Archive for October, 2014

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 7

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , on October 25, 2014 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – First Encounter

Chapter 7

 

(Read the beginning of this space opera from the August 9th, 2014 post onward. All previous chapters can be found under the “The Kavakian Empire” link under categories in the right hand column. This chapter is a little long and probably a little boring. I’m hoping to provide a little more insight into Jori’s character. After reading this chapter, feel free to comment below with any ideas on how I can make this chapter more interesting.)

J.T. had interacted with dignitaries more times than he could count. Some were demanding, some were contemptuous, many were arrogant, and only a few were wholly pleasant. He also had experience with children. For the most part, J.T. enjoyed children. He didn’t care for the temper tantrums or talking back parts, but since he had never been a parent he rarely had to deal with the negative behaviors.

Despite J.T.’s experience, he had never dealt with someone who was both a dignitary and a child. He imagined temper tantrums were going to be worse along with arrogance, talking back, and bossiness. He wasn’t sure how he was going to handle this situation since spanking was probably out of the question. But there were no other options.

When J.T. left the captain’s ready room and entered the bridge, Jensin and the boy were engaged in a conversation about the navigation system.

“Commander,” Jensin said with a smile as J.T. approached. “Jori here is very smart. He knows a lot about how warp drive systems work.”

“You are not supposed to be talking about restricted information, Ensign,” Bracht bellowed accusingly.

Jensin’s eyes went wide. “I didn’t tell him anything specific, Sir,” he said apologetically. “I swear.”

“Lt. Commander,” Jori interrupted, “I am already well aware of the science behind how matter-antimatter annihilation allows ships to travel so quickly through subspace.” As he briefly explained other complex components of subspace travel, Bracht turned redder and redder with anger. Some of the things the boy said touched on classified information but J.T. was too impressed with his knowledge to be angry.

“This tour is over,” Bracht ordered, giving Jori a dirty look and Jensin an accusing one. J.T. would have given Jensin a look to put him at ease since he didn’t really do anything wrong, but the ensign was too nervous to meet his eyes.

“What do you say we get something to eat?” J.T. asked Jori. “I know you have eaten a bit, but I’m famished.”

“Very well, Commander,” Jori replied, ignoring Bracht’s dark looks. When J.T. and Jori left the bridge, the Lt. Commander did not follow. However, a handful of security guards did. The boy noticed them but did not comment.

As J.T. and Jori walked the halls towards the common area, J.T. attempted to strike a friendly conversation. “So you enjoy the science and physics of starships?”

“I wouldn’t say enjoy,” Jori replied. “Father requires I know the information and so I do.”

“If science isn’t something you enjoy, what sorts of things do like to do in your spare time?” J.T. asked casually.

“I have very little spare time,” Jori replied.

Not to be deterred, J.T. asked, “Well, what do you like to do, in general?”

Jori stopped and faced J.T. with a suspicious look. “Why do you want to know?”

“Just curious,” J.T. replied, a bit taken aback by Jori’s direct manner. “You and I will be spending a lot of time together so I just want to get to know you better,” he said kindly.

“Know your enemy, you mean,” Jori replied candidly. “I can understand that.”

“Well, I suppose that could be part of it,” J.T. admitted. “But sometimes when enemies get to know one another, they realize they are not so different and become friends.”

Jori appeared to think it over a moment. “Hmm,” was all he said as they began walking down the hall again.

Okay, then, J.T. thought to himself. This isn’t going well. “What about games?” J.T. said out loud. “What kind of games do you like?”

“Physical games or strategic games,” Jori replied.

J.T. tried to think of some strategic games that Jori would know. “What about Barson Hop or Treasure House?”

“Those are children’s games,” Jori replied with a hint of disdain. “I do not play children’s games.”

“Okay,” J.T. replied, feeling a little uneasy with Jori’s stiff manner. “How about Schemster?” Schemster was J.T.’s favorite strategic game. He would have thought it was a bit complex for someone Jori’s age, but it was the first adult strategic game that popped into his head.

“Yes, I like Schemster,” Jori said.

J.T. was a bit surprised since Schemster was such a complex game. But then again, he had begun playing Schemster with his grandfather when he was about seven. “Good,” J.T. replied. How about after we eat, we play a game of Schemster?”

“Very well,” Jori replied formally without any hint of either eagerness or reluctance.

*****

J.T. looked at the Schemster game table in consternation. The boy had J.T.’s stronghold completely blocked and most of his game pieces scattered. Jori would undoubtedly have him beaten in a couple more moves.

