Archive for February, 2015

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 15

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , on February 28, 2015 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part One – First Encounter
Chapter 15
(Begin reading “The Kavakian Empire” by following the link under categories in the right hand column. Chapter 1 was written in August 2014.)

The next morning, J.T. went with Jori to sit by Terk’s side again. After nearly losing his brother, Jori seemed determined not to let Terk out of his sight again.

Jori was not as impersonal as he had been after the incident with Liam. Despite baring his emotions yesterday, J.T. could tell the boy had his guard back up. The two had connected, though. There was no denying it. J.T. felt he understood Jori a little better than before.

Jori might have a vastly different background than most other people J.T. knew. He might be a lot more mature than most adolescents. But he was still a human being. No matter how much the boy might try to hide them, he had emotions like anyone else and loved just as strongly.

The two sat with Terk for some time. Neither said anything as each of them perused their digiviews. At some point, though, J.T. realized something. Even though he had decided not to press Jori into conversation, his curiosity got the best of him. “Jori?” he said.

“Yes,” Jori replied, not looking up from his digiview.

“You don’t have to answer this, but I am wondering about something.”

Jori said nothing but he looked up, so J.T. took it to mean that he wasn’t averse to talking.

“Did you know something was wrong with your brother yesterday when you stopped the game?” J.T. asked.

Jori was silent for a moment. J.T. wasn’t sure he was going to answer. But after seeming to think about it for a moment, he replied. “Yes.”

“Really?” J.T. asked with interest. “How?”

“I can sense him,” Jori said hesitantly.

J.T.’s eyes widened. “You’re a reader?” It was the only explanation.

Jori scowled. “Not exactly,” he replied. “I don’t go into people’s heads and take information. I only sense what is already there.”

Sounds like a reader to me, J.T. thought to himself. But more politely he said, “I’m not sure I understand the difference.”

“There are two kinds of readers,” Jori said. “Three, if you count Lyco-readers.” J.T. shivered at that name. What a Lyco-reader did was more like torture. Jori continued to explain. “Your reader goes inside the head. He rummages around like a thief and takes whatever he finds,” he said with obvious distaste. “I don’t go inside anyone’s head. I can’t pull thoughts or information at will. I only see what is presented. It’s only slightly different than what anyone else does when they talk to someone and try to guess their true intent by reading their body language.”

J.T. thought he understood. Jori could sense brain waves or something. But this was the most he had gotten Jori to speak in a while, so he gently prodded him more. “But you couldn’t see your brother from the gymnasium. How were you able to sense him from so far away?”

“I can feel people from some distance. It is different for different people. Since my brother and I are so close, I can sense him from a much greater distance than anyone else.”

“I see,” J.T. said as he shifted in his seat. Despite the difference that Jori had explained, J.T. felt a little uneasy at what the boy could do.

“I can’t read your mind, Commander,” Jori said with a hint of assurance. “I can tell you feel uncomfortable, but I don’t know what you’re thinking. I can only guess.”

“Can all Tredons do this?”

“No,” Jori replied. “Just my brother and I, and our mother.”

“Not your father?”

“No.”

“This ability probably comes in handy,” J.T. said, trying not to let the idea of Jori reading his emotions bother him.

“It is why I didn’t shoot you when you and your men confronted me on Pensla,” Jori said humorlessly. “It’s why I trust you and the captain when you say you will help save my brother.”

“Huh,” J.T. replied in understanding. “That’s definitely handy.”

“Yes,” Jori admitted. “But it comes with a price.” J.T. looked at him questioningly so Jori continued. “When I feel the pain or sadness of others, sometimes it makes me feel the same way. And sometimes I have a hard time knowing which are my own emotions and which are the emotions of others.”

“So you can feel what your brother is feeling now?”

“My brother isn’t feeling anything,” Jori said with a hint of sadness. “He’s empty. But I felt his life force slip away.”

“I’m sorry,” J.T. said with genuine concern.

Jori looked about ready to cry again, but he took a deep breath and held the tears at bay. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t say too much about this to anyone. The captain, I can understand. But no one else, please.” For once, Jori’s emotions were plain on his face. He was truly pleading. “My father doesn’t know,” Jori added.

J.T. raised his eyebrows in surprise. “You’ve kept this from your father?”

“Yes,” Jori nodded. “He would force me to use it, the way he… Never mind. I’ve said too much already.” Jori scowled and turned away.

Darn it, J.T. thought. I’ve pushed him away again. “You’re right,” he said, hoping to make amends. “I didn’t mean to press. I won’t say anything to anyone.”

