Rogue (Book 2) (The Omega Group)

BOOK: Rogue (Book 2) (The Omega Group)
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Rogue

The Omega Group Series

Book 2

 

 

Andrea Domanski

 

www.AndreaDomanski.com

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Andrea Domanski

Cover Art Copyright © 2014 by Rebecca
Sterling

All rights reserved. This book or any portion
thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the
express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations
in a book review.

Send all inquiries to www.AndreaDomanski.com

First
Printing, 2014

Prologue
1400 Years Ago

Ahiga, chief of the Havasupai tribe, leaned against the
jagged rock wall of the cave they were using to treat their wounded. It was the
desert’s cold season, leaving them with no better place. The stench of blood
hung in the air as he watched his once mighty warriors writhe on the cold
floor. Their cries, he believed, were not for the pain they felt, but rather
for the sadness. They had failed, and because of that their tribe was finished.

Two full moons had passed since the Yavapai tribe first
attacked them. Although they had always been aggressive, angering the other Pai
tribes with their petty grievances, Ahiga never thought they would start a war.
The Yavapai were blessed with fertile lands and an abundance of animals. Their
lives should have been full and peaceful, yet they wanted more.

Ahiga’s tribe, like all others in the area, spent the cold
winters living in the caves at the rim of the enormous canyon. During the warm
season, when the sun’s rays reached down into the depths, they resided far
below, surrounded by lush gardens and waterfalls fed by an underground spring.

It was these gardens that the Yavapai coveted.

Despite their inferior numbers, the Havasupai fought well to
protect their land. Ahiga was proud of his warriors, though he feared the
battle was over. Many lives had already been lost, and those that remained were
weakened by injury and hunger. If their healer, Nayavu, could not find a way to
strengthen their bodies and spirits, Ahiga would have no option but to
surrender.

“Cheveyo,” Ahiga called out to one of the children who had
been collecting healing herbs and plants for the wounded. “Take me to Nayavu.”

The young boy, still many seasons from manhood, led Ahiga
past the wounded men to the far corner of the cave. He dropped his satchel of
herbs beside a small fire burning a strange yellow color and, with a nod to his
chief, returned to his duties.

Nayavu was crouched low with his eyes closed, chanting
another prayer to Tochapa, their god of good. This prayer asked for strength,
speed, and healing to be bestowed upon the Havasupai warriors. When he
finished, he placed a small bowl on his lap and filled it with leaves, roots,
and twigs from the boy’s satchel. After crushing them together with a small
stone, he added water, nestled the bowl deep into the yellow embers of the
fire, and stood to face his chief.

“Nayavu, I fear we are nearing our end. Have you a potion
yet?” the chief asked.

“Yes.” Nayavu wore a smile as he reached two fingers into a
small sheepskin pouch that hung around his neck. He pulled out two tiny objects
and held them up to Ahiga. “Earlier, when the sun was in its highest position,
my spirit guides sent me a vision. They showed me a pack of wolves surrounded
by many coyotes. The coyotes attacked as one terrible group and it looked as
though the wolves would be slaughtered. But they were not. Instead, though
injured, they fought with all their strength, and the coyotes were no match for
them. When I awoke, I found these lying next to me. One is the tooth, the other
the claw, of a wolf.”

Ahiga felt hope blossom inside as the meaning of Nayavu’s
vision became clear. Tochapa would endow his warriors with the strength of
wolves and allow them to defeat their enemy.

When the healer dropped the items into the bowl, the smoke
from the fire began to swirl around itself instead of rising. The yellow flames
threw sparks so plentiful and bright that the chief shielded his eyes and took
several steps back. With one final explosion of sparks, the flames shrank down
into orange embers and the smoke stilled before it resumed its path to the roof
of the cave.

Nayavu’s hands shook as he grabbed the bowl and handed it to
his chief. Ahiga touched his fingers to the clay expecting to feel the heat of
fire, but instead felt only a slight warmth. The potion inside swirled as the
smoke had done only a moment before.

“Feed this to all of our warriors. Quickly.” Ahiga watched
as the healer tilted the bowl to every man’s lips. Once the injured were
treated, Nayavu brought the potion to all of the others, saving the last drops
for Ahiga.

That night was a restless one. Sleep would not come, even to
those exhausted by battle. Some complained of pain, others of strange thoughts
racing so quickly as to make them lose their balance. Still others remained
perfectly quiet, staring into the brightness of the almost-full moon from the
mouth of the cave.

When the sun finally began its ascent, Ahiga gathered all of
his uninjured warriors. “Tochapa has blessed us. Let this be the day we prevail
against the Yavapai.”

While war cries echoed throughout the canyon, the Havasupai
ran toward their enemy with spears raised. When they arrived at the small group
of caves they knew the Yavapai tribe used as their gathering grounds, they
found the spot empty. Smoke trailed lazily from the remains of several fires,
but the warriors were gone. Ahiga’s heart clenched in his chest as he realized
his mistake. He’d taken every warrior that was well enough away from their
home, leaving the injured and the women and children alone. “We must get back
and protect our people.”

He’d taken but two strides when he heard it—the whooshing
sound only airborne spears can make. “Raise your shields!” Before the words
were out of his mouth, the Havasupai warriors were gathering in a tight circle,
backs to the center, crouched behind worn wooden shields.

