(July 5, 2011)
After I had hung up the call with Scar's captors, I sat for a moment, thinking. Kate was next to me and the rest of the rescue party was still in the living room.
A minute or two later, a thought occurred to me. I picked my phone up and dialed a number, hoping that she was still awake.
I sat bolt upright. "Pen, it's Colby."
"What's up, bro? I haven't heard from you or Scar in a while. How is she, anyway?"
I chuckled humorlessly. "Yeah, that's what I'm calling about, Pen. She's gone missing."
"Oh no! What happened?" she asked.
"I left the house for a bit to go grab her something and when I got back, she was gone. Anyway, I'm putting together a rescue and I need your boy and his powers to help."
She sighed. "That's the fourth time in six months that you've needed him up there."
"Yeah, I know, but this time we really need his help."
"What were all those other times?" she asked, curious.
"Scar and I appreciate his company."
Another thought occurred to me.
"Look, if you want, you can tag along, make sure everything's copacetic. How good are you with a gun?"
"There's guns involved? I'm not sure I want him up there with that going on."
"Remember that day out in L.A.? I saved both of you. I never collected on that debt. And now I need him, and you, and you don't want to help?"
She sighed again. "Alright. We'll both come. What time should we be ready?"
"I'm sending Trudy to pick you up."
"I'll be ready for her."
I disconnected the call and immediately made another.
I could tell by one word that I had woken someone up.
"Hello?" said a voice blurred by sleep.
"Trud, it's Colby. I need your help," I said urgently.
I heard her start to come online. "What do you need?" she asked.
"I need you, the Merlin, any guns you can get your paws on, which I know is a lot, and I need you to stop in Oklahoma for a pickup."
Her sigh sounded like a hiss of static.
"I swear, if it's that girl and her boy, I'm gonna punch you when I get there," she said with a laugh.
She was serious.
"Well, I'll get ready for the hit, cause that's who I need."
"Hot damn, Colby, what do you need me and the guns for?"
I told her the very condensed version of what had happened with Scar.
Her voice reflected her instant awareness.
"I'll get in the air right now. Did you tell them that I'd be picking you up?"
"You know I did, Trudy."
"Acknowledged. Trudy, out." she said and hung up.
I turned to the assembled wolves and humans.
"Alright, I got us a little extra help. My friend Trudy is a pilot for the Air Force and she's bringing a bird and some guns up."
"What about this Pen and her boy?" asked Sweets, who had calmed down after her shortsighted outburst.
"They're friends," I said. "The very best."