As the squad gathered outside of the main building, Rey could feel the excitement rushing through her veins, adrenaline pumping mercilessly as she made sure her incursion uniform was in place, her pupils blown as she checked the safety of her gun.
Even if biology said quite the contrary, she felt she was born for this. Yeah, ‘cause normally Omegas were born to run, to avoid conflicts by just getting the fuck out of them—this was probably why very few Omegas were in the armed forces, and even less were on active duty like she was.
Normally, except for the obvious majority of Betas, most agents—especially special agents—were Alphas, because of course they were. Damn stupid Alphas; nature had given them the whole package. Strength, stamina, reflexes. Their bodies were basically made to handle stress and exertion better.
Nevertheless, Rey hadn't allowed her designation to stop her. They might have been stronger, but she was faster, and that was quite a valuable skill when it came to breaking in to a hostile location.
The captain gestured silently for them to start moving, so Rey followed the plan. She and Finn moved as silently as possible to the side entrance, and when the communication finally arrived, Finn slammed the door open with a forceful, determined kick.
As they both walked in, looking around as they moved cautiously, guns in hand, Rey couldn't help but feel nervous, restless. This was an operation like many others before, this was supposed to be just another drug factory ready to be dismantled, but something in there felt wrong, just wrong. She could feel it in her guts, she could sense it as she felt the baby hair on her nape rising up in protest. Everything about that empty, dark place was telling her she needed to get the hell out.
As they marched through a long corridor, Rey had the distinct feeling of incoming danger getting stronger and stronger, making her breaths come heavier.
Finn noticed that and gained her attention with a tiny gesture of his head and a worried look on his face.
She could do this. There was no chance in hell she would blow this whole operation just because her body didn’t handle stress well.
She gave him a brief, hopefully reassuring thumbs up and pointed at the rest of the corridor before she started walking again.
The whole corridor was empty, apparently, definitely emptier than any other corridor they’d explored before. There wasn’t even one single door in it, except for the one they’d entered from. This was ridiculous. It made no sense. It just couldn’t be right.
It took her a long moment to discern what the most primal part of her brain was telling her. The goosebumps, the shift in the air, that strange, familiar smell she could barely notice.
“All clear,” Finn muttered at the microphone on the collar of his vest, but Rey shushed him with a firm gesture. “Hold on,” he added right away.
Rey turned to give a proper look at the wall behind them. There was something disturbingly wrong about it. It was warmer than the rest of the corridor, she could feel it, but it wasn’t just that. As she palmed cautiously the plasterboard on the wall, she immediately noticed it was pretty hollow on the other side.
She inhaled sharply, and, with a determined push, the whole panel slid to the side, revealing an even darker hidden room.
“Holy fuck,” Finn muttered in shock. “You’re good.”
Rey just shushed him as she walked inside, gun in hand, but the moment she took her first step in the new space, her throat and nose felt as if it was about to catch fire.
The air was saturated with pheromones. It was so thick Rey could basically swim in it. She was so stunned it actually took her a long moment to realize there wasn’t just scent in there. There were breaths and sighs and hushed cries.
She tilted her head, just to make sure her voice sounded loud and clear in the mic.
“To all AO agents, inject emergency suppressants right now. I repeat, to all AO agents, inject emergency suppressant right now!”
“What’s going on?” Finn asked from the entrance, sounding totally clueless.
Rey didn’t answer right away. She was too busy looking for the light switch. She knew that turning lights on was absolutely against the protocol, but instinct was urging her to do so.
As the cold neon lights finally flickered on, Rey felt her mouth go dry and the air sucked out of her lungs as if someone had kicked her in the stomach.
The room was far larger than she had imagined, and the whole wall in front of her was covered with what looked like cells. Small plexiglass cells. In each and every one of them, there was a person—a young, pale, malnourished person with heavy breath, bloodshot eyes, and what looked like an old, ruined hospital gown.
Most of those poor souls turned their heads to look at the intruders, shock and panic on their faces as some of them reached for the plexiglass wall between them.
