Archive for April, 2015

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 20a

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , on April 18, 2015 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part One – First Encounter
Rough Draft of Chapter 20a

(If you haven’t read any of the other chapters yet, you can find Chapter 1 of “The Kavakian Empire” in the right hand column. Click and then scroll down. You can also find Chapter 1 in August 2014 under Archives in the right hand column.)

Jori awoke abruptly from a sound sleep. His training kicked in and he immediately surveyed his surroundings for a threat. The room wasn’t entirely dark, so he could tell J.T. was asleep in his bed.

There were a few black shadows that Jori couldn’t see into, but he sensed nothing lurking in the darkness.

One of the security officers in the anteroom poked his head around the corner. “You all right?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” Jori replied.

But something had woken him up. It wasn’t these officers. Jori could sense no mal intent from either of them. Maybe a bad dream? he thought. Dreams could be fleeting, but surely he’d still have a lingering glimpse. There was nothing, though, but the feeling that he was missing something important.

After a few moments of making sure there was no threat, Jori lay back down and closed his eyes. As he began to drift into sleep he felt a whisper of sorts in his thoughts. “Terk!” he yelled as he sat up suddenly.

Before the guards could react, Jori was up out of bed and headed for the door.

“Hey,” one of the security officers said. “Where are you going?”

“To see my brother,” Jori replied.

“Hold on!” the officer said. Jori kept going and went right out of the room. He didn’t get far, though. The officer named Calloway had been guarding right outside the door and grabbed Jori’s arm before he got too far.

Jori jerked his arm away and stopped to give Calloway his most venomous glare.

“Where in the hell do you think you’re going?” Calloway challenged.

“To see my brother,” Jori replied heatedly.

“No you don’t,” Calloway said. “You’re staying right here.”

“I dare you to try and stop me,” Jori warned. As much as Jori wanted to rush to his brother’s side, a part of him had been looking forward to butting heads with Calloway.

“Oh, please,” Calloway replied, “give me a reason. I’d love to throw your little royal ass in the brig.”

Jori’s face grew hot with anger. “Not only do you lack the skill, you insignificant minion, you also lack the authority.”

“Oh, yeah?” Calloway said angrily. “I’ll kick your little ass, then tell the commander I had no choice because you attacked me.”

Jori scoffed. “Besides the fact that you’ll be laid out before you can so much as raise your hand to me, there is another problem with your plan.”

“And what’s that? You think . . . ”

“These other officers here don’t like you well enough to lie for you,” Jori interrupted.

“They won’t stand up for a spoiled Tredon prince either.”

“I don’t need them to stand up for me. But they will report the truth of this incident. And the truth is that I have every right to go see my brother whenever I wish.”

Calloway’s face darkened. Jori could tell by his clenched jaw and tightened fists that he was thinking about following through with his threats. Jori glared at him intently, ready to defend himself if Calloway moved.

But Calloway eventually stepped back. “Fine, you friggin brat.”

“That’s what I thought,” Jori replied with disdain. With that, he promptly turned about and headed towards sick bay.

The guards followed, but they made no move to stop him. Calloway whispered some negative comments just loud enough for Jori to hear, but Jori ignored him. He would deal with Calloway some other time. His brother was much more important.

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

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 19

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

The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part One – First Encounter
Rough Draft of Chapter 19

(Chapter 1 of “The Kavakian Empire” space epic began in August 2014. Find this date under the Archives in the right hand column.

Jori wanted to be angry for what nearly happened to his brother, but he couldn’t seem to find any anger. J.T. could have let the medic administer the medicine. But he actually believed Jori over him. J.T., in fact, had saved Terk’s life. How could Jori hate him for that? Master Jetser had taught that there is good and bad in every race, so judge each man for himself. This is what J.T. did, and Captain Arden as well, so why shouldn’t Jori extend the same courtesy? Jori kept this in mind as he addressed Captain Arden in the captain’s ready room. The usual senior officers were present.

“Lt. Calloway is not to guard my brother,” Jori said while trying not to sound impertinent.

“Has the lieutenant done something to make you think he will harm your brother?” the captain asked.

“He has made his hatred of me known more strongly than the others. But I can protect myself. My brother can’t.”

