The Perpetual

Part XII

Still taking deep breaths from the sudden attack of a creature that could not possibly have been real, Dr. Bowman looked about his room at the sweating Saltonstall and the placid Arkady. Arkady seemed to be such a mellow sort, nothing ever fazed him. While Bowman's balding head was breaking out into sweat, Arkady's unruly mop brownish-black hair seemed to be perfect. His slightly overweight posture, plump, but not too badly, gave him a sort of lacissitude that Bowman lacked. Somehow, Arkady seemed not to be too shocked by the sight of such a creature, and this bugged Bowman in a way that he could not describe. He had nearly wet his pants, and Arkady was treating it as if it was just another common occurrence for him. He was so blase that Bowman wanted to get up, grab him by the collar of his shirt, and throttle him.

Saltonstall on the other hand was sweating, but was already back with his television screen, using a remote he'd designed himself from spare parts he'd kept in the room and was flipping channels. He must have had the audio turned down, because there was no sound. Saltonstall, young, impetuous, and completely incorrigible, looked to be for the first time that Bowman had ever seen to be actually knocked out of his stride. Usually he had a swagger to his step, a cocky self-assured pace and attitude that endeared him to you but at the same time turned you off. It was hard to explain or to figure out, but there was something about him that made Bowman jealous, some self-assured calm that Bowman lacked. He wanted it badly, but could not have it apparently.

However, Bowman was not one to just sit on the floor, even though his legs did not want to move. The sight of that creature had scared him beyond all possible comprehension. He'd seen horror movies, and had jumped in his seat when the monster had come out of nowhere to attack the heroes. None of that compared to what he had just witnessed. It was a creature that stood on two legs, covered in fur, saturated well with blood, and with the head of a wolf. He had seen wolves before in zoos, they seemed to be fascinating creatures, yet none even close to being as viscous at what he had just witnessed. If not for the bloodstains on the floor, they might very well have been killed.

How was this thing possible? How could such a creature exist? He did not have the answers himself, he could not see anyway for it to work. There was no apparent way that he could deduce. His understanding of biology and genetics made for such a combination of man and wolf impossible to his knowledge. Of course, perhaps to another person, such things might be possible, but he could not see anyway in which to even go about creating such a creature. Whose science experiment was that? He'd like to ring their neck for being crazy; genetics of that order was something that was handled on Earth in a much better environment.

Of course it could always be some guy in a very realistic looking wolf suit. That was almost as ridiculous though, there was blood stains, and he could see its tongue, and the insides of its mouth, no suit was that good, no matter what material they made it out of. Still, he had been under a lot of pressure from Dutton and others, so his mind could have in its weary state conjured up that image to be more real than it actually was. Plus he had been sleeping only moments before, his fatigued mind could have thought he'd seen anything. However, no matter how much he rationalized it, that thing had chased after them pretty viscously. Wolf suit or not, there was somebody out there trying to kill them. Could this have anything to do with the questions that Dutton and the others had asked him earlier? Could any of that relate? He had trouble seeing how.

Now, what if this was the real McCoy? What if this thing was a real werewolf, something that had once been a human being? Though an absurd suggestion or even thought, it seemed somehow to be more ironic, and thus must be true. He had spoken against letting those Shapeshifters on board, and now it turns out that one of them is actually a werewolf, a creature that not only shouldn't but also did not exist. That was no werewolf; that was a very elaborate disguise. Obviously one of the Shapeshifters had brought it with them on board and had gone a little nuts. Perhaps they had 'communed with the wolf-spirití, as one of his fellow scientists had so eloquently explained been their intentions. Perhaps he was King Harold of the British Isles!

No matter what that thing had been, if it hadn't been for Everett's timely warning, both he and Arkady could be quite dead. Then again, how had Saltonstall known that the werewolf was there? He had been sitting in the room with his face to that television screen the whole time; there was no way he could have known. Perhaps it had been a sudden premonition; he'd had a few on occasion himself. Perhaps he should just ask him and get it over with?

"Hey Everett, mind if I ask you a question?"

Dr. Everett Saltonstall looked a bit surprised by the sudden break in the silence, and turned his head a bit, his face still a bit white from what they had seen. "What is it, Richard?"

Bowman shifted about to get more comfortable, drawing his legs up under him. "I was wondering, just how did you know to warn us of the danger from that wolf-thing?"

Arkady glanced curiously at Bowman for a moment and then chimed in, "Yes, I'd like to know how you knew too."

