Chaos. This is total chaos.
Everywhere I look, men are hollering at each other, their faces red, sweaty, and covered in days of stubble. They’ve been at it for hours, refusing to back down. None of them wants to face the fact that the power they once had is almost certainly gone. I can understand their frustration, confusion, and bitterness. No one could have predicted that in just a few short months they’d go from vital players in international diplomacy to obsolete, inconsequential remnants of a system headed for extinction.
I guess alien invasions can have that effect.
Not that I’m doing so much better: the reflection looking back at me from my smartphone looks like she’s been on a forty-eight-hour bender. Neither a double latte nor my makeup can hide how tired I look—I could really use a full night’s sleep. I haven’t gotten one since the invasion first began—I don’t know anyone who has.
Is it just the light, or is that a strand of gray hiding in my straight raven hair? I’m still a year shy of my thirtieth birthday, so it better not be—but after the past few weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised. When I accepted an appointment to be the United Nations’ chief ambassador for the Dominar invaders, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I expected the challenge to come from the aliens, not my colleagues. The Dominars might be taking over the planet, but at least they don’t argue in circles for days on end.
The subject of the meeting, what will happen to the world’s nations after the invasion, couldn’t be broader—or more irrelevant. Since the world’s nations were forced to sign a joint, unconditional surrender, the decisions aren’t even ours to make.
It’s too bad I couldn’t keep dealing with Commander Vol, leader of the invasion. He understood the value of being both direct and reasonable with his demands. Even though our interactions were adversarial, he treated me with respect—I can’t say that for all of my colleagues, and we’re supposed to be on the same side. And, I have to admit, it didn’t hurt that Vol was easy on the eyes, like all the Dominars. When we used to imagine aliens, it was always little green men or beastly cosmic horrors—not a race of beautiful Adonises. Vol’s smile could melt a glacier, or make me forget that my career is ending prematurely.
In truth, right now there’s not much for us to do. Since the Dominars declared themselves rulers of Earth, most of the world’s power-hungry scumbags went into hiding—at least, the smart ones did.
We should be celebrating the relative peace that has resulted from the aliens’ interventions, but instead, my colleagues bicker like children.
“We will not abandon our movement for independence,” shouts Gaspar Jaffe, waving his finger at the audience. “No alien is going to keep us from seeking the freedom that has been denied us for fifty years!”
“The dictatorship you’re fighting probably won’t exist a week from now,” I interrupt, speaking for the first time in hours. “Gentlemen, what are we doing here? Any decision we make could be undone by the Dominars in a matter of seconds. We’re building castles in the sand with a hurricane bearing down on the shore.”
“And what would you suggest, Ms. Marchessault?” asks Jaffe, his thick accent not hiding his derision. “Should we just sit on our hands while the aliens decide our fates? Are we to just accept that we are never going to control our own destinies ever again?”
“Of course not,” I begin. “But what good is—”
“Do our people not deserve justice for decades of oppression?” Jaffe continues.
“They do, but—”
“We’ve waited patiently because world powers asked us to. We watched as our independence was tabled again and again, always an issue for another day. Are my people supposed to give up on the dream of freedom?”
“No!” I snap, starting to lose my temper. “None of us will ever give up on freedom. It’s not who we are. But for the moment, what choice do we have but to wait and see what happens? The Dominars say they believe in justice—if this is true, then your people will have their freedom.”
Jaffe brushes a manila folder from his podium. “And what if they’re not, Sabine? What then?”
“Then we’re all kinda fucked, aren’t we?” I retort, throwing my hands in the air. I regret saying it immediately, as the chamber erupts into cacophony.
“Listen!” I shout, trying to be heard. “People are scared of what’s to come, and that’s fair. But what are we going to do about it? Talk each other to death? What we should be talking about is solid steps we can take to help people, on the ground, right now. We could be coordinating the distribution of food and medical supplies to impoverished nations. We should be setting an example of stability and calm, not infighting and petty grudges. If we can’t work together to do what’s right, all of you should be doing so on your own. Isn’t that why we’re all here?”
My comments quiet the room, probably for the first time in days. Some of the ambassadors slump into their seats, while others stare at their feet. We’re all exhausted and fumbling in the dark. Most of them, I imagine, have been looking for an excuse to throw in the towel, at least for the day.
Gaspar Jaffe, however, has not.
