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Authors: Ian Redman

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The Lure of the Pack

BOOK: The Lure of the Pack
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RED HAZE: THE LURE OF THE PACK

 

BOOK 2 OF: THE RED HAZE CHRONICLES

 

BY

 

IAN REDMAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover design by Carole Stevenson

 

DEDICATION

 

 

I dedicate the second of Ash Piper’s adventures to
seven very special people who gave me so much support with reference to my very
intensive studies of the grey wolf throughout the 1990s.

RED HAZE: THE LURE OF THE PACK is dedicated to Diane
Boyd, Lu Carbyn, Steven H Fritts, Jim Hammill, L David Mech, Will Waddell and
Adrian Wydeven.

Author’s Note

 

Dear Reader

 

Thank you once again for trusting me to entertain you.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Carole
and Neil Stevenson for their very special, valued and trusted friendship over
many years.

 

As I previously stated in my first novel I am writing
The Red Haze Chronicles as a series of ongoing, open ended werewolf novels that
will always leave the reader on a knife edge of tension at the end of each
individual story.

 

When you start reading this novel will you please
promise me one thing? Do not rush through it! Give yourself time to relax and
then immerse yourself into Ash Piper’s world.

 

I do hope you will enjoy these adventures as much as I
am enjoying creating them.

 

And now…

 

 

PREPARE FOR COMBAT!

 

 

THE HUNT…CONTINUES!

CONTENTS

 

PROLOGUE – CLAWS AND STEEL

 

1 – LET US PREY!

 

2 – CHAOS THEORY

 

3 – HATE

 

4 – WHITE SWAN

 

5 – WAR

 

6 – BLUE?

 

7 – A PURCHASE IN ST
PETERSBURG

 

8 – EASY PICKINGS

 

9 – THE LURE OF THE PACK

 

10 – BLOOD RED!

 

EPILOGUE – THEATRE

 

GLOSSARY

 

ABOUT IAN REDMAN

“Know your enemy!”

 

SUN TZU

 

 

 

“Hell hath no fury, like a woman scorned.”

 

FROM: THE MOURNING BRIDE BY WILLIAM CONGREVE

(MODERN TRANSLATION)

 

 

 

 

“Oh Wolf I look long for you, but you know how to
hide, your scrawny hide, behind the darkest wind.”

 

OLD CHOCTAW INDIAN POEM

PROLOGUE

 

CLAWS AND STEEL

 

With the German Shepherd dogs swiftly gaining ground, Ash
Piper ran towards the razor wire. COME ON DAMN IT, he thought, RUN, RUN!
Further gunfire erupted around Piper, only just missing him! Tactfully, the
CEATA agent lowered his body as bullets from the guards’ MP44s smashed into the
ever-looming rear wall, the wall he desperately needed to get to. Snarling,
growling, the dogs snapped at his heels, they were practically on top of him!
JUMP he thought, JUMP!

With every ounce of energy in his body Ash Piper leapt
upwards and over, clearing the first set of razor bladed wire, but the dogs
were not so fortunate. With a piteous yelping they ran straight into the
lethally sharp barrier. NOW, THE SECOND SET OF WIRE! More gunfire rattled
behind him as Piper flinched, a shard of red-hot tracer slicing across the skin
of his neck, narrowly avoiding a critical injury. He jumped again, his body
scything through the air, the feeling of dampness from the cold night coursing
through his wild veins. NOW THE WALL he thought, his panting breath sounding
more and more like a wild dog’s. With the sounds of chaos echoing behind him
Piper jumped again, his body slamming up onto the flat of the perimeter wall.
It was a leap only the wolf could have made! With perspiration pouring from his
body, Piper quickly prepared to climb out of the Von Kurst Electronics
Warehouse Facility.        

 

“Did you see that,” said one of the guards, “did you see how
he jumped? No man could do that!”

With a hint of wanton retribution rooted deep in his eyes
another guard appeared, aiming his sniper rifle at Piper’s head, “leave him to
me!” Increasing the magnification of the weapon’s optical sight directly in
line with his target, the guard shouted at the top of his voice, “HEY SHITHEAD,
EAT THIS!”

Then…he fired.

 

The wolf spoke, danger, DANGER! Too late! Piper yelled in
pain, lost his grip and plummeted over the wall, hitting the ground with a
gut-wrenching thump.

“ASH!” In CEATA’s Communications Room, Jeanette Descard
shouted out in pitiful anguish as a senior medical officer checked Piper’s life
signs on the computer next to him. “He’s been hit,” he said.

“Red Haze to Control, do you copy?” Breathing heavily, his
head spinning, Piper looked down at his left shoulder; his blood oozing from
the wound where the sniper’s bullet had passed through it. That was too damned
close, he thought as the main viewing screen in front of CEATA’s senior command
team relayed the reality of his situation.

Charles Mann looked piercingly at Maurice Hertschell who
gave a very slight nod of his head. The Colonel understood; it was a sign
between the two men. It was time to test Red Haze to the limit of his
endurance. “What is your situation Red Haze?” said the Colonel, his voice
filled with gritty determination.