“Please,” a girl, probably in her late teens started to cry, big, bloodshot eyes on Rey as she crawled on the dirty floor of her cell. “Please, help us.”
As Rey moved closer, the scent coming from the cell hit her like a wall of bricks.
Those people were Omegas, all of them, and as their scent spiked into her nose she finally noticed how most of their bodies were spasming uncontrollably. They were all in heat. All that smell in such a small room was almost nauseating, and even if nature hadn’t built her to react to it, it was just too much. It made her feel dizzy.
“We have hostages here,” she declared into her mic, voice strained. “Twelve people, they need medical attention, only Beta personnel required.”
Rey could hear the sigh of her capitan on the other side of her communicator.
“Got you covered, Rogue six. Paramedics are on their way.”
Rey sighed deeply as she looked at the elevator doors in front of her. Even if the incursion had been more than twenty-four hours ago, the smell of those poor Omegas was still on the back of her throat, like the tiny, physical memory of a torment that had happened to her too.
She forced herself to push that thought away and straightened her jacket, taking a deep breath. She was at the district now, she was an accomplished agent, she wasn’t the scared, lonely Omega girl in Hunkar Plutt’s basement, constantly covered in grease and motor oil, forced to work ungodly hours if she wanted to earn her suppressants.
As the doors of the elevator finally opened, she put on her most neutral smile and entered the wide, crowded room, marching straight toward her desk.
“Oh, look, the baby oven is here! Finally victorious, uh?” Rey couldn’t help but cringe as she heard Bane’s voice taunting her from his desk. “Finally all that Omega shit has been of some use, I heard.”
Contrary to what Bane expected of the stereotypical Omega woman he had in mind, Rey had to restrain herself from giving in to her urgent need to punch him in the face.
She just ignored him. once again, shaking her head as she reached her desk.
“Oh, c’mon sweety, it was a compliment!” the older agent insisted. “It’s just nice to know that those superpowers you have between your legs are finally serving some kind of purpose.”
Rey clutched her hands firmly around the file she was about to take a look at. Screw this.
“Uh, Bane?” She turned to look at him sharply.
“How long have you been a cop?”
“Thirty years, baby girl. Back then they didn’t allow pretty little asses like yours in here.”
“And you’re an Alpha, right? Not that I can scent you, of course. You’re far too old, and your hormones died so long ago they’re basically fossils now, but you keep bragging about your designation with our Beta colleagues.”
Bane’s smug face turned into an annoyed scowl in less than a second.
“And tell me, in your long and prestigious career, how many times you ended up using your superior senses to solve a case?”
“When was your last promotion? How’s your arrest record this year?”
Bane just lowered his gaze, snarling.
“I thought so. See, if a weak little Omega like me can do your job better than you, maybe you’re not much of an Alpha after all.”
Rey didn’t finch as the tall, imposing figure of the other agent rose from his chair, chin high and eyes furious as he stopped aggressively in front of her, nostrils flared and a low, tired growl echoing in his chest.
“Don’t act as if you can actually scent me or command me, dude. We both know you can’t,” Rey stated coldly, her eyes stuck on his, looking as unimpressed as possible. “Besides, what’s between my legs is a vagina. If you want to act like a designationist douchebag, at least grow some balls and call her by her name.”
“Agent Niima?” Someone cleared her throat behind her, and Rey immediately recognized Finn’s worried tone. As she turned, he wasn’t looking at her. His dark, menacing eyes were glued on Bane.
“Anyway, Bane, if you will excuse me,” she declared almost casually, “someone has to actually work, here.”
As she walked toward Finn, leaving the asshole behind, he gestured her to follow him.
“Bane is an idiot, I swear-”
“You know that I don’t need your help, right?” Rey intervened before Finn could finish his sentence. “The last thing an Omega needs in the workplace is a Beta guy defending her,”
“I know that,” he muttered defensively. “I just wish he would stop acting like that.”
