Archive for December, 2014

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 10 Rough Draft

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , on December 27, 2014 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – First Encounter

Rough Draft – Chapter 10

(Click August 2014 to current under the Archives to read the previous chapters on this sci-fi space opera story.)

Jori was left with his brother and the security detail in sick bay while J.T. went to the docking bay to follow up with the findings on the crashed Tredon ship. The senior officer on duty approached him and reported that they were able to recover some information.

“Video recordings of the cockpit confirm that the two boys are indeed the Kavakian Princes,” the officer said. “They never state it in any of the communications, though.”

Communications could be intercepted so J.T. suspected the princes never broadcasted their identity in order to keep it secret. They were vulnerable away from their own territory, especially with only a few warriors and a small ship to protect them.

“Did you find out what the Grapnes were after?” J.T. asked.

“They never said. Not even when the prince asked them directly. They just simply demanded surrender.”

J.T. suspected the Grapnes must have discovered who they were and taken advantage.

“I did find this, however,” the officer said as he pointed at a line on the digiview screen. “I think it’s a message from the prince to the emperor.”

The officer tapped the line and the message played out loud. “We have acquired some supplies as well as the information you wanted about the scientists, Father. We are returning home now and should arrive in half a period.”

“That’s rather informal and vague,” J.T. said. “He didn’t even announce who he was. Are you sure it was from the prince to the emperor?”

“He sounds young,” the officer replied. “The two princes were the youngest ones on the ship. And who else would their father be?”

J.T. agreed. It wasn’t Jori’s voice, so it must have been his older brother’s. “What about these scientists he mentioned? Did you find anything more?”

“Nothing, Sir. There’s nothing in the ship files and no mention in any other communications or video recordings. And we’ve recovered all that we could.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant. I will take this to the captain,” J.T. said. “Is there anything else of importance?”

“Nothing that seemed significant,” the officer replied. “But you might find the crash video of the cockpit interesting. It explains why the younger prince survived.”

*****

J.T. visited Captain Arden in his ready room. Lt. Jenna Stein and Lt. Commander Bracht were there as well. J.T. related his recent discussion with the officer in the docking bay.

“I agree with your take on the Grapnes’ intent. That was my deduction as well,” the captain said. “Commander, ask the boy about the scientists. Be persistent but gentle. If he refuses to say anything, I will consider getting Liam involved.”

J.T. did not care for Liam. The man made him uncomfortable. But his methods were sound. “I will try, Captain,” J.T. replied. “But I’m not sure if I can get Jori to reveal anything.”

“Is he giving you trouble?” the captain asked.

“No, actually. He’s being cooperative. But he isn’t very talkative.”

“That’s understandable, considering his situation,” the captain replied. “I’m sure it will take a little time for him to warm up to you.”

“It’s not that,” J.T. said. “He’s not a timid child. Jori’s guarded, yes, but he also seems to be very self-possessed. And he’s highly intelligent. It’s a mistake to think of him as an ordinary child.”

“I knew he was dangerous,” Bracht said.

“It’s not surprising,” Lt. Jenna Stein offered. “The Kavakians stopped the genetic enhancements at the same time as other cultures when the practice was strictly outlawed. However, I believe the Kavakians found a way around the laws.”

“How’s that?” the captain asked.

“Careful breeding,” Jenna replied. “These past hundred years or so, the Kavakian emperors have only been marrying women who carry enhanced genes. Part of the reason why so many of the emperors’ offspring do not survive is because they are terminated for not carrying the enhancements.”

“That’s barbaric,” J.T. said.

“Leave it to the Tredons to find a way to cheat,” Bracht added.

“Select breeding is not against the law, however,” Captain Arden said to the Lt. Commander. “But it’s something we should take into account regarding security. We don’t know what all their genetic enhancements entail.”

“Yes, Sir,” Bracht replied. “I suggest we strictly limit his access to only the common areas of the ship. No more visits to the bridge or engine room.”

“I agree.” Turning to J.T., the captain added, “There is something else I need you to try and talk to the young prince about. Dr. Jerom found a lot of bone reconstructions in both of the boys. There are so many, it is beyond concerning. I would say it’s alarming, in fact.”

