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40k Omegaverse: The Inquisitor's Wife

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  1. Background:
  2. This is a WarHammer 40k inspired, Omegaverse smut novel. If you are unfamiliar with the trope of Omegaverse, check out https://fanlore.org/wiki/Alpha/Beta/Omega
  3. If you are unfamiliar with the world of 40k, just go ask your nearest 20+ white guy to explain it.
  4. Because the logic of these worlds is in some ways mutually exclusive, I will not be adhering strictly to the conventions of either. Most prominently, in this novel, Space Marines are born almost exclusively by Omegas, whose bodies are well-adapted to the demands of an intensive pregnancy. Additionally, in this world, Space Marines may earn the privilege of re-entering society working for certain Imperial organizations, such as the Inquisition, should they catch their eye.
  5.  
  6. The bitter Grulian winds stung my uncovered cheeks as I ran to the main house; my precious bounty tucked inside my coat. The snow had piled up into great drifts that touched the eaves of the shed and greenhouse, but a path had been cleared several days prior. Looking at them, I was struck with a longing to build snow forts out of them like Lissith and I used to when we were teenagers. We would connect them with tunnels only we could crawl through, and thus often successfully evaded our mother’s calls for us to return long after dark.
  7. I smiled at the whimsical notion; considering the guest we were hosting, my unconscious prodding me to hide did make sense.
  8. The doors to the kitchen antechamber wooshed open before me as I ran in. The doors to the kitchen were slow to open so I impatiently jogged in place. Finally they opened with a rush of enveloping warm air. Meolve had been cooking all day so the room was suffused with the delicious scents of her cooking-- warm bread, roast meat, and a real fruit pie, made with heirloom cherries from our own greenhouses.
  9. “Aria! What are you doing? Your mother is looking for you!” Meolve scolded from over a great pot of boiling potatoes.
  10. “Just picking up some flowers for the table,” I said, gingerly pulling them out from my coat. “I thought the Inquisitor might enjoy them.”
  11. “Hmmf,” she grumbled. “It's not enough that we had to pull out my reserve vanilla for this bureaucrat, now you’re plucking up our good roses too.”
  12. I tried to suppress a smile at her temper as I arranged the flowers in one of the stone vases my mother liked. “I thought you’d appreciate the opportunity to cook for a more sophisticated palette. Surely it must be a relief from the constant requests for pex cake?”
  13. Meolve snorted. “Back when I cooked for officers, I didn’t get challenged too often. Some of them even preferred MREs, especially the salty old dogs who’d been in for a while. Ten to one this old codger turns his nose up at good derjin meat.”
  14. “Yes, yes, such as shame,” I said absently as I picked said meat from a platter.
  15. “Get! Get!” she barked as she shooed me out with her ladle.
  16. I skittered out to set the bouquet down on the center of the dining table. Mother had put out her best china. It had been polished to a high gleam and sat proudly alongside primly starched napkins. I wondered what the Inquisitor would think of our efforts, our desire to please, our provincial good manners and traditions. Hopefully he’d find it charming, as his predecessor did.
  17. What if he doesn’t? A dark thought whispered in the back of my mind.
  18. I pushed the thought away. It would do no good to ruminate. You had to believe you were innocent-- and we were. Just as all the report cards spanning back 3 centuries would show.
  19. Shaking my head I ran up the stairs, just in time too as my father walked in with the illustrious guest at his side. Peeking out, I was a bit taken aback by the size of the gene seed Alpha.
  20. Of course, his predecessor had been one as well, but this younger generation (relatively speaking, of course, with the current life extension technology-- he was probably at least 200 years old though he appeared as if in his late thirties) of Imperial servants seemed significantly more robust, more virile, and even more intimidating. His back was to me but I imagined that if I stood next to him, he’d be almost three feet taller than my meager 5’2” stature. Not only that but he was incredibly broad as well, and powerfully built. I knew that Inquisitors were typically drawn from the Imperial Space Marines, who had to fill out bulky power armor, but it was another thing to see such a specimen in real life.
  21. “The foundation was poured in 2900.M40, but it’s been rebuilt several times,” my father droned on to the Inquisitor, giving him the typical tour of the house, standing in front of the IGallery. “There was the Great Flood, which devastated the area. My grandfather was the governor then and he went around to surrounding villages with his own equipment helping rebuild.”
  22. “Have you tried building earth-bermed homes? The Yugarians have adopted a very effective model that utilizes geothermal heating in sub-Afluschian climates.”
  23. I could tell my father was pleasantly surprised by the intelligent question. “Why yes, most of the buildings around here that are under 20 years old are based off of such principles. It was one of the first policies I implemented when I became governor. Where did you learn about that?”
  24. He took a sip of the vintage my father had plied him with.
  25. “Back in my days in the Marines, I was assigned to Northern Yugaria, during the civil war. Their climate is even harsher than yours but the natives had many ingenious adaptations.”
  26. “The Yugarian Civil War? I hear that was a very difficult front. Some old friends…”
  27. My father’s voice faded to a drone as the Inquisitor suddenly turned to look up at me. I quickly hid back but for a moment, I was caught in his gaze, like a mouse before a snake. A frisson ran through my body looking at his blue-grey eyes.
  28.  
  29. …….
  30.  
  31. I asked my father once why we employed so many people on the estate if leading a modest lifestyle was so important to him. He said it functioned as a bank of goodwill. People tended to like the governor more if their daughter was employed as his cook or their son as his mechanic.
  32. Therefore, despite my resistance, when I turned 14 I was granted a handmaid-- Lissith.
  33. Lissith was about my age so we became fast friends. She was also very beautiful and wise in the ways of the world because of her difficult past.
  34. Like me, she was an Omega.
  35. While I had grown up and enjoyed what many would consider a best-case scenario for Omega women-- protected, educated, sheltered from most Alphas and given heat-suppressants and scent-diluting soaps and creams-- Lissith’s experience was more the norm. When her dynamic revealed itself, she began to draw dangerous attention. As a contract worker, her mother’s insurance covered little, much less heat suppressants. Her mother turned to marriage, hoping the local mine owner would alleviate the burden. Instead, he turned his attention to Lissith almost immediately, causing her to run away at the age of 12.
  36. Lissith didn’t like to talk much about her years when she was homeless, but she did say getting caught breaking into our greenhouse was probably the best thing that ever happened to her. My mother insisted on hearing her story and taking her in. And now, as she liked to say, she even has a friend to remind her to take her suppressants.
  37. Lissith was my window to how the rest of my world saw Omegas. My father purposefully employed mostly betas and the few alphas I interacted with were very old and very respectful-- Jem, the pilot, and Urith, my father’s combat tutor. They never scented the air around me or leered. Normally omegas are sexualized from the minute their dynamic becomes apparent. People stop listening to them. Many institutions are reluctant or unwilling to accept Omegas-- law enforcement, the military, certain colleges. On most planets Omegas are second-class citizens bargained for and sold like chattel to mates by their parents. At least on Grulia, this is much less common. For one, almost no one can afford the prices Omegas command. And secondly, our distance from what many would consider “civilization” forces Grulians to drop many societal pretenses out of necessity. If your local law enforcement is responsible for 5,000 square miles populated with 20 people, most of whom are under the age of 10, most sheriffs won’t look too hard at anyone who is willing to sign on.
  38. Lissith was laying out something for me to wear when I walked in, a saphire sim-dress with a silver dragon that slithered from my hip to my neck. My finest dress had been a birthday gift from Tierrith, the nearest planet with a warp-dock.
  39. “How’s Meolve doing?” Lissith asked as she zipped me in.
  40. “I think she’s secretly enjoying herself.”
  41. “I wonder what he’s like…”
  42. “You weren’t with us for the last Imperial inspection, right? The last Inquisitor was a lot like Jem. Here to do his job as quickly as possible and enjoy some good liquor at the end of it.”
  43. “Aren’t you worried about this new guy? I overheard your mother talking about how the new Inquisitors are cracking down. The Council is putting pressure on them ever since Ronarth B…”
  44. “That’s true. Fortunately we have nothing to hide. Just remember that.”
  45. I shifted uneasily on my seat, trying to forget that night...trying to erase from my mind. I feared it was written on my face, but Lissith simply shrugged and started braiding my hair. Still, a ball of dread at in the pit of my stomach. To distract myself, I got her started on one of her favorite rants, how incompetent our gardener was. By the end of it, she had me laughing so hard, I’d almost forgotten my trepidation.
  46.  
  47. …………
  48.  