“Actually, Ms. Marchessault, I’m here because my people deserve to have their voices heard!” he barks, reigniting the assembly. “Even if the Dominars intend to enslave us all and steal our children from their cradles, I will not rest until this body recognizes my nation’s sovereignty and dignity.”
Sighing, I roll my hazel eyes. “You would spend what could be our final session fighting for a symbolic victory when we have so much real work to do?”
Jaffe gets up and strides toward me, his face twisted in rage, like I’ve grievously insulted him. He moves pretty quickly considering all the extra weight he carries around his midsection. “This so-called ‘symbolic’ gesture would give my people the satisfaction they deserve, even if it won’t bring our oppressors to justice—”
“Which is what the Dominars will likely do if you’d let them—” I try to argue.
“You don’t know that for sure, Marchessault. What makes you so sure that they’re being honest with us?”
Laughing, I shake my head. “Because they could crush us like insects. What reason could they possibly have for lying? Whatever they want from us, they could just take it. Do you think they crossed the galaxy to play games?”
Jaffe’s nostrils flare and he points a thick finger in my face as he speaks. “I don’t know. I just don’t want to get fucked by them, which is more than I can say for you.”
There is a moment of hesitation where I ask myself what kind of legacy I want to leave for myself at the United Nations. For a second, I wonder if this is something I could have foreseen back when I gave my valedictorian speech at Princeton. Then my arm swings out, fingers balled in a fist, and I sock Jaffe in his grimy, hairy face.
Something pops, and an electric jolt shoots through my hand as the man stumbles backward. At first I think I’ve broken a finger, but then I see blood start to drip from Jaffe’s nose.
“Do you think the Dominars give a shit what happened in the past? None of that matters right now. Aliens are here, and we have to prepare ourselves for the future. I feel for your cause and your people, Mr. Jaffe, but it’s time for you to either help us focus on a more relevant issue, or get the fuck out.”
Jaffe wipes his face, smearing blood across his upper lip, then spits. “Fuck you, Sabine,” he says. Before I can react, he reaches for my neck with both hands. His grip quickly tightens, cutting off my breath. I pound my fists against his arms, but he holds on. “I won’t be spoken to this way. My nation demands justice, and you—”
Whatever he was going to say next, I’ll never know. Something pulls him away from me and throws him clear across the room. He lands in a heap against the wall, then crumples to the floor. I cough, then inhale sharply. After I recover, I turn to where everyone is looking: the chamber’s entrance.
Standing in the open doorway is a Dominar. Clad in a white double-breasted dress uniform with brilliant crimson stripes running up the sides and pointed black epaulets on the shoulders, he steps into the room in total silence. Everyone in the room, myself included, stares at his turquoise skin and long, coppery hair. Every inch of his frame bulges with muscle, and he must be at least seven feet tall.
“My name is Tamrys,” he says, his voice deep and smooth. “And I am the new executive consul of Earth.”
“Ms. Marchessault, are you okay?” asks the alien, stepping up to me and holding out his hand.
I take it and let him pull me to my feet. My neck tingles from Jaffe’s grip, but I’m alright. “Yes, thank you.” Turning to where Jaffe is groaning on the floor, I ask, “Is he…?”
“Don’t worry about him,” says Tamrys as a squad of Dominar soldiers streams through the entrance. Wearing suits of powered armor, they take up a defensive formation around Tamrys, except for one, who breaks off from the rest to see to Jaffe. “If he’s injured, he’ll be treated by our medics.”
“If he has a broken nose, that was probably me,” I say, sneering as the guard picks Jaffe up off the floor and carries him off.
Tamrys laughs, a loud guffaw that’s surprisingly jovial for a Dominar, at least in my experience. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here to see that.”
“Yeah,” I mumble, staring at the handsome alien. Everything happened so quickly, I realize I haven’t had a chance to really appreciate Tamrys’s incredible good looks. His face looks carved from granite, with a wide, chiseled chin and long, pronounced cheeks. He regards me with eyes so navy blue they’re nearly black. His copper hair hangs down to his shoulders, contrasting the beautiful turquoise tone of his skin. I’d heard there are Dominars of all shades and colors, but it still takes some getting used to. Still, it’s quite striking to see, and not in an uninviting way.
“Ms. Marchessault, are you listening?” he asks, snapping me out of my reverie.
“Sorry…” He said he’s the executive consul, but is that what he expects to be called? “How should I address you?”