“You think they are being abused?” Jenna asked.

“Even if they were, what can we do about it?” J.T. added.

“Yes, Lt.,” the captain replied. “I think they’ve been abused. Dr. Jerom was hard pressed to find bones that hadn’t ever been broken. Those that were, were broken at different times, which rules out the possibility that they were involved in a single cataclysmic event.” J.T. felt a little sick at the thought. Jenna seemed to as well. “I know there is not much we can do about it,” Captain Arden said, “but I feel we should ask and do what we can for them while they are here.”

“I’ll talk to Jori,” J.T. said.

“Thank you,” Captain Arden said to the group. “That’s all I have for now. I will see you all at my table for dinner tonight. Commander,” he said to J.T., “the young prince is invited as well. And there is one more thing I need to speak to you about.”

Lt. Jenna Stein and Lt. Commander Bracht left the room, leaving J.T. and the captain alone.

“What is it, Sir,” J.T. asked as he sat back down.

“I will be contacting the boys’ father soon,” the captain said. “And as you can imagine, I’m quite daunted by the task. After all, what is a mere captain doing contacting an emperor, an enemy emperor no less? By all rights, this should be handed by officials from the Alliance council, not me.”

“I agree,” J.T. replied.

“To notify the council, I have to go through the chain of command. Let me ask you, Commander, what do you think of Rear Admiral Zimmer?”

J.T. tensed at the name but hoped the captain hadn’t noticed. “Uh… well,” J.T. hesitated, feeling a little trapped.

“It’s all right, Commander,” the captain replied. “I realized the Kimpke incident left you with a bad taste in your mouth, but putting that event aside, what is your honest opinion of the man? This is strictly between you and I and I swear I will not use the information against you in any way.”

The captain’s earnest manner put J.T. at ease so he spoke honestly. “I think he’s an arrogant ass,” he replied bluntly. Captain Arden raised an eyebrow. J.T. probably should have been more tactful in his answer, but his emotions about Zimmer were strong. “I felt that way about him from the moment I met him so my feelings are not entirely based on the fact that he nearly ended my career.”

“Your own actions nearly ended your career, Commander,” the captain replied.

J.T. made an effort to hide his anxiety. Not once since the captain appointed him as his commander a few months ago had he brought up the Kimpke incident. “I realize that, Sir, and I’m not trying to shift blame,” J.T. replied more calmly than he felt. “I meant to say that his method of command compelled me to the actions that nearly led to my dismissal from the Alliance fleet.”

“And what do you mean by his method of command?”

Captain Arden’s tone was curious, not accusatory, so J.T. answered honestly. “He refuses to listen to the advice of his officers, even when presented with compelling evidence. And while many believe he makes decisions based on his intelligence and years of experience, I believe his decisions are severely limited by his ego and by his many prejudices. He never admits when he’s wrong and when things don’t turn out the way he expects them, he somehow manages to make others look and feel responsible.” J.T.’s heart raced, but it felt good to finally be able to speak out about Zimmer. It occurred to him that he may have gone too far with his new captain, but Captain Arden did not look angry or disappointed. If anything, he looked thoughtful.

“And you came to this opinion before you got into trouble?” the captain asked.

“Yes, Sir,” J.T. replied. “I could site you several examples if you’d like.”

“No, that’s quite all right. I am familiar with the admiral’s method of command. Do you know why I requested you as my commanding officer, despite your actions at Kimpke?”

“I’ve always wondered, Sir,” J.T. said.

“As subordinates, we are expected to do as we are told even if we disagree. Your actions at Kimpke imply that you will disobey the chain of command whenever you don’t want to do something.”

J.T. opened his mouth to protest but the captain held up a hand.

“I don’t, however, believe this one incident sets a precedent. You no doubt felt strongly about what was happening and you were faced with a moral dilemma.”

“Yes, Sir,” J.T. replied. Maybe someone finally understands, J.T. hoped silently.