“Most Alphas are douchebags,” she pointed out carelessly, like that was just common knowledge, the most obvious thing ever really. “And many of them take their andropause pretty badly. Bane feels emasculated, and he feels the need to avenge his pride with me. No big deal, really.”
“Damn Alphas,” Finn said with a huff.
“Oh, don’t be like that,” Rey offered him a wink. “In case you didn’t notice, all people have the potential to be douchebags. There’s nothing special about Alphas; Betas and Omegas can be assholes too. I mean, do you remember Hux, the Omega guy from the tech department?”
“About that.” Finn cleared his throat. “Captain Dameron wants to see you. He’s in his office with Hux and a few other agents from other departments.”
Rey raised her eyebrows in surprise.
“Uh, did he tell you what he wants?”
“They’re making up a task force. What they intend to do with it, I don’t know.”
“Probably it has something to do with the last mission,” Rey opined, shrugging.
“Maybe. Yu better go, though,” Finn suggested, .Dameron seemed tense,”
Rey furrowed her brow. That was new.
As she knocked on the door of Captain Dameron’s office, the baby hairs on her nape tensed slightly, and she couldn’t help but covering them with her hand. This was indeed a strange feeling. Captain Dameron was indeed an Alpha, but in her three years under his leadership, Rey had never reacted to him in any way. There must have been someone else in the room, someone she didn’t know.
Rey got mentally ready to breathe with her mouth as she heard Dameron’s voice declaring a pretty loud ‘Come in!’
She opened the door, and the scent that greeted her didn’t give a shit about her breathing with her mouth. It was intense, genuine, strong beyond belief. For a second it almost overcame her, making her eyes water.
What the fuck?
Some Alpha in that room smelled like they’ve never seen a vial of suppressant in their lives. Was that even legal? The room was small, and that scent was literally overwhelming, and not in a bad way. Rey was aware of the fact that AO perception of smell was entirely subjective. The more you were compatible with another AO, the more your brain would perceive their scent as alluring Yet she had to admit, despite all her attempts at rationalization, she’d never smelled something so entrancing before. It smelled like burnt pinewood, old books, wet grass. It smelled amazing and disturbingly strong. Inappropriately strong.
She took a second to regain her composure, carefully avoiding a deep breath her brain demanded her to take.
Only then, she gathered enough control to raise her eyes and take a proper look at the office.
Captain Dameron was sitting as usual at his desk. Rose Tico, the district forensic scientist, was right beside him, a voluminous file in her hands.
Of course, as Finn has said, Hux, the guy from the tech department, was there too, and beside him was sitting an Amazonian woman with pale blonde hair and a perfectly contained and manageable Alpha scent.
That reduced the suspects to the last unknown figure in the room: a tall, broad male with long dark hair and a stern expression on his angular face.
The guy was massive. He barely fit in the corner of the room he was standing in, arms crossed over his chest, huge shoulders hunched. There it was, the asshole who didn’t like suppressants. What a dick.
Rey immediately forced herself to loathe him. It would have made things easier. As long as she was in that room she needed to remain focused, with firm hands and regular breath, and possibly without sweating. Her mouth, though, wanted to water so badly right now. Stupid unsuppressed Alpha.
It took her a second to realize he was looking back at her, dark, focused eyes glued on her face as if he was trying to dig a hole there. This insufferable, entitled prick.
“As I was saying.” Captain Dameron cleared his throat. “Some of you already know agent Niima.”
Rose offered her a wide, cordial smile while Hux gave her only a little, distracted nod, his eyes fixed on his laptop.
“Niima, you already know Doctor Tico, and Hux. This is Phasma, from the DA’s office, and Detective Solo, from narcotics.”
Solo. The perfect name for a selfish, arrogant dick who thought he was too cool for suppressants. She didn’t say a word, giving them both a brief nod.
“Is she the officer who found the secret room at the warehouse?” the woman named Phasma asked.