“Humans and their protocol,” he says, chuckling. “Consul Tamrys is fine. Or just Tamrys. I don’t really care, as long as my orders are obeyed. Now, it sounds like I interrupted something important when I came in?”
Interesting, I think, trying to make sense of the alien. He’s easily amused, and not interested in honorifics—and yet he sounds strict and demanding at the same time. It’s an unusual pairing, one that may take some careful navigating.
“Actually, that depends entirely on why you’re here,” I reply, happy to have a reason to change the subject and purpose of the day’s meeting. “What can we do for you, Consul?
“You can give me the floor.”
“Of course,” I say, pointing to the chamber’s elevated central speaking platform.
He nods, then climbs up the stairs to the podium. “Have a seat, everyone. I have a short statement, and you’re not going to like it.”
A murmur spreads through the audience at this, but it quickly quiets back down so he can continue. How bad could it be? What if Jaffe is right, and this is where all the acts of goodwill are revealed to be a smokescreen for something terrible? Though I try not to jump to conclusions, I can’t help wondering if I should be slipping off my heels and preparing to run.
Tamrys sets his jaw in a grimace. “There’s no good way to put this, so I won’t mince words. Effective immediately, you’re all relieved of your positions, and this body is permanently dissolved.”
Nobody speaks at first, all of us floored by the announcement. I suppose I should be glad he didn’t say anything about the lot of us being required to fight each other to the death, or commit some kind of ritual mass suicide.
“Who’s going to represent our nations in global government?” asks Sunil Kapoor, no doubt mirroring the concerns of everyone else.
“In the coming weeks and months, Dominar consuls and praetors will be arriving on Earth to take control of world affairs,” explains Tamrys. “They will be responsible for nations or regions, with respect given to your existing national subdivisions.”
“How will these leaders be chosen?” I ask, feeling a cold churning in my gut. “Where do they come from, and what do they know of Earth and humanity?”
“I have appointed the top consuls for each region and for many of Earth’s major nations,” Tamrys says, narrowing his eyes. “The praetors have been appointed by their immediate superiors. As long-time members of the Dominars’ Galactic Preservation Initiative, they are all highly experienced in governing primitive species under their jurisdiction. As for their knowledge of Earth, everything learned by our planetary scout, Agent Kest, has been transmitted to the rest of us via nanites.”
“Nanites? What are those?” I ask.
“Microscopic devices inside our bodies capable of interfacing with our brains and biological functions: they can do everything from sending messages to perfecting our health—they can even replicate and modify themselves as necessary. All Dominars have them.”
My mind races, imagining the power of this technology. “So if one Dominar, like your scout, learns something important, he can instantly tell all the rest of you.”
Tamrys nods. “While living on Earth for more than one hundred years, he compiled a comprehensive encyclopedia of human history and culture. I promise your future leaders will all be quite knowledgeable.”
He pauses a moment to let all this sink in; it’s a lot to process, and my mind is reeling. Do they really think they can fire all of the world’s elected leaders and replace them with their own, and have it go smoothly? I don’t know how other planets may have reacted to that in the past, but I have a pretty good idea of what humanity will think of it.
His stare bores into me, perhaps sensing my displeasure. “Does that answer your questions, Ms. Marchessault?”
“Actually, I have more. A lot more.”
Like, are you out of your fucking mind?
“I’ll take one more, for now,” he says, humoring me.
I think I know the question most important to us, and for their sake, I ask it: “If you’re taking over our work, what are we supposed to do?”
Tamrys breaks into a thin smile, his lips curling just enough to show he’s pleased but not wanting to disrespect the gravitas of the situation. “I’m glad you asked. The answer is, go home. I respect that all of you are here to better the lives of your people, and since this is part of our goal as well, we will gladly accept your help. For now, that means preparing your nations for the changes that are to come.”
I open my mouth to say more, but one stern look from Tamrys stops me. Inside I shiver, staring into his commanding eyes, and I feel a warmth surge between my thighs.
As angry as I am about what’s happening, I can’t pretend Tamrys isn’t hot as hell. Normally I despise overly domineering men, but the ones I know have mainly been despots who treat their power as license to do whatever they wish—and they never have an immaculate body made of pure muscle.
Still, I didn’t work my entire life to get where I am, just to have it all tossed aside in a single day. I’m going to find a way to continue my work, no matter what.