“Although I believe it is important that we strictly follow our chain of command,” the captain said, “I don’t believe we should always do so blindly. I actually find what you did to be noble. You were backed in a corner and faced with either doing something that went against your conscience or disobeying and risking court martial.”

“I don’t make a habit of disobeying orders, Captain,” J.T. said. “But I honestly don’t think I could have lived with myself if I had done what the admiral ordered.”

“That’s what I hoped for when I took you on, Commander. Out here, we are often faced with moral dilemmas. There will be times when we will have to do things we don’t agree with. But at the same time, it is our responsibility to speak up when we are ordered to do something we feel will cause great harm. I am currently faced with such a dilemma.”

“I’m not sure I understand, Sir,” J.T. said. He realized in a brief moment of panic that he may be facing another Kimpke-like situation.

“Knowing the admiral,” the captain said, “what do you think he would do if he found out we have the Kavakian princes on board our ship?”

J.T. hadn’t given it much thought, but he suddenly realized what the captain was getting at. Sure enough, he thought, it’s Kimpke all over again. To the captain he said, “He’d order us to bring in the princes for questioning.”

“Exactly what I was thinking,” the captain replied. “And what do you think would happen if we did such a thing?”

“I think if Emperor Kavak found out, he’d have a valid argument for getting a number of other dignitaries to side with him against us. We’d have war.”

“And how do you feel about a war with the Tredons, Commander?”

“Despite how disagreeable I think the Tredons are, I think going to war with them would be a terrible mistake.”

“Are you telling me this because you think it’s what I want to hear, or because it is how you truly feel? You are a strategist, after all, and strategy is a war tactic.”

“Sometimes fighting is necessary,” J.T. replied. “But strategy isn’t just about fighting. It’s about protecting. And it’s about protecting while losing as few casualties as possible. If we go to war with the Tredons, many will die. And not just the fighters, but innocent people too. The Tredons will use our value of human lives against us. They will strike at military bases as well as homesteads. The best strategy in this case is to avoid going to war with them.”

Captain Arden nodded in agreement. “I’m glad we’re on the same page in this. Let me tell you what I’m facing and let’s see if you have any ideas on what we can do to avoid a war.”

J.T. nodded and so Captain Arden explained how contacting the emperor himself could cause problems. “He’s not going to believe we intend no harm,” he explained.

“What if we put off telling him for as long as possible?” J.T. replied. “We could wait until we reach the Chevert outpost before contacting him.”

“That’s an idea,” the captain said. “I’d think Jori would want to speak to his father sooner, though.”

“I can talk to him,” J.T. offered. “I think our main problem, however, is with what Zimmer will want us to do. How do we handle this if he orders us to bring the boys to him?”

“I am hoping you can help me come up with some ideas. My current plan is to notify him through the monthly report. After all, I’m given a lot of leeway to make my own decisions without involving our superiors,” the captain explained.

“It’s a fine line,” J.T. said, “but you may be able to argue your way out of a reprimand if you handle this on your own. I say you because the rear admiral will not listen to any argument I make.”

“Nor I, most likely,” the captain replied with a frown. “Finding out more on the scientists the elder boy alluded to may be helpful. If it’s valuable information, it could distract him.”

“Understood,” J.T. replied. “I will do my best to see if I can get Jori to trust me.”

“If not, there’s the reader.”

J.T. pointedly ignored the reference to Liam. “There’s another concern I have,” J.T. said instead. “How are we going to get the princes home? Even though the Chevert outpost is in neutral space, we’re just one ship. The emperor could lay a trap for us there… or anywhere.”

“I agree,” the captain replied. “If we can wait to contact the emperor until the very last moment, then all we’d need to do make sure the boys are in good hands and leave immediately.”

“Rear Admiral Zimmer isn’t going to like this when he finds out. We’re really pushing the gray area, aren’t we, Sir?” J.T. asked.

“We are,” the captain agreed. “If you disagree with this, Commander, feel free to let me know. I can’t promise I won’t order you to do something you don’t like, but I will listen to any objections you have.

“I have no objections, Sir,” J.T. replied earnestly. “I’m with you one hundred percent.”