“I’ve been hit in my left shoulder. I’ll move to the
retrieval area utilising night vision, over.”

“He sounds fatigued,” said Jeanette.

“THAT’S A NEGATIVE RED HAZE…”

Jeanette Descard could not believe what she had just heard.
“Colonel, what the hell are you talking about? We have a retrieval team ready
to pick Ash up, GET THEM IN!”

The Colonel raised his right hand, palm open, the meaning
being obvious. Keep quiet!

“Say again Control,” replied Piper.

“You are on your own Red Haze. No retrieval is available at
present. I suggest you take immediate action to secure your safety.” For a few
seconds only the sound of static could be heard as Jeanette, Nick and Jean-Paul
gazed in shock at the Colonel.

“Very well Control, I’m making my way into the forest to
secure better cover.” Piper winced as searing pain cut through his shoulder.
Just what the fuck is going on, he thought?

“Nick, I want a full operational view of the warehouse
facility and Piper’s location, QUICKLY!” Charles Mann was in no mood for arguments.

“Yes sir!” Nick shook his head in disbelief, the look on his
face telling of mistrust as his fingers typed urgently at his keyboard. Just
what the hell is happening, he thought.

Angrily, Jeanette Descard walked purposefully over to the
Colonel, “Colonel, what is going on, Ash is wounded and…”

“CUT THE BULLSHIT JEANETTE,” Charles Mann’s raised voice
made CEATA’s Chief Criminal Psychologist reel back in shock, the deep-rooted
look in his eyes spelling trouble.

 

“Yes Herr Standartenfuhrer, he is wounded but has managed to
escape, he won’t get far.” The burly security guard, standing with several
others around him spoke earnestly into his mobile phone, “of course Herr
Standartenfuhrer, yes…of course, we’ll get him, he won’t get far. I will call
you as soon as we have him.”

“Well?” Another guard waited for his colleague’s reply.

“We take the shit alive if possible; get your men ready,
we’re moving into the forest, I WANT AS MANY MEN AS WE CAN SPARE!”

Within minutes further guards appeared, their modified MP44s
at the ready. “He has night vision, so he has an advantage,” said one.

“No he doesn’t…” the burly man smiled as he prepared to give
further orders to his men. “GET THE TIGER UP!” he shouted.

 

With his senses reeling, Piper collapsed in the dense foliage
of the forest and opened up his torn drop suit. Gently, he checked the hole in
his shoulder and was surprised to see it had ceased bleeding. Carefully, he
scanned the surrounding forested terrain through his NV goggles whilst
assessing his current situation, then glanced again at his shoulder. The blood
had already congealed inside the wound, the wolf DNA in his body assisting
rapidly with the healing process.  As he pulled himself up, Piper’s lupine
hearing registered shouts in the distance and the barking of dogs. He smiled, a
cold, venomous smile, a smile that spelt of violence…and death! Right you
bastards he thought, if you want a fight, you can fucking well have one! “Red
Haze to Control.”

“Go ahead, Red Haze,” Nick sounded anxious.

“I am moving further into the forest, when is retrieval
expected, over?”

“At least another hour Red Haze,” replied Colonel Mann,
“however you have permission to engage the enemy if the situation requires it,
do you understand?” There was silence for several seconds as Charles Mann’s
heartbeat started to race. “He’ll know what we are doing Maurice. He’ll know we
are testing him.”

CEATA’s Commander in Chief fixed his steely gaze firmly on
the Colonel, “of course he will Charles. But let us not forget, Sergeant Piper
knows what we expect of him. If his survival requires bloodshed…then so be it!”

Jeanette spoke quietly, calmly, “so you’re going to use Ash
as a guinea pig, that’s right isn’t it?”

“Jeanette,” the Colonel sounded irritated, “as I said
before, cut the bullshit. You know why we have brought Ash into CEATA. He is
one of ‘them’, one of those…creatures, half human, half wolf. God knows how
many of them are out there, it may only be a handful, then again, there may be
hundreds, even thousands.” The Colonel paused, as if letting his powerful
vocalisation sink deep into Descard’s thoughts.

“Go on Colonel, make your point!”

“The fact is Jeanette, the Rostov video footage and the
further pieces of evidence we have studied, prove conclusively the existence of
these creatures. We know they are a possible threat to humanity, now…we have a
chance to learn more about these human wolves.”

“These werewolves, you mean?”

Descard’s tone seemed patronising, making Charles Mann feel
angry. “Now we can learn how they fight, how they utilise their senses, how
they use their surroundings and we can watch and record all of this by
satellite.” The Colonel folded his arms.

“So in other words Colonel, as of now, you and the Commander
are throwing Ash into combat?”

“Correct Doctor.”

 

“Tiger One to Central Control, we are approximately six
kilometres from your location, what are your instructions, over?”

“Tiger One listen carefully,” the man sat at the radio
console in Building Three of the VKE Warehouse Facility replied quickly to the
static laden voice heard through his headset. “We have been infiltrated by a
covert operative. We need to find the bastard and bring him in for
interrogation; it’s up to you to locate him. He is wounded, so he can’t have
gone far.”

