Marcus Pelegrimas

Extinction Agenda



The wolves are coming in from the forests,circling the village that is under my protection.

Perhaps they know, perhaps they don’t care that I am here.

They move in, lapping up our scent, salivating at the prospect of separating limbs from our bodies.

The wolves don’t give a damn about this village or about the hopes, dreams, families, or friends of its people.

They come in from the forests to claim what they see as theirs.

When this siege is over, there will be another.

And another one after that.

From the journal of Jonah Lancroft, 1867

There is no record of the village referenced in this entry.

In the months following the Breaking Moon, a cold descended upon the world as if to numb it for the carnage of a burgeoning war. That night’s victories prevented the Full Bloods from spreading the Half Breed plague across an entire continent in a matter of hours. Only as autumn sank into winter did the Skinners realize how close humanity had been to the brink of its destruction. Although the Full Bloods had been stopped before, using the earth’s own energies to spread the Breaking, the Half Breeds had still been unleashed, and their bite was still just as deadly. Angry breaths spewed from the mouths of shapeshifters as they roamed city streets in packs. Humans shivered in their homes, their tired eyes watchful over the barrels of hunting rifles or shotguns. Such weaponry had been bought up rapidly once the werewolves spread throughout the country, despite the fact that normal ammunition was somehow becoming increasingly useless against the creatures that seemed to have grown thicker coats for the winter. When a shot was fired, the noise drew sharp, black eyes toward its source. Even if that bullet had somehow dropped one of the Half Breeds, others would stampede the would-be hunter and decorate the stark white ground in a spattering of dark red.

As the months wore on, local police departments were tasked with keeping order in panicked jurisdictions. Large cities and small towns alike were dragged into what many thought was the end of the world. Monsters charged in from the hills, howled at the moon, tore through families. Overconfident at first, police forces, local militia, and even the military either fed the ranks of the dead or were turned into members of a pack. Whether those people were to be called victims, heroes, or martyrs ceased to matter. Dead was dead, and in this uncompromising winter people wanted to live. Fear led to panic, which settled into the desire to fight. No human emotion mattered to the wolves, however, as they kept running and feeding and killing and maiming. Their numbers grew exponentially, and when some packs were cleaned out, it wasn’t until after dozens of locals had been added to their ranks. Just a few stray Half Breeds meant more deaths and casualties. More casualties meant more Half Breeds, and the howling never waned.

The military had been called to action as a way to maintain order in the streets, divvy out the emergency food, and escort medical supplies to where they were needed. When the Full Bloods showed themselves, battles raged. Unfortunately for the cold, frightened world, the Full Bloods showed themselves often.

While the United States suffered the worst of the initial turmoil, the nightmare was not contained by any political border. It swept out from the siege of Atoka, Oklahoma, and the occupation of Raton, New Mexico. Before the media could debate whether the creatures were truly werewolves or just “diseased canines” from previous sightings in Wisconsin and Kansas City, the Half Breeds had made their presence all too clear. As bodies piled up, explanations became scarcer. Before long, nobody seemed to care what the creatures were or where they came from. They just wanted them to go away.

But the beasts weren’t going anywhere.

It was going to be a long, brutal winter.

“The Skinners know we’re here, Tara. This isn’t smart.”

Pacing across the front window of a town house on Battery Avenue, a skinny woman with stringy blond hair pulled aside a filmy curtain to get a look at a quiet section of Baltimore. Tara’s round face would have been pretty if not for the black tendrils creeping beneath her skin along both cheeks. Although the pattern was more or less random, one half of the markings reacted in perfect synchronicity with the other. They shifted beneath her flesh, sometimes twitching out of hunger. Where one tendril stretched out, another on that side pulled back so neither of her two spores could claim a lion’s share of the host. She paused when headlights splashed across the pavement as a car sped past the town house at highway speed. Like the rest of the country, most of Maryland’s authorities were too busy elsewhere to worry about traffic violations. “The Skinners already had their shot at you, Cobb,” she said. “They came up empty.”

The other man in the room stood at average height, his muscular build wrapped in a sweater frayed along the bottom. A thick turtleneck was stretched out enough to display a ring of black wavy markings around his entire neck. Some of them met the narrow goatee that had been shaved to a point above his Adam’s apple. The ones at the back of his neck reached all the way up into a thick crop of light brown hair that would have perfectly suited an edgy businessman from the mid-1990s. Even so, he cared for himself well enough to make the look seem timeless. When he didn’t say anything, he ground his teeth and allowed his lids to droop down over crisp green eyes ringed almost imperceptibly with quivering black filaments.

“They did come up empty, right?” Tara asked.

“I was told about those two Skinners in Toronto less than an hour before they kicked in my door.”

Tara placed a hand against the window as black claws snaked out from beneath her fingertips. “What did they get?”

“One of my personal PCs. It functioned as a small backup server and was used to post updates through”

Tara’s claws scraped against the glass as she slowly balled her hand into a fist. “So they know how we’ve been passing our communications? They might even know everything we’ve been setting up ever since we took control?”

“The ChatterPages stuff has already been changed,” Cobb said. “If they have been listening in, they would have put their information to use by now.”

Moving in a flicker from the window to where Cobb stood, Tara clamped a hand around his throat and applied just enough pressure to raise him onto the balls of his feet. “That information should have been destroyed,” she hissed. “That was the order.”

“Right,” Cobb said as his two upper sets of fangs eased out from where they were sheathed in his gums. “An order given by Hope. Not you.”

“Hope put me in charge of making sure the order was carried out.”

“She may have given you some duties during the uprising, but that doesn’t mean anything now that she’s dead. The others are entrenched within their own cities watching the wretches tear the world apart. Why would they feel the need to obey orders given by a wild-eyed Double Seed?”

Even as Tara tightened her grip on his throat, the tendrils on either side of her face twitched in a way that was just frantic enough to prove his point. While most Nymar were created by a vampire spore attaching to their heart, only a select few could survive the process of having more than one introduced to their system. That feat won no respect with other Nymar, however, who saw only a raging temper brought about by the disproportionate hunger of

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