Omega Protocol 1: Sleeping Beauty
Summary: In the mid-21st century, the elite decided to cement society’s strata into our DNA, creating a genetic caste system. One of the early Omegas is cryogenically frozen and forgotten. Revived nearly two centuries later, she has no idea what she has become and has to navigate a strange new world while surrounded by Alphas, whatever those are.
Leading the military arm of his people in exile on a dangerous planet is no easy feat for Captain Niklaus Reed. He has to build and secure a settlement against megafauna straight out of the Ice Age before families start arriving on the distant planet. When an Omega is found in an old research base, things become… complicated.
Word Count: 1k
“’Ey, think we gotta live one.” The soldier stepped back to allow the scientist to approach and steadied his rifle, slightly off-balance due to the plasma retro-fit in addition to conventional bullets. They’d managed to avoid contact so far, but he wasn’t green enough to assume that a long-abandoned lab was clear. He’d seen enough movies to assume that everything in this facility could kill them all. Even the microscope.
“Goddamn miracle,” Dr. Jonathon Morrow grumbled his customary tune. “No business starting human trials so soon. They’d have had better success sticking the survivors in an iceberg. I have half a mind to hunt down these hacks’ descendants and giving them what for.” The ancient computer’s glow reflected off his glasses. He claimed to prefer the outdated lenses, but Private Cole “Ajax” Jackson had a feeling the doc liked the old-fashioned look of them. He also thought Morrow was an arrogant ass.
“Ajax, wanna crack open a cold one?” From his post close to the door of the dust layered lab, PFC Raúl “Chimi” Ortiz waggled his black eyebrows at Jackson.
“You first. You ain’t got no balls to worry ‘bout freezin’ off anyway,” he shrugged and kept an eye on the small figure that Morrow was fussing over. Despite the banter, Ortiz’s eyes constantly flickered to the interactive faceplate of his helmet where only he could see the video feed of the cameras they’d placed earlier at the entrance.
“She appears to be stable enough for transport,” Morrow reported over his shoulder even as he transferred data from the cryogenic unit to the tablet in his hand.
“Rooster, Brick, TPT at L31, F3,” Jackson ordered into his comm. He registered the confirmation while on mental autopilot as he listened to the doctor’s mumbled assessments.
“Would you point that somewhere else?” Morrow tilted his head to indicate Jackson’s weapon, which was trained on the racked-out female. “Don’t bother quoting procedure to me, Private. Even if she were conscious, her muscles have atrophied. Assuming her brain is still capable of basic motor functions after having essentially been locked in a freezer for nearly two hundred years. And that’s not accounting for the premature implementation of the Omega Protocol. She’s not a threat.” The older man’s fingers flew across his tablet, noting his own observations.
“Yah, Ajax, afraid o’ a little Omega-sicle?” Ortiz teased.
“Shit, Chimi, you’s dumb as Brick? ‘Little Omega’s’ redundant,” Jackson shot back, but he did ease up.
"You’re redundant,“ Chimi muttered. “HACT’s here.” He and Jackson set to shifting the bulky pieces of equipment that formed uniform rows in the large lab, hulking in the gloom like the dinosaurs that they were. Some even had honest to God analog buttons.
“Hold, doc, you’re going with?” Jackson asked when Morrow moved to follow the floating coffin.
“There’s very little here that could possibly be of more import than that girl,” he replied with a quirk of one steel grey eyebrow. “And even if there were, it couldn’t be as nearly time sensitive. As it is, bringing her out of dormancy will take time.”
“Kay, we’ll keep sweeping. Anything we should keep peeled for?” It wasn’t like Jackson had any authority over the obnoxious asshole.
“Paper records,” came the answer.
“Paper?” Ortiz and Jackson asked in unison. There was next to no chance of something so fragile lasting for nearly two centuries in any sort of legible state, but they had to follow the doc’s orders, even if they were about as useful as tits on a bull.
“Yes, paper, gentlemen,” Morrow repeated condescendingly. “You’ll have to dig for anything useful. Good luck.” He turned on his heel and followed his prize out the door, leaving the two soldiers behind.
“Good afternoon, Captain Reed.”
“Dr. Morrow.” The Alpha acknowledged the Beta with a nod as he approached the tube that the medical team was fervently bustling around. “I read your preliminary report and wanted to come see for myself.”
“As you can see, we’ve replaced some of the programming with modern standards. Ideally, we would transfer her to a newer pod entirely, but the risk to benefit ratio is too poor to make an attempt.” Morrow meticulously cleaned his glasses on a shirttail before replacing them on his wide nose.
“Yes, you said as much in your report.” Reed reined in his natural impulse to push for answers while still inflecting his voice with steel. Although Morrow was a Beta, he was not made from the same stuff as the Betas on his team. The doctor would not respond well to the same approaches he used with his people, becoming prickly and temperamental until his ego was soothed. Gritting his teeth, Reed had to remind himself that technically every human on this planet was his.
“Barring any complications, she may be revived in two days. I cannot provide you with a proper timeline due to the irregularity of the situation.” Somehow, he managed to sound both apologetic and annoyed with Reed at the same time.
“Captain, I would not have risked the entire operation.” Morrow drew himself up in indignation. “I assure you that I thoroughly scanned her before determining the viability of bringing her here. She carries no illness or disease that would pose a risk to anyone, not even in her own day.”
“I believe you, doctor. We can’t afford to be too cautious.” Reed peered through the dusty lid at the pale, heart shaped face within. Had she been an Alpha, or if he otherwise suspected that she was a danger to the mission, he would have had her and her tube immediately incinerated. There could be no challenge to the carefully cultivated power balance. According to her birthdate, she shouldn’t even have a dynamic, yet there she was. This wilderness was not tamed enough for an Omega, which was why there were deliberately none in their group. And that careful balancing act was about to be disturbed.