Tamrys continues, “In order to understand what will be expected of humanity and those governing it, I will make available all of the information needed, including Dominar laws and the expected progression of Earth’s transition. I can provide this information electronically or in print, but to make the absorption as fast and complete as possible, I have with me injections of nanites.”
Another one of Tamrys’s guards enters the audience chamber carrying what looks like a briefcase. Opening it, he presents several rows of syringe-like devices.
“Not only will these implant the knowledge directly,” adds Tamrys, “you will be able to use them to communicate with Dominar leadership to answer any questions you may have. The nanites are also capable of analyzing and enhancing your physical health. In the future, we expect all humans will use nanites for a variety of purposes.”
“You want us putting your machines in our bodies?” asks Kapoor. “How do we know they won’t be used to manipulate us? Or spy on us? How do we know you’re honest?”
“For all we know, those will kill us!” someone else shouts from the audience.
Tamrys shakes his head. “They won’t. You’re going to have to learn to trust us…” he starts to say.
“Because if they’re here to kill us, we can’t stop them,” I finish, grabbing one of the injectors from the case.
Pulling up the sleeve of my suit jacket, I press the device against my bare skin and feel a tiny pinch. Nothing happens for a few seconds, but then the nanites reach my brain. The sensation reminds me of all the lights in a major city turning on, dozens of blocks at a time, at the end of a total blackout. I can feel the data flooding my mind—it’s almost overwhelming, but the dizziness passes after a moment.
The strangest part is that I don’t have to process the new information—I understand everything as if I’ve always known it. “Seems fine to me,” I tell the others.
“You’re pretty bold for a human, aren’t you, Ms. Marchessault?” says Tamrys, stepping down from the podium and heading toward me. “First the peace summit, now this. You don’t flinch easily.”
“Thanks,” I say, trying to remain impassive, though I grin a little. How often does one get such a compliment from an alien?
“I was hoping to find a human interested in attending a special event with me,” Tamrys adds. “Are you free?”
“An event? What is it?” I ask, intrigued by the idea. If I want to continue my life’s work, being a part of the Dominars’ Galactic Preservation Initiative might be the answer—and Tamrys could be the one to get me in the door.
He smiles. “I am breaking ground on my official headquarters here on Earth—and not too far from this very spot. If you’d like to attend, I can take you there myself.”
Breaking ground? It sounds like a boring photo op, but the ride there should be valuable—I can get some alone time with Tamrys and see where I fit into this puzzle.
“I’d be delighted,” I say, returning his smile.
“Excellent. I’m finished here.” He turns back to the audience, then gestures toward the nanites. “Take them or leave them; they won’t be forced on you. Thank you for listening to me; I look forward to working with you all to make Earth a better place.”
He points me toward the exit, and we go.
Waiting outside for us is a Dominar shuttle. Sleek, reflective, and about the size of a bus, it levitates slightly off the ground. Tamrys helps me in, his strong hand gently pulling me inside. I have little doubt if he wanted to carry me, he could lift me as easily as I could pick up a phone.
Once we’re ready, the shuttle lifts off into the air, flying high above the city. We ascend so quickly I whoop in shock—it’s like we’ve been shot out of a cannon. Yet, unlike in a human vehicle, I feel none of the tremendous acceleration or change in pressure.
“Pretty fast, huh?” says Tamrys, chuckling.
“Yeah, a little bit,” I reply, watching as we head south. It takes less than a minute to reach Upper New York Bay, where the ship quickly stops, hovering over the water.
Tamrys looks out the window and grins. “Here we are.”
“What do you mean?” I ask. “Where’s the site?”
Flashing pearly white teeth in amusement, he points down. “Watch. We’re about to start building it.”
Still confused, I look to the bay, now noticing an unusual absence of ships. Then something starts to happen: an enormous ripple fans out from a single point on the surface. After a second, there’s another ripple—a faster one that quickly catches the first. Soon more and more chop through the water, forming bubbles and clouds of vapor, making the water look like it’s boiling.
“Consul, what’s going on?” I ask, starting to worry. What could he possibly be doing?
“Relax, pet. You’ll miss the best part.”
I turn back to the water, and then I see it: something big emerges from the surface, rising steadily into the air. At first it looks like a massive black pyramid, but then the slanted edges level into walls—an obelisk. My jaw drops as the structure grows taller and taller, and gradually a little wider, until it looms above the bay. I’ve been to most of the world’s tallest buildings, from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to the Shanghai Tower, and this alien structure would dwarf any of them.