This space opera is protected by copyright. Copyright December, 2014 by Dawn Ross.

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The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 9 Rough Draft

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , on December 20, 2014 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – First Encounter

Rough Draft – Chapter 9

(Click August 2014 to current under the Archives to read the previous chapters on this sci-fi space opera story.)

From the author – I’m going to switch gears here a bit. I know you’re supposed to show and not tell, but one of my steps before showing the story is to tell it in a rough draft form. And so this is how I am going to be posting this sci-fi story for a while. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first one is personal. My mom passed away recently and it has been difficult for me to write.

The second reason for posting this story in rough draft form is for copyright reasons. As it stands right now, anyone can copy and paste this story and publish it. I don’t think it is good enough for that purpose, but someone is sure to try it anyway. By posting parts of the story in rough draft, this will make it less likely that someone will copy and paste the entire story and put it in book form. If they do, it will look very odd.

And so here is Chapter 9 of the space opera, The Kavakian Empire, in rough draft form:

 

“I will see my brother now,” the young boy Jori said. Rather than wait for J.T. to respond he headed out of the recreation room.

J.T. raised his eyebrow and turned to Chesa. “I guess I gotta go,” he shrugged apologetically.

Neither J.T. nor the boy spoke but the sound of footsteps echoed down the hall as the two plus four security officers made their way to sick bay. However loudly the guards seemed to walk at the back of their heels, the boy did not seem to notice them.

Even when they reached sick bay and met four other security officers guarding the unconscious prince, Jori completely ignored them. J.T. silently wondered if Jori was ignoring the guards because they were beneath his notice, or because he didn’t want to think about the fact that he was surrounded by enemies.

Jori walked straight to the medical diagnostics monitor by his brother’s bed. Dr. Jerom came in and briefly explained the medical situation. The young prince was in critical condition and he was unsure whether Jori’s brother would survive.

Despite the grim news, Jori did not display any emotion. He looked over the medical monitor and began asking the doctor a number of very specific medical questions. At first, Dr. Jerom answered in layman’s terms. But Jori’s questions were so technical that the doctor found he had to answer the same in return. J.T. did not understand half the medical jargon, but Jori seemed to understand very well.

“Thank you, Doctor. That will be all,” Jori said.

Dr. Jerom looked like he wanted to say more, but Jori turned away. The doctor scowled at Jori’s dismissal. J.T. gave a slight apologetic shrug and so Dr. Jerom left with a shake of his head.

Jori approached his brother’s side. J.T. tensed a little as he recalled what Jenna had said about Kavakian princes killing off one another. The eight surrounding guards seemed to tense too.

What happened next was something none of them expected. Jori took his brother’s hand and gently held it. J.T. noticed Jori’s demeanor change. Instead of a face of blank emotion, the boy looked genuinely concerned.

Jori put his other hand on his brother’s forehead and stroked it tenderly. As he did so, J.T. noticed that Jori’s eyes were watering. J.T., moved by what he saw, put a comforting hand on Jori’s shoulder. The boy flinched ever-so-slightly, but otherwise did not acknowledge J.T.’s gesture.

*****

Jori was silent has he and J.T., along with four security guards, went from sick bay to J.T.’s quarters for sleep. But while he maintained an outward calm, Jori’s thoughts churned chaotically. His brother Terk was in very bad shape. All sorts of scenarios about what would happen if Terk died manifested in his head.

His father would be greatly angered by Terk’s death. No doubt he’d use it as an excuse to rally for a full-scale war against the Alliance. Jori wasn’t sure how he felt about war. He was sure, however, that he wouldn’t want to face it without his brother by his side. Without Terk, Jori would be the sole heir to the Kavakian Empire. Although some might consider this an opportune circumstance, Jori did not like the prospect of being without his brother. They did everything together. If Terk died, Jori would be alone.

Hearing one of the four guards behind him cough made Jori realize that he might not get back home. Jori may be free to walk about their ship, but he was a prisoner none-the-less. He knew full well that there were places on the ship he would not be allowed to go. And he had no doubt that these guards would stalk him at every turn. Captain Arden promised to let Jori and Terk go home, and Jori believed he was telling the truth, but there was nothing to keep the captain from changing his mind.

