Flipping through the channel screens, Saltonstall could see that the werewolves were almost all on the second floor. It seemed that they had claimed that as theirs. Of course, they tended to stay by the staircases, giving them a better opportunity for surprise on those humans foolish enough to wander about. Now, Anselm would be going out there. For the moment, he could not let anything happen to him, there was no way that he could risk it. Those three would need every distraction that they could get to ensure their safety. Somehow he doubted the quite capable McGee and the apoplectic Handley would be enough of a distraction to ensure their safety. There had to be something else that he could do to keep the werewolves away from Penny's group. He flipped through the channels a few more times, moving form camera to camera, pondering what he could do. He couldn't open or close any of the doors in their path; that would give him away. What he could do however was close doors that were not near them. Or open a few.
Saltonstall stared at the monitor realizing what he had to do now. Dr. Richard Bowman lay sleeping on the bed in Handley and Johnson's room. Arkady was sitting on his own bed with a book in hand reading. At least they made use of their time. Some would have been banging on the doors, screaming bloody murder. Now there would be no doors for them to bang on. Reluctantly, he flipped over to the Greenhouse again, and watched as they began dragging Handley forcibly from the room. Penny was waiting by the other door as they removed the desperate new werewolf. He could vaguely hear her screams over the radio, and but he ignored them. Picking up his remote again, he pushed a few buttons, and the sounds of the doors on the adjacent rooms sliding open could be heard. He flipped back to check on each of them. Bowman was still snoring; his bald head buried deep into a satin pillow. Arkady was standing up, and peering out the door. He suddenly jumped back in when the form of a werewolf came streaking after him. Saltonstall quickly changed the channel, sickened by what he had nearly seen. He did not want to watch Dr. Arkady be slashed to pieces. He did not return to check on Bowman, the same thing was happening to him. However, it was good enough; he pushed the button and the doors closed again, sealing the werewolves in place for the moment. He'd release them in a few moments, once he knew that Dr. Anselm was safe again.
Scratching his chin with one hand, Colonel Edward Throckmorton gazed thoughtfully at the pipe-smoking Swiley. The futurist was once again blowing smoke rings, and obviously very pleased that he was doing so. All this talk of Swiley's New World had his head spinning. He felt pretty sure that he had followed most of that, and it did make some sort of sense. Still, it went against everything that he had learned throughout all seventy years of his life. Yet what could he do about it now? Everything was completely out of his control; he doubted that even Swiley had any real control over the situation. He could learn. That was what he had to do, he had to learn how he could be of help in this New World. Of course, the only thing that he knew anything about was werewolves, and even then, not a whole lot. Perhaps he should make sure that he knew something about them as well? After all, he knew what it could do to a person; Simmons who sat next to him in her wheel chair listening in as they talked was a living example of that. However, what he didn't know was why it happened, and how it happened. Just what was a werewolf?
"Okay," Throckmorton began, licking his lips, "we seem to have this New World thing down. Now, it all begins with werewolves. I must say that is an interesting choice. I think I understand your explanation of why you chose them. I want to know now just what a werewolf is. What makes a person a werewolf? Why do they change during the full moon? What is it about the full moon that makes them change? There are so many things that I still don't know, but that I feel I must know if I am to survive in this New World you are creating. I mean, aren't you going to distribute this information to the public at some point, so that they know what to look out for?"
Swiley tapped the pipe on the table for a moment. "As to your last question, I can say that yes, we will make that information available to them at some point. I haven't quite decided when yet, but it will come out. Perhaps in my next book."
Throckmorton smiled, feeling a bit better now about this whole thing. For some reason, he liked Swiley, even if he had bad taste when it came to tobacco products. "Oh, and if you don't mind, just why is somebody like you, head of a secret government agency, writing best-selling books?"
Fulton laughed, shaking his head as he did so. "It was necessary, I told you. We had to prepare people for what was to come. The mind must first be shown that it is seeing things through a tined window before it can recognize something's outside that window. As to why I published it under my own name, well there was no real fear of having our agency discovered by the public. There were whispers of us, but nobody would have ever guessed that I was its head."
Throckmorton nodded, "Now, back to the question of the werewolves."