“How did you… where did it come from… what the hell?”
Tamrys laughs, shaking his head, then points up in the air. “Bountiful Harvest, the ship directly overhead, can construct a skyscraper from orbit. For lack of a better word, they beam it down, bit by bit. It’s going to build several of these, all over the world. Most will be off-shore, but a few will be placed on land.”
“Holy shit,” I mutter. We knew the Dominars had incredibly advanced technology, but this is on another level.
When the water below stops frothing, the shuttle brings us in for a landing on a small platform sticking out of the new building’s side.
“Come along, Ms. Marchessault,” he says as the shuttle’s door opens. “I’ll give you the tour, and then we’ll talk. I have an opportunity for you that I think you’ll like.”
Sabine’s hesitation comes and goes so quickly, it would have been easy to miss.
“Okay,” she says. “I’d like that.”
I try reading her expression, wondering at the source of her almost imperceptible delay. It isn’t nerves—she hides those so well, it’s second nature to her by now. Clearly that comes with the territory, of being at the top of her field, given so much responsibility.
That’s why she paused. She’s weighing her options. What is she working out in that incredible mind of hers?
According to Sabine’s dossier, she graduated from a top university ahead of schedule and with prestigious honors. She has achieved much in very little time—less than a third of her expected lifespan. She’s ambitious. Even now, faced with the utterly unknowable, she angles to benefit from the situation.
What is her agenda? Why is she so eager to accept an invitation from an alien, a supremely powerful being who could be capable of anything? More important, are the goals she believes to be important the same as the desires in her heart?
Figuring out Sabine Marchessault is going to be fun.
If I were without scruples, I could simply probe her brain through her nanites, but the goal is to build trust with her, and humanity as a whole. Plus, I don’t need to spy on her to crack her code. I’m more than capable of analyzing behavior and predicting motivations. She may prove to be more difficult than some, but that will only make my success more satisfying.
“Follow me,” I tell her, pointing us toward a lift. We ride it up several stories, ascending to the top of the Spire; she gazes out the car’s clear sides at the city. From here it looks peaceful, as things always do from great distances.
However, building the Spire has no doubt caused a stir—it’s not every day an alien building sprouts out of the bay in a matter of minutes. The media is almost certainly reporting on it now, directing news helicopters in for a closer look.
While Sabine stares out at the world below, I steal a few glances at her. Having watched video of the recent peace summit, I’ve seen her before, but her beauty is far more striking in person. A bespoke maroon business suit perfectly conforms to her figure, accentuating a healthy bust, a narrow stomach, and wide hips. She drapes her long, dark hair down her left shoulder, almost entirely covering a silver chain necklace. A strong jaw squares a face made extra serious thanks to her sharp, thin eyebrows and scarlet lips.
The lift doors open up to a short corridor, which lets us out on the other side of the building, a balcony overlooking the world from several thousand feet in the air. Sabine pretends not to be impressed, but her eyes twinkle with a bit of wonder.
“This is truly a beautiful world,” I say, raising my voice over the wind. With a thought, I raise an energy barrier to cut down on the icy current. It shimmers in the air once, then disappears.
“It is,” Sabine agrees. “So, Consul Tamrys, what venture have you brought me here to propose?”
Straight to business then.
“Tell me, Ms. Marchessault: which of your world’s nations have you visited?”
“It would be faster to list off the ones I haven’t,” she replies.
“Fair enough,” I chuckle. “So you’d consider yourself well-versed in Earth’s many cultures, traditions, and mentalities, correct?”
She nods. “I’m fluent in eleven languages and have studied world history extensively at university. Personally, my recent family heritage can trace its roots to seven countries across three continents.”
“A citizen of the world, as they say.”
“I’d like to think so, yes. But I’m sure you have a file on me and you know all this already. What do you have in mind that requires a person with my background?”
I turn to her and look into her eyes. “A partnership. If the Dominars are to rule peacefully, our peoples will have to forge a bond of friendship. This has to start somewhere, and with whom better than the executive consul? What I need is someone to represent humanity in this endeavor—ideally someone with your education and experience, who is also famous and trusted among humans. You fit that description perfectly. Plus, on a personal note, you intrigue me. Regardless of whether or not you accept this proposal officially, I’d be eager to learn more about you.”
