Rey spat onto the cement floor, saliva and blood landing in a garish glob. She had been in worse pain before, and it would take a lot more than the loss of a tooth to make her talk. In fact, she had used the time it took to pull it out to gauge the weakness in the metal chair to which she was currently handcuffed. The creepy little wisp of a man in front of her smiled slightly, his beady little eyes widening behind his glasses. She could not wait to kick his ass.
“Ready to talk yet?”
She put on a pained face and nodded her affirmation. “You got a pen?
He scrambled on a nearby desk for a scrap of paper and a pen.
“Write this down,” she continued. “E - M - E - T - I - B. Got that?”
“Now reverse it.”
Rey took great pleasure in watching him reverse the letters like it was a puzzle, only to reveal the phrase “Bite me.” Finn was right. Her smart mouth might be the death of her one of these days.
“Why you little bitch!” He lunged at her, but it was too late.
Rey head butted him, then used all the strength she had to flip herself and the chair over onto his squat body. He was pinned, and the joint holding her cuffs in place easily came free with a twist of her arm. She used her right elbow to knock him out before scavenging the keys from his coat pocket. Once her wrists were free, she gave him a disgusted look. “I’d really like to take one of your teeth for payback, but I don’t have time.”
She grabbed the artifact he had been questioning her about and fled into the hall.
36 hours earlier:
Rose Tico walked around the conference table, handing out dossiers. Finn opened his up, took one look at the picture and gave Rey a subtle “not again” face.
The weather beaten face from the video screen gave no indication of noticing the distaste. The director spoke, “Armitage Hux. I know this is a face we’re all familiar with, but recent intel has led us to believe he is tracking down an important Rambaldi artifact. Now we need to recover this item before he gets to it. If the First Order gets this in their possession before SD-6, I don’t need to tell you what a detriment that would be to our country. Agents Rey and Finn will take the lead on this.”
“Yes, Director Snoke,” Rey droned.
The video screen flickered for a second. “And one more thing… we’ve heard that Hux may or may not have employed the infamous Kylo Ren to help track it down.”
“The rogue agent? I thought he was just a myth,” Finn exclaimed.
“No one has even ever seen him in person,” piped in Rose.
Rey said nothing, but felt a blossom of excitement in her abdomen. She had heard stories of this Kylo Ren; all the agents had. The rumor was that he had been killed or faked his own death after the Starkiller mission.
“It’s true that there are no current pictures of him, but we do believe the agent known as Kylo Ren exists and could be connected to this case. That is all.” The video screen went dark.
This would be an interesting mission indeed.
Rey and Finn had tracked Hux to this estate, a tuscan villa in the countryside. It actually hadn’t been that difficult. A blonde wig and a change of accent allowed Rey to stealthily slip a microscopic tracker into his morning tea from the corner cafe, and they followed him here. It certainly looked like the kind of place a purveyor of ancient artifacts might hole up.
The tracker indicated Hux was somewhere within the massive garage to the side of the house. Rey crept along the outer wall while Finn stayed behind to provide cover and if need be, a quick escape. As Rey rounded the corner of the building, she noticed a small window set into the stonework. She carefully peered in to get a better view. She saw Hux and a short man with glasses conversing over what must have been the artifact. It was a wooden box, with carvings on all sides. The top slid open to reveal… she couldn’t tell what.
Just then a noise from the other end of the estate had both men snapping their heads up in attention. They left together to investigate, the mystery box sitting unguarded on a table. She tried the window and finding it pliant, let herself in. Rey was carefully placing the box inside the high security case she had brought, when a voice behind her said, “I’ll be taking that.”
She whipped around to see who had spoken in such a deep timbre. It sent shivers down her spine. The man, clad all in black, cut an impressive figure. He was tall and foreboding and… sexy as hell. The last thought was unintentional, albeit true. Rey had no doubt she was staring into the face of Kylo Ren. Though her mouth had gone dry, she recovered quickly. “I don’t think so.”
“I didn’t want to do this the hard way.” He sounded as if he really meant that. He took a step toward her and went straight for a blow to the head. She blocked the hit easily, but felt how much raw power he packed into a punch. She’d fought men his size before, but something told her this would be harder than anticipated.
They continued exchanging blows in a violent dance, circling each other inside the open garage. She landed a kick to his side that sent him reeling backward before recovering and delivering an elbow to her face. “Do you even know who you’re working for?” He taunted.
She wiped a smear of blood from her lip. “Don’t worry, we’re the good guys.” Spying a workbench nearby, Rey picked up a screwdriver to use as a weapon. This man was relentless.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that.” He lunged for her again, and she brought the screwdriver up with her left hand, slashing in an upward arc. It caught in his chin and sliced up through his brow bone, missing his eye by centimeters. As he cried out in pain, he knocked into the workbench, scattering the rest of its contents on the floor. Realizing that the commotion would draw attention back to them, he turned and fled, but not before a pressing a scrap of paper into Rey’s palm. Though he wore gloves, she fleetingly felt the heat from his fingers. Then he was gone.
She could now hear Hux and the other man coming back from the opposite end of the garage. Unfortunately, this was also where the artifact lay in the case. Finn was already on the comm in her ear. “We gotta go, Rey. If you don’t have it, just get out of there.”
She huffed in frustration, shoved the scrap of paper into her pocket, and went back the way she had come. When she caught up to Finn, he questioned her with his eyes. She just shook her head no. On the way back she said, “But I know where they’re taking it.”