Saltonstall then smiled a sort of mischievous little grin. He looked at the television a bit shamefully for a moment and then, a bit giddy, he said, "I saw it on the tube."

"The tube?" Bowman pressed.

"The television." Saltonstall explained. "I was just fooling around with it while you were asleep, and somehow I managed to hack my way into the security system of the Pytheas."

"You did what?"

"I hacked my way into the security system on the Pytheas. I've been scanning around the ship to see what's been going on by looking through the security cameras, and I just happened to see that werewolf in the passageway near where you were standing."

Arkady nodded, "Hmm... It sounds like we were fortunate that you were able to find the right camera in time then."

Bowman however, was perplexed, "How can you see through the security cameras? I thought you'd have to be in the security office if you'd want to see any of that."

"Well, the security office is just a receiving station for the feedback. As long as you are connected to the network you can log into it, as long as you have the passwords. It doesn't matter that the security office is in shambles, because that is not where the images are produced."

Arkady looked surprised. "The security office is in shambles?"

Richard also was rather upset by that news, but also very curious. Those questions that Dutton and his cronies had been asking of him earlier were beginning to make sense now. As he thought about it for a moment it all began to click into place. They had though he had smashed the security office, they had thought he'd destroyed it. They'd probably found his supermagnet in there, probably to erase any recorded video that had been captured. Then the card was placed at his doorstep to make people think he'd done it. He had to nod, it was a clever framing, but he knew that he was innocent. However, something else popped into his mind, how had Saltonstall known it had been destroyed?

"Um, Everett, if you don't mind my asking, how did you know it was destroyed?"

Saltonstall looked a bit surprised at the question and for a moment faltered. He then turned back to the television, and pressed a few buttons on his remote. He then pushed the screen over so that they could see it. "That's how." The screen showed a room with two swiveling chairs, a small packet of chewing tobacco, and a numerous array of monitors, each smashed beyond use. They were looking at what was left of the security office, and indeed it was in shambles.

"My gosh! Who did that?" Arkady was astounded. He rubbed his trimmed goatee thoughtfully. He then seemed to have realized something and asked, "Can you see anywhere on this ship?"

Saltonstall shook his head, "Only where thee are security cameras."

"Why would they have a security camera inside the security office?" Arkady mused quietly to himself.

Bowman, still a bit skeptical about everything that had just happened to them, was a bit more inclined to have some confirmation. "Um, Everett, do you think you could see if you can find that wolf thing on the monitor again. I'm interested to see what that loony is up to."

Saltonstall shrugged, "I can try. I'm not that proficient with this system yet, so I don't have any idea what you'll be looking at. I only have a few of the cameras memorized as of yet."

"Well, please give it a try."

Saltonstall nodded, and began pressing buttons on the remote. Screen after screen of the ship passed by. Some showed unblemished hallways, others hallways stained with blood. Some were in the bedrooms of some of the very own scientists, including the room for the two female scientists. Arkady whimsically remarked when they saw that one, "You can stop there if you want to." There was nothing there to watch, though both laughed reservedly at Arkady's little joke.

Each room they passed through and each hallway they went down produced very little fruit. One time, they saw a section of the second floor towards the crew's quarters. A shadow was passing in the forefront. Bowman grabbed Saltonstall's arm to stop. They did not have long enough to see that shadow to tell what it was, but they waited there for a little time to see if the creature would come back into view. After a few minutes, even Bowman began to lose hope of seeing it again, and Saltonstall continued the search. There were so many different security cameras that it boggled Bowman's mind, he could not believe that there were so many, it appeared as if every last square inch of this ship could be seen on camera if the person tried hard enough. There were even cameras down in the storage areas of the bottom floor, places that could not normally be accessed by anybody on the ship, as they were too dangerous for anybody to approach. He saw the fuel tanks in one picture and noted how the gauges seemed to be very low.

However, all of that was very interesting, but not so much as captivating as to what they saw only a short time later. It was one of the crew members rooms, but there was something odd about this one. There was somebody in it, or what was left of that person. The body had been ripped to pieces, and there wasn't much left but a few bones and lots of blood. Bowman felt his stomach start to give, and Arkady turned away too. Saltonstall quickly changed the screen, not wanting to see anymore of that hideously eaten body. Bowman coughed, trying to gain control of his indigestion, breathing deeply, and trying to get that gruesome image from his mind.

"What was that?" Arkady asked in a low whisper.

Saltonstall was gulping for air as well, "I think that the werewolf ate somebody."