  49. When I came downstairs I noticed around eight other Alphas in Imperial armor hanging out in the parlor, along with a man of meek stature dressed in an unfamiliar, venom-green uniform. Presumably they were his guards. The last Inquisitor always left his entourage back at the ship. As is proper, I couldn’t help but thinking. Suddenly, as if I’d spoken aloud, the man in green’s head whipped around to catch my eye and give me an appraising look. I swallowed hard and ducked past them, trying to ignore the scrutiny.
  50. Everyone had already sat down to begin eating.
  51. “My apologies, family and distinguished guest,” I said blushing. I had been seated across from the Inquisitor. Again, there was that inexplicable frisson of tension as our eyes met.
  52. It was such an intense moment; several things happened at once. His genetically enhanced Alpha scent hit like a wave, like I had never experienced before-- warm, rich, earthy, delicious. It was all I could do not to scent the air for more of the most appealing aroma I’d ever enjoyed. At the same time, he too appeared to be affected by my scent, however subdued. His eyes smoldered and his nostrils flared, but he was too disciplined to do anything more crass. He reached for my hand, to shake it I thought, but he instead lifted my hand to place a chaste kiss. His touch electrified me and I could have sworn he took a deep inhale but it was over too quick to be sure.
  53. “Horus Whiedark, madam. Pleasure to meet you.”
  54. I let out a shaky breath I didn’t know I had been holding. “Aria Donworth. The pleasure’s all mine.”
  55. “Aria,” he said, leisurely, as if he was tasting it, “what a lovely name. Even more than the flowers you braved the cold for.”
  56. I took a sip of water hoping to cool my furious blush. “We’ve been blessed with such a diligent, talented gardener, it seems a waste to hide his fruits.”
  57. At that, I heard the faintest snort from the kitchen.
  58. I cleared my throat. “Is this your first trip out to the 61st sector?”
  59. “Yes. Although I have seen many planets like yours in my time. All of my deployments have been to border planets.”
  60. “It must be difficult being away from the all the excitement in the core sectors,” my mother piped up.
  61. “I am honored to serve the Emperor wherever he sees fit to send me,” he said flatly. “I also find the border planets to be more rewarding-- more secrets to uncover.”
  62. This he seemed to direct at me. I fought to keep my tone light.
  63. “Yes, our scientists are discovering more secrets every day. Did you know that most of our Trodium deposits came from a comet that hit the planet 4.5 million years ago?”
  64. “How interesting.”
  65. “Oh yes. If you want to learn more about the local geology, there’s a research mine nearby. They can be surprisingly beautiful.”
  66. “You’ve visited?” he asked, seeming taken aback.
  67. “Many times. One must develop a passion for the natural sciences if one is to be entertained around here.”
  68. “Pardon me but it can’t be safe for an Omega in a mine. The fumes even from an abandoned mine can be dangerous for someone of her size, not to mention a collapse.” This he addressed to my father, as if I wasn’t there.
  69. My face turned bright red at his blatant mention of my dynamic. I hated it when people did that; especially off-worlders. It always felt condescending, especially as I was nearly 21. I also bristled at the implicit slight on my parents.
  70. “Fortunately,” I cut in, “Trodium is highly stable both chemically and physically. The research mines are also shallow; they use drones for anything below 20 feet.”
  71. “Of course, forgive me,” he said not looking sorry in the slightest. “I am Earth-born and back home Omegas are typically cloistered to protect them from the atmospheric pollution. For child-bearing women it is only safe in the inner domes.”
  72. “I recently read that one of the outer domes suffered from a catastrophic crack,” my father said, subtly steering the conversation away from a topic he knew I hated. “How do they manage to handle security for such large complexes?”
  73. My father and the Inquisitor dove into the topic of physio-cyber security, a topic which my father correctly discerned the latter would be passionate about. I took the opportunity to drink a little wine to soothe my jangled nerves. I had even lost my appetite for Meolve’s delicious roast.
  74. The inquisitor kept glancing at me every now and then, as if attempting to solve a complex math problem.
  75. My attention was pricked when Horus mentioned his campaign for Velaria.
  76. “The craftworld? You were involved in the seige?”
  77. “I was.”
  78. “You fought orks?” my mother whispered almost reverently.
  79. “I did. We were outnumbered 10 to 1, but eventually superior tactics and technology beat back the horde.”
  80. “I thought--” I stammered, meaning to say I thought orks were drawn to a good fight, not repelled by it, but that was definitely not something most citizens were supposed to know, and-- God help me-- not something to say to an Imperial Inquisitor. “I thought it was 5 to 1,” I finished clumsily. “Our reporting isn’t always the most accurate out here.”
  81. The Inquisitor fixed me with a searching look. I tried to arrange my face into something resembling admiration rather than guilt.
  82. “The pie’s here!” my mother cheered with just the slightest edge of hysteria.
  83. I resolved to clamp my lips for the rest of the meal, and in doing so, I avoided further damnation. Of course, I was just being paranoid. There was no reason at all for him to go searching because there was no evidence. We were safe, our little backwoods planet had nothing to fear.
  84.  
  85. …….
  86.  
  87. Obviously Lissith wanted all the details when I came back upstairs, leaving my father and Horus to smoke cigars and partake in more whiskey.
  88. “I saw him! He was very handsome for an Inquisitor!” she gushed as she picked pins out of my hair.
  89. “Eh. Too serious. You should have heard his take on Omegas. ‘Blah blah blah protected blah blah fragile blah.’”
  90. “Aria, all Alphas are like that. Except your dad. He’s cool.”
  91. “That’s why I’m not marrying one. My mom snagged up the only one worth a damn.”
  92. “Very true. What if you marry a Beta though, and he starts, like, trying to protect and cherish you?”
  93. “Disabuse him of his poor taste.”
  94. Lissith cackled.
  95. “In all seriousness though, Lissith, can I ask you a question?”
  96. “Of course.”
  97. “Have you ever heard of an Alpha’s scent hitting you particularly hard, even when you’re on suppressants?”
  98. Lissith stopped brushing out my hair and sighed.
  99. “...Yes. For one thing, Alphas born of genetic conditioning will usually have an unnaturally powerful scent marker for Omegas. Secondly, it could be an indicator of higher-than-average compatability. But what’s most likely is he bought bottled Alpha. Its accessible on certain planets. Very expensive though. Its a chemical cocktail many times more powerful than the natural stuff”
  100. “Hm…”
  101. “Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t mean the suppressants aren’t working.”
  102. “Good to know.”
  103. “What was he like besides all the Omega nonsense?”
  104. I paused for a long moment, considering.
  105. “Shrewd.”
  106.  
  107. ………
  108.  
  109. Over the next few days, the Inquisitor stayed with us. He was much more thorough in his investigation than any before him (none had ever stayed more than a day before). He toured mines, landing outposts, the police station, research stations, and ranches. The scrutiny made us all nervous. I tried to avoid running into him, which was easy for the most part seeing as he was gone from dawn til dusk and stayed in a guest cabin across the estate. Still, he often dined with the family, so I found every excuse I could to be out of the house the next couple days. I just felt like it was safer for me to stay out of the way. My father had been used to deploying my charm to aid him before, but he seemed to understand my concern. He didn’t put up a fuss.
  110. One morning though, he found me. I had been out in the greenhouse, weeding, checking on the fish, enjoying the warmth. I had let pulled up my hair and shed my layers, wearing only my base layer of a thin cotton shift.
  111. I suddenly knew he was there by the smell. In the warm humidity of the greenhouse, it gained even more body and dimension, enveloping me like a caress. It set my mouth watering, even as I shivered.
  112. “I thought I’d find you here.”
  113. I turned around to see him, his blue grey eyes locked on me. I felt naked under his gaze, almost indecent, though it was he who followed me. It made heat pool in my core.
  114. “I-- yes. It’s a welcome break in here from the endless winter. It’s very efficient too, doesn’t cost any extra energy to keep things running. We have very practical stuff too, fruit trees, vegetables, and salmon from the aquaponics. Of course, everyone prefers the ornamental plants…”
  115. He made no move to speak so I stupidly kept babbling on. The silence was too oppressive.
  116. “We have to use polle-bots to get fruit though, and the noise is fairly unpleasant. We can’t get bees delivered out here-- you know the laws. It’s for a good reason of course…”
  117. I finally clamped up and turned back to my task of weeding, thoroughly flustered.
  118. “I’d like to see it. Will you give me the tour Aria?”
  119. I didn’t want to. His presence undid me, but I couldn’t be rude to such an important guest. So I walked him around, showing him all that I’d talked about, pointing out the fruits that were ripe to eat, the flowers that were best to smell, and so on. Then it happened.
