swimming pool side with my hands, but I knew Len had just got plastered with one big wave, and as I came up, he was shaking his head, and spitting the water out of his mouth.

"Sorry about that," I said, with a giggle, "I forgot to warm you."

He looked down at me and said dryly, "Yeah, I bet you forgot."

EPILOGUE

"Do you think he knows?" said the Chairman of the Werewolf Council.

"Well," said Maisie Maillete, "I got this email from him, right after he got back from Nepal and just after Len Peters began camping out in the woods.

'Dear Maisie,

One of my relatives just returned from Los Angeles, and darned if he doesn't fit all the criteria the Council set out. But you really didn't have to pay him that $5000, he was planning to come home anyway. I do agree that it will be nice to have someone to watch my back, but if you wanted me to have a bodyguard, you just had to ask. I'm really not suicidal.

Robby'

"What do you think?" she asked wryly, and then burst out laughing, to be joined by the other members of the Council.

END

6.2.02

Note: I use the symbols < above to indicate the start of audible response by the computer and > to indicate the end of the audible response.

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