General Kobalt of the Galactic ship Alpha Draconis stared at the screen and the image reflected there. The news that his father the King had died didn't disturb him. It was the fact he was deemed ready by the High Council to take over the leadership of the realm of Kaleth that stirred his temper. One that was short at the best of times.
Neither was it a request but a demand, and one thing Kobalt hated was being told what he should do.
It had been the prime reason he'd left the planet of Rhaegos to create his own life and fortune. As a mercenary, his ship and men were available to the highest bidder. The fact he was a direct descendent to royalty conveniently pushed to the side.
Why couldn't one of his brothers take the crown? Just because he was first born shouldn't mean his life had to be turned upside down.
Kobalt glanced back at the screen; the High Priest Raand gave a smirk.
Frack but he hated the bastard. His silver skin rippled with glistening scales, whilst his sunken obsidian eyes missed nothing. Due to his age Raand was respected by his people, but Kobalt knew he was a right prick that believed in the ancient ways. Ones he'd managed to instill through fear.
His circle consisted of a dozen hard core priests who had been brain washed throughout the centuries. That had included his father Santos which had caused a rift between the brothers for a short while. Their loyalty to Santos had cut through Kobalt but thankfully it hadn't lasted for long.
Yet he'd been surprisingly curious at the animosity his brothers harbored against Santos and the High Council. Until Korchek and Kovac had revealed their dislike of how Raand controlled the High Council. Through a means of not so subtle bullying and threats which Santos supported. Raand acted like a god, his word law. It was a discipline neither of his brothers could or would tolerate.
Since he'd left Rhaegos taking control of his war ship Kobalt had flown the system offering his services as a killer along with his brothers who'd joined him. Despite their inherited wealth from the crown state, they all preferred to earn their own credits.
It had made them a decent amount of money enabling the purchase of another two star ships, Gamma Crucis and Beta Serpentis. Ones that had been taken over by his brothers.
Both were hardened warriors with a reputation that preceded them as assassins. Not quite the same as his own which was legendary, yet still fighters to steer clear of.
Korchek, his youngest brother was the joker of the family always ready with a sunny smile; one he also wore whilst cutting down his enemy. His face a deceptive mask as was his long hair which he pulled into a braid that flew out to resemble a striking cobra.
Whilst Kovac truly loved fighting, he was cold, hard and impulsive. Never thought things through, acted on the now and often appeared without emotion. Neither did Kovac follow his brothers with black hair, instead had taken after their mother. His locks a muddy blond which reached his waist. Kovac tied his hair back refusing to braid it, and teased Korchek mercilessly his only concession to humor.
The only male colder or crazier than his brothers was his long-time friend and Commander Garrus. Now he was a seriously insane son of a bitch.
One that appeared to all outward purposes to be calm and controlled. Which he was, until Garrus lost it and then you wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of the psychotic warrior.
Kobalt almost smiled thinking of his friend who had so many similarities to his own nature. Because he took what he wanted when he wanted it. His heart remained firmly locked in stone with no room for sympathy or gentleness. Kobalt was known for his black and white attitude. Along with the fact his word was law. He brooked no refusal any that attempted to go against his commands were punished.
Kobalt took no prisoners, leniency a word he ignored.
Whether it was a male or a female didn't bother him. Blood fused through his body on a glacial chill. Kobalt welcomed the fact he was unfeeling, not a single emotion showed except that of a driven urge, the need to conquer.
His attention drew back to Raand, the High Priest who was brother to his father and his directorate. He almost cringed at the words.
Raand's thin lips were shaped in a rare smile. "You are required to return within the first cycle to take your rightful place."
Kobalt sat at the large control panel lacing his fingers together. His golden eyes glittered along with a burning fury that hardened his chiseled face. "What does this entail?" he asked already knowing the answer.
"You will be crowned as King, ruler of the planet Rhaegos. The High Council will assist you with the transition of requirements. And then..."
He didn't finish as a loud roar blasted out. All seven foot plus of an irate Kobalt slammed his hands down on the panel. He growled. "If and that's a big if, I agree to become the new King then I will not be a puppet to the fracking High Council."
His uncle persisted unfazed. "As I was saying, it's your responsibility to continue the royal line. You will be expected to mate and produce heirs."
"I'm not a fracking stud," growled Kobalt.
Raand's lips curled into a not so nice smile as he raised a grey brow. "I may dispute that remark if the rumor mill is correct in that you've worked your way through every available female on almost every planet in the Draconis Star System."
Kobalt grunted. "I fuck, so what? It means nothing."
"I'm not asking for you to love the female, but merely procreate."