Sabine nods slowly, as if considering her options. However, after less than a second she tosses her head up to look me in the eyes. “I’ll do it.”
Wow. Though I expected her to accept, the speed of her response surprises me. She’s driven, that’s for sure.
“Excellent. Come inside, I promised you a tour.”
We take the lift down to one of the areas about to be constructed; when we get out, all she sees is a wide open hall, but after a minute the walls, furniture, and floor plan begin to grow.
“Damn,” she mutters, watching as the architecture materializes. “That’s incredible.”
It takes an act of will not to give away how adorable she seems. Primitive species have the cutest reactions to the most ordinary things. “Tell me about yourself,” I say before I crack a grin.
Her lips twist incredulously. “You already know all about me. I want to know about you! How about a quid pro quo?”
My nanites translate the phrase for me. Amused, I reply, “I’m sure there’s plenty to know about you that can’t be read in a file, Ms. Marchessault. But of course, we can take turns.”
“Fine,” she says, blushing a little as she runs a hand along an ornate banister that didn’t exist a minute ago. “What would you like to know first?”
“Well, how did you become interested in diplomacy as a profession?”
She sighs, climbing a set of stairs to an upper deck, the basis for a developing atrium. “I was born into it, essentially. Growing up, my parents told me again and again I would do great things with my life. My father is a world-class violinist, and sometimes I traveled with him when he’d tour. Before she retired, my mother taught anthropology at Oxford—one of the most esteemed in her field, with hundreds of publications to her credit. As an only child, the onus fell on me to carry out their legacy.”
“And world peace would be quite the way to honor them,” I say, measuring a new respect for her. Duty to one’s parents is one of humanity’s more admirable traits, and she set her sights pretty high. “To solve the foremost challenge in all of your civilization’s history…”
She stops, turning to me. “I’ve always understood that factors outside my control could, and most likely would, derail my progress. I didn’t think one of those factors would be an alien invasion. As a result, my life’s work is in your hands.”
“I suppose it is,” I say, trying to imagine being in such a position.
“So, my turn: what are your plans for our partnership?”
I shake my head and stroll down the deck, watching the construction: a gigantic decorative piece, a model of the Dominus space station, is assembling high above the atrium. “That’s work, and there’ll be ample time to discuss it later. Ask me something personal.”
Sabine shifts her jaw and clicks her tongue. “Fine. Why did you, Executive Consul Tamrys, personally come to Earth? Is this just a mission for you, or did you choose to be here?”
It’s a fair question, I suppose. Pointing us back to the lift, we move on as I explain, “Technically, as a member of the Dominars’ Galactic Preservation Initiative, I am here on an official mission. However, I volunteered for this assignment the moment I found out Earth had been deemed in need of an emergency intervention.”
She starts to ask what I mean, but then stops—I assume she’s realizing her nanites have provided her with that information, detailing how a Dominar agent scouting out Earth had decided an immediate invasion would be required to prevent human society from driving itself extinct.
“So why did you volunteer?” she says instead.
Technically it should be my turn, but I let it go. “I’ve been fond of Earth for centuries. I’ve visited many times, though it’s been perhaps two hundred years since I last had the opportunity.”
Her eyes widen and her breath catches. “That long? The world was a completely different place!”
I grin, enjoying her shock. “From a human perspective, of course. But to me, it’s not that different. Humanity has progressed rapidly in a short time, but to us you’re still quite primitive.”
“Sorry,” I laugh. “It’s not a judgment, just a statement of fact. Development takes time—Dominars have been around millions of years longer. And I should tell you, the reason I used to visit Earth is that I like primitive species. To me, they’re fascinating. Mortality creates a sense of urgency in the lives of such people—everyone wants to accomplish so much in so little time. It’s a trait I admire.”
She smiles, accepting my explanation. “That’s an interesting perspective. I wouldn’t have imagined it.”
We ride the lift down several stories, arriving on a floor developing a series of halls of various sizes. Featuring tiered seating and demonstration spaces, they will become classrooms and audience chambers. “This will be a center for Dominar-human discourse,” I say, imagining rooms full of members of both races. “Here we will hold open forums, instructional seminars, and even entertainment programs. The Spire is not just for the Dominars—in the future, all will be welcome.”
“It sounds very nice,” she says, observing the construction.
Now it’s definitely my turn.
“Sabine, what did you think when you first heard a real live alien invasion had started?”
Once again, she briefly hesitates, weighing her answers. It’s a loaded question, of course.