Jori imagined what would happen if he tried to escape this very moment. He evaluated the situation in his mind. The commander wasn’t armed. That made him easier to overcome. The guard closest to Jori wasn’t paying as much attention as he should have so Jori could easily take his weapon and use it on the others. He’d shoot the tallest of the guards first. This man was the most vigilant. He’d shoot J.T. next since he was the commander and would likely be the quickest to react to the situation.

Although Jori considered, he didn’t make a move. He probably had the element of surprise on his side. He maybe even had more martial skill than these men. But one against five were not good odds. Not only that, he still had his brother to think about.

Jori and the others met two guards at the door of J.T.’s quarters. One of those guards had a very dark look. Jori tried to ignore him, but he could still feel the penetrating and hateful glare of the man. J.T. acknowledged both officers and so Jori learned this man was named Calloway.

*****

Mik Calloway and another Lt. Jr. Grade, Siven Addams, stood guard outside of Commander Hapker’s quarters. Two other officers guarded from inside. It was only supposed to be one guard inside, but Mik convinced them it should be two so that they could keep one another alert. That was what Mik told them, anyway. He actually just wanted a chance to speak to Siven privately.

“It’s a good thing we’re keeping the prince’s identity secret,” Mik said. “Your friend Laren would be pissed if he knew.”

Siven didn’t reply. He didn’t much care for Mik, but that was okay since Mik didn’t care much for him either. Still, Mik wanted to come across as friendly in order to plant a seed, so-to-speak. Mik hated the fact that they were protecting the Kavakian Princes. But he wasn’t about to risk his own career in order to do something about it. That’s where Siven came in.

“Just think,” Mik continued, “Laren lost both his wife and child when the emperor attacked his village. Can you imagine what it must be like for him? And to think that one of the emperor’s sons is right here, just on the other side of this door, without a care in the world for all the people his father has murdered.”

“He’s just a child,” Siven replied, although without much enthusiasm.

“Yeah, but that child is going to grow up someday. Hell, he’s already dangerous. Jack said when they landed on Pensla he watched that child kill four Grapnes. The little shit is already a killer and he’s barely ten cycles old. I can’t imagine what we will have on our hands when his older brother wakes up.”

Siven still didn’t reply, but Mik could tell he was thinking about it. The seed was planted, and so he left it alone for now. Perhaps later, he’d make other comments to help the seed grow.

*****

Jori lay in a small cot set up for him in J.T.’s quarters. J.T. was already asleep in his bedroom, but the two guards inside were awake and alert. Jori didn’t mind them too much. It was the one outside the door that concerned him.

After seeing the hateful glare from the man named Calloway, Jori questioned whether he should have told the captain his identity. There was a good chance the captain would find out anyway from the evidence of the crashed ship.

What’s done was done, though. At least Jori didn’t tell the captain about the other part of their mission. Since it was merely to gather information and since that information was only in Jori and Terk’s head, there was no way the captain could find out about it.

This information was all Jori would have to appease his father when he returned home. Jori and Terk lost their entire crew, their cargo, and their ship. To say his father would be greatly displeased would be a vast understatement.

Jori and Terk needed to make up for their failure somehow. Jori once again considered a plan of escape. There were only two guards nearby and the commander was sound asleep. All Jori would have to do is disarm one guard and then kill them both before they had a chance to cry out. Since J.T. was asleep, he would be easy to dispatch.

Even though Jori contemplated this, the thought of actually killing these men made him uneasy. Jori knew he should hate these Alliance crew members but those negative feelings didn’t arise.

Besides, what would killing these men achieve? He couldn’t take on the entire ship’s crew. His father would not consider the death of a few Alliance personnel enough to make up for all that Jori and Terk had lost. No, Jori had to think of something bigger and better to appease his father. Perhaps he could find a way to steal information or technology, or sabotage the ship.

Whatever Jori decided to do, it would have to wait until Terk recovered… if he recovered.

 

This space opera is protected by copyright. Copyright December, 2014 by Dawn Ross.