Rey sat on her couch and looked at the scrap of paper Kylo Ren had given her. The top half contained the coordinates where they’d be taking the artifact. She and Finn were already scheduled to check it out first thing in the morning. The bottom half looked like the address for a storage unit facility. He had cast doubt on the people she worked for. But that was ridiculous, right? Of course SD-6 was part of the CIA. Though, she had never been to Langley… but they were black ops, off the book. No, he was just trying to get in her head. Her thoughts swarmed with the possibilities, and she barely heard her roommate come in.
“Rey, you okay?”
She snapped out of it. “Poe! You’re home. How was Kuala Lumpur?”
“Ah, basically the same as everywhere else. Fly in, catch a few Z’s, refuel, fly out. I never really get to sightsee much.” Poe Dameron was a world-class pilot, which as it turns out made for a great roommate since he wasn’t home much. Rey rarely had to explain her late nights or early mornings and when they did have time to catch up, they’d often meet Finn for a couple beers.
“Maybe one day.”
“Definitely. Well, I’m heading straight to my room to crash.”
“I don’t blame you. I think I’m going to go for a run.”
She changed into her running clothes and shoes. After a few miles she hailed a cab and asked to be taken to the storage facility from Kylo’s note. She found unit 47 and took out her lock-picking kit. Once inside, there seemed only to be a metal locker tucked into the far corner. It took her several tries, but she managed to crack the combination and open it. The contents of the locker were a manila file folder and a flash drive. She took them both.
It’s crazy how a few small items can change the course of one’s life. Rey locked herself in the bathroom with the shower running so Poe wouldn’t hear her cry. She read through the entire file and watched the video from the flash drive. What unfolded before her eyes was irrefutable proof that Kylo Ren was telling her the truth. SD-6 was not part of the CIA, but rather was a branch of the First Order, a clandestine international organization seeking to undermine world governments and gain the upper-hand. Snoke was implicated heavily in the evidence. She never held any real affection for the director, but he had welcomed her so readily into the fold after she was recruited÷≥Ælp her freshman year of college. It was widely rumored amongst the office that she was his favorite agent. Now she shuddered at the thought. This man had lied to her from the beginning. How was she to finish her mission in the morning, knowing what she knew now?
Rey ran down the hall of the facility. She encountered a guard at the end. As he held up his firearm, she jumped and propelled herself off the wall to her right, landing a kick to his jaw and disarming him in one movement, all with the artifact tucked safely under her left arm. She burst out of the nearest door and headed for her rendezvous point with Finn. As they drove away, she looked at the ancient box in her lap. I don’t want to give this to them.
She maintained her composure through the halls of the SD-6 field office. She realized she must look a little crazy with the red wig from her disguise still on and her jaw swollen from the tooth extraction. She sauntered right into Director Snoke’s office and slammed the box onto his desk. He looked up, startled. “Good work, Rey,” he praised her.
“I’m taking a few days off,” she replied and walked back out.
Rey took the time to pop a pain killer, but then headed straight to the closest CIA field office. She thought of Finn, Rose, and her other colleagues who were also unaware that they were traitors to their country. It left her only one choice. The woman behind the front desk eyed her warily as she approached. “I need to speak with the director.”
“Director Organa isn’t in today, but I can set you up with one of the agents in office.”
“Fine. It’s important…” she hesitated, but added, “It’s about SD-6.”
The woman’s green eyes widened and she sounded a little more somber. “Wait here; I’ll be right back.”
Rey was given a guest pass and ushered into a small office towards the back of the building. “Agent Solo will be with you in a minute.”
She took a seat opposite the plain pine desk, adorned with a simple nameplate. “Agent Ben Solo,” it read.
The door opened and Rey whipped her head around, “You!”
“I heard ‘SD-6' and had a feeling it would be you.” He smirked, pulling at the cut she had given him the previous day. It was sealed with liquid bandage, but she could tell it was going to leave a scar.
“You’re CIA? But, how… I thought you were-“
“Kylo Ren?” He cut her off. “I used to be. It’s a long story I hope to be able to tell you someday. Suffice it to say I was working undercover for Hux, trying to smuggle the artifact out from under him… until you showed up, that is.”
“I’m sorry,” she quickly offered. “For ruining your mission, and for… that.” She gestured to his face.
“This? It’s nothing.” He waved it off. “I was actually glad you appeared. That’s why I led you to the storage unit. I knew your curiosity would win out.”
“But you didn’t get the artifact… I guess I don’t understand.”
“Rey, we could use someone else inside SD-6. Do you know how much hell you’ve given our agents in the past couple years? You could be a real asset in the war to take down the First Order.”
Rey nodded. It wouldn’t be easy, but she had to do it for Finn. He was her partner and he’d been betrayed as well. “Wait, someone else?”
Agent Solo nodded. “We have one double agent already inside, but two would be better.” He leaned against the desk, the wheels in his head clearly turning. Dressed in a simple suit, he looked much less foreboding than the day before, but still commanded authority.
She stood. “Okay, I’m in.”
He stood as well. “Great.”
This close, Rey had to look up to make eye contact with him. His eyes were a deep ocher, locking on to hers with an intensity she was not used to. Careful, she cautioned herself. She cleared her throat and turned from him.
“I’ll be in touch to go over procedure and your new assignment. In the meantime, you’ll want to get debriefed and granted clearance.” He briefly touched the small of her back as he led her out of the office.
What have I gotten myself into? Rey wondered.