J.T. was dismayed because he was an expert at this game. In fact, the only ones who had ever beaten him in a long time were hardcore Schemster players. J.T. may not have been a professional player, but his major at the Academy was in strategic planning and analysis and Schemster was actually a required subject for anyone seeking a degree this field. J.T. was the second best Schemster player at the academy that year and earned the highest marks in his major. To be beaten by a ten-year-old was both shocking and humbling.

“That was amazing,” J.T. commended after Jori won the game. “The last person to beat me was a Schemster Master from Harbon.” Harbon was planet within the Alliance Core that specialized in strategic warfare. They used to be conquerors but were now a planet full of military consultants and mercenaries.

“Perhaps you were too lax, Commander,” Jori offered.

“I won’t take away your victory by saying I was,” J.T. replied courteously.

“It’s all right, Commander. People often underestimate me.”

J.T. felt the hairs on his arm raise. He was a bit unnerved by Jori’s bluntness, but tried not to let it show. “Shall we play again?” he asked.

Even though J.T. probably had let his guard down in the first game, he was a good loser and didn’t make excuses for his defeat. He simply learned from it and paid closer attention in the next game. As a result, the second game was much more intense. They played for well over an hour, going back and forth in getting the upper hand.

In the end, J.T. won. He half-expected Jori to be upset. It was how children tended to react when they lost a game and sometimes even how some adults reacted, especially when those adults were noblemen or other officials who were used to getting their way.

Jori, however, took his loss well. There was no sign of hurt feelings or anger. Actually, there was no sign of any emotion. Jori was a blank page and it both perturbed J.T. and intrigued him.

*****

After the game, J.T. gave the boy a tour of the rest of the trip. Jori’s level of intelligence became even more apparent when J.T. showed him the engine room. Jori immediately knew what most of the components of the warp engine were and how they worked. So much so that J.T. felt they needed to move on before he figured out some of the more classified mechanisms.

When they visited the gymnasium, the boy still kept his face blank but his questions and close observations of the activities showed he was interested in this area. “Perhaps tomorrow after you’ve rested from your ordeal, we can come here again,” J.T. offered. Jori agreed.

Their final stop was at the recreation room. The recreation room was a huge area for both children and adults to hang out and do crafts, play games, draw, paint, play music, and other stationary activities.

(deleted)

Note from author: I deleted the rest of this chapter because I think it’s too weak and I changed my mind about the introduction of one of the characters.

(This sci-fi story is protected by copyright) Copyright October, 2014 by Dawn Ross

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Building the Plot for Kavakian Empire: First Encounter

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , on October 18, 2014 by Dawn Ross

My main intent of writing Part One – First Encounter of the Kavakian Empire is to introduce the primary characters. However, the story still has to have a plot, otherwise it is pointless to read. To define the plot, I need to determine the goals of influential characters. The plot arises when those goals clash. Let me review the goals here. The goals of each character are listed in the order of importance.

Jori’s Goals

  • Make sure his brother Terk lives.
  • Get back home to Tredon safely. (You may think to stay safe, Jori should not have told the Odyssey crew that he and Terk were the Kavakian princes. But you will find out later why he did tell them.)
  • Appease his father (more on this in future chapters).
  • Keep their real mission secret.

Captain Robert Arden’s Goals

  • Avoid war with the Tredons.
  • Get Jori and Terk home safe as promised.
  • Make sure Jori and Terk are not a security risk.
  • Verify the Grapnes’ intent and determine if there is any truth to their claims.
  • Determine if the Tredons had a secret mission.
  • Make a good impression on Jori and Terk in hopes of future dealings.

Commander J.T.’s Goals

  • Make friends with Jori so that their time together is not unpleasant.
  • Make friends with Jori in order to find out if Tredons had a secret mission.
  • Keep Jori from being a security risk.
  • Keep Jori’s identity a secret from other crew members.

Lieutenant-Commander Bracht’s Goals

  • Keep Jori and Terk from being a security risk.

Lieutenant Calloway’s Goals

  • Revenge and/or sabotage against Jori and Terk.
  • Keep Jori and Terk from being a security risk.

Core Alliance’s Goals

  • Take Jori and Terk into custody. (Intent not clear.)

With these goals in mind, where do they clash? The first one you might notice is that Jori wants to appease his father somehow. After all, their mission is nearly a complete disaster. He and his brother lost their crew, their ship, and their cargo. All they have left is information for their father, but that will hardy be enough to make up for their failure. So what will he do? Will his choices clash against the other characters’ goals of preventing him from being a security risk?