Jori softened. “Thank you,” he replied sincerely. With that, he went back to perusing his digiview.

J.T. sat back, full of thought.

(This sci-fi story is protected by copyright) Copyright February, 2015 by Dawn Ross

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The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 14

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2015 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part One – First Encounter
Chapter 14
(Begin reading “The Kavakian Empire” by following the link under categories in the right hand column. Chapter 1 was written in August 2014.)

Jori hadn’t made any snide comments about the incident with Liam. There were no angry retorts or bitter accusations. But he was even more cold than usual. Nothing J.T. did or said could get Jori to say more than a few words at a time. Jori wasn’t rude or childish. He didn’t even look angry. He just refused to open up.

Even so, J.T. felt a little sympathy for him. To have someone try force their way inside your head had to be an uncomfortable feeling, to say the least. Goodness knows J.T. himself was unnerved by the idea of what Liam could do. Since Jori was far from home and surrounded by people he considered enemies, he probably felt even more threatened by the man.

So J.T. didn’t try to push for a conversation. He bore the uncomfortable silence with understanding and gave Jori his space.

Towards midday, though, they went to the gymnasium together. Surprisingly, Jori agreed to a game of wall ball. J.T. could tell Jori still didn’t want to engage in a conversation, so they just played.

Play probably wasn’t the right word. Jori seemed to take the game very seriously. He didn’t pout or get angry when he messed up a shot. He just got more determined. J.T. was fairly good at the game, but no one made the game as intense as Jori.

Suddenly, Jori caught the ball in his hand rather than hit it with his racquet. “I’ve got to go see my brother,” he said abruptly.

“Now?” J.T. asked.

“Now,” Jori replied as he set the ball and racquet down. He grabbed the sweat towel on the way out and headed straight to sick bay.

J.T. could have chosen to stay behind and let the guards follow him. But he was curious. Odd, he thought to himself. I wonder what brought this on.

When they got to sick bay, Terk’s room was full of panicked medics. “What’s happening?” Jori tried to ask one of the medics as she rushed inside the room. But she was too focused to hear.

J.T. and Jori stood outside the room out of the way. J.T. watched the medics, trying to get a hint at what was happening. When he glanced over at Jori, he noticed the boy’s eyes were wide with panic. “It’s going to be okay,” he said as he put his hand on Jori’s shoulder. “They will do everything they can.”

Jori did not reply. He just stood there with a stunned look on his face as he watched the medics bustle.

Suddenly, their panic heightened. They began yelling. J.T. thought he heard one of them say something about Terk going into cardiac arrest.

“No,” Jori said almost inaudibly.

J.T. noticed tears in Jori’s eyes. He could tell the boy was trying not to cry. His chin quivered as he tried to hold it back. It almost brought tears to J.T.’s own eyes seeing him like that. J.T. didn’t have a brother, but he knew what it was like to lose someone close to him.

J.T. hugged Jori’s shoulder. To his surprise, Jori didn’t resist. In fact, he welcomed the embrace. He buried his face against J.T.’s chest and began to sob. J.T. enveloped him in both arms and held him. Jori hugged him back.

It seemed like ages before the doctors calmed, but in reality, it had only been a few moments. “He’s stabilizing,” J.T. heard one of the doctors say.

Jori heard it too and turned to watch them. His arms around J.T. loosened but he did not let go.

“He’s going to be okay,” J.T. assured.

Jori looked up at him. His eyes were red and tears were still falling. J.T. rubbed his shoulder and Jori hugged him close again.

Eventually, Doctor Jerom came over. “I don’t know what happened,” he told them. “He went into convulsions, and then his heart stopped.”

“Is he going to be okay,” J.T. asked on Jori’s behalf.

“He’s stable. That’s all I can tell you for now,” Doctor Jerom said solemnly. “I’m sorry.”

“Can I see him now?” Jori asked.

“Let us see if we can figure out what happened first,” Doctor Jerom replied. “You’re welcome to wait out here for now and I’ll let you know when you can go in to see him.”

After waiting and learning nothing new, Jori finally got to see his brother. He spent the rest of the day by his brother’s side, holding his brother’s hand. J.T. couldn’t convince Jori to leave his bedside, not even to change out of his workout clothes. It wasn’t until dinner time that J.T. finally coaxed him away. Terk still lay there unconscious. You’d never know by looking at him that he’d nearly died. Jori would have been truly alone, then.

(This story is protected by copyright) Copyright February, 2015 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 13

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , on February 11, 2015 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part One – First Encounter
Chapter 13
(Begin reading “The Kavakian Empire” by following the link under categories in the right hand column. Chapter 1 of this space opera story was written in August 2014.)

