Chapter 1

“Captain, we need to move,” Reginald Purdy said.

On the large screen, the map continued to flash hot spots of some kind. It’s called DAWA, Purdy had said, our Doomsday Advanced Warning Algorithm. We’ve taken the dire prophesies of every major belief system, broken them down into more than five hundred thousand pieces of data, and constructed a system of pattern recognition. If something’s coming, DAWA knows.

Urgent voices rose from the men and women stationed at computers around the mission control-type room. But for me that scene was fast receding into a staticky wash of gray. Pressing the sat phone to one ear and a hand to the other, I turned from Purdy, my wife’s revelation still ripping through me.

“Cancer?” I repeated. “What kind?”

“Breast,” she said. “And it’s spread, apparently.”

“Do you hurt? Are you in pain?”

“Except for the fatigue, I feel fine.” She let out a laugh, as if she’d been pranked. “All this time, I’ve had no clue anything was wrong.”

“You said they’re starting treatment?” My protective instincts roiled against the wall going up around my emotional core. I was retreating into cold spec-ops mode. I hated it, but I wouldn’t be able to help her if I couldn’t think clearly, analytically.

“Aggressive chemo,” she answered. “The goal is to stop the spread, shrink it. If I respond, there’s a chance surgery can remove it.”

“How good a chance?”

She hesitated a beat too long. “A chance.”

“When does your treatment start?”

“Later this morning. I’m in the oncology unit at the main hospital.”

I needed to get down there. Releasing my pent-up breath, I said, “Give me a minute.”

I covered the phone and turned to Purdy, who had remained facing me. Deep lines creased his brow. “There’s no time, Captain,” he said, anticipating me. “You have a new mission. Assemble your team for an emergency briefing.”

“It’s my wife,” I growled.

“I overheard, and I’m sorry. I’ll send someone from Houston to liaison with her doctor.”

He meant a Centurion scientist, probably someone on the cutting edge of cancer research, but that wasn’t enough.

“I have to be there,” I said through my quickening breaths.

Removing his handkerchief from the breast pocket of his suit, Purdy pressed it to the corners of his mouth as if to compose himself amid the increasing commotion in his control room. “I’m going to put this bluntly, Captain.” He passed the kerchief over the line of his mustache. “If we fail to stop this thing in its tracks, your wife’s cancer will be the least of your concerns.” As he replaced the kerchief in his pocket, I picked up an electric scent, like alarm, rising through his icy aftershave.

“Sarah can take lead until I get back,” I said.

“No, Captain. It needs to be you. It has to be you.”

When my lupine hearing picked up Dani’s voice, I put the phone back to my ear.

“I’m here,” I said.

“Listen, Jason, I’m not alone. My parents are with me. I know you can’t just drop everything and rush down here. Hearing your voice is enough right now. I mean that. I’ll be okay until you can come.”

Purdy watched me intently. Past his head, the large screen continued to flash. Sixteen patterns appeared this year,he’d said. We received further confirmation of four last month. Two more confirmed early this morning.

Confirmation of what? I’d asked.

Something bigger than any Prod you’ve ever faced.

After the mission in Drochia, I had damned good reason to doubt Purdy, but he wasn’t faking his scent or the taut conviction in his eyes. Whatever DAWA was forecasting scared the hell out of him. And my lupine was responding to his cues, my ears peaking, hackles bristling. Before I could check myself, I was speaking.

“Are you sure?” I asked Dani.

“Completely sure.” Even battling a life-threatening disease, she didn’t want to burden me.

“All right,” I said reluctantly. “There’s something I need to finish up here, but then I’m heading straight to Beaumont.”

I looked at Purdy in a way that told him, contract or not, me leaving post mission was non-negotiable. And I would be leaving for good. The fact I was still the Blue Wolf didn’t matter. We’d figure that out, whether it meant moving final testing to the Houston campus or some other solution. But my cure didn’t matter right now—something that was in doubt anyway, following Takara’s revelation that the biogen team couldn’t do anything for her. But that all felt strangely distant. I had my holographic collar in the meantime. The collar couldn’t alter my size, but it could conceal my wolf’s head.

Purdy returned a nod.

“I’ll be there as soon as humanly possible,” I said into the phone.

“I know.”

“I love you, Dani. We’re going to beat this together.”

“We will,” she said softly. “I love you too.”

As she ended the call, my wall came down. Emotions smashed through me. Shock, dread, my overwhelming love for her. And anger. I was truly and thoroughly pissed off—at the cancer, at the fact it was attacking Dani. And at myself for choosing revenge on a lowlife vampire in Lavaca County when I could have gone to her instead. I didn’t feel helpless, though. Not with an advanced research lab in my corner.

“Who are you sending?” I asked, turning back to Purdy.

“One of our top bioengineers. She’s leading a team at work on a formula that supercharges the immune system. Early results with cancer have been promising.”

“How soon can she get there?”

“How soon can you assemble your team?”

My hands balled into massive fists as I loomed over him. Still an operator, Purdy was trying to further seal my commitment. His dark eyes fixed on mine, unmoving. With a growl, I stood down. If it meant help for Dani…

“Give me thirty minutes,” I said.

7 comments on “Blue Wolf 6: Chapter 1”

  1. I'm very glad to see it...but it's too short (lol), I want more than a page....more..more.
    It seems to need work, lacks pizazz (for me at least), but this is to be expected, huh? First draftish?
    You dialed up the crisis though (in both personal stakes and mega-catastrophe)

    I feel like you're going to turn Dani into a Blue Wolf too (lol)..hope not. But somehow that impression jumped out at me. I want Jason to get his happily ever after.

  2. Thanks for reading! Yes, I should have mentioned that this is still draft. I felt a little obligated to post these early b/c book 5 ended with Jason facing dual crises. Chapter 2 will be much meatier, with Purdy going into the nuts and bolts of DAWA as well as the proposed mission. Dani as Mrs. Blue Wolf. Hmm...

  3. I've read all the Blue Wolf books and am pumped for this one! Do I need to read the Croft books for any crossover-ness in the book?

  4. Hey, Christopher - Though the characters occasionally cameo in each other's books, the plot lines of the two series don't overlap. I thought that would be asking too much of readers - as well as me, the author! I have enough trouble remembering what happens from one book to the next, much less between series. Glad you're enjoying them!

  5. Seems that either she dies or is turned...Mrs. Blue Wolf as you sum up that option. A third option? That often happens in books, in movies, and frankly in real life a lot of times. Always up to the author and the god-like control over the creation.

  6. BTW, am I letting plot lines of other series, books intrude, or is Dani pregnant? Oh, and Purdy continues to be an asshat.

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