The Heart Remembers: Blood Valley Investigations: Book Two (The Omega Auction Chronicles 16)

Prologue

Rafe

"Is everyone here?"

Ralph Coraine, my immediate supervisor and the director of the Council of Packs Security Division, raised a brow when I took control of the meeting instead of waiting for him to call it to order.

I glanced around the table, taking notice of the large number of investigators present. If I'd thought the Alpha Zoo case that we had closed a few weeks back had garnered a large following, it had been small potatoes compared to this turnout. In addition to the usual attendees, the department heads from Crimes Against Omegas, Missing Beings, and Omega Services were all present and accounted for. Hell, someone had even brought Charles Kier, a well-known attorney who advocated on behalf of Omega Destiny International, a social justice group known for helping abandoned and neglected Omegas obtain their freedom. Whether or not his presence would be a good thing remained to be seen.

"If there is no objection, I am going to start with a brief history of the case."

No one objected.

"Omega Doe was the victim of an apparent kidnapping last month. Two days later, the Blue Ridge Alpha was accosted while searching for him and held against his will at a forced fight club that has been referred to as the Alpha Zoo."

Several voices murmured their acknowledgment of the case.

"Those of you who are familiar with the case will recall that the Alpha was able to break free and was instrumental in providing us with the intel that was later used to infiltrate the criminal organization and bring it down."

Another murmur of agreement.

"Omega Doe was then dropped off at the COPSD main office by unseen and unknown perpetrator or perpetrators where he claimed to have no memory of the kidnapping or, in fact, any idea at all of who he was."

Carol, the Crimes Against Omegas department head raised her hand and waited for me to nod in her direction. "Why do you say claims? It sounds as if you doubt him?"

"Truthfully, Carol, there is some question about the validity of the claim." I watched her eyes narrow as I took a drink of water. "The Omega in question had a history of eratic behavior prior to the incident."

"I see." Carol's lips screwed into a frown as she flipped through the papers in front of her and jabbed her slender finger down on a neatly printed line. "I thought that a member of the Blue Ridge pack – an elder, I believe? - had already admitted to orchestrating the kidnapping." I nodded and she continued. "Did that pack elder implicate this Omega in the crime?"

"No," Colby answered for me. "He didn't."

"I see," Carol said again, her nose wrinkling as she flipped through another couple of pages in her notebook. Damn but that woman took thorough notes. "And it says here that Omega Doe was injured when he was recovered?"

"Well, not technically," I said with a sigh. "There was evidence that he had suffered a recent trauma or injury, but his body was healed enough that the doctors couldn't determine how the injuries occurred and, of course, the Omega denies that he knows."

"But wasn't he formally diagnosed with memory loss?"

"Yes," Colby acknowledged, passing a stack of papers around the table. "The tentative diagnoses is a dissociative fugue."

"Can you give us a brief rundown on what, exactly, that means?" Charles Kier asked, his pen poised over his paper.

"Of course." I flipped my own notebook open and scanned the lines until I found the information. "In this case, Omega Doe claims to not know who or what he is." When a questioning murmur ran around the table, I explained, "He believes himself to be human and seems to be unaware of the existence of Alphas, Omegas, or shifters of any kind."

"When you say he is unaware of Alphas.." Carol trailed off.

"All of his Omega conditioning seems to be gone," Colby confirmed. "Even the Alpha voice has no hold over him."

"No Omega could fake that." Carol shook her head in annoyance and looked to Ralph at the head of the table. "Director, on behalf of Omega Doe, my department wishes to file a formal complaint against Agent Borrero for his unfounded accusations against the victim in this case. We further urge that Omega Doe is cleared of suspicion until such time that the security division can provide actual evidence that he participated in any wrongdoing."

Always the professional, Ralph nodded. "You'll have to file your complaint through official channels, Carol, but I agree that Omega Doe should be treated the same as any other victim would be as we investigate the case – innocent until proven guilty."