“I was very happy,” she replies.
She’s thinking very carefully now, on her guard, but she hides it fairly well—her movements remain natural and fluid; her shoulders stay low and relaxed. This is an area where she’s had lots of practice.
“Yes, really. I knew that you were here to help,” she says, sounding mostly honest. Mostly.
“Come on, be straight with me,” I say, stopping us. “You won’t hurt my feelings.”
She turns toward the lift, perhaps trying to steer us back, so I follow her.
“At first I was very excited, truly,” she answers. “I had been working all my life to somehow unite the world, and I thought first contact with aliens could be the ultimate unifying event in our history. However, the last few months have been… eye-opening.”
“How so?” I ask, sad to see her smile fade into a slight scowl.
“Nothing changed. Governments continued to squabble. The aliens were just one more issue to fight over. Every nation wanted to be the one that came out on top, or to at least survive once the dust settled. I’d never been more disappointed.”
I nod, anger rising in my gut on her behalf. “I can imagine. But what about the people? My reports show they’re handling the situation surprisingly well. There have been remarkable decreases in violent incidents, petty crime, and acts of hate.”
Sabine’s face brightens and she briefly flicks her tongue through her lips. “Everyone thinks you’re watching us, so they’ve been on their best behavior.”
“Ha!” I grunt, glad to see her smiling again. “Yes, that tends to happen when we arrive on the scene. But that’s a good sign, Sabine. Don’t give up hope. It sounds like Earth’s problems stem from inadequate leadership. That’s something we can change. It’s why we’re here. Together, we can get humanity back on track.”
I reach out my hand to her, and this time she doesn’t hesitate—she takes it, looking up into my eyes. She’s so beautiful. I stare back, not realizing I’m squeezing her hand too hard until she starts to wince.
“Sorry,” I say, embarrassed. “So, you assumed the aliens would be benevolent?” I ask quickly.
Shaking off my faux pas, she replies, “Yes. But if they weren’t, I’d do what I could to unite humanity against them.”
“I’m sure you would have succeeded,” I say, leading us back to the lift.
“I still might,” she quips. “Now, let me ask, do you really think my colleagues at the U.N. will accept the organization’s dissolution, just because you said so?”
“Of course.” I direct the lift to bring us back upward—this time, all the way to the top. “I expect humans to obey my demands. Failure to do so will result in serious consequences.”
She lets go of my hand, narrowing her brows. “Is that so?”
“It is. If I told you to get down on your knees and worship me, you would have to.”
“Bullshit,” she snaps. “We may have surrendered, but we still have rights.”
Though I can sympathize with her outrage, she’s trying my patience. “Yes and no, actually. I intend to be consistently just in my rule, and treat humanity with dignity, but this won’t work if humans don’t do as they’re told.”
Sabine’s nostrils flare as she grips the lift’s clear, crystal railing. “And if we don’t, what will you do? Kill us?”
“No,” I flatly state. “Of course not.”
“Then what? I want to know about these consequences.”
My mouth curls into a devilish grin as we reach our destination. “I don’t think you do, actually. You really don’t want to test me.”
“Sure I do,” she snorts, unconsciously balling her fists. “I’m not afraid,” she adds, her voice steady, unwavering—full of bravado. “So do your worst.”
Her plump lips purse irresistibly as she glares at me. She’s badly mistaken if she thinks I won’t take her challenge as an invitation to punish that shapely little ass of hers until it glows like a hot coal. My cock throbs at the thought of trussing her up and making her my helpless plaything. I ache to see her big, almond-shaped eyes go wide as she feels my hand smack her backside, to hear her husky voice rise an entire octave with each shriek.
Taking an Earth woman for a mate so soon into my tenure as their executive consul may raise some eyebrows, but I can already tell Sabine Marchessault will be worth it. I’m not going to stop until I’ve explored every inch of her tight body; I’ll discover whether she’s prettier while smiling or screaming.
Eyes dilated and cheeks subtly flushed, she’s clearly excited by the prospect of being dominated, even if she doesn’t consciously know it. Her pussy is probably wet and dripping, clenching with a need she’s only just starting to understand. My heart beats loudly in my chest, thrilled by the idea of unleashing the submissive pet within her. She’s asked me to do my worst for a reason, and it’ll be my pleasure to oblige.
“Okay,” I say, grabbing her by the wrist. “I will.”