"Werewolf!" Bowman protested. "Do you actually think that was a werewolf? That was some nutcase dressed up in a suit, had to be. There is no such thing as a werewolf."

Saltonstall turned to him, his face sickly, "Then how do you explain that mostly-eaten body?"

"Cannibalism." Bowman shot back.

"I'm not to sure of that." Arkady intoned solemnly. "I think we are in very real trouble here."

"We should be safe as long as we stay in the room." Saltonstall pointed out. "Whoever that was probably had left his door open."

"Well, I'm certainly not planning on leaving anytime soon." Bowman declared, finally gaining control of his digestive system once more.

"Let us continue the search please." Arkady suggested his voice hollow.

Saltonstall nodded and began to flip through the channels again. They managed to pass through several other hallways, but before long they did come to something quite significant that made them all take a quick breath. Bowman stared at what he saw on the screen, his mind unable to believe what he saw. It was the wolf creature again, and it was idly sniffing about the room, its amber eyes peering about the hallway as it passed. Suddenly, it leaned over and began to urinate on the corner of the wall with a door. It then straightened up again, it's tail wagging slightly, and then moved on. The werewolf had only been on screen for ten seconds at most, but that was all that was needed.

"What was it doing?" Bowman asked in hushed tones.

"Marking its territory I think." Saltonstall smirked at the very animalistic behavior displayed.

"Where is that?" Arkady asked, pointing to the passageway on the screen.

Saltonstall shrugged, "I don't know. That's the only problem with this thing, I haven't figured out what each of the screens is aiming at."

"We seem to have switched between the bottom two floors. We have yet to look at the third floor yet once. At least, that is what I think. The third floor as you know has a pretty distinctive design."

"The security office is on the third floor though." Bowman reminded him.

"Actually, I only know that one because that is the first screen that popped up when I first hacked it. Arkady's right, I haven't gotten back on the third floor yet." Saltonstall admitted.

"Well, I have a feeling that we are some of the only people alive on this floor still. I'd find a way to get to the third floor soon." Bowman suggested. He stood up, brushed his pants off, and walked over to sit on the much more comfortable cushioning of his bed. He leaned his head back against the wall, propping his pillow behind him; he closed his eyes, not wanting to think about any of this, it was too absurd. He did not want to believe any of it true. However, how long could he ignore the obvious? How long could he ignore the barest of facts? No! It was not quite proven that the thing out there was real, but there was at least somebody out there who was very dangerous. That was all he needed to know, that was all he could determine, everything else was mere speculation.


Captain Rhodes was leaning against Jansen's desk after having finished his conversation with Throckmorton. He did not want to talk to McGee, at least not yet. He really wasn't sure what to say to him. He could not do the same thing he'd done with Throckmorton, no, subtlety would not work. McGee would take whatever he'd say calmly, that much was true, but still, he needed to find a way to let him know without alarming him. McGee would never change the tone in his voice, but he might do something rash because he was actually alarmed and frightened by his news. That was something that Rhodes did not want to happen.

Actually, he had to admit to himself, he was afraid that he would do something rash. Rhodes was scared to death of himself. Here he knew what was going to happen to him, and he could not admit it to himself. He had told Jansen he'd bite him, more because he knew Jansen had already accepted it than he himself had. If pressed, he probably would not have been able to go through with it. Throckmorton was a different matter, he had come this close to accepting what he was to be, but then had rejected it all again once the commiseration had ceased. He knew on one level that he was going to grow fur, claws, a tail, and his head would become that of a wolf's. He knew all this was going to happen, but he still could not shake the thought that perhaps this was all some horrible nightmare that would end with him bolting upright in his armchair on the bridge while his crew was there about him.

Rhodes happily pictured the scene, Kilpatrick sitting in his usual spot, tapping out some rhythm to the latest song on the top charts; Penny up and about crunched behind some bulkhead splicing wires or replacing circuit boards as if they were nothing; Danielpour sitting with his headphones on, eyes trained towards his computer screen, fingers adjusting knobs to make sure he had the right frequencies; Simmons of course would be down at the still operational Navigational console, settling them into perfect orbits with such adroit facility that she made it look as if nothing were required of her, and at the same time nothing could be done without her. Rhodes relished the image for some time, dwelling on what should be the true meaning of this situation.