  120. About halfway through I realized I was leaking slick-- I was forced to realize his scent affected me on a deeper level than I wished. I was absolutely mortified, though it was an involuntary response. I knew the aroma would quickly become apparent in such a humid environment. I flushed deep red and tried to end the tour as quickly as possible, but suddenly he became verbose again, asking question after question, holding me up indefinitely. All the while I pressed my legs together so hard they were cramping, and still I could feel I was soaked through, without even the protection of extra layers. I couldn’t even look him in the eye at the end of it.
  121. “Thank you Aria. You seem very knowledgeable about the inner workings of this system.”
  122. He bent down to take my hand again and press his lips to my skin. Then, unmistakably, shamelessly, he drew a deep breath and scented me.
  123. Without a thought, my hand arched and cracked across his cheek.
  124. I yanked my hand away, blood draining from my face as he let out a low growl. I quivered. I’d never been subject to an Alpha’s scenting, nor his growl before. Who would dare? I backed up and stammered out some excuse. Before I fled, I couldn’t help but notice the glare on his face, an omen stamped indelibly on my mind.
  125.  
  126. ……………….
  127.  
  128. That night, I avoided dinner once more. I was beginning to become truly anxious. The Inquisitor’s visit was lasting significantly longer than usual, which boded very badly. On the other hand his guards had been out of the house as well, which suited me perfectly fine. Perched in the watchtower with Lissith, we watched the stars and ate leftover roast sandwiches Meolve had prepared for us-- who for once had not scolded us for our rudeness to the guest. Perhaps she too sensed it was best that the Omegas be scarce until the outsiders left.
  129. I had been told from foreign dignitaries before that Grulia enjoys exceptionally beautiful night skies. The sparse development meant little light pollution, and our proximity to the Nebulonious Cluster afforded some lovely views.
  130. It did not bring me the peace it usually did.
  131. “Aria?” Lissith asked, resting her head on my shoulder.
  132. “Yes?’
  133. “...Are you sure there is nothing to be worried about?”
  134. “Yes, Lissith,” I answered automatically. “You were right to cite Ronarth B. We had hoped that our negligible population and position would mitigate the Council’s reaction, but they’re just being extra careful.”
  135. “I see.”
  136. We were silent for a moment, listening to the far-distant howls of feral dogs.
  137. “Aria?”
  138. “Yes?”
  139. “...Will we have to use the tunnel?”
  140. I sighed.
  141. “I can’t deny the thought hasn’t crossed my mind. But...it just wouldn’t work. It’s hidden enough to fool orks. But among his entourage, he’s bound to have an expert tracker.”
  142. Lissith was silent.
  143. “Could that be what the man in green is?”
  144. “I don’t know. I’ve never seen or heard of that uniform before….maybe. My parents have been trying to figure that out as well, but the Inquisitor keeps dodging the question and his men keep very much to themselves. It’d look suspicious to press too hard.”
  145. “I don’t like him. He makes me uneasy.”
  146. “Me too.”
  147. “Aria, no offense, but what about your mother’s dowry? She has to have some kind of frosh money? Maybe this Inquisitor is just waiting for some kind of offer?”
  148. “It’s not enough. Not nearly for an Inquisitor. Maybe if we lived on a craftworld, or somewhere like Beonious-- not here. And anyway, my parents never believed in that kind of thing. It can end up backfiring badly, especially with an Alpha like this. The governor of Holmintor was exiled for even mentioning it during an inspection.”
  149. “Aria…. I know you can’t tell me everything, but even if we’re all completely innocent--”
  150. “Which we are.”
  151.  “What if….what if they want to make an example of us--”
  152. I shushed her immediately.
  153. “That’s nothing you have to worry about. Even if he wanted to do that, the fallout would not extend to you. You are completely innocent.”
  154. “It’s not me I’m worried about.”
  155.  
  156. _____________
  157.  
  158.     The next evening, a blizzard roared outside the mansion, beating furiously against the windows and howling ominously.
  159.     Lissith was braiding my hair while I read, when my mother walked in with a large package. She looked stricken.
  160.     “Aria, come here.”
  161.     I rose, my internal alarms going off. “Yes Mother?”
  162.     “The....the Inquisitor has generously given you this gift. He requests that you wear it tonight.”
  163.     She set down the box, plain but subtly crafted with high-quality materials. Inside was a gown, cut in the scandalous Treipan style but made of tissue-paper-thin, gleaming white opalescent silk. My cheeks flamed just looking at it; it was such a far cry from my modest robes. Had he sent this dress in any other color it would have constituted a blatant insult-- the raiment equivalent of calling me a tart. The pure, frosty white hue however gave him plausible deniability. Refusing it could be considered a great insult. But the slight could not stand. It would not.
  164.     “I suppose Father doesn’t know about this?” I sighed. “I won’t tell him, anyway, the Inquisitor will leave tomorrow and…. Mother, what’s wrong?”
  165.     Mother wouldn’t meet my eye. She grasped my hand firmly as if to impart something desperately important.
  166. “Wear the dress, Aria,” she said lowly. “It would be criminal not to.” 
  167.     “Mother….tell me what’s wrong, please. This is indecent. I’ll dine with him, I just don’t think it’s wise--”
  168.     “Aria for once just do as you’re told!” my mother hissed, throwing the dress at me.
  169.     Taken aback, I acquiesced. There was a reason my parents wanted me humor Horus, I knew that much. If they thought it best, I would.
  170.  
  171. ________
  172.  
  173.     Lissith did not put my hair up, as per my request. I felt that doing so would make me feel even more naked. I let it hang like a protective scarlet curtain.
  174.     I could feel the tension thick as fog in the air descending the stairs. It was too quiet. The guards made no small talk but openly stared, some leering, some glaring. In the dining room I found I was once again the last to the table, which was as lively as a funeral. Even more disconcerting, the man in green was there but my father was not. I looked to my mother for an explanation but her eyes were glued to her plate.
  175.     “Good evening, mother and guests,” I ventured.
  176.     “Good evening, Miss Donworth,” Horus smirked. “I must say, it's a pleasure to see you this way. I’m glad you liked my gift.”
  177.     Simpering with false genialty, I returned his volley.
  178.     “Of course, Honorable Inquisitor. Your singular taste distinguishes you from the common man.”
  179.     The man in green met Horus’ eye as if sharing a private joke. Horus himself raised a glass of wine to conceal a smirk.
  180.     “I’m sure my father will be joining us momentarily…”
  181.     “Your father is occupied for the moment,” the man in green interrupted snidely. “Answering some...trivial questions for the guards.”
  182.     I swallowed thickly at the implication. Or was there one? Were we just being sweated out?
  183.     “Allow me to introduce my advisor, Miss Donworth, Agent Svaler,” Horus said dryly. “He’s here to learn about some of your charming local customs.”
  184.     I glanced sideways at my mother, who sat stiffly, as if petrified. She was giving me no guidance, offering up no words of her own, being uncharacteristically reserved. I had no idea what it meant. All I could do was resolve to emulate her taciturnity.
  185.     “Very well then. Do let me know if you have any questions…”
  186.     “I do. Your father mentioned you were studying to become a doctor. Quite an abnormal profession for a young Omega woman.”
  187.     I bristled at the non-question.
  188.     “Perhaps. Out here, there was a time when there was no doctor for a thousand miles. Our current doctor has generously decided not to retire until he has a replacement. It’s not a very desirable station, as you can imagine. Anyway, once I finish my courses in the fall, I’ll be set to start my apprenticeship.”
  189.     “Hmpff,” Horus huffed. “No need for that. I’ll submit a request to the Council to send an Imperial Med-Team.”
  190.     I fought to keep my face neutral, to keep from rolling my eyes.
  191.     “How very generous of you, Inquisitor. Unfortunately, we meet neither the population nor the hazard requirements for an Imperial Med-team to be stationed here.”
  192.     “Worry not, little Miss,” he said dismissively, “I can pull some strings. Tell me, what else is there to do to occupy a young Omega’s time on such a quaint planet?”
  193.     “Well, we also have some field labs nearby monitoring climate, geothermal activity, and other things. I’ve volunteered for shifts at all of them at one time or another.”
  194.     “And the observatory?”
  195.     I paled slightly, beating back the flash of the memory.
  196.     “Yes, at times. Not recently, unfortunately. So busy with schoolwork,” I shrugged in what I hoped appeared a nonchalant manner.
  197.     “During the summer? What a diligent student.”