"Yes the werewolves." Swiley nodded emphatically. He tapped his chin with the end of the pipe and casually glanced over at Simmons who was for the first time in the last few hours just calmly sitting there. She had always been a quiet one, but with everything that had been going about in these last few minutes, it would be no wonder that she would just like to sit and think and digest what she was hearing. Fulton spoke slowly, making sure that each of his words was understood, pausing often to puff on his pipe for a moment. "Werewolves are shapeshifters of a special variety. That we know, they do not have conscious control of their change. It comes upon them on nights of the full moon and sometimes the days before or after, though that is rare.
"As we have already said, a person who is a werewolf will have a second part of themselves that manifests in their minds as a wolf. It is always with them. Although I am loath to use the word to describe it, since technically it really isn't a spirit, I think that you can best understand the wolf as a spirit. It is part of the werewolf, and cannot be severed from it. What has happened up on the Pytheas I think can best be explained this way. When a person is slashed by a werewolf in a way that breaks the skin, that gives the spirit some way to enter the body. I know I am mixing the material with the insubstantial, but that is the way it works. As I said, I did not like using the word spirit. However, that is what happens. When the werewolf breaks the skin, then the spirit is given a chance to put a part of itself in the other person. Even if the human is killed physically, the spirit still grows within him. Of course, it takes time for the spirit to work its power, and there is a struggle between the human soul wanting to leave the body and the wolf spirit trying to hold it in. It all depends on how powerful the wolf spirit can grow in a short amount of time.
"And that, all depends on the moon. Now, it works in a strange way. The moon is the power source for the wolf spirit. Think of it as a battery. There is something of a circuit between this battery and the wolf, giving it power. The wolf is filled with more power as the moon waxes full and then loses power as the moon wanes. Now, what we can say here is that during the full moon is really the only time that the wolf has enough power to physically change the one whom it is a part of. So, that is what happens. A person killed by a werewolf while in human form during saw the new moon will of course stay dead, there is no way the wolf spirit could ever anchor the soul to the body. But if a werewolf kills, or only injures somebody during the full moon, then for the dead there is a good chance that they might find themselves a werewolf, and for those injured, it is absolutely certain.
"So, when they are up in space, facing the full moon. What can we expect? I am impressed with the results, because it seems to have proven another theory of ours about the relationship between the moon and the wolf. The closer they are together, the more powerful the spirit becomes. Also, the more closely entwined the human and wolf are."
Throckmorton put his hand up for a moment, "Okay, that sort of makes some sense. What is bugging me still is how you talk about being a werewolf as a good thing, when the people up there just when psycho and started killing everybody. I mean they've eaten at last two people that I have heard if memory serves me correctly. Why did they do that?"
Swiley took a deep breath. "That is very difficult to explain. I think I can sum it up much more simply though. It has to do with fear."
"What do you mean?"
"The human mind fearing the werewolf is what I mean. The more one tries to fight the wolf, the more one cannot control oneself when the wolf takes over. The simple insanity is enough to drive the wolf into complete control, and at the same to lend it a bit of the human insanity. This prevents them from acting rationally while changed and only makes the experience worse the next time for the werewolf. Why do you think Simmons had herself locked in a cage? You could see her fear as she told us about her own experience. But if she can accept who she is, and not be afraid of what it implies, than she too can be in control when the change comes. She too can let her lupine nature express itself, but at the same time maintain her rationality to prevent her from bringing harm to others."
Simmons's head shot up, her eyes were once again burning with anger. "Then you wanted this to happen!"
"I don't know what you mean," Swiley admitted, frowning slightly.
"You wanted my friends to go mad!" Simmons declared hotly. Throckmorton realized that she was right and turned about to face the futurist with an expression of stunned bewilderment. Had he really wanted them to lose control and to be tortured by what they had done for the rest of their lives?
Swiley looked very uncomfortable then, standing from his seat for the first time and turning his back to them, his arms held at his sides stiffly. His voice was quiet, almost a whisper, "I did what I had to do. Do you know how hard that decision was for me? I only want to help."