Jori woke up feeling groggy. He hadn’t slept well at all that night. He wanted so badly to be angry at J.T. for talking down to him and calling him a child. But darn it, J.T. was right.

Every time Jori tried to empty his mind for sleep, Lord Mottrick Panske kept popping into his head. Motty was his informal name and Jori and Terk called him Motty the haughty. To say that Motty was a spoiled rotten brat was a vast understatement. Jori had never seen anyone throw a fit before until the day Motty’s father told him he couldn’t visit the airfield that day. The boy actually wailed while stomping his feet. If Jori had ever considered doing something like that, his father would have knocked him senseless before the first stamp of his foot. But Motty’s father gave in. Motty tried the same tactic with Jori and Terk when he didn’t get his way. Terk didn’t knock him senseless, but he nearly broke Motty’s jaw.

Jori hadn’t behaved as badly as Motty yesterday, but he could have acted a little better. He hated how snotty some of the noble Tredon boys at home could be and didn’t want to be compared to them. Master Jetser had taught him better than that.

Master Jetser would insist that Jori apologize. Jetser would say that pride is a weakness and the only way to defeat pride is to take responsibility for your actions. Jori considered apologizing to J.T. as they made their way to meet the captain. But he could sense that J.T. was in a foul mood and so decided to wait until later.

Captain Arden was in a better mood. He greeted Jori with a pleasant smile. But, as usual, the captain had a more serious disposition.

“Welcome, Jori,” the captain said. “After last night’s dinner, I feel the need to speak with you more formally and come to an understanding.”

Jori said nothing, but he did glance over to a man he had never seen before standing behind the captain.

Captain Arden noticed Jori’s look and responded. “This is Lt. Junior Grade Liam Garner. He’s here to help me today.”

There was something about the man that didn’t feel right, but Jori nodded politely to him anyway.

“Now Jori,” the captain went on, “I’ve made it clear that you are a guest here and we will not mistreat you. I will keep this promise. But you must understand, I still have a job to do. I not only have a crew to protect, but I have a responsibility to my superiors and to the Alliance as a whole. This means J.T. and I will question you from time to time.”

“I understand, Sir,” Jori replied. A feeling of guilt for his childish behavior churned in his stomach. He wanted to apologize then and there, but something about the man, Liam, in the background distracted him.

“To be fair,” the captain continued, “from now on we will only ask you questions in a more formal setting such as this. This way, you do not need to worry about anyone manipulating you.”

Jori nodded in reply, glancing again at Liam and wondering what he was going to do to help the captain.

“Good,” Captain Arden said. “Then I need to ask you more about your mission. We’ve been able to verify everything you’ve told us so far. But we also know there is more to it. We have reports that you and your brother were seen speaking to Shekaka. He’s a very disreputable man, you know. He’s a known spy who deals with the trading of sensitive information. I must ask you what information has he passed on to you two and what does it have to do with scientists?”

Jori barely heard what the captain had said. A slight tingling sensation buzzed in his head. At first, he didn’t know what it was. But then when he realized, a panic came over him. “What is he doing?” Jori asked in alarm.

“What is who doing?” J.T. asked.

“Him!” Jori said, pointing at Liam. “Get out of my head!” he said to the man.

“He’s a reader, Jori,” the captain replied calmly. “He’s not going to hurt you.”

“Tell him to stop!” Jori demanded. His heart raced fearfully. Although the man wasn’t harming him, Jori’s training had taught him that men like this were dangerous. They exposed a man’s innermost thoughts and there were many things, personal things, private feelings, that Jori did not want exposed. “This man is trespassing and I do not like it. I want him out!”

“Liam, stop,” the captain said calmly as he gestured to the man behind him.

As the buzzing in Jori’s head abated, Jori felt his panic turn into anger. His face flushed and his nostrils flared as he breathed heavily trying to calm his racing heart.

When he was certain that Liam was out of his head, Jori turned a dark scowl towards the captain. But he wasn’t about to make the same childish mistake as last night. He held his anger in check and kept his tone neutral as he spoke. “It wouldn’t have worked, Captain,” he said through gritted teeth. “I know how to defend myself against a reader.”

“You understand I had to try,” the captain responded.

Jori did understand. His father would have tried far worse. But he didn’t like it. He didn’t like it one bit. He felt violated. All thoughts of admitting his bad behavior yesterday left Jori’s mind. These men had made their status as his enemy clear and enemies did not deserve apologies.

(This sci-fi story is protected by copyright) Copyright February, 2015 by Dawn Ross