  198.     “Oh,” I laughed nervously, “I just need the extra study time. The exit exams are so demanding…”
  199.     “Of course. Tell me, what have you observed in your time?”
  200.     I knew I shouldn’t have, I knew it could appear suspicious, but I still glanced at my mother. She was looking down. I screamed at her mentally to give me a sign, to tell me what to do, to throw me a bone, to throw this terrible man off me. But she wouldn’t meet my eye.
  201.     “Oh, nothing interesting to a man of your experiences, Honorable Inquisitor. The movement of the stars is even more predictable than the movements of our quaint little lives.”
  202. Horus smiled. I quailed.
  203. He wiped his mouth and stood, beginning to pace the table, dominating the room with his huge presence. Again, I looked to my mother, against my better judgement. This time, she finally met my eye, and the look she communicated was loaded. Her wide eyes held mine and just infinitesimally shook her head.
  204. Fuck, I cursed inwardly. They knew something. But how much? Or did they? I wished I could be sure. I had to know what they knew to survive this. My family...we had to survive this. And my father had been separated from us. How much had he said? Or had he said anything at all? Perhaps we were just being sweated out. I had heard of such practices before. We were separated in the hopes that we might give something up. But as far as I knew, they only suspected. I knew my father would be strong. He would never crack. And my mother was too composed. She was a vault, my mother. I resolved, I would not be the one to falter.
  205.     However, as soon as our eyes met, Agent Svaler snapped at her.
  206.     “Mrs. Donworth, why don’t you go join your husband in the library. I’m sure he could use your help answering the guard’s questions.”
  207.     At that, two guards walked in and firmly grasped my mother by the shoulders and walked her out, before she could meet my eye again.
  208.     I started to shake. I clenched onto the seat of my chair to hide the tremors threatening to break through.
  209.     The door was shut behind them, and for the second time in my life, I was stuck in a room with a strange Alpha.
  210.     Horus walked over and leisurely pulled out the chair next to me, facing me as he picked up a ripe Grulian crabapple from a platter, crunching into it loudly as he stared at me unabashedly. The air was thick with silence. I was afraid to speak, as I knew my would tremble and give me away. He seemed in no rush to speak either. Finally, he put down the half-eaten apple and leaned toward me, hands on his massive knees.
  211.     “So, little Aria, if I may call you that?”
  212.     “Yes, sir,” I whispered, then cleared my throat, hoping to find my voice.
  213.     “Are you nervous, Aria?”
  214.     That’s an understatement.
  215.     “I’m just concerned about the propriety, sir. I know Inquisitors are held to very high standards…”
  216.     Horus smirked. “Your modesty does you credit. In any case, that is why Agent Svaler is here.”
  217.     “Naturally.”
  218.     Horus got up and stepped behind me. For some reason I felt rooted to the spot and couldn’t move. I felt Horus gather my hair in his huge hands, drawing away my protective curtain. When I flinched feeling him gather the other half, he growled very lowly, causing me to freeze and let him continue to gather the thick locks. This kind of touch was very much taboo on our white bread little world. It also had the inevitable side effect of summoning slick, which, however little I produced, would very quickly become public knowledge in this flimsy dress. I couldn’t summon the courage to defy him as I had before. Besides, I reasoned, my parents would be coming back any moment now to put a stop to this.
  219.     “Do you know the details behind the genocide at Ronarth B?”
  220.     “I know only what was covered in The Imperial Herald, sir.”
  221.     He sighed, as if dealing with a woefully ignorant pupil.
  222.     “I was in the Marines at the time and the Inquisitorial Cabinet was not what it is now. Graft, carelessness and other forms of degenerate heresy were the rule of the day.
  223.     “You might know that the scum governor accepted Alderi technology for bribes. What is less known is that he also allowed them to smuggle in such tech because Ronarth was falling behind in agricultural quotas for nine years in a row, due to his own mismanagement and rampant petty corruption. They promised him that their micro-climate drones would send his quotas through the roof.
  224.     “Well, little did he know, he was actually dealing with Alderi death cultists. Over time they waited for their technology to overtake the planet, and when it was saturated, they pulled the trigger.
  225.     “Did you know the Alderi themselves were not actually the ones to massacre the people of Ronarth B? Their tech sent out a psychic pulse that triggered unstoppable, unthinking aggression for miles around. Fathers killed mothers, mothers killed children, children killed babies. It was a bloodbath, Aria. At first, when we first sent in relief teams, they attacked our Marines, and then the Marines turned on each other. We had to wait for Psychers, all the way from the Capitol to come and neutralize the pulse.
  226.     “That was my last mission as a Marine, Aria. I was privileged to attend the execution of the governor after he was ripped from his bunker, hiding like a coward. The emperor’s justice was glorious; he was burned twenty times over.”
  227.     He paused. “Do you think that was fair, little Aria?”
  228.     Shaking, I nodded. “Death and hellfire to traitors,” I quoted, struggling keep my voice from quavering. Horus smiled, pleased.
  229. “I petitioned to become an Inquisitor so that may never happen again. I have worked very hard and brought much glory to the Emperor in my time, and will continue to do so, rooting out heresy no matter where it tries to hide.”
  230.     I said nothing. I finally understood.
  231.     “Agent Svaler is your Psycher.” It was a statement, not a question.
  232.     “Yes, Aria,” he said, gently pulling on my hair to force my head up.
  233.     I met the seething eyes of the mind reader and fought not to remember.
  234.  
  235. _____________
  236.    
  237.     Eight months earlier
  238.    
  239.     I sat in the observatory chair, struggling to keep my head up. It was past midnight and energy pills had only done so much to keep me up so far. The scientists whose shift I had taken had promised me I would be relieved half an hour ago. I guess his date was going better than he expected. I sighed. That was common on Grulia. Little to do and lots of time indoors made for quick, intensive romances.
  240.     Not for me, I thought wryly.
  241.     That was to be expected when you were the governor’s daughter on a planet with no nobility or real upper class to speak of. I was unapproachable. That fit me just fine most of the time, considering the treatment Omegas normally received.
  242.     At the time however, I imagined it would be nice to spend an evening shooting pool or some such at the local bar with a nice boy. In my fantasy I’d wear one of my fancy robes, the kind I rarely ever had occasion to wear. He’d have soft blue eyes and woo me with a bouquet of roses not picked from the greenhouse. Maybe we’d make snow angels like our ancestors used to…
  243.     It was all interrupted by the obnoxious beeping of an alarm. I huffed and got up to go look out the telescope and confirm what was sure to be a piece of space detritus or a bird perching on the scope again.
  244.     Instead, I saw something I had never before. It looked like a ship, but I couldn’t tell what kind.
  245.     Curious if we were going to be blessed with a surprise merch-run, I jumped off to adjust the lens and angle, to get a better view. A few minutes of the creaky machinery wheezing to reposition and I jumped back on.
  246.     My stomach dropped.
  247.     The ship was blood-red, crudely marked with yellow spray-paint characters. The hull was littered with mutilated bodies of many races.
  248. Only one race decorated their ships like that.
  249. Orks.
  250. Panicking, I examined the thrusters, relieved to see their apparent state of ruinous damage. Then I realized that they were close enough to be drawn into orbit. In fact, they were probably already being drawn in.
  251. FUCK.
  252. We were in absolutely no state at all to ward off an ork invasion. We were minimally armed, out of the way as we were. We didn’t have anything worth the trouble of coming all the way out here. But orks didn’t really care about looting. They just enjoyed the slaughter. Lived off of it. I knew, having read classified material from my father’s netbook, detailing how great planets had succumbed to orcish infestations in under a month. If they survived the crash-- which was likely given the fact that orks were known to survive anoxic, sub-zero, blistering hot, anhydrous and other extreme environments indefinitely-- they’d brutally kill every last man, woman and child on this planet in four weeks.
  253. I shoved myself out of my chair and jumped down a flight of stairs, racing to the wire telephone in the observatory lobby. Fingers shaking, I cursed myself as I dialed, and then re-dialed my father’s number. Every ring was like an eternity, waiting for him to pick up. Finally, my mother answered groggily.
  254. “Hello, governor’s residence--”
  255. “Mom where’s dad?”
  256. “He’s in his study sweetheart, what’s wrong?”
  257. “Orks Mom. There’s an ork ship right above Polaris. Its thrusters are out but it's close enough that it could crash-land sometime this week.”
  258. She was silent.
  259. “Get home as soon as possible Aria. Tell no one. I’ll go inform him immediately.”
  260.  
  261. ______________________
  262.  
