Authors: Scarlett Grove,Juno Wells
“I’m going to get us some food. I’ve got a few bucks left over from some work I did at school last week,” she said, opening the front door. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“Thanks, Lexi,” Melody said in her low, sweet voice.
As Lexi walked out the door and down the front path of her family’s house, bitterness sank in her belly. Why did everything have to be so hard all the time?
If the Draconians had been more careful with how they had implemented their technologies into human society, maybe their presence on Earth would have been something positive. But instead, they let their technology spread, unrestrained, through the human population.
She knew that much of the technology her father was involved with was completely illegal—it was unsanctioned Draconian technology. The intergalactic shape shifters had crossed the universe to arrive on Earth. Surely, they had to be smart enough to control the release of their own technologies onto the planet.
She made it to the corner store, passing the graffiti-littered brick buildings, the chain-link fences, and the streets covered in garbage and grime. The bell on the door tinkled as she pushed it open, so much of the old world still apparent in her rundown neighborhood.
She walked down the under-stocked shelves of the convenience store, looking for something that she could afford to feed herself and her sister. She stopped in front of the freezer case and pulled out a cheap microwave pizza, bringing it back to the counter.
Behind the counter was a television showing the local news. The man rang up her pizza, and she paid him with the last of her cash. Good thing she had a bus pass, or she would be walking to school in the morning.
The newscast played over the old television. “Commander Nash Or of the Draconian Navy has entered the mating lottery and is now looking for his mate. He’s sure he’ll find his destined bride as soon as she inputs her genetic code into the mating system. Some lucky girl out there is going to be the bride of the most eligible bachelor in the Draconian fleet,” the female news anchor stated.
A video of Commander Or was plastered all over the TV screen. It showed a seven-foot tall superhuman male, with massive broad shoulders, and a wicked grin that revealed sharp, canine teeth.
Lexi felt a slight tingle in her nether regions that she forced herself to control. She couldn’t possibly be attracted to a Draconian. They had ruined her life, and ruined her planet. They were the enemy and had to go. If Lexi had to spend the rest of her life finding a way to get the Draconians to leave, that’s what she would do.
Even if Commander Or
the hottest man she’d ever seen in her life, there was no way that she would ever allow herself to be attracted to one of those dragon shifting freaks from outer space. No way.
She thanked the cashier and took her pizza out of the convenience store. Walking back down the street, she noticed the dark figure of a dragon flying high above, between the projects of low-income housing that climbed twenty stories into the sky.
She cringed, angry that they would use her neighborhood as a place to fly. It seemed like a slap in the face. The site of a dragon above just made her feel like they were rubbing it in.
While walking back home, she thought of different ways that she could raise money to help her sister.
She didn’t know how much her father owed, but she knew it was a considerable debt. Even if she dropped out of school and got a job, it would be some time before she could pay Mario back.
She opened the front door of the house. Her father still sat in in front of his computer. Melody was in her bedroom, studying her high school homework. Lexi went to the kitchen and threw the pizza in the oven, satisfied that she was at least feeding her family for one more day.
While she waited for the pizza to cook, she did her math homework and resolved that she would leave school. She would use the money from her scholarship and give it to Mario. She would get a job, and convince him to let her pay him the rest back slowly. It was the only way. There were no other options.
When the timer on the oven went off, she stood from her desk and went into the kitchen. She pulled the pizza out of the oven and cut it, sliding several slices onto plates for her, her father, and Melody.
She brought a plate to Melody in her bedroom, and set it on her desk. Melody looked up at her with gratitude in her eyes, a bruise starting to show on her upper arm where Mario had held her.
“Thanks, Lex,” Melody said.
“No problem, Melody,” Lexi said, turning out of the room and back into the living room.
She set a plate down next to her father, but didn’t expect him to eat any of it. At least, she provided something for him. If he didn’t eat it by morning, she and Melody could have it for breakfast.
What she didn’t expect was for him to grab her wrist and slide his digital glasses away from his face. She was so startled that she jumped with a gasp.
“What, Dad?” she said, irritation in her voice.
“Lexi, I found a solution to all of our problems. This involves you. I’m sorry, there was no other way.” Lexi looked at his computer screen, but all she saw was lines of code that she couldn’t make out.
“What did you do?” She asked. Her father’s big plans rarely led to anything positive. She didn’t trust him for a second.
“I’ve entered you into the Draconian mating lottery. They pay five hundred thousand dollars to the family as a dowry.”
What the fuck
, Dad? How could you do that to me? How were you even able to enter me into the lottery without my involvement?”
“I was able to hack into the system and input your information,” he said, as if that was all the explanation required.
“Are you living on some kind of alternate plane of reality, where doing that kind of thing is morally okay?” she asked, yanking her wrist away from her father’s grasp.
“I thought you would be happy to help your family,” he said, as if he was actually surprised at her anger.
“Are you kidding me, right now?” She completely lost her appetite and began pacing back and forth in the living room. “You have to get me out of this. I mean it, Dad.”
Melody came into the living room and looked from Lexi to her father, and back again. “What’s going on? You found a way to pay off Mario?”
“I did, but Lexi isn’t happy about it.”
“Dad hacked into the Draconian mating lottery system, and entered me without my consent,” she said, the bitter irritation heavy in her voice. “Wasn’t that cool of him?”
“Dad, why didn’t you ask her first?” Melody asked, shoving her hands in her pockets.
“We all know how Lexi feels about the Draconians. I didn’t think she would do it willingly.”
Lexi threw her hands in the air and rolled her eyes, grunting. “So, now we know the truth!” she said.