However, he could not help but note that he was stuck in the Greenhouse with two scientists, one who seemed to be able to keep his head, the other one a loose cannon waiting to go off, and a Shapeshifter who seemed to have disappeared at the moment. The only friend he'd really had left the room about twenty minutes ago, growing that fur as he'd left. Dutton had slashed Rhodes's chest as he had left, causing his blood to exude from the wounds. It had not been a deep slash, but it had stung nonetheless, in more than just one way. His whole life had changed at that moment, no longer could he be classified as just a man, for now he was also a wolf. That thought struck him as quite frightening, for he had seen what the combination of wolf and man had done. It had driven them insane.

He could think of no better explanation of their actions, the werewolves that is. They were wolves and men wrapped up into one package, and neither side seemed to be able to cooperate with the other. They operated with the instincts of the wolf, plus with some of the reasoning capabilities of man, but neither seemed to be in complete control, or if there was any control whatsoever, it seemed to be lost in the chaos. He could feel it inside of him, as he seemed to be actively looking for it. He could see the figure of the wolf in him, wagging its tail, standing proud, contemptuous of his human side. It was following him about, ever behind him, ever closer, and ever larger. They would fight soon, and each time they fought the human would grow weaker, and the wolf would grow stronger. That is, until the human finally submitted to what the wolf wanted.

The wolf wanted to mate.

That was the only way he could think of it, the wolf wanted to mate with the human. By doing so the two would combine in that moment of ecstasy into one being, causing them to be permanently inseparable. They would always be linked together ever afterwards, regardless whether he was in human form or not. He would always be part wolf; it was something that he could not get rid of. It would be as much part of him as was his hands, probably even more so in fact. The mating of his human and wolf sides would make him into a whole being, one that was greater than both the parts separated. However, no matter how much his wolf side wanted it, his human side still totally against it, feared it completely.

Of course, it wasn't that he would grow fur, a tail, claws, and the rest of the lupine paraphernalia. That he had accepted! In fact he was in some ways looking forward to seeing how he looked as a werewolf, he could not help but alight at the image of the slightly rotund wolf came into his mind. No, the physical change was not what concerned him. What scared him was what was going to happen to his mind. He did not want to hurt his men; he did not even want to hurt Jansen really, despite his claim to the contrary. Rhodes was not a violent man by nature; he had always only wanted to be a starship captain. When he was young it was for reasons of adventure and excitement. Well, he had them now, and look what it had gotten him! No, he did not want to hurt any of his men, that was not the behavior of a captain. None of them deserved to die, not a single one.

Yet, he might kill them. Even if they did put him out of the Greenhouse, there was still a chance that he and his packmates might find a way to get in here. That would be the end of these three men's lives. He wished there were someway he could guarantee that the werewolves would not kill them, but nothing came to mind, at least nothing conventional. What if he did bite them? What if he did indeed bite them hard enough to draw blood? What if they were werewolves too? If they were also werewolves, then they would not be killed, but accepted into the pack like he would be. Of course, they might not understand at the time, but they would live, and that was something at least.

No, what was he thinking! He could not do this to them, they certainly did not deserve to have their souls intertwined with a wolfen consciousness! He was not going to make them into werewolves too, no matter how unlikely their chances of survival were otherwise. Even if they asked him to do it, he would refuse. It was not something to be desired, no matter what. Loosing control of ones mind was too scary to imagine. Although he did drink, he was responsible. There was only one time in his life when he had drunk more than he should and had lost control. He had nearly gotten into a life-threatening accident. That had been too scary to even think about. Now he was going to lose his mind, and there was nothing he could do about it. Presumably it would come back to him after the full moon had disappeared, but still, every month it would be back.

Unless of course he was allowed to continue in the space program. If they timed it right, he'd never have to see a full moon again, and he would always be in control of himself. The wolf would no longer be a problem for him; it could not harm him. That would be his plan, if he survived this. He would have to continue as a space captain, and go up on flights in which they would never see the full moon. After all, he'd only be in the lupine-humanoid form for about six to seven hours before he was tranquilized and captured by Harper's team. Then they would be refueled and taken into a different orbit. Presumably, they would figure out what to do, perhaps let the scientists continue their experiments. After all, he couldn't imagine anybody would ever find out about this, since Throckmorton was not stupid enough to let this news out. The Pytheas would have experienced technical difficulties, but is now back in operation.

Then again, the Shapeshifters would also present a problem, since the government might insist that they be put into a full moon orbit. Activists might suggest that at least. However, there was no chance that a flight was ever going to be scheduled again which did that. Not after this mission, never again would there be two months of the full moon. Rhodes stared up at the moon, which was only a small slit in the glass above them; their side of the ship slowly rotating away from the moon. It was a terrible thing to see. He hated it for what it had done. Yet another part of him, the wolf almost certainly, wanted to howl to it in something of exultation. It would not do so! Not now, he would not let himself mate with the wolf!