  263. My parents were waiting for me as I walked through the front doors.
  264. “Are you sure, Aria?” my said, rushing up to me.
  265. “Yes Mother, the markings are there, as well as the...as well as the bodies.”
  266. Mother shuddered. Father spoke up.
  267. “Aria is right. They’re close enough to be picked up by my old college telescope. I saw it myself.”
  268. “What are we going to do?”
  269. “James, you have to call the Empire for reinforcements,” my mother implored.
  270. “I can’t,” my father said grimly.
  271. “Now is not the time for--”
  272. “The good doctor just called me yesterday to tell me that his last attempt to resuscitate Mr. Komori from his coma failed. I submitted a written request to the Capitol for another astropath but I was told two days ago that since he hasn’t technically died yet we are not eligible for another. As you know, he is the only astropath on this planet and our only way to get call for help out.”
  273. “Send a messenger through the warp generator!” I said.
  274. “I’ve considered that,” my father said tersely. “But it takes at least twenty days to get from here to Tierrith. Even if they decided we were important enough and dropped everything immediately, it might still be too late.”
  275. “You have to try!!” my mother shouted.
  276. “There might be another way,” my father said quietly.
  277. “What do you mean?” I asked.
  278. My father hesitated, as if reluctant to share his thoughts.
  279. “I was contacted by an Alderi in a dream a couple nights ago who told me I would need his help. He told me that if I agreed to let his kind build a bunker on the Arcadian Shelf, he would save us from invaders. He gave me a word to say to summon him.”
  280. We were quiet.
  281. “Father,” I said earnestly, “you can’t seriously consider trusting an Alderi’s word. We’re better off taking our chances trying to evacuate everyone into the warp.”
  282. “I checked the logs, Aria. We only have enough ships on-planet to evacuate 6 percent of our population. That’s if they’re all functioning and ready to go.”
  283. Silence.
  284. Mother spoke up.
  285. “We have no choice. Contact the Alderi.”
  286. “Father no! It could be a trick! You cannot trust them!” Such talk went against everything we were taught about the Alderi.
  287. For the first time in my life, my father slapped me.  
  288. “You have no idea of the things you speak, Aria. This is what we must do to protect our people. One day you will understand. Take her, Lily. It’s safer for both of you not to see this.”
  289. And just like that my mother shoved me out of the library, ignoring my cries, leaving my father to make a deal with devil.
  290.  
  291. ______________________
  292.  
  293.     As I stared into Agent Svaler’s eyes, I began to feel the unease I felt around him deepen into acute distress. I felt a foreign presence grow in my mind, which felt alternatively like a thousand little ants crawling to a multitude of tentacles worming their way around my skull. Hyperventilating I tried wrestle back control of my thoughts but it was as if the vileness invading my mind was forcing me too remember back, further and further. It was disgusting and utterly terrifying.
  294. I looked away and felt it lessen a little, then closed my eyes and tried to expel the invader mentally. I heard Agent Svaler grunt and spit out “Control her” then felt the Inquisitor yank harshly on the hair at my nape, ignoring my earnest resistance and yelp of pain.
  295. I pressed my hands to my temples, my entire body stiff as a rod as I continued to try to push him out. As my resistance grew, so did the pain. At first it was a headache. Then it quickly bloomed into a migraine, and thence into an excruciating white-hot brand cracking my skull open. The pain grew hotter, sharper and wider, pouring like lava from the nape of neck to my forehead to my temples. I screamed, pressing harder, certain I was about to die. Distantly, beyond the deafening screech in my head I heard a voice.
  296. “She’s close to breaking Horus. She cannot handle the same pressure as a Marine, or even a Beta. If I keep pushing she might die.”
  297. A faint grunt, and suddenly I felt huge, blissfully cool hands tightly grip the back of my neck, pressing on the Omega pressure point that forced one to go limp and relax (a pressure point which was again, very much taboo to take advantage of in adult Omegas; it had not been used against me since I had refused a vaccination shot at the age of three). My arms and hands dropped, my eyes un-scrunched, I stopped hyperventilating, my breaths evening and slowing. Simultaneously, the Inquisitor began to purr. I hadn’t heard the sound since I had been held by my father, decades ago. It was the most delicious, exquisite sounds I’d ever heard-- low, rich, deep, I felt it vibrate down to my bones. I’d never heard such a powerful one. I was powerless in the face of it and I felt my mind involuntarily slow and relax as well. As soon as I untensed my mind I felt the flood of the Psycher’s power unleash as a flood, gaining access to all my thoughts and memories. Strangely, the sensation could not be experienced as unpleasant-- though it was objectively horribly invasive-- with the Inquisitor’s grip on my neck and obscenely potent purr forcing me to relax, and cradling me in auditory marshmallow fluff. The objective part of my brain marvelled at the irony of being so serene at such a monstrous moment, the moment when all of our lives would end. I remember Agent Svaler laughed as if in response to that thought.
  298. He caught the thread of the evasive memory, unspooling it, watching it unfold in my mind.
  299. Then he released me.
  300. “You can let her go.”
  301. Horus stopped purring and let go of my nape, but held firmly onto my shoulders, as if warning me to stay put and be good. With his release, the full-body tremors and hyperventilation returned with vengeance. I bowed my head, my curtain of hair hiding my shame. I fought to calm myself, hating the appearance of weakness before others, aghast at tears that escaped my eyes. Loathing the weakness that ensured I could be held down without a thought by this gene-seed Alpha. Absolutely horrified that I had allowed my Omega physiology to betray us all. We were all going to die.
  302. “She was indeed the first to spot it. She was alone at the observatory, and immediately told her mother, who told her father. Before he conspired with the Alderi, she suggested evacuation and warned against his plot. She did go to the observatory afterwards to forge the record of the alarm, listing it as space detritus. Like her parents, she intended to hide this heresy from the Empire.”
  303.     As he spoke, I began to feel lightheaded. Numbness grew in my fingers and my shivers intensified with the cold sweat that had broken out.
  304.     God of mankind, have mercy on my soul. Lord of light and all that is good, let our ends be quick.
  305. Agent Svaler scoffed, looking at me with cold amusement.
  306. “What is it?” Horus asked.
  307. “She is praying for mercy.”
  308. Horus suddenly whirled the chair around so I was facing him, he kneeled so we were almost eye to eye, his giant figure still dwarfing me. He grabbed my chin, forcing my face up so he could examine me. Laid bare before my judge, jury, and executioner, looking into his harsh, lined face, and unnaturally steady blue eyes, was too much. Staring death in its literal face, I closed my eyes.
  309. “Open your eyes, Omega! Look at me!” he growled viciously.
  310. His growled command took away the choice. I did so, ignoring the slick his growl had called forth, a trivial fly in the face of this maw of terror.
  311. “Do you still think the governor of Ronarth’s death was fair, Aria?”
  312. “W-w-w-we d-d-didn’t d-do it for m-money, s-s-sir. W-we th-thought it was th-the o-only w-way to p-protect-”
  313. “That’s true, little Omega. And your Father told me you did not think to evacuate yourselves first in case it did not work, yes?”
  314. “Y-y-yes s-s-sir.”
  315. “Do you know why what you did was treason?”
  316. “D-d-dealing with x-xenos-”
  317. “Did you know, Aria, that the ship you spotted was not in fact an ork ship? That it was not even real? Your father should have known better, known that the Alderi are a very clever and ancient race that will not take what can be taken through subterfuge by force. They are cowards and tricksters. They casted a sophisticated illusion in your sky to make your father desperate enough to deal with them, to allow them months of totally unhampered construction of a portal to this world. Did you know, Aria, that they consider this planet a maiden world belonging to them, a world they intend to eventually take back? In a couple centuries, their thinking goes, maybe a millenia, when their race is stronger, they would have poured through that portal and taken this world back. Do you know how I know this? We caught one of them, Aria, and this information was pulled from his very lips. Your father might have meant well but the consequences would have been the same as on Ronarth. Genocide. This is why laws exist. This is why you can never trust xenos.
  318. “And you Aria. Conspiring with your parents to hide this from the very person who needed to know. We only just found the portal before it was functional. Killing a few scantily armed Alderi was a significant task for me and my men. Imagine if your heretical lies had worked, Aria, how many millions would have died because of you.”
  319. At that, a sob finally broke from me.
  320. “I’m s-s-sorry, I d-d-didn’t know-”
  321. Horus rose from his haunches and sighed. He walked over to the fireplace, warming his hands and speaking in a low voice with his advisor. I took the opportunity to pray, no matter how ridiculous Agent Svaler thought my chances at salvation.
