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15 November 2017 @ 09:13 am
_Stone_ part 8  

Chapter Fourteen? Emails


Friday night

They let me sleep inside, closed in the laundry room. So I didn't have any excuses for not . . . somehow doing something about the Hunters of Men. I opened the laundry room's inside door as quietly as I possibly could, and paced down the hallway. The good thing about retractable claws was not worrying about clicking on the hardwood floor.

Up the stairs to the computer room. Nice and quiet. I closed the door behind me and checked carefully that Nicole's speakers were turned off. Then I turned her machine on and worried about the best way—secure and requiring the least amount of two-claw-typing—way to spoof a senders location. I'd been pretty good a few years ago. Badly out of practice but I'd give it a try.

Thank you for saving all your passwords!

The computer took no skill at all . . . A quick internet search . . . who did I want to send this to, anyway? Arizona and New Mexico were both involved . . . Right, FBI. I got their email address and then got to work laying a false trail, a misleading back trace, and then typed a very brief message. A rough location for the warehouse in Albuquerque I'd been taken to, and the addresses of the three houses here. "The werewolves live here."

Retractable claws were not made for typing . . . and if they didn't understand, I wasn't sending the locations to the right place, anyway. I hit the send button and erased my tracks.

I started at the computer . . . then turned it off. There's no one I want to talk to.

I crept back to the laundry room and slept.

Chapter Twelve



"The two bodies in New Mexico have turned out to be members of the Forty-eight gang. The Albuquerque Field Office incident crew is taking over the scene, and has expanded the search area.

"Besides the two human bodies, we've found the remains of two large dogs. Much chewed by critters, but with a time of death very close to that of the human victims. The map of the area . . . This is a cattle ranch—four thousand acres of rugged sparse grazing, rarely visited—a hundred and ten miles west of Albuquerque and eight mile north of Interstate Forty. They've got trained cadaver dogs enroute to see if there are any of the sorts of hidden graves we've seen elsewhere."

A map of the state, then a close up with the locations marked of the parked car and the two human bodies. The canine remains were a quarter and a third of the way back to I40.

"We're getting daily updates."

Kris Kovac repressed a sigh. If I was still in DC, I'd probably have been sent out there as the lead investigator. Now I'll have to wait for someone else to write the report and circulate it.

Dammit. However much nicer it is out here, otherwise. I feel like I'm in a backwater.

"We have a new detailed analysis of those extra chromosomes from the labs." Masterson clicked on the big screen and they watched the whole dog and pony show.

"Genetic engineering as the direct transfer of DNA from one organism to another was first accomplished by Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen in 1972. The first genetically modified animal was a mouse created in 1974 by Rudolf Jaenisch." The man on the screen shrugged. "So we've had fifty-five years, in theory, to do something disastrous to ourselves. In actuality, serious expertise has existed for less than half that, but it's clear from this Forty-eight Gang that it has been done."

Kris had seen presentations by the man before, met him in person once. Dr. Daniel Reid.

So the experts don't think it's a natural mutation. Something deliberate. But we're getting third generation DNA showing up.

"The two extra chromosomes are not natural. Not accidental duplications of other human chromosomes or even parts of them. They are hodgepodge collections of control genes from several species, mostly canine and feline, although we haven't pinned down the exact species. And there are some oddities that might be from an octopus, or . . . something else. Other labs have suggested genetic engineering of those chromosomes, but work of that nature has never been demonstrated. We have identified epigeneic switches on some of the odd genes that turn the genes on during adrenaline surges, then turns them back off. Of course, we're still studying them . . . what physical effect they could possibly have is hard to say. Faster reflexes? Stronger? Neither dogs nor cats are known for endurance, so possibly just in bursts?" Dr. Reid scowled at the camera. "It would be nice to have an actual individual to observe and test. The evidence indicates that they are completely fertile with ordinary people, so find me some children from outside the criminal gangs, eh?"

"Oh, how does that work, with the extras not interfering? Best guess is they're mostly non-functional. Next best guess is they don't turn on until trigger by something—such as puberty. Eh, we need an actual—better yet several—live persons."