What could be done though? What else could he do but accept what lay before him? He probably would not get the opportunity to ever fly in space again. He would be stationed on Earth in some secret lab where they would perform experiments on him and watch him during the full moon with keen interest. He and the other werewolves were in for a life of Hell as guinea pigs. They would be listed as dead according to the records, and anybody who said differently would disappear. Anselm, that Hasmonean, would see to that. He pondered that, just what was he doing on board? The Hasmoneans were a byword among government officials, people you never wanted to meet. He was not sure quite what they did, but they had the Presidential Seal on their I.D. they could do practically anything they wanted.

Perhaps Anselm was here because somebody knew that one of the Shapeshifters was an actual werewolf! Perhaps he was here to make sure things stayed under control, to observe the effects of such a long full moon on the werewolves. Of course, how could he expect any sort of cooperation from the crew who would be in danger of that thing? He must have known that they would be stridently opposed to him, so that was why the Security office had been smashed, to cripple their efforts. Anselm must have been the one who had done it, and had blamed it all on Dr. Bowman. He had slipped into Bowman's room to steal the supermagnet while Bowman was in the restroom, and then had gone to the security office, smashed it up, and then left the magnet in the records room. Knocked on Bowman's door, leaving the yellow car that had belonged to Tembo there, and returned to his research station, no one the wiser. It seemed like the most plausible scenario.

He finally sighed, one mystery finally solved, at least in his mind, though he had to admit there were still many vagaries of this situation left to be sorted out. Rhodes then heard the sound of footsteps approaching. It was a squishing of the loam and the shuffling and scraping of the fabric of the man's pants as he walked that caught his ear. He looked up, his gray eyes weary from his mental maundering. It was Thibaudet, who looked slightly concerned. He had that usual air of self-confidence, but at the same time he was also lost in thought.

Thibaudet finally reached him, and put a firm hand on his shoulder, giving him a reassuring squeeze, "Are you all right?"

Rhodes shrugged, "All right I guess. I'm as fine as any man who's had the privilege of witnessing his future and not liking what he sees."

Thibaudet nodded, removing his hand form Rhodes's shoulder. He then turned about and leaned against the desk himself, his thin body quite supple. He crossed his arms and looked up into the sky, watching the glittering and sputtering stars, as well as the sliver of moon that still beckoned them all. He looked to be thinking, trying to find something to say. Rhodes was not going to wait for him to formulate his thoughts, "What are you thinking about?"

"Everything I guess." Thibaudet did not turn, but continued to stare at the stars. "I hate to admit it, but Emil is right. Here we are, and what are our chances of escape? What chance do we have of avoiding anything that is to come? What has been the point of our lives if we are to die so horribly here?"

"That you have lived until now." Rhodes suggested, placing his palms against the desk for more support.

"From the way Jansen tells it you wouldn't think so." Thibaudet grunted, looking down at the floor for a moment, scraping his shoe idly in the dirt. They all were quite dirty by now, the seats of their pants long since stained with the grime of the grass and soil.

"Jansen doesn't know what he's talking about." Rhodes replied a bit sourly. He stared at the man who looked like he had slipped into slumber. Jansen was lying on the ground with his back into the air. He had rested his head on his arms, and was squirming about every few minutes to get comfortable. He did not seem to hear what they were saying.

Thibaudet shrugged, "All I know is that I don't want to die. I've lived a decent life so far, I really don't want it to end."

Rhodes turned back to Pierre, looking the man up and down. Pierre did not seem to notice the scrutiny, as he was still watching the stars. He was a tall man, with a straight face and quite obviously with a bit of French blood in him, if not completely French. He was an intriguing figure, one whom he knew little about. He did not want to leave it at that. "Pierre, care to talk about it?"

"Talk about what?"

"Your life. I mean, I'm afraid I don't really know you that well. I've read your file, but that is not the same thing as knowing who you are."

Thibaudet shrugged, "Why not, it's better than sitting around here moping about how I'm going to be slashed to ribbons by werewolves."

"You are not going to die, Pierre."

"I hope you're right."

"Now, you were saying?" Rhodes tried to bring him back to the topic. He did want to know, and he was afraid that Thibaudet might have tried to steer clear of opening himself up. However, he did not think that it had been done intentionally.