  322. Eventually he turned back.
  323. “Come here Aria.”
  324. Eyes down, I rose unsteadily and went to stand before him.
  325. “Look at me.”
  326. I craned my neck and met his hard, unwavering stare and allowed him to grasp my chin.
  327. “You look so beautiful like this,” he murmured, dragging his thumb across my swollen lips.  
  328. “You and your parents have committed treason. Your father’s is the most grave offense. Normally, he would suffer death by flame,” he paused as I gasp-sobbed at that, “but due to the circumstances he would not suffer that multiple times. Your mother has also volunteered to shoulder some of his punishment. Her punishment and yours would normally be exile. Because of the fidelity law, your parent’s punishment would come out to death by las-rifle for both.”
  329. “W-w-what if I v-volunt-teered as w-well?” I asked brokenly.
  330. Horus licked his lips.
  331. “That’s not what I have in mind for you, Little One.”
  332. I thought I understood. He was going to kill me before I had the opportunity.
  333. Very well then. Let it be fast.
  334. “She thinks you’re going to kill her,” Svaler snorted, lounging on the other side of the room with his feet up on the table.
  335. Horus huffed as if he too found Svaler’s intrusions annoying.
  336. “I could extend a pardon to you, Aria, as well as your parents, if you were family. You would undergo re-education but that could be it. Would you like that?”
  337. I was too dumbfounded to respond.
  338. “I-I don’t understand…”
  339. He growled suddenly, grabbing me by the ass and lifting me onto the table, standing between my legs. The slick called forth by his actions dampened the tissue-paper fabric of the dress. He openly scented me, brushing my hair back to draw in a deep pull from my neck. I bit back a whimper.
  340. “Be my mate, Aria. Your body calls to me, as mine does to yours. We are destined mates. I can use this pardon but once.”
  341. “Yes, Lord Inquisitor,” I whispered, feeling drugged by his proximity, his overwhelming strength, size and dominance. But I wasn’t. I understood this was our only chance at salvation.
  342. “Call me Horus,” he said, brushing back my hair from my face, wiping away tears.
  343. “Yes, Horus.”
  344. With that he seemed to lose control, cradling my face as he went in for a wild, bruising, triumphant kiss. He claimed my mouth, growling, calling forth more slick that soaked my dress, turning it truly transparent and baring my creamy thighs. His lips were surprisingly soft for such a man, and his stubble tickled. He curled his hands in my hair as I released an involuntary little moan into his mouth. I felt his hardness press into my stomach.
  345. “Are you not going to mention that her father already signed the papers for her over to you?”
  346. Horus growled at Svaler for this, causing me to cramp with another wave of slick. But I understood. My father was just trying to protect us.
  347. “Come Aria. You cannot take any of your things. We must leave tonight.”
  348.  
  349. _______________
  350.  
  351.     It all happened in a daze. Our local Ecclesiarch was roused to perform a brief legal ceremony, I in my flimsy dress and a robe Horus had allowed as some sort of indulgent concession. Lissith standing steadfastly by my side-- the only aspect of the wedding that aligned with expectations. My parents were there but were forbidden, Horus told me, from speaking to me. He said it would complicate the legality of the pardon. I kept moving to look back to their faces but Horus growled every time I did so and finally threatened that if I did so again, I’d regret it. I stopped.
  352.     However, when my father came up to give Horus the pearl ring that symbolized my virtue-- an archaic tradition I abhorred but did not dare suggest dropping-- I saw that he was sweating and shaking slightly. Had he not been told of the reprieve? When he met my eyes, though, there was such love, I knew there was no need for words.
  353.     What are fancy ceremonies and trailing ball gowns to miraculous pardons and the love of one’s parents? I thought.
  354.     The ring was slipped on my finger. His entourage clapped. It was surreal. Touching. My newly minted husband held both of my hands in one of his while thanking the Ecclesiarch.
  355. I didn’t get to say goodbye though to my parents. They were escorted to another room. I didn’t mind though, I knew I’d get to see them again, hopefully in happier circumstances. Horus told me to head to his ship with his men while he finished up. He did take a reproachful glance at Lissith, but when I stepped closer to her and clutched her to me, he seemed to have second thoughts. He dismissed us both. Still in something of a daze, I complied robotically, Lissith holding my hand and sheltering me from the bitter, biting winds as much as she could. Still, without my proper robes and shoes, I was left shivering violently.
  356. One of his transport pods was waiting on the lawn. Before ascending the gangplank, something nagged at my thoughts and tempted me to look back. I did so, appreciating the beautiful, classic house I had grown up in, filled with happy memories. It’d be a long time until I saw it again.
  357. The wind howled and whistled so hard, I thought I heard a cry upon it. But I knew that was just a trick of the Grulian tundra.
  358. “Come, Aria,” Lissith murmured. “You’ll catch your death out here.”
  359.  
  360. __________________________
  361.  
  362.     Lissith and I fell asleep leaning on each other in the pod. If I had any energy left, I would have taken the time to wander around and appreciate the most modern, tastefully outfitted ships I’d ever seen. As it was, the travails of the night had drained me.
  363.     I felt only the gentle acceleration of the ship as we headed to his main ship stationed at the Mandeville Point about 2500 miles away. I remember large, strong arms gently extricating  me from Lissith (and her little grumbles of complaint) and carrying me to a real bed, where I fell into deep and troubled dreams, sleeping long.
  364.  
  365. _________________________
  366.  
  367.     When I woke, my new husband was nowhere to be seen. I found myself in a gigantic bed, easily five times the size of what I slept on back home. The room was similarly spacious and fitted with state-of-the-art technologies, some of which I recognized and some which I did not. I took note of the spartan color palette, and wondered if the monochromatic whites and grays reflected my husband’s own aesthetic preferences, or some designer’s guess at his taste.
  368.     I noticed also, with a certain chagrin, that I had been stripped of the infamous dress, and accompanying underthings. Somehow I doubted it was Lissith who helped me out; I wondered at my husband’s endless self-control. Although I knew rationally he was my husband now, my cheeks still flamed bright red to think of him undressing me.
  369.     Pushing such thoughts away, I wrapped a sheet around me to go search for some decent raiment. Opening a closet I found an array of Imperial uniforms, meticulously cleaned and starched, with trousers that came up to my chin. Some of them were clearly ceremonial with gold tassels and silk stripes, most however appeared very functional. At the end of the closet were a few civilian suits and casual wear, sagging from their hangers as if forlorn from disuse.
  370.     “I see you’re already up to no good.”
  371.     Aria started and clutched the sheet tighter to her breast and laughed sheepishly. The owner of the unpleasant nasally voice was a stout young Beta woman dressed in plain gray Imperial-style robes.
  372.     “Oh I’m just looking for something to wear. And you are?”
  373.     “Credgely. The Honorable Lord Inquisitor assigned me to you as a handmaid as well show you the ropes around here,” she simpered.  “You must be his new….concubine?”
  374. So that’s how it’s going to be.
  375. I was not surprised by the implication that my husband had taken concubines before me. I knew it was a common enough practice among powerful men, especially Inquisitors (who wanted the boon of companionship along with sexual availability). On the other hand, I had never dealt with such a blatantly disrespectful servant.
  376. I did what any noblewoman would do. I slapped her hard across both fat cheeks.
  377. “Wife, actually,” I said coyly. “Perhaps my marks will help you remember when you look in the mirror.”
  378. Credgely’s face darkened to an angry red. She clenched her fists, and for the first time in my life, I feared retaliation. She was significantly taller than me (who wasn’t?) and had at least a hundred pounds. But at the last moment she collected herself and sneered nastily, as if enjoying an especially tasty burp.
  379. “Oh don’t you worry my lady. I’ll remember. Now, please come this way so I can show you to your closet.”
  380. Obviously I didn’t trust her, but what else could I do? Also, once I was decent I could go looking for Lissith.
  381. Cautiously I followed behind her, taking in the mini-suite beyond the master bedroom as well as a study even more thoroughly equipped than my father’s. She kept walking however, straight through a door that led to a hallway. I hesitated, looking both ways but seeing no one.
  382. “Where are you taking me?” I whispered.
  383. “Your quarters are separate. Bigger closet, less noise from the engine, very nice.”
  384. I bit my lip, still reluctant. But then, our mansion back home had had a harem suite once, converted to a nursery after my grandfather dropped the practice.
  385. “Well do you want to change or not? The Inquisitor is set to have a luncheon with you and you’ve already slept most of the morning away!”