“Exactly,” Captain Dameron nodded. At least nobody in the room looked surprised by the fact an Omega field agent was actually good at her job. Even if they were, it didn’t show.
Only the insufferable Alpha prick seemed a bit restless as he squared his shoulders, but Rey made a point of not looking at him.
“I’m afraid we ended up in something far bigger than we imagined, Niima,” Dameron explained. “Have you heard about Bliss?”
Rey’s brow furrowed.
“The new drug? We have reports of at least six deaths from overdose this month.”
“Yes, that one. Detective Solo here is currently undercover inside the organization that—allegedly, of course—has the monopoly on Bliss in Alderaan,”
“What does it have to do with our last raid?” Rey was definitely annoyed by how tense her voice came out.
“You found what we believe is their main lab, Agent Niima,” Solo declared. His voice sounded, of course, as deep and rich as she imagined. Fuck him, really.
“This doesn’t make any sense,” she replied defensively. “We only found people there. There wasn’t a single trace of the drug in the whole building. Only scared, malnourished Omegas.”
“Exactly,” Rose intervened, opening the file in front of her. “Only scared, malnourished Omegas, who all presented the same symptoms: Immune deficiency, chemical-hormonal alteration to keep them in a constant state of heat, mating marks, and traces of numerous needle-stick injuries in the mating gland areas.”
Rey’s mouth fell slack for a moment. This was disgusting on so many levels. Perpetual heats were basically torture for an Omega, and the mating bites, well… Those were considered borderline Neanderthal at this point. Nobody did that anymore.
“What are they doing to these people?”
“Agent Niima.” Phasma gave her a brief look before lowering her eyes back to her notes. “Are you familiar with Omegamine?”
Rey furrowed her brow. “It’s a hormone, right?”
“Not just a hormone. It’s a very specific hormone only mated Omegas produce, during heat intercourse with their mate,” Rose explained. “It’s like adrenaline or dopamine, only stronger. Its effects last longer, and it becomes basically undetectable after a few hours. It’s the—”
“The perfect drug,” Rey muttered in disgust, the gears in her head finally putting all the hints in the right place. “They’re using these people to make Bliss?” The revelation made her sick. She could almost feel nausea raging in her stomach. “They’re forcing these Omegas to mate so that they can keep them as their personal Omegamine reserve?”
“That’s what we believe,” Phasma confirmed. “And of course we’re adding Human Trafficking to the already long list of charges.”
“Charges against who?” Rey asked, trying not to sound too angry. As an agent, she was supposed to be detached and professional, but this whole story hit far too close to home. If her life would have been even slightly different, she could easily have been in one of those cells.
“Aleister Snoke, the alleged leader of the cartel,” Solo spoke again. “I’ve spent the last year infiltrating his ranks, but I’m not relevant enough yet in his organization, and he doesn’t like to talk much. I’ve spent the last year collecting clues of his crimes, but we’re not there yet.”
“A year?” Rey couldn’t help but sound outraged at this point. “A damn detective of the Alderaan police knew this was happening for a whole year and did nothing?”
“In case you didn’t notice, we’re not dealing with a minor shoplifter. Snoke has lawyers, foreign bank accounts, and a private jet that could take him out of the country whenever he pleases. We must gather enough proof that he’s guilty, or he’s going to find a way out!” Solo practically growled at her. “He shares vital information only with his inner circle, and it’s not that easy to get in there. Trust me, I’ve tried.”
Rey took a long, deep breath that was supposed to calm her, but it only made her feel worse—his scent was saturating the room by now.
“And what are you supposed to do to get in the inner circle?” she asked, her voice trembling slightly.
For a moment, the big, tough Alpha in the corner appeared hesitant as he looked away.
“I need to bring an Omega to him.”
Rey closed her eyes for a long, terrible moment, rage rolling in her guts as she kept seeing those terrorized faces over and over in her mind. It could have been her, after all. Someone needed to do something.
“Very well.” She cleared her throat, trying to sound as firm as possible. “You need an Omega? You have it. Let’s do this.”