Jori also has a secret to keep. How far will other characters in this story go to find out this secret?

Another area where the goals clash is between Captain Arden and the Core Alliance. The captain has promised not to allow any harm to come to Jori and Terk, promised not to take them prisoners, and has promised to get them home safe. The Core Alliance, however, may have something else in mind for Jori and Terk.

Lt. Commander Bracht is obviously an antagonist of sorts, but the real antagonist in this story is Lt. Calloway. He will do his duty well enough to keep from getting into trouble. But if he can get away with doing something against Jori and Terk, he will do it in a heartbeat. His goals clash with Jori’s goals as well as with the captain’s goals.

The main plot of this story concerns the potential for war between two enemies. While it is obvious that Captain Arden wants to avoid war, we are not yet sure if Jori is interested in the same thing. So far, he is cooperating. But what will happen if his brother dies? Part One can end in two different ways. It could point towards a potential for peace between the Core Allliance and the Kavakian Empire. Or it could end in disaster with the Kavakian Empire being an even greater enemy threat to the Core Alliance. Keep reading the Kavakian Empire to find out more.

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 6

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , on October 11, 2014 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – First Encounter

Chapter 6

 

(The previous chapters can be found under the “The Kavakian Empire” link under categories in the right hand column. If you’ve been keeping up with this story, be sure to reread chapter 5. I have revised it.)

“Ensign Jensin,” the captain said to the comm. Will you come to my ready room, please?”

“Yes, sir,” Jensin replied from the other end.

Addressing the young boy, Captain Arden said, “Jori, I’d like to speak to my officers a moment. Would you like to observe our bridge?”

“Certainly,” the boy replied.

At the same time and at no surprise, Lt. Commander Bracht protested, “Sir! Many of our ship’s functions are classified.”

“I am well aware of that, Lt. Commander,” the captain replied. “There is nothing the young man can discern on the surface that hasn’t already been publicized.”

Jensin entered just then. “Ah, Ensign,” the captain said as he stood to introduce the boy. “This is Jori. Will you give him a brief tour of the bridge?”

Yes, sir,” Jensin replied eagerly. He was a fairly new officer with a happy and willing attitude.

After Bracht gave a list of things the boy was not to see, Jensin and Jori exited the room leaving the captain, Lieutenant Stein, Lt. Commander Bracht, and J.T. himself alone in the room.

“Well, that was an interesting conversation,” the captain said stoically as he folded his hands in front of him.

That’s an understatement, J.T. thought but didn’t state out loud.

Bracht harrumphed. “We are harboring a dangerous enemy, Captain. He should be placed in the brig immediately.”

“I am well aware of how you feel about the boy, Bracht. While I agree he has the potential to be an even greater risk than I first thought, he is still just a boy. I will not lock him up unless he gives me reason to.” To Lieutenant Stein he said, “Your thoughts, Jenna?”

“He didn’t behave like any child I’ve ever known,” she replied with a hint of unease in her voice. Clearly the conversation had rattled her as much as it had rattled J.T. “He seems to fit the profile of a Tredon warrior, with a few exceptions,” she added.

“He appears to be genuinely concerned for his brother,” J.T. gave an example. “That’s not something I would have expected of a Tredon prince.”

“Jenna, didn’t you say the Kavakians tended to have a number of sons that eventually dwindled down to just one?” the captain asked.

“Yes,” she replied. “Emperor Devon Kavak himself had nearly twenty brothers. He was the twelfth or thirteenth, I think, and had been personally responsible for the deaths of at least three of his brothers.”

J.T. cringed at this. “Didn’t the boy say he is the second prince?” he asked. “Emperor Kavak has ruled long enough that he, too, should have at least twenty sons by now, much older than these two boys.”

“I heard the emperor has a deteriorating genetic disease that prevents him from having many healthy children,” Jenna replied. “Rumors abound saying the Emperor ordered the extermination of several of his unborn children because of genetic flaws. I’ve also heard rumors of other sons being killed in various ways, including murder. But all this information is heresay.”

J.T. swallowed hard. What a terrible way for a young boy to grow up.

“Do you think he’s telling the truth about his identity? About all of it?” the captain asked.

“The Tredons have no honor,” Bracht offered. “They are arrogant, brutal, and devious.”

“I’m guessing so,” Jenna replied to the captain’s question. “He did appear hesitant to tell you his identity. And when you told him you were looking over his ship, he seemed to consider that before telling you anything.”