"No! You only want to make your vision of the world come true, and you will do anything to make it happen. You will run over anybody, you will not let anybody stand in your path. You are so intent you didn't even think about how much it would hurt them to have their minds invaded by the wolf! You didn't even think about it! You just went ahead and did it because you want to make this world yours. What do you want out of it? Fame? Power? What could you possibly want, Dr. Swiley, how dare you do these things! How dare you tell us that you want to help when the only thing you have ever done is caused pain and anguish to the ones I love and those I call my friends. And you talk about the wolf as if it were a good thing! Do you know the pain I've gone through with it, and now you are so blithely giving it to others with the hope that they would suffer the same sort of pain as I do! You bastard! You fucking bastard!" Simmons was nearly standing in her wheel chair from the rage that was unleashed. She spat at him, her eyes wild with the fury, her hair streaming about her shoulders, shaking and fraying as she screamed at him.
Swiley did not turn around. He looked at the floor the entire time she screamed at him. Throckmorton was still in his seat, afraid that if he moved something bad would happen that would make this situation even worse. Swiley spoke a bit louder this time, "I did think about it, Lieutenant. I thought about it a long time. And you are wrong; I am not doing this for fame or power. And yes, I will do whatever I feel is necessary to bring about my vision of the world. I mean nobody any ill will, even those that I have to use to accomplish my ends."
"So the ends justify the means is that it? So your New World is more important than my friends?"
"Yes." Swiley turned around and faced her. His expression was cold, harsh, and very dangerous. Throckmorton had never seen him once, even when he had frustrated Blumenfield into leaving, appearing so intimidating. "If I do not do this, then I am afraid that our culture will stagnate because it can no longer advance or understand what it is doing. The repercussions of that are going to be a lot worse than anything you can imagine. It will be a lot worse to a whole lot of people, a whole lot more than are suffering right now on the Pytheas. Now, did I not offer to help you overcome your problem? Did I not offer you a chance to see what being a werewolf could mean in a positive way? I think I did. What makes you think I was not going to do the same for them. The issue of intent is gone now. I am now offering them my help and you should be going along with it. Don't you want to help them overcome their new fears? Don't you want them to be happy well-adjusted werewolves? Or would you rather just be mad at me?"
"How dare you!"
"Easily. It's my job."
Simmons tried to climb out of the wheelchair to throttle him, but she fell to the ground as the cast immobilized her leg. She beat against the ground with her fists, screaming in anger. Before Throckmorton could get up, Swiley was down at her side helping her back up again. She hit him hard with her fists, her teeth clenched together, screaming and tossing her head about wildly. Swiley took her fists in the chest as he lowered her gently back into her wheelchair. He stood back, gasping for breath, leaning on the table as he did so. Simmons did not seem to notice, as she continued to snap at him, her whole body convulsing with the unbelievable fury.
"Simmons, I know you won't understand. If there had been another way, I would have taken it. Anything else I could have shown the public would have been too easily dismissed. This, well it was much more convincing. If a few people are going to have psychological problems, than so be it. Besides, there is another way, another possibility that you do not know about."
Simmons was too flustered to do anything but hiss at him. Throckmorton finally felt that he had to speak up, "I don't think I understand anymore either. I agree with Simmons. Forcing people into madness just to create your New World seems a bit harsh to me. I don't think I can condone that. I don't think I could even see why you would have to do it. And what do you mean about another possibility?"
Swiley's easy smile returned as he looked away from the sputtering Lieutenant. "Well there is a lot going on here that you are not aware of. As I said, the closer one gets to the moon the more powerful the wolf spirit becomes. I wonder how long it would take before the wolf spirit could possibly exert it's influence directly on the madness, and alleviate it. The wolf does not want to destroy the person, only to help them after all."
"Liar!" Simmons shouted. "You know the pain it causes, yet you still say it is trying to help!"
Swiley had a pained expression on his face. "Michelle, do you want to constantly fight it, or do you want to get along with it?"
"I don't want it!"
"That's not an option."
"Well you find a way to make it an option!"
"No, I won't do that. You are a werewolf; I will not kill either side of you. To kill the wolf in you would be to kill you. You cannot live without her. Face it. Why not learn to get along and help each other? I have met many other werewolves who love their wolf, and they are some of the most peaceful and content people that I have ever met. Don't you want to meet them? Don't you want to have a joyful life? You are going to live with the wolf; there is no other way about it. Why not live in harmony with her instead of fighting her tooth and nail the whole time?" Throckmorton could see that at least about this, Swiley was being sincere. Perhaps the man had really spent a lot of time considering this. He could imagine him up late at night puffing on his pipe, tamping down the leaves, looking into the sky, and just thinking. He would probably sit there for hours, his book off to one side, handy to remind him what he was fighting for. Then, when nothing else looked like it would work, he would always come back to that one idea. That one very real and unfortunate truth. He was going to have to drive some people mad to save the world. Through Throckmorton was not sure that Swiley was right that the world needed to be made over in the way he described in order to save it, there could be no doubt that Swiley felt that way. It also seemed that whether he liked it or not, the world was going to be forever and irrevocably changed.
