1 Chapter 1

The appearance of the Develatyn ships over their planet, Doheim, drew the humans out onto their streets to stare, shielding their eyes against the glare of the golden sun. For twenty-four hours, the Develatyn positioned themselves over the key cities that they had identified as their first targets, and the humans attempted to communicate with them, the Develatyn ships' control panels flashing with their signals.

Arken Rikash stood in the gleaming bridge of his space ship and listened to one of the human leaders welcoming the Develatyn's peaceful presence and inviting them to meet with him and grinned exposing his sharper canine and premolar teeth.

"A submissive species," he commented to his second, Nadyr, who stood in attendance.

"A rich world," Nadyr replied his green eyes fixed on the monitors. Unlike Rikash's hair, Nadyr's was braided with elaborate precision that caused Rikash to clench his back teeth every time he looked his way. The braids were proper, an acceptable part of their uniform, but Rikash hated them. A skill taught from father to son, the design specific to a family line, Rikash's father had been too drugged into complacency to bother teaching his son. "Fertile land, plenty of fresh water, rich mineral deposits beneath the surface. If we manage this world correctly, it could be a very profitable venture."

His second had aspirations for the planet, Rikash thought with a sneer. Nadyr would see his brother and father established as leaders, returning his family to wealth and prominence after Daevishk s disgrace had seen the elder son and former second sent to a penal colony.

Nadyr s father Krithdeker, who had served as second to Rikash s own father, Bakasyr, before Rikash had deposed him, was Rikash's preference to lead Doheim, over the unstable Daevishk. The family had always been ambitious but loyal. Controlling their ambition so that it was useful but not dangerous, however, was a challenge, and giving them Doheim could result in them having too much power.

He examined his second out of the corner of his eye. Being Arken dominant of the Develatyn was a position held through blood-right, but also through ruthless savagery and constant demonstration of strength and wit.

One problem at a time, he told himself. The dominant males under his rule required submissive females to mitigate their nature and prevent them from destroying each other and the Develatyn home planet, Yireh. Unless he managed to get their behaviour under control, the Loren dominant, the female dominant opposition leader of Yireh, could press for the dominant males to be returned onto the suppressant medications that had been mandatory for the last two centuries after the Ivarid Doxen virus had wiped out over ninety-percent of the submissive female population.

Suppression and simulacrums were the Loren s catch cry, but her dominant females were not reliant on them, the submissive male population being unaffected by the Ivarid Doxen. The dominant females had harems of submissive males to tend to their needs and moderate their behaviour.

The humans of Doheim were cousins of the Develatyn, both people being the descendants of an ancient race that had once colonized the galaxy. Of all the descendants of that race that Rikash had traced down and conquered in the last five years, the humans of Doheim were closest to his own people, their environment had mutated them less than many other planets and was most congenial to his people.

In conquering this world and giving his men harems of submissive females to rut, the political situation on Yireh would improve, giving him the opportunity to turn his attention to the problem of the Loren and the dominant females under her rule, who had spent the last two centuries whilst the Arken dominant and dominant males were distracted and drugged to gather too much power and control over Yireh.

He had already begun developing his plans in that area, cultivating a relationship with the Loren-apparent, Verika.

"Once the first cities are taken, allow the colonization ships to land. Tell the traders that I want them to focus on establish public use harems immediately, and a slave market so that the men can begin to develop their own harems."

"Or to take mates?" Nadyr suggested, his green eyes meeting Rikash s. "Many men are interested in creating a Bond with a mate rather than owning a harem."

"It will have the same result," Rikash was not bothered how his dominant males chose to f-k, as long as they did so instead of destroying public property and killing other dominants and submissives in their rages. "If that is how they choose to rut, they can do so. It is rather an… out-dated idea."

"Thank you, Arken," Nadyr s body language relaxed. His second wanted to take a mate, Rikash realised, the idea sitting uncomfortably with him. "I think you will be surprised," the green-eyed man added. "By how many men will opt for mates over harems."

"Shall we bet on it?" Rikash arched a brow. "If you win, you may arrange for the transportation of your father and brother from Casryn."

"And if I lose?" Nadyr wondered.

"You will submit to me."

Nadyr stiffened. Rikash saw a muscle in the corner of his jaw work as he evaluated the risk. "Very well," Nadyr murmured. "In privacy."

Rikash s smile was smug, private or not did not matter as both men would know that Rikash had won. "Acceptable." He turned back to the screen. "Have the Hunters prepare. We will release them first to locate the leaders of these cities. Once they have been neutralized, we will commence our attack."

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