  386. I blushed at that. Omegas needed more sleep than most, and I was a very sleepy Omega. I scurried out of the room.
  387. She took me down the hallway a fair amount, passing many doors and stairwells. She walked quickly, and I struggled to keep up, tripping often on the sheet. I jumped at every voice I heard but fortunately we didn’t run into anyone. Finally, she stopped in front of an unassuming door.
  388. “This is it, Madam. Close your eyes!”
  389. I did not.
  390. She grinned anyway, opening the door and stepping behind me to reveal a dark, dusty supply closet.
  391. “Enjoy your closet my lady,” she scoffed, shoving me inside and ripping the sheet away from me before slamming the door shut.
  392. I pushed myself up from the chilly tile floor and threw myself at the door, twisting the knob and banging furiously to no avail.
  393. Who made closets that locked?
  394. “Let me out this instant!!” I screamed. “Help! Help!!”
  395. Unfortunately I could hear no footsteps coming to my rescue, only Credgely’s slimy voice.
  396. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you, my lady. It wouldn’t be the best start, would it, to be found by one of his Marines? Maybe the cleaning crew? You’re a naked, unclaimed Omega on a ship brimming with Alphas. I wouldn’t push it if I were you.”
  397. “You petty bitch, I’m sorry I slapped you, just don’t leave me in here!”
  398. “Oh don’t worry my lady. I’ll come for you eventually. I’m just going to go enjoy the real chocolate the Inquisitor bought you as a honeymoon gift. So many...it’ll take a long time to savor properly. Bye!”
  399. I called for her to come back, but her footsteps retreated just the same.
  400. Fuck.
  401.  
  402. ___________
  403.  
  404. The closet was not hooked up to the ship’s heating system, so I was soon left shivering, teeth clattering with my arms wrapped tightly around myself. Goosebumps raised all along my arms and legs.
  405. Credgely did not strike me as a blue-stocking, but she was certainly shrewd. Many times when footsteps passed I was tempted to call out, but Credgely was right. There was an undeniable danger to my being found by someone other than...well...other than Lissith, probably.
  406. I tried looking around in the dim light for something to help me escape, or failing that, cover up. Unfortunately the closet was stocked only with industrial-size cleaning detergents and soaps, mops, sponges, and buckets.
  407. I couldn’t believe my first day as a wife had gone so badly. At least it couldn’t get any worse.
  408. Hopefully.
  409. I’d be certain to let my husband know of her actions. She might amuse herself now, but it wouldn’t be so funny when she was dropped with her bags at the first stop along the warp.
  410. On the other hand, it might be best to keep it to myself. Although it felt like an eternity had passed, I didn’t actually know my husband that well. Maybe I never would. My father once mentioned in passing that Inquisitors were said to be “married to the Imperium.” He might resent my bringing such troubles before him when he was occupied with imperial business, and I couldn’t afford to be a thorn in his side. Obviously it was in my family’s best interest for me to win him over….unfortunately that plan was off to a bad start, with my missing the luncheon. Speaking of which…
  411. My stomach growled. I hadn’t actually eaten since lunch yesterday. Meolve’s delicious home-baked snowbread....my mouth watered.
  412. I found that the closet was six paces by four. It consisted in total of 96 synthetic tiles. I consolidated the cleaners, alphabetized them, and straightened them so all the labels faced outwards. The shelf they sat on was dusty so I tried “Emperor’s Light Throne Polish” which coagulated into a sticky mess on the shelf. I covered it up with a bottle.
  413. I wondered what re-education would be like. Would I have to simply pass a test? If so, my father would pass it without any trouble. He remembered everything he ever read.
  414. I imagined how my mother would have reacted to Credgely’s treatment. She would have probably advised against antagonizing; she’d say that nobles can’t afford to offend people whose powers and connections you are unaware of.
  415. Curse my ignorance of Credgely’s ability to shove around young ladies.
  416. I wondered what my role would be as an Inquisitor’s wife. Most Omega wives were kept out of the public eye-- most Omegas in general really. Ironically, it seemed probable that as I was leaving one of the most uninhabited planets in the galaxy, I would be more lonely than ever, cooped up in some seraglio.
  417. I shivered once more and waited for my antagonist to bore of her games.
  418.  
  419. ________________
  420.    
  421.     I fell asleep in the corner-- being able to fall asleep anywhere being one of the great benefits of being Omega-- and was startled awake by the sound of boots running down the hallway. I was quiet. But then they came down again, those fast, heavy footfalls, indicating the presence of Marines. I began to sweat, which exacerbated the chill that had settled in my bones. Over the next hour, many feet traversed the hallway, growing in number, and frequency. I heard some of them talking over radios.
  422.     Finally, I heard a set of plodding feet walk up to the door and softly unclick the lock.
  423.     The door opened, and before me stood the ogre herself, grinning smugly.
  424.     “Found her!” she shouted.
  425.     I lunged forward to give her another set of matching marks when beside me the Inquisitor let out a savage growl that instantly sent me doubled me over cramping.
  426.     “Thank you for your help, Credgely. Take the rest of the day off.”
  427.     I looked up at him, slowly turning bright red with embarrassment then pale white with dread. The look on his face was harsh, no mercy or softness in his eyes at all. The acrid chemical stink of Alpha displeasure mixed with the sour scent of Omega fear. Never had I felt the power differential between us so acutely, as when he stood eight feet tall in his pristine uniform, thick arms crossed and I crouched naked in a puddle of slick he’d called forth in a supply closet I’d been tricked into on his ship. I watched as his eyes turned nearly all black before I spoke.
  428.     “I’m sorry,” I said quietly, not knowing quite what possessed me to say it but sensing it was for my own good.
  429.     Horus said nothing but walked into the closet to take off his jacket and wrap it around my shoulders. I swam in it. He crouched down to take me in his arms, lifting me as if I weighed nothing, holding me tightly. Something told me not to fight it.
  430.     “Horus….your maid tricked me, I--”
  431.     “Silence. I’ve had enough of your lies, little Omega,” he said derisively, emphasizing my dynamic as those who’d mocked me my whole life had. “You are fortunate I am eager to claim my foolish, recalcitrant mate. Your body will bear the brunt of my displeasure, little one, rather than your parents. Did you not think how this selfish escape attempt would affect them?”
  432.     “Horus, please,” I begged as tears pricked my eyes at the threat. “I wasn’t trying to--”
  433.     “One more word and I will have you crawl back naked all the way back to our bed like the little slut you are.”
  434. I shut my mouth. He walked briskly down the hallway. I hid my tears in his chest, sheltered by the curtain of my hair from his oppressive glare and the curiosity of passersby. I hoped the walk would cool his temper some but thanks to his superhuman stride it was all too short.
  435. Once back inside the master suite, he stopped and let me down. He stripped me of his jacket. Craning my head up to meet his gaze, I saw him hungrily devour the sight of my body, even as I wrapped my arms around myself.  
  436. “Crawl to the bed,” he grunted.
  437. My opposition must have made itself known in my face, for before I spoke a word of resistance, he growled again, harshly. I automatically turned, dropped to my knees, and did as he commanded.
  438. I tried to clear my mind to prepare for what was coming, but I felt his heated gaze on my body like a hot caress. I felt warmth pool in my abdomen thinking of it.
  439. “Get on your hands and knees on the bed. Wait there for further instructions,” he said, voice strained.
  440. I did so. I heard him shuffling around, taking things from cabinets, kicking off boots. When his belt slid through the loops of his trousers and I heard them drop I couldn’t help but gasp.
  441. When he leaned over to scent me deeply from my neck I whimpered. Slick poured from my channel as his raw scent hit me hard, drugging me and clouding my mind.
  442. Suddenly he smacked my ass hard. I yelped. The sting of his hand spread across both cheeks developed into a low burn. Just as suddenly I felt him grab the backs of my thighs and forcefully part them as his tongue dove into my pussy.
  443. I screamed at the unfamiliar, alien sensation of a strong, persistent tongue lathing me up and down, devouring slick like a crazed beast, his groans and growls eliciting a veritable flood. It was far too intense, and surely sinful...the feelings it caused, the fire in my belly he was stoking relentlessly.
  444. There was something I had to tell him. What was it?
  445. I couldn’t think straight. He slapped my ass again-- I was sure there would be a bruise in the morning.
  446. “Horus-- ah! Wha--?”
  447. He circled and nipped my clit one last time and stood.
  448. “Stop bowing your back, Omega.”
  449. I arched slightly.
  450. “Further.”
  451. I did so.
  452. “Further.”