The Yavapai had been lying in wait, hidden behind rocks and
in the darkest shadows created by the large caves. The sharpened stone-tipped
spears came at them from all directions, most clattering uselessly off their
shields. Then came the Yavapai warriors. If it had not been his warriors caught
in this trap, Ahiga would have been impressed with their strategy. They had
them surrounded.

The familiarity of the situation overwhelmed Ahiga as he
thought back to Nayavu’s vision. Was this that battle? Without wasting another
moment, he led his warriors in a mighty war cry and they rushed their
attackers.

The sensation of the change was almost lost on Ahiga as he
felt the first Yavapai club strike his shoulder. The pain from the blow
radiated outward until it encompassed his entire chest. He reached for the
knife sheathed at his waist only to have it fall from the fur-covered paw that
was once his hand.

Swiveling his head from side to side, the chief saw the
Yavapai tribe’s expressions change from triumph to bewilderment and finally to
horror as his men changed. His mighty warriors were now ferocious wolves.

Acting on pure instinct, Ahiga pounced, powerful jaws
tearing at the Yavapai’s throat. The unfamiliar taste of flesh covered his
tongue, and before the first bloodied body hit the ground, the chief added two
more. His tribe—now his pack—ravaged the unsuspecting Yavapai until rivers of
their blood flowed down the canyon walls.

The battle was over before the sun reached halfway to its
apex. Surveying his surroundings, Ahiga’s heart swelled with pride. Resting on
his haunches, he raised his eyes toward the heavens and howled his thanks to
Tochapa.

Chapter
1
Present Day

“Can I get you something to drink, sir?” The stewardess
looked impeccable—her hair, makeup, and uniform all perfect.

“No, thank you.” Carter Mockta turned his attention back to
the endless blue sky outside his window, an errant lock of black hair escaping
his ponytail to hang in front of his eye. Flying in the luxurious Bombardier
BD-700 Global Express was definitely one of the best perks of being an Omega
Group member, but the comfort that the supple leather seats afforded was lost
on him. They were three hours into their four-hour flight from Jacksonville to
the Grand Canyon, and Carter was running out of excuses for his lack of
participation with the rest of his team.

When Myrine, the leader of the Omega Group, assigned Carter
to this mission, she’d inadvertently put him in an untenable situation. There
was no way he could investigate the strange happenings around the canyon
without running into his family. And running into his family could very well put
an end to his investigation.
It’ll definitely be an interesting reunion.

“Well, that’s a first.” Han, his closest friend, eyed him
from across the aisle.

“What?”

“The stewardess. She’s been flirting with you since we took
off and you’ve barely even given her the time of day. Definitely not the Carter
I know.”

He was right, of course. Carter was what people called a
ladies man. His Native American complexion and dark, brooding eyes—not to
mention his tall, muscular build—tended to attract attention from the opposite
sex. Normally, he was more than happy to oblige, keeping a string of women
anxiously waiting for a telephone call from him that would never come. He was
fine giving women a second or even third date, but anything beyond that was
strictly off limits. He knew all too well the damage a relationship could
inflict.

“I’m pretty sure they prefer to be called flight attendants
now.”

Han just smiled and resumed reading. Although he appeared to
be engrossed in his book, Carter knew he was waiting for him to start the
inevitable conversation about his family. He was about to do just that when he
was interrupted by Jackie, the last member of their team.

“We’ve got a call from Director Finley.” She put the phone
on speaker and sat down across the small table from Han. “We’re all present,
sir.”

Robert Finley, director of the CIA, spoke without preamble.
“Myrine tells me you’re on your way to the Grand Canyon. When you get there,
there’s somebody I need you to speak to.”

The quizzical looks on both Han and Jackie’s faces expressed
Carter’s own feelings perfectly. Although Director Finley had started the Omega
Group, in the twelve years since, he rarely got involved in the day-to-day
operations of a mission. He provided cleanup services as necessary, paved the
way for them to get whatever backup they might need from the military, and
oversaw the preternatural prison facility nicknamed “Finley’s Basement.” But he
didn’t give orders during an operation and never called the operatives.

“DARPA’s got a top secret MDS research facility located on
the north side of the canyon,” Director Finley continued. “It’s headed up by
General Eryk Persaud. If anything weird is happening in the area, he’ll be able
to lend a hand.”

Carter sent a questioning look to his team. When all he got
in return were shrugs, he asked, “I’m not familiar with MDS, sir. What are they
researching?”

“It stands for Metabolically Dominant Soldier. Think
‘Captain America’ with high-tech gadgets.”

“You’re serious? They’ve got a super soldier program at the
Grand Canyon? Maybe that’s what’s causing the anomalies in the area.”

“That was my thought at first, too, but General Persaud
assures me there’s nothing going on at his facility that would cause auras, and
nothing that would affect civilians. He’s willing to open his doors to you to
prove it. His guys will be waiting for you at the airport to take you in. Good
luck.” A click on the line signified that the conversation was over.

Han shook his head, lips quirked in a disbelieving grin.
 “Captain America? Really? I thought that stuff was just in the movies.”

Jackie laughed. “This coming from the guy who can walk
through walls.”

“Touché.” Han turned to Carter. “Are you ready for this?”

With a smirk, Carter said, “As I’ll ever be.”

BOOK: Rogue (Book 2) (The Omega Group)
10.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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