“Not to mention,” J.T. added, “that he made sure you were going to help his brother before revealing anything.”

“If they are the Kavakian princes, it would explain what the Grapnes wanted with them,” The captain said.

“Easy targets because they are children and a very valuable ransom,” J.T. added.

“Jenna, see what you can find out about the boy,” the captain told her. “Certainly there are some photos in the data stream that might include him. J.T., keep me informed on what is found on his ship. And see if you can get more information from the boy without pushing too hard.”

“Yes, sir,” they both replied consecutively.

“Bracht,” the captain added, “Make sure sick bay has sufficient security as well. I don’t mind of the boy visits his brother, but it must be strictly supervised.”

“Sir, what of the commander’s safety?” Bracht asked. “It is probably a good idea to have security both inside and outside of his quarters.”

“Actually, that’s not a bad idea,” J.T. said. He wasn’t sure he was comfortable with a Kavakian warrior in his room, even a small one. The presence of security officers would be a bit unnerving, but at least he might be able to get some sleep.

The captain thought it over a bit. “One inside. Three outside,” he agreed. “J.T., if you’re not comfortable with having him in your care, let me know.”

J.T. was tempted to state that he was very uncomfortable. But after the fallout he had with his previous captain on the Goliath, an event which nearly ended his career, J.T. was trying really hard to make things work with Captain Arden. Besides, he thought, who else is there to take care of this boy? The captain was right, Jori needed an authority figure. And it was J.T.’s responsibility as commander to take risks. “I have a few hours to get to know him a little better before we rest,” he replied. “I’ll see how it goes.”

The captain nodded thankfully then turned to Bracht. “Lt. Commander, keep in mind that your security is to not only protect our crew, but to protect the boys as well. It is bad enough most of the crew has heard these boys are Tredons, but if they get word they are also the Kavakian princes, it could generate more trouble. I meant it when I told Jori his identity should be between us. The last thing we need is for matters between the Tredons and the Alliance to escalate.”

“Sir,” Bracht asserted, “It’s important that my security team be fully aware of who they are dealing with.”

“You may share the information with the lieutenant officers only,” the captain advised. He added more sternly, “And stress to everyone that they are both guards and protectors. I do not want an incident, Bracht, is that clear?”

“Yes, Sir,” Lt. Commander Bracht replied.

To Jenna the captain asked, “You said a few exceptions. What are the others?”

“Well,” Jenna replied, “he did not seem to have the temper of a Tredon. He was very formal and proper, but I expect that may be due to his upbringing. Many Tredons push for an argument, square off, if you will. He stood his ground, but he wasn’t confrontational.”

“It’s probably because he’s so young and hasn’t learned yet,” J.T. offered.

“Or he’s too smart to confront a Rabnoshk warrior,” the captain replied. “Do you think he’s prone to the violence that Bracht suggested earlier?” he asked Lieutenant Stein, referring to the killing of J.T. in his sleep.

“The Tredons can be very confrontational. Although they prefer a head-on fight, they have been known to seek vengeance by killing someone when they are vulnerable.”

J.T. felt himself pale.

“J.T.?” the captain said, asking if he was still willing to care for the boy.

“I’ll see how it goes,” J.T. said again with a sigh.

(This story is protected by copyright) Copyright October, 2014 by Dawn Ross

 

Writing Revision for the Kavakian Empire

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , on October 4, 2014 by Dawn Ross

I’ve gotten a little sidetracked with my story. I haven’t been writing the story because I have been working on the outline. It’s not a basic outline but a very detailed one. You see, I’ve had this story in my head for some time. I know every detail of it. And so I want to write it down so I won’t forget any of those details. I’m also a bit stuck. Let me explain.

Even though I am writing this story for myself, I’ve come to realize that the story I’ve been posting is boring. I don’t have enough tension. So I am considering how I am going to continue in order to keep readers engaged.

One idea I have is to add a little mystery to Jori’s intentions. When I’ve told the story from his perspective, it is easy for the reader to determine what his intensions are. But what if I take out his perspective? What if the reader is just as much in the dark about his intentions as the other characters are? Wouldn’t that add some tension? I certainly think so. He is their enemy. And even though he is a child, he can be dangerous.

While typing out the outline, I have also been reconsidering revising the first few chapters. This is a real process for writers. Often what we write doesn’t come out the way we want and we are constantly rewriting, adding new elements, or taking elements out. If you could edit this story, what would you change?

(I have rewritten chapter 5. Please go back and read it before continuing with the story next week.)