  453. I arched my back, sticking my ass out until it felt obscene. Apparently it pleased him, as I felt his huge hands gently palming my ass, running up my back, rubbing my tense shoulders. He took the opportunity to cup my breasts. My breath caught as he tenderly squeezed, then circled a nipple, teasing me. He pinched a nipple, eliciting a low moan.
  454. “Hold it there.”
  455. “Yes, sir,” I whispered automatically.
  456. He chuckled as he stepped back to line up his hardness against my lips. He groaned as he slid it up and down my abundant lubrication. At the last second, my curiosity overtook me and I looked back. I immediately wished I hadn’t.
  457. My optimism that his manhood would defy the trend of his superhuman proportions was crushed. In his fist, his rock-hard, angry, veined cock pulsed precum that made my mouth water, while my rational mind screamed that there was actually no way that it would fit and that he would hurt me.
  458. I had no time to object before he grabbed my hips and slammed in.
  459. I screamed.
  460. The pain hit sharp and fast. It felt worse than wrong, it felt catastrophic. My arms collapsed with the force of it, my body held up only by his strong hands. Tears and shudders came back in full force as my body went completely rigid, struggling to expel him. He only groaned, as if suffering himself, then violently thrust harder, impossibly seating himself deeper, redoubling the agony. True to his word, he took his wrath out on my body, setting a punishing pace that left no room for even the thought of adjustment, ruthlessly claiming every inch of me.
  461. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.
  462. I forgot everything, except the injunction I had laid against myself, to be pleasing. So I covered my mouth and kept my face down, muffling the sobs that wracked my body. Failing even to bear it like a lady.
  463. Suddenly he flipped me over, resting his colossal weight on his elbows as he brushed the hair away from my face. I couldn’t look away from his searching eyes. He wiped away tears and began to purr. That heavenly sound.... Kissing me deeply, cradling my face, his purr melted all the tension from my body.
  464. “That’s it, good girl. Relax, let me in. Stop fighting it.”
  465. As my muscles stopped straining to reject his member, the pain receded somewhat.
  466. “Kiss me back Aria,” he ordered.
  467. I opened my mouth to him, letting him plunder as he wished. I felt his soft lips, his teeth gently nipping my lips. I traced my tongue against the inside of his mouth. As I focused on his instruction, the pain too melted away. Then it began to turn into something strange, a hot, pleasurable coil of tension that felt ready to burst around his cock.
  468. “Naughty little Omega,” he said, causing me to flutter around him, “you needed a strong Alpha’s attention, is that it? You’re getting more than you asked for, little one, aren’t you? You’re going to take my knot and every last drop of seed I give you.”
  469. Feverishly, I shook my head. He simply reached down between us to start slowly circling the little nub of flesh that had been exposed from its hood, stretched as I was around him.
  470. I moaned loudly, digging my nails into his back.
  471. It was too much. It was cresting, cresting, cresting--
  472. Just as I was about to come he shoved his knot in and came, the first of his seed splashing hot against my womb. He continued furiously circling my clit and growed roughly:
  473. “Come.”
  474. I came undone.
  475. Blinding white light shattered me just as he bit savagely into my shoulder, crunching flesh, muscle and tendon in his massive jaws.
  476. “HORUS” I screamed in agony, in exquisite pleasure, not without a tinge of hysteria.
  477. He didn’t let go but held on ferociously as his cock continued to kick and my cunt milked his knot. His bite extended my orgasm and I began to feel as if it’d never end, the buzzing ecstasy rendering my body breathless and my mind suspended, until finally, finally, darkness claimed me.
  478.  
  479. _________________________________
  480.  
  481.  
  482.  Horus did not see fit to let me rest long. I was dragged from my slumber with the astringent sting of alcohol being daubed on his claiming mark. He had me propped up, leaning back against his chest. I hissed my complaint as he continued his work, earning a chuckle from him. I took a quick inventory of injuries, noting the soreness between my legs, the blood and semen pooled on the sheets and streaked inside my thighs, and the bruises already developing on my hips where he’d gripped me so hard. But the worst by far was the mark.  Looking at it, I shuddered. It was long, inflamed, and unspeakably ugly, stretching from neck to shoulder. Behind the alcohol burn, there was a bone-deep ache and when I tried to test my movement, I found I couldn’t. I looked at Horus, panic in my eyes.
  483. “The residual acid in my saliva also causes localized incapacitation.”
  484. “Acid?!”
  485. “Yes,” he said putting away the alcohol to grab an ointment-soaked bio-gauze (I guess I knew what he was doing while I was...crawling around). “Not many civilians know, but among the new organs the gene seed triggers growth of is a gland producing acid. In combat, it is useful for blinding unarmored enemies.”
  486. “Blinding??”
  487. “In undilluted amounts, yes,” he said absently, focused on applying the bio-gauze to my shoulder, watching it mold itself to my body. I let out a breath at the blissfully cool relief it brought.
  488. “However, I can control the concentration. The amount you endured in my bite was trivial. In coitus, it serves to minimize the damage caused by the bite by ensuring the Omega does not aggravate her injuries with excess movement.”
  489. “I’ve treated my own injuries before,” I bristled. “I was training to be a doctor, you know.”
  490. “It also tends to leave behind a rather nice scar,” he said, ignoring my comment. He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear to place a feather-light kiss on his mark.
  491. I couldn’t help but feel he was punishing me with such a brutal claiming. Such a mark would immediately out me as a claimed Omega in society, more even than my small stature or sweet scent. I suppose that held an appeal to him. But I knew that such savage claiming marks had gone out of style recently in many places; the current fashion leaning towards more delicate, minimalistic marks. He’d labelled me as a bit of rube with his claim, which, in all honesty, I technically was.
  492. There was knock on the door.
  493. “Stay here,” he warned, disentangling himself from me and pulling on a pair of pants.
  494. As he talked in a low voice with the person at the door, I took the opportunity to admire my husband’s physique. He was extremely broad-chested in addition to being extremely tall (in order to house all the extra organs Marines had) and he had apparently continued with his disciplined routine after becoming an Inquisitor. It showed, in the definition of his muscles and the casual power of his gait.
  495. He brought back a tray of heavenly-smelling food. My stomach growled obnoxiously. He ignored my blushes and protests when I tried to feed myself. He insisted on feeding me every little bite of stew, seemingly fascinated every time my tongue darted out to catch a drip.
  496. “Horus?” I asked when he was done.
  497. “Yes?”
  498. “I really wasn’t trying to run away,” I said softly, taking his hand when he tensed. “Credgely said she was taking me to my closet, and when we got to the supply closet she snatched the sheet I had away and shoved me in.”
  499. “I shouldn’t humor this falseness, but seeing you freshly claimed has me in an indulgent mood. Why would Credgely do such a thing?”
  500. “W-well I’m not quite sure. She seemed to have something against me. I did, ahm, discipline her and she seemed to resent that.”
  501. “Yes, she mentioned your assault.”
  502. “Assault?? I slapped her, as any respectable woman would when a servant impinges on her honor.”
  503. “I see. And how did she besmirch your honor?”
  504. “Well...she implied I was one of your….she assumed I was….she said--”
  505. “Yes?”
  506. “She suggested I was not your wife.”
  507. “Ah. And that upset you?” he grinned as if he found the whole thing so amusing.
  508. “Of course!”
  509. “Mm. Let’s say for the sake of argument that my brilliant, schooled wife was lured into a supply closet by the simple Credgely. Why were you still hiding there hours later?”
  510. “She locked the door!”
  511. “It was unlocked when I found you.”
  512. “She unlocked it right before she called you over!”
  513. “How very sly of her,” he remarked sarcastically.
  514. “If you don’t believe me, then ask your Psycher to read her mind!”
  515. “Aria,” he scolded. “How can you suggest that when you know yourself how traumatizing that can be?”
  516. “Fine! Then have him read my mind! I have nothing to hide from you, Horus. I promise!”
  517. There must have been a certain sincerity in my visage, for her finally wrapped his arms around me and set his chin on my head.
  518. “Very well then, little one. I believe you, this time.”
  519. I sighed in relief.
  520. “Will you please get rid of that horrid woman?”
  521. “Ah, don’t begrudge Credgely her pranks,” he laughed.
  522. I stared up at him, incredulous.
  523. He continued laughing, then became serious.
  524. “I’d like you to make an effort to befriend her, Aria. Credgely holds something of an important place in my heart.”
  525. “Why?”
  526. “Is my little Omega wife jealous?” he chuckled, avoiding my question. “Do not fear for your own share of my heart. I have two after all.”
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