Simmons appeared ready to jump from her chair again, but this time she restrained her anger, "I don't want it."
"I heard you, but that is not something that can be done. You would die if the wolf was killed."
"Then kill me." The look in her eyes told Edward that she was not kidding. He felt the bile in his throat rise. This was not good at all. She must have suffered unspeakably for her to be so ready to die to be rid of that thing she loathed and hated more than anything else.
"What about Samuel? Do you want him to be killed because of the wolf too? Or do you want him to live knowing that you'd rather die than face him again? Do you think he's stopped loving you?"
"Yes! I know he doesn't love me anymore! How could he love me knowing what I am and what I've done to him."
Swiley shook his head, finally sitting back down in his chair. "You are sorely mistaken, Michelle. Kilpatrick loves you. He won't stop loving you, ever in his whole life. He can't even conceive of that. Don't you still love him? Have you ever thought about not loving him?"
Simmons slowly shook her head, the rage beginning to dissipate again. "No, I love him too much. I never wanted this to happen to him."
"Wolves mate for life, Lieutenant. He will waste away if you are dead. Would you rather him have to struggle against it and go through this same pain that you have?" Swiley's voice was once again comforting and smooth. Throckmorton wondered how many times he was going to have to do this for Simmons; she did not seem to want to be healed of the pain. His heart ached that she just give in to it and let Swiley help her. Though he hated the fact that Swiley had done what he had done, it was too late to change it. They had to go on, and yet she was only making herself worse. Fulton seemed quite honest in his desire to help her. She should just let herself be helped and she would be much better off.
"I didn't want his to have to face this."
"Then you shouldn't have made love to him."
"No, it is your fault. The wolf in you, wasn't she happy that you had selected a mate?"
Simmons took a breath of air, "Yes."
"Why don't you think about how you two can enjoy life again, and not fight against it. There is still much to life that you have yet to see. Don't you want to romp through the woods with him while the moon shines above overhead?"
Simmons put her hands to the sides of her head and shook it, as if she had a thought of it that she didn't want. "Please don't talk to her. I can't bear it!"
"Don't you want to have a litter of strong pups?" Swiley pressed, ignoring her.
Simmons shook her eyes closed tightly, "Please!"
"Does not the image of Samuel, your mate, bringing food back to your den while you nurse the little ones give you feelings of ecstasy? Is that not what you want?"
"Oh yes it is! Please stop, I cannot bear to hear this! She wants it too much!" Simmons cried out, in near terror.
Swiley stood up, walked over to her, and grabbed her arms, and held them stiffly in his hands. "Don't you want to enjoy life?" Simmons stared back up into his face, her own dripping with her tears. She said nothing. Swiley leaned in a bit closer, "Don't you want to enjoy life with your mate? Don't you want to romp about through the woods, carefree and completely loose? Can you not see yourself with Kilpatrick on one of those nights?"
"Oh my, I can." Simmons cried out, her head falling against Swiley's chest. Fulton grunted as her head dropped into his chest. Throckmorton imagined it was still sore from where Simmons had pummeled it only a few moments ago. He did not really understand most of this conversation. It was going over his head, half the time he wasn't sure if they were talking about the wolves or about them as humans. It seemed to move back and forth so quickly that he lost track of who was who. Swiley obviously could follow it, and so did Simmons, though he was sure that she was being very carefully led through the possibilities that lay before her. Also, he had a sneaking suspicion that Fulton was using the fact that she had this wolf spirit in her against her human mind. All those references to a den and a litter, concepts that would never be associated with a human being, had given it away. Other than that, he was still lost. He wished that he could join in this conversation. He wanted to know just how Swiley intended to get them closer to the moon. Somehow, he had been diverted once again. That was getting to be an annoying trademark of this conversation. Of course, it seemed like he was out of it so often that he had trouble placing where he had gotten lost.