"Now the two bodies in New Mexico

He tapped at a computer and a new chart popped up. "And we know interbreeding with outsiders works because of these new results we've just started studying, from New Mexico. An all new, never seen before individual. Different Y chromosome, different Mitochondrial line. He has both of the extra chromosomes, and enough overlap with the other genes that the best match is grandson of both LA2 and SC7 with outside women who both had daughters, and the son of one of those daughters married, or whatever, the daughter of the other half forty-eight daughter, and produced this fellow.

"His DNA was from the usual fake dog bites, and also from blood on ropes found at the site. This is, however, the first time we've gotten actual bodies of gang members to study. This outsider apparently killed two of the Southwest group."

Kris leaned forward. "But the spitting on fake dog bites motif points to someone very familiar with the gang. Not an outsider."

The video, of course, rattled on without pause. "Well, details of the autopsy . . . both the victims had odd skeletal abnormalities. Whether these are typical of the gang, an effect of the artificial chromosomes, more ordinary birth defects, or deliberate post natal restrictions of growth is an interesting question."

What? Like the old Chinese foot wrapping? Or unset breaks?

"So, in any case, they've been identified as KC5 and KC8, based on semen samples from the 2018 attack in Kern County California where at least ten men raped, killed, dismembered, cooked, and ate four women . . . "

The pictures bore a definite resemblance to the boys in New Orleans. Outthrust face, light brown hair.

More DNA pictures . . . "our reconstructions of the women in the gang, from the DNA their sons have been leaving around . . . "

Kris barely paid attention as the technical terms flew.

West of Albuquerque? North of I-40? What date? Rachel must have driven past within 48 hours of the killing. I wonder if her dash cam would show anything interesting? At least I don't have to actually worry that the dog she picked up is a werewolf.





He mentally kicked himself and switched his attention to the screen.

". . . And so in addition to the one hundred and seventeen identified male members of the gang, we are postulating twenty-five adult women adding to the gene pool. Status in the gang unknown, number of children unknown."

The doctor glared out of the vid screen. "I need more samples. Do I have to find and hire a hacker to get into genetic data bases?"

And I need a description of those dead dogs . . . although it's hard to imagine Stone as trained to kill. And he has a tag, former elderly owners.

I'll start by tracking down that son of theirs. Leonard Stone. I need to do that anyway . . . and now it's quasi-pertinent to the case.

He typed out a request for pictures and DNA on the dogs . . . they'll think I'm insane . . . He added a request for breed identification, and if that breed or breeds required DNA testing, to check any matches, or even partial matches that might be useful in tracking down the owners . . .

And dash cams. He'd check and see if Rachel even had one. And then . . . what? An open call for dash cam footage right then would alert the Forty-eights. And unless he could find someone who had downloaded the right times, the small memory capacity of most dash cams would have been over-written already.

When Masterson asked for additional input or suggestions, Kris brought up the dash cam potential. "Maybe quietly ask truckers? See if any of them regularly download and save trips."

He went home and checked—Stone was gone again—and Rachel's car did indeed have a dash cam. He pulled the chip and copied it to his computer, then headed back to the office.

She hadn't driven since her arrival. Kris trawled slowly through the trip, from just outside Albuquerque. He noted license plates. Crimes are often solved by trudging along looking at everything.

He spotted the big dog limping along the road. Away from the scene of the slaughter.

I need a picture of the dead dogs at the scene.

That evening, he listened to Rachel's newest plans to corral her dog.

I should haul him down to HQ. Or something. At least get him away from my family, in case he really has been trained to attack and kill people. But that's stupid. There's human saliva in the bites. Fake dog bites, not real. The Albuquerque scene was probably the Forty-eights versus a drug smuggling gang.

"Don't bother getting too elaborate. He's not your dog yet."

Rachel glowered. "He could get hit by a car."

"Any dog that can open and close doors and gates is probably pretty street-wise." Kris winced. This is stupid. I do not have a werewolf member of the Forty-eights sleeping on my back porch!

(Anonymous) on November 15th, 2017 04:29 pm (UTC)
"This is stupid. I do not have a werewolf member of the Forty-eights sleeping on my back porch!"