“Confirmed Central Control, will use thermal imaging to
locate the target. I presume we have backup closing in on the intruder?” Over
the voice of the Tannoy a low thumping sound could be heard; the thumping of
rotor blades.

“Affirmative Tiger One, however the target has moved into
the forest, just keep him in check. If he moves any further, fire warning
shots, over!”

“Affirmative.” The pilot of the Eurocopter Tiger belonging
to Von Kurst Electronics smiled as he spoke confidently to his colleague, the
helicopter’s navigator and weapons specialist, “this should be fun Franz, arm
the cannon.”

“Ha! You bet!”

 

“Tiger One will be with you in approximately eight minutes,
they have been given their orders.”

“Good, we’ll keep watch for them, over.” The burly security
guard replaced the radio handset on the backpack of another member of the VKE
security staff. Hurriedly, he spoke to the assembled men around him, “alright,
the Tiger is on route, they will flush him out like a rat in a trap. Remember,
we must take him alive!”

There was muttering between the men, the guard dogs around
them whining steadfastly as tension mounted, “what do we do with the dogs?”

“Keep them with us for the time being. OKAY, LET’S MOVE
OUT!”

 

Piper vomited. He felt dizzy, weak and sick. He shook his
head, trying to clear his mind of images of a woman, a frightened woman as he
continued to move deeper into the forest. What the hell is wrong with me, he
thought? Already his breathing was heavy, his pulse racing as adrenaline kept
his senses working overtime. Then he heard it, far beyond the reach of human
ears, the hammering of rotor blades coming from the east, “Red Haze to
Control.”

“Go ahead! We’re monitoring you all the way Red Haze.”

Piper smiled to himself as he heard Nick’s voice through his
Com-link. The young computer genius was trying hard to sound calm and relaxed,
but was not succeeding. In reality, Piper could sense Nick’s tension. “I’ve got
company, moving in from the east. It’s a chopper, no doubt about it!”

“We will confirm Red Haze, keep moving.” Nick turned to the
Colonel, “permission to obtain an enlarged operational overview sir?”

Charles Mann nodded his head, “permission granted.”

 

The cockpit of the Eurocopter buffeted with turbulence as
its navigator spoke calmly through his headset. “We should be in position in
two minutes.”

“Good, I’ll report in.”

“I’m arming the cannon and preparing to go thermal.”

“Very well, Tiger One to Central Control…”

 

“We have confirmed identification Red Haze! You have a
Eurocopter Tiger approximately two kilometres from your current position.”

“Presumed hostile no doubt,” Piper’s reply was full of
sarcasm, “can you confirm weaponry on the chopper Control, over?”

“Messrs Von Kurst and Oratz never cease to amaze me
Charles,” Commander Hertschell cast an inquisitive glance towards Colonel Mann
as Nick frantically enlarged the satellite image of the helicopter swiftly
bearing down on his friend. “There are no signs of missile attachments Red
Haze; it’s most probably just a recon scout.”

“No way Control, the chopper will be armed and if memory
serves me correct, most probably with a thirty millimetre cannon. Shit, that’s
all I fucking need!”

“COLONEL, WHAT CHANCE DOES ASH HAVE NOW?” Charles Mann
seemed visibly taken aback by Jeanette Descard’s outburst of anger and emotion.
“FOR GOD’S SAKE, IF THIS HELICOPTER IS ARMED WITH A HEAVY CALIBRE CANNON, IT
COULD RIP HIM APART.”

“Calm down Jeanette.” It was so obvious, so very bloody
obvious he thought! This woman has feelings for Piper, and as far as I’m
concerned…that’s bad news! 

 

“I can confirm visual identification, one man, half a
kilometre ahead, he’s in a pretty dense part of the forest, but we can flush
him out.” The navigator of the Eurocopter was pleased with himself; his
training in the West German Army had been of paramount importance before he had
joined the grenadiers and their wholesome task.

The burly security guard replied, “we are already making our
way into the forest Tiger One, drop flares so we have a better visual on your
position.”

“Affirmative.” The modern lightweight attack helicopter
continued on its course, a course leading directly to Ash Piper.

 

“Red Haze to Control,” Piper’s heart was racing, the
thumping of the Tiger’s rotor blades drawing ever nearer.

“Go ahead.”

“I can confirm visual on the chopper, it’s impossible for me
to break away from their flight pattern; they will just harass me until the
security guards move in.”

“So what are you suggesting Red Haze?” This is it thought
the Colonel; this is where CEATA’s key agent unleashes his inner self.

“I am going to take matters into my own hands; it’s the only
way I can survive.”

“Very well Red Haze,” the Colonel paused as everyone stared
at him, “good luck!”

Maurice Hertschell viewed the mission screen intently, his
eyes awash with exhilaration. He spoke quietly, “well Charles, let’s see what
our weapon can do.”

Nick suddenly leapt out of his chair, “OH SHIT, THEY’RE
FIRING AT HIM!”

Cold dread swept over Jeanette Descard, “RUN ASH! FOR GOD’S
SAKE, RUN!”

 

BOOK: The Lure of the Pack
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