Swiley put her arms down at her sides, and then wrapped them about her head and shoulders and held her against his chest, wincing at the touch. "It is all right. The pain hurts, but you can overcome it." Simmons grasped him about the middle, crying into his chest, unable to control herself anymore. She did not seem to stay stable for any length of time. Throckmorton felt terrible for her. This last day must have been the worst ever in her life, with the possible exception of the one where she had attacked her mother. Throckmorton really didn't have anything to compare it with. Oh, the day his father had died had been pretty painful, but it had changed his life in a positive way. He had finally become reconciled with him, and had done the only thing his father had ever wished of him, to serve his country. He hoped that he had done a good job, and that his father was not too disappointed by the way things had turned out. It always amazed him the number of kids who were so rebellious against their parents, when in fact their parents did indeed know what was best for them. Sometimes, experience does mean something.
It meant something in this conversation. Edward had no experience with dealing with this internal wolf spirit; he could never possibly participate in it.
Swiley stared over at him finally, his face one of regret and a bit of concern. "I am telling you the truth. I do want to save those people up there. But as it stands, you have done everything you can. Those that become werewolves will become werewolves. Those that somehow manage to remain human will be human. There is nothing more that can be said. I am sorry that we could not tell you before this. I wish there was something more that we could do for you."
"Well, I'm sure I'll think of something. I must admit I'm glad you got the Secretary off my back. I'll never forget her expression when she stormed out of here," Throckmorton replied cautiously.
"Yes, she was a bit churlish wasn't she?" Swiley remarked while stroking the back of Simmons sobbing head. She did not seem to hear his words, her grief and confusion needing expulsion.
"I do have a few more questions though."
"Yes, I am still not completely sure about this wolf spirit thing. How do you know that it isn't something genetic?"
"As I told you before, we checked that out. There is no way that it could be contained in the genes. There is no common similarity between werewolves. There is no similarity between shapeshifters of any kind. There are many different shapeshifters out there, werewolves are just the ones that most people have heard of."
"Ah, I was going to ask about that as well. What others are there? Are their kinds for every creature? How many have you met?"
"Well, I doubt that there are shapeshifters for every creature. I've never met a worm shapeshifter nor heard of anything like that for instance. There are many others, though throughout most of Europe it is the wolf, same with the United States. Although up in the northern expanses of Canada I understand that there are what you might call werebears. I know that there is a small clan of shapeshifters in the swamps of South America that can become snakes and there are rumors of similar clans in the bayou that are alligators. There are most certainly many different types that we do not know about, small isolated affairs, that have kept their secret safe for generations. All together though, I'd have to say there is a very wide ranging diversity. I am betting that once the President makes an announcement concerning the werewolves on board the Pytheas, you do know that he is already preparing a statement didn't you?"
"Well I never thought about it but I guess that would be something he'd be doing. I guess I would have figured he already knew about it."
"Well, he did, but he can't admit that you see." Swiley winked at him as his right hand continued to massage Simmons who was now just leaning into him as he stood next to her wheelchair.
Throckmorton nodded, smiling to himself. "That is true isn't it."
"Well, at any rate, once he makes the an announcement, I think there is going to be a national coming out plan or something to that effect. Any shapeshifter that wants to be known as such will receive full protection of the United States government. The Vice-President will be sent to the countries that don't hate us right now and will be putting pressure on them to do the same. Meanwhile, I continue to work on bringing more things that are easier accomplished without science to life."
"And the minds of my friends up on the Pytheas? What of them?"
"They will be sane once again. One way or another, I will see to it that this madness passes from their minds and they become well adjusted to being werewolves."
"For some reason, that sounds creepy," Throckmorton admitted.
Dr. Swiley looked over at his pipe that was resting a good five feet form him on the table over where he had been sitting. He held his hand up, and suddenly the pipe just lifted up off from the table and came to rest in his hand. Throckmorton was up out of his seat in shock in a moment. His whole body was shaking with sudden terror. How had he done that? Swiley put the pipe between his lips again and smiled, patting Simmons on the back with one hand, "You have yet to see creepy."
End Part 1 of Part XXIV
Continued in Part 2 of Part XXIV