Kobalt shook his head. "Not interested, try one of my brothers." Although he knew they weren't keen on getting a mate either. Each one of them avoided relationships like the plague. All their lives despite the privileged upbringing involved fighting and fucking, love was an unheard of word. They had been brought up to not receive or expect that emotion.
Raand nodded. "Very well if you decline then the crown will pass to the next oldest in the family line Thane."
"No way will I allow your bastard son to take the throne. I'll agree to it myself first."
Raand's eyes narrowed appearing as slits. "Good, then its settled, once you return and make your claim, then you will find a mate."
The image died and Kobalt wanted to kill the sneaky bastard. He'd walked right into the trap.
His fist slammed into his palm on a loud crack.
The doors slid open and a goliath of a blond stood at the entrance. "What's up, Kobalt?" His grin said he was aware of exactly what had happened. As his Commander Garrus knew everything. He wasn't head of security for nothing. The giant was also Kobalt's best friend. One he'd fought alongside in countless battles.
Many thought Garrus crazy, it helped fighting with him Kobalt conceded. Because most of their missions bordered on suicidal, yet Garrus had the same insane regard to battle.
Takcarai the war cry that chilled the most seasoned fighter would burst out on a guttural snarl. Kill or die a warrior's death.
Kobalt scrubbed a hand through his shorn locks. "I have to claim the throne or it goes to my cousin."
Garrus grunted. "Frack."
"Yep, it gets worse I'm expected to mate and continue our line."
Garrus shook his head. "Somehow I can't see you mated and remaining faithful to your female."
"I don't intend to," said Kobalt, his face a mask of granite. "If I have to take a mate it will be for one reason. To impregnate her. As far as I'm concerned she'll be a faceless slave. A vessel to carry my seed."
"I can't see any House of the Dragon allowing that despite your royal status."
"Which is why I'll take one from another planet. I've heard that Earth females are genetically compatible."
"They might be," agreed Garrus, "but are you sure they'll be biddable?"
"This one will be because you'll make sure she is. Whilst I'm taking up my oath accepting the role of King you will fetch me a space bride."
For the first time in his life Garrus was speechless. "You can't be serious. What about looks, personality? Surely you should select your future Queen?"
"She'll be Queen in name only, your job is to provide me with someone that I can stand, my job is to fuck her. Once she's pregnant then I won't have to see the female again."
Garrus hesitated. "That's harsh."
Kobalt gave a splinter of a smile, one that didn't reach his eyes. The golden glints flickered a rich amber which resembled a camp fire edged by black charcoal. "Yep, isn't that a fact."
"But nothing, Garrus, you think I want this? To be controlled by those under my uncle?" He paced back and forth running long fingers through his cropped black hair. "However once proclaimed King, I'll humor their wishes for an heir. But I'll be dammed if I'll do what they want. It's enough they've curtailed my life to be grounded."
"Is that reason enough to ruin a female's life?"
"It won't be ruined, merely compromised with the addition she'll want for nothing."
"Except a mate that loves her."
Kobalt roared with laughter. "That emotion my friend is for fools, and since when did you become a romantic?"
Garrus gave a short nod conceding it was pointless to continue. Kobalt was aware he held the same fear of commitment. "When do I leave?"
"As soon as I've arranged for you to transport to Gamma Crucis where you'll be taking command of the ship."
Garrus raised his eyebrows in surprise; Korchek was very territorial about his baby.
Kobalt read the question on his Commander's face. "My brother knows he has to accompany me to the ceremony as my second otherwise he wouldn't leave you in charge." Kobalt gave a rare laugh. "Screw up or damage the ship and he'll slice you alive."
Garrus merely smiled. "He can but try."
"Haven't you two gotten over your tiff yet?"
"No," snarled Garrus with a growl and a snort of dark smoke.
Kobalt shook his head. "I can't believe that a female who spread it around has caused so much animosity between the two of you."
"Whatever," muttered Garrus. "Er any particular requirements for your bride like..." He curved his hands around an imaginary body.
"None, except she's of child bearing age. The rest is irrelevant, however you know my type. This is an act I'm forced into. There will be no emotional interaction."
"If you're so against it why not let your cousin take over?"
"Because I love our planet and won't see that bastard destroy it. However, they'll soon discover I'm no-one to be toyed with."
Garrus nodded. "My friend, I've got a strong feeling this mating is going to be trouble."
Kobalt laughed. "I'm a hardened warrior with a reputation, and you think I can't handle one simple Earthling?" shaking his head, Kobalt muttered, "I thought you knew me better than that. This is going to be a simple case of a fuck. End of story."
Somehow, Garrus wasn't convinced.