"Okay, I was born in France, near Orleans actually. This was about thirty-three years ago. We stayed in France for about ten years before moving to Sept Iles in Quebec. We had relatives there, and my father knew that the opportunities were better there than in France. At the time France's economy was collapsing, so we weren't the only ones to be leaving. I was the only kid my parents had, though they did try for another." Thibaudet idly glanced at his watch as he spoke, obviously taking his time to choose his words carefully. Rhodes suspected that his life story was not something he told to many strangers.

"Now you said that you were in the Catholic Church when you were young?" Rhodes prompted him when he saw that Pierre was not continuing.

"Yes, my parents are both Catholics, and they raised me to be a devout follower of the Christian faith. I was a good little altar boy for many of my years. My father wanted me to go into the priesthood, and for a time I was seriously considering it, despite my fascination with physics." Thibaudet paused again, his face scanning the room as if looking to see if his father would jump out and scold him for not doing what he'd wanted.

"What changed your mind?'

Thibaudet shrugged, "It certainly wasn't anything my parents did! They wanted me to be a priest so much that they kept me reading good books on theology form such thinkers as St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas. I guess that at some point in my reading I just realized that I didn't really believe any of it. Plus, I had a nice offer from Virginia Tech to study advanced physics with them. So I came to a decision and told my parents what I was going to become. At first they were not too displeased, my father was a reasonable man when it came to many things, and having me go into physics was not really that bad in his eyes.

"Of course I also told them that I was going to leave the church. Now that, that was a mistake on my part. I haven't said much to either of my parents since I declared I was an agnostic to them. They just couldn't deal with it."

"Are your parents still alive?" Rhodes asked, not sure why.

"Yes, they both are alive. I dropped them a note telling them that I was going into space about a month ago. My father was kind enough to call me back, and he did offer me a rather curt congratulations. It's better than the accosting he usually gave me when I told him what I was up to. I guess they are finally coming to terms with my decisions in life." He then looked distracted, glancing out the door. Rhodes followed his gaze, and saw that there was nothing there now. The werewolves were not attacking them as much anymore, it was obvious that they were elsewhere doing something else, something that probably was not good either. However, there was something else in Thibaudet's eyes that caught Rhodes attention. It was doubt.

"Have you come to terms with your decisions?" Rhodes asked pointedly. Rhodes certainly only had one regret in his life, and it was not that he was going to become a werewolf. That had been something outside of his control, something he had no power over.

"I thought I had. I guessed deep down I still wanted to believe in a benevolent God." Pierre for the first time looked into Rhodes's face, both of them sharing their concern for the future. Rhodes wondered whether werewolves could be saved idly, it was an entirely academic question beyond his knowledge or understanding. Rhodes did not wonder about God, he knew God was real, something he had grown up with and never discarded. He found comfort in it, but for some reason, that comfort was not enough to assuage the wolf who wanted to mate with him. He could see the image of the wolf following after him, pawing his leg, motioning him to get down so that they might couple. The image was too horrible to think about, and he kicked the wolf away from him. No! That was not going to happen, not now!

It was probably his own fault though. He was spending too much time thinking about becoming a werewolf, it was fueling the wolf's strength, making his own will weaker as it slowly began to accept bit by bit of what the wolf offered him. Thibaudet noticed his distraction and shook him gently, "What is it, captain?"

"Nothing." Rhodes replied, shaking his hand and waving Pierre off. "Just had a bad thought. Now, you were saying?"

"Ah yes, I guess I've always wanted to believe in a benevolent God, but it just seems like that there can be no such thing! Look at this world about you, the werewolves here, how could they be a creation by a kind and loving God?"

Rhodes mumbled, "Maybe they were not meant to be this way."

Thibaudet shrugged, "Perhaps."

Rhodes then smiled, "Still, you yourself did not believe werewolves existed before today. Why not God? If werewolves can exists, why not God?"

Thibaudet sighed, "I don't know. I just don't know."

Rhodes watched as Thibaudet began to walk away, turning his back to him. "Wait!"

"What?"

"I just want you to know that you are not the first to be faced by something like this."

Thibaudet looked at the ground for a minute his eyes poring over the dirt as he dwelled on those words. He then looked back up into Rhodes's eyes, making direct contact. "I hope some way can be found to cure you Rhodes, I don't want to lose a good friend like you."

Rhodes had to blush at that statement, and then nod his head in respect. "I don't know what to say."

"You don't have to say anything to me." Thibaudet smiled then. "But I think you do have a few things you need to say to McGee."

Rhodes nodded his head, "Right, I should get that over now I guess."


End Part 1 of Part XII

Continued in Part 2 of Part XII

Charles Matthias