Omegaverse: aka A/B/O (an abbreviation for “Alpha/Beta/Omega”) dynamics, was originally a sub-genre of erotic slash fan fiction (a genre of fiction, in which characters who appear together in movies, television, or other popular media are portrayed as having a sexual, especially gay, relationship) but has since evolved into a slightly more “mainstream” sub-genre of paranormal, erotic fiction featuring more Male/ Female (M/F) pairings, and more recently, Reverse Harem (RH) with a cast of males and females who often engage in sexual intercourse inside of a pack structure. The basic premise is that of a dominance hierarchy existing in the fabric of society, driving the instincts, actions, and base desires of the characters affected by their particular assignation.
As per Wikipedia: “Its main peculiarity is that characters have two sexes: a main one (male or female), decided by their external sexual organs, and a secondary one, that manifests during puberty, determined by their internal reproductive system.” This secondary gender affects every aspect of life from sexual to political, dividing them into three main categories:
- Alpha (α): socially (and in some interpretations, even biologically) dominant, physically built, short-tempered and a natural leader;
- Beta (β): depending on the story, they are regular human beings, or have a mix of Alpha and Omega traits, or their own unique traits;
- Omega (Ω): submissive and gentle, calm and a peacemaker.
It is, however, far from the main peculiarity that defines Omegaverse. That honor lies with the focus on canid-like behaviors, such as heat cycles, rut, mates, pheromonal attraction between Alphas and Omegas (and sometimes Betas), pack structure, scent marking, imprinting, breeding, mating, and most titillating, penises with knots that swell or balloon at the base to plug an Omega’s sex organ at the point of ejaculation. Meant to lock inside their mates during intercourse (usually) with the express purpose of sealing semen inside to increase odds of fertilization. Usually the female Omegas produce copious amounts of a sexual fluid called “slick” when they go into heat to make breeding easier, (but given that this genre got its illustrious start in queer fan fiction, males Omegas often have self-lubricating anuses and are often, but not always, capable of getting pregnant. Termed “Mpreg” and wildly popular among queer and hetero audiences alike.)
Generally, the characters are humans or humanoid but do not shift as a werewolf might. In paranormal fiction, shifters occupy their own niche genre and often exclude A/B/O dynamics (knots, slick, etc) altogether.
However, these are not exhaustive rules for Omegaverse as a whole. Each author lends their own unique perspective and world-building to the meta, going as far as including extra designations (Sigmas, Deltas, and Gammas etc), all the way to the exclusion of Betas. Yet more works feature a rigid caste system, where Alphas are depicted as the upper-class elites, while Omegas make up the bottom tier and face discrimination and oppression because of their innate physiology. In darker stories, such as The Feral Court, this results in non-consensual or dubious consensual breeding, forced pregnancies, sexual slavery, kidnapping, and forced mating bonds. (Click here for a full list of The Feral Court Triggers)
The appeal of such a wide-ranging, flexible genre is its accepting nature of the spectrum and color of its audience’s pallet and ravenous appetite for the genre. Having begun as queer fan fiction, the sub-genre itself ranges from the wildly popular queer romance, the newer MF romances, dark fantasy, off-world science fiction, and contemporary boardrooms, all the way to cozy, sweet mysteries.
The Feral Court meta is yet another layer of unique, in that Alphas, Betas, and Omegas are all separate and distinct species.
- Alphas: The Anhur. A species with tails, extendable/ retractable claws, and an expressive mane that marks their nape and when their hackles are raised, exposes scent glands that broadcast their pheromones. Anhur females are ‘queens’ who produce pure-blood offspring for their Anhur mates. The Anhur males, however, hold large harems of the much smaller, and enslaved Hathorian species, with the express purpose of breeding their Omega females in order to produce a hybrid species.
- Betas: The hybrids. Sterile hybrids of mixed Anhur/Hathorian blood, they are larger than their sires but retain the submissive nature of their dams. Bred for war, male Betas are trained to fight in the Anhur way, and are therefore indentured to die for their pure-blooded fathers, and most importantly, cannot challenge pure-blooded Anhur sons for any holdings of their own as they have no legacy to pass down. Beta females are often handmaidens to Anhur Queens, service Anhur males who are too weak to claim a harem of their own (as no offspring might come of such acts), or with the aid of lactation herbs, act as wet nurses for Omega females (who often have multiple young in every birth).
- Omegas: The Hathorians. A species with tails, pointed canines, and expressive conical ears, they are a dainty, elegant species when standing next to their Anhur counterparts and positively minuscule when standing next to their hybrid offspring. Enslaved countless generations ago, they’ve been selectively bred to be accommodating to a species not their own. Female Omegas go into heat and have glands inside their vaginas that excrete a powerful hormone that drives them to madness without an Anhur knot to express them. Repeatedly being bred by an Anhur male is usually the only solution, as the Omega females are often kept inside an underground vault by the wealthiest of Anhur males. Omega males are kept by Anhur females as fancy, decorative pets. Trained to sexually please the larger females, branded and decorated with tattoos and piercings at the whims of fickle queens, they are often traded between females, but are rarely killed for sport as their genetics must be used for the next generation of Omegas. Neither male nor female Omegas are given names (except for rare occasions). Instead, their lineage is tattooed down the length of their spine to avoid inbreeding and enforce subjugation of a weaker species.