“You could’ve entered me, instead,” Melody offered. “It’s me that Mario wants, anyway. And, Lexi has a bright future ahead of her as a famous chemist. I might not even get into college.”
“You’re still underage, Melody. You don’t qualify. There’s no way for me to hide your actual age in a system that checks your genetics, DNA, and all of your documentation. There was just no way around it. Lexi was the only choice.” His hands ran over the keyboards, typing quickly. One of his screens came up with the website of the Draconian mating lottery, with a profile of Lexi already updated.
There was a picture of her from her college ID, looking like a complete dork, with her thick glasses and goofy grin. Lexi growled again when she saw it, coming closer to the computer screen to read the website.
“You already have a thousand match requests. All of the Draconians in the armada orbiting Earth have their DNA in the system. When a new human girl enters the system, the Draconians DNA is matched against the human girl’s DNA. This finds the perfect match for the Draconian male and the human female. The Draconians call it ‘fate’. I just call it genetic matching technology. But for them, it’s some kind of spiritual thing. I don’t really know that much about it.”
“Great, Dad. Thanks a lot. You need to get me out of this, right now.”
“There’s no way around it, Lexi. I’m sorry. Once you enter the lottery, you can’t change your mind. You have to sign a lot of documents that say that you are willing to participate.”
“But, I didn’t sign any of those documents!” She railed.
“Well, the fact is that according to the system, you actually did sign the documents. Yeah, I’m
“Well, congratulations for hacking into a closed system, forging your daughter’s signature, and
ruining her life
!” she yelled, putting her hands on her hips.
“This is going to save your sister from Mario,” her father said, trying to change the subject and play on her guilt.
“Yeah, make this about
now. You obviously did something wrong, and you aren’t even apologizing for it!” She screamed, going to her room and slamming the door.
She threw herself down on her bed, groaning. She had already decided to leave school, the biggest sacrifice she could even conceive of making, to save her sister. But now, her father was forcing her into a sacrifice that she couldn’t even imagine making—a sacrifice so great it could destroy her.
Lexi was a smart girl. She thought deeply and widely about many things. And, the one thing she was sure of, was that the Draconian invasion of Earth had been the worst thing that had ever happened to the human race in the history of time.
Now, she was going to be forced to marry one of them.
Nash Or stood on his private observation deck gazing out at the tiny blue-green planet spinning below. His future bride lived there, the woman he’d crossed the vastness of space to find. He glanced back at the wall-sized computer screen that showed a picture of his bride’s face. She was the woman fated to be his. Their genetic markers had all matched up perfectly.
He could already feel his body kick into the mating drive. The woman was young, twenty human years old. Nash looked approximately thirty by human standards, but he had been alive for over a hundred Earth years. Unlike humans, Draconians lived for hundreds of years. That same long life would be bestowed upon the human female who became his bride, through the mating bite.
His new bride was a lucky woman. She would leave the squalor of human life, and be given the richness of Draconian culture aboard his ship. A smile spread across his lips as he gazed up at her image. She wore ridiculously thick glasses and looked as if she didn’t know which direction the camera was pointed at. But, he was assured she was quite intelligent.
Even with the distracting eyewear and the odd facial expression, Nash could tell his new bride was quite beautiful. He could see the lusty curves of her form, even in the low-quality image on the screen before him. He could see her gorgeous mahogany skin, almond shaped eyes, and luscious red lips. His body responded with an immediate expression of his excitement.
He put his hands on his hips and looked down at the growing erection below his belt. He made a low rumble in the back of his throat.
The human woman made his body respond in the appropriate manner. This was good. He would make many young dragons with this human, Lexi Garcia.
The idea of planting his seed in her womb made him even more excited, and he growled through his bright, white teeth. Yes, she would definitely do.
He had been waiting for decades to find a woman to continue his family legacy as starship captains in the Draconian navy. With Draconian women becoming less and less common with every year, it was almost impossible to find a bride amongst them.
Five thousand years ago, the Draconians had come to Earth to renew their genetic supply by mating with human women. Draconian DNA always favored male offspring, and over time that meant that the females of the race slowly became extinct.
Every thousand years, the Draconians had to find another species to mate with in order to reboot to their genetics with female chromosomes. They hadn’t been to Earth in five thousand years, and the human race they found when they arrived the second time was quite different than the human race they had encountered the first time.
Five thousand years ago, humans had been backwards, superstitious, tribal people who would bow to any superior strength. They saw the Draconians as gods, and gave themselves willingly as brides.
But now, humanity had grown into a technologically advanced race with dangerous weapons. The humans couldn’t possibly hurt the Draconians with an assault using their nuclear arsenal. But, a war between the Draconians and the humans would definitely leave the human population deeply wounded. The Draconian purpose on Earth was to mate with them, not kill them.
That was why they instated the mating lottery, in exchange for technology. Giving the human race advanced technology was a risk in itself. No one knew how the humans would handle it—and from all accounts they were not handling it well.
It was a fact that troubled Nash deeply. If they wanted to keep the human race on a rotation for mates, it served everyone involved if the Draconians played some sort of role in policing the use of their technology, and helping the planet below. Thus far, none of those things had happened due to problems with the government back home.
More news of civil unrest and greater wealth disparity arose every day. In the five years since the Draconians had arrived, the human race was in even deeper trouble than it had been before. The good news was that the Draconians had acquired almost two thousand brides. They had planned to stay for another decade, bringing human women aboard their vast armada, to become mothers to the next Draconian generation. But war had broken out back home, and nothing was going according to plan.