No, of course not, Kris, you have a werewolf victim of the Forty-eights sleeping on your back porch.

ekuah on November 15th, 2017 04:50 pm (UTC)
When you find a crime victim, you usually check for foreign DNA on the victim.
Now, Kris pretty much knows who and what killed KC5 and KC8.
Another yet to be identified member of that 48-Gang.
But what killed the dogs? There are no gun or knife wounds on the mutts.

I mean, it's pretty unlikely that unarmed men could kill those mutts the way those mutts were killed, right?
So you could presume, that whoever have killed those humans had help by something with big fangs to take care of the mutts.

In Kris' place, it would still amaze me how much those bite wounds on the mutts and humans match. (Obvious some custom made fake dog bites, matching the teeth of the four pawed helper)
Also curious, how highly trained that dog must be, that he did not attack the humans. (Since there is no dog DNA in the bite wounds of KC5 and KC8)

So you start to check for who and what fought with the mutts.
To do that you look for foreign DNA in the mutt's wounds and on their fangs.

Edited at 2017-11-15 04:52 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on November 15th, 2017 06:36 pm (UTC)
Seems to me Kris made a too abrupt leap to believing in werewolves there. Thinking he might have a dangerous dog on his hands, trained by the Forty-eights, yeah. Werewolf? No. Too much, too soon. Especially since he knows the dog bites are fake, and this is the first time they've found dead dogs at the scene.

ekuah on November 15th, 2017 07:27 pm (UTC)
He THINKS the dog bites are fake.

But you are right, his thoughts about werewolves are a little bit premature.

Maybe Pam can build in a scene were Kris watches a classic horror film about werewolves with his wive. Or let Pam mention something like that.
Something like that could plant such seed of a thought in his mind.

Edited at 2017-11-15 07:28 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on November 15th, 2017 08:28 pm (UTC)
RE: Werewolves
It's not what you know or know you don't know that'll get you, it's what you know that just ain't so . . .
Kris knows the dog bites are fake.

Rachel should buy Stone a nice meaty bone . . . How obvious is the fakeness of the bites?
He's a good dog and a big bone would discourage him roaming, right?


ekuah on November 15th, 2017 08:45 pm (UTC)
Fake dog bites.
Ether I have misunderstood something in the story or you had.

My reading is, that FBI thinks they are fake dog bites, because there is no dog DNA in the wounds but human DNA.

'Kris snorted. "Faked, using dog teeth in some sort of crushing mechanism. Otherwise we'd have found canine DNA in the bites. And feline DNA in the claw marks." '

By the way why should those 48er gang members use fake bites in their rituals when they have the very real fangs?
Remember they are werewolves too.
Or did I misread something again?
mbarkermbarker on November 16th, 2017 01:27 am (UTC)
Re: Fake dog bites.
No, I think you're right, the 48er gang members used very real fangs for very real biting, but the FBI thinks they are fake because... there's no dog DNA in the bites. How do you get bites without dog DNA? Fake bites.
(Anonymous) on November 16th, 2017 02:21 am (UTC)
RE: Re: Fake dog bites.
I think we are talking past each other. We know Leo's side.

Kris does not. Kris knows he has fake dog bites. I have the impression that it isn't just the wrong DNA, but that there was something else off about the bites, which was what prompted the DNA testing in the first place.
Otherwise, you have obvious dog bites. What prompted testing the saliva in them in the first place?

Zan Lynxzlynx on November 16th, 2017 05:27 am (UTC)
Re: Fake dog bites.
They also mentioned cannibalism. Maybe they tested for that reason.
ekuah on November 16th, 2017 08:36 am (UTC)
Sorry if I repeat myself
Pam mentioned that the werewolves have retractable claws, even in full canine form.
That's definitely not normal for a dog.
Maybe the tooth positioning is off too.
So they were wondering if the bites came from coyotes, wolves, jackals ... (I'm not sure what kind of critters you could find in american deserts)
And a bite is not really like a fingerprint. It's somewhat vague. You can't really identify someone or something by it.