Captain Arden looked at J.T. to confirm what Jori had said. J.T. gave a slight nod. “Very well,” the captain said to Jori. To Bracht, he merely gave a look. Bracht nodded in understanding.

Jori was impressed with how well Captain Arden led his crew. It seemed he had to say very little to motivate his men. Jori’s father and many of the Tredon military leaders were often loud and enforced their authority with force of will and sometimes violence. In Tredon, Captain Arden would have been considered weak. He was not a warrior. But his men obviously respected him a great deal. Jori wished he could observe more of the captain’s leadership skills to see how he did it.

Jori was relieved that the captain was willing to take his word on Lt. Calloway. He could sense the captain’s sincerity when he apologized for what nearly happened to Terk. And, it seemed, he sincerely wanted to make sure something like this didn’t happen again. So when the captain asked if Jori would talk to his father, Jori still replied in the negative, but offered an explanation this time.

“He will not believe you didn’t harm us no matter what I say,” Jori said. “Besides, he will ask me about my experiences here. You don’t really want him to know about the attempt on my brother’s life, do you?”

“I’d prefer e not,” Captain Arden replied. “But just because you speak to him doesn’t mean you have to tell him about it. I’m hoping you will just tell him that you are all right and that we are not mistreating you.”

“My father doesn’t understand such mercy,” Jori said. Not only that, Jori thought, Father will be angry when he finds out I didn’t take advantage of their hospitality. “I strongly advise you not contact my father until the very last moment. Wait until we get to the Chevert outpost and leave us with our ally rather than wait for my father to arrive.”

“Who is this ally?”

“He is a Tredon administrator who organizes much of our empire’s trade,” Jori replied.

“Are you sure you can trust him? I could be leaving you in danger.”

“I’m positive,” Jori said with conviction. There weren’t many Tredons Jori would trust with his safety, but Jax was one he could. Jax enjoyed his position at the Chevert outpost. He was married and had children, and his family was far safer at the Chevert outpost than they were in Tredon territory. If Jori told Jax that his father already knew he and his brother were under his care, Jax wouldn’t jeopardize his position to take advantage. He’d get the boys home as promptly and as safely as possible.

“I will take this into consideration,” Captain Arden said sincerely.

“It is the only way, Captain. If you contact my father, he is going to assume my brother and I are being held hostage. And when you arrive at the Chevert outpost, he will attack you.”

“If he does that,” Bracht interrupted, “we will kill him.”

“Do not think it so simple, Rabnoshk,” Jori said disdainfully. “You will most likely die.”

“Even if either side survives,” Captain Arden said neutrally, “this incident would likely cause a war between our people. I do not want war. If we can handle this without confrontation, it would be better for everyone.”

“You are afraid to fight us,” Jori said with realization.

“Not afraid,” the captain replied. “But I have no love for war either. And I don’t believe our differences can be resolved simply by fighting over them.”

Jori gave him a questioning look so the captain continued. “Tell me, Jori, what do you think the purpose of fighting is.”

“To teach a lesson,” Jori replied automatically. “To seek retribution for a wrong.”

“When someone hurts you, do you come to a sudden revelation that perhaps you were wrong? Do you learn a lesson?”

“No,” Jori replied with a frown.

“That’s right. You don’t. In fact, you probably want to seek that retribution you mentioned, do you not?”

“Yes,” Jori replied.

“Say you get your retribution. That person hasn’t learned a lesson any more than you did when he hurt you. He will want to retaliate.” Jori moved to speak, but the captain held up his hand. “And before you tell me that he can’t retaliate if he’s dead, consider who might retaliate on his behalf. When does the retribution and retaliation end? It could go on and on until you’re no longer sure what you were fighting about to begin with. And while you are on your rampage, innocents get in the way and are killed as well. Many die for what was at first a small thing. So tell me again, what is the purpose of fighting?”

“If you’re saying fighting is pointless,” Jori said with a hint of annoyance at the captain’s logical argument, “then I beg to differ. If I don’t fight, I die. I must defend myself.”

“Defense is the correct answer,” Captain Arden replied. “Fighting to teach a lesson doesn’t work. And fighting to seek retribution could have terrible consequences. I don’t want a war because of the terrible consequences of war. But if your father starts one, we will be forced to defend ourselves. So if it is all the same to you, I’d like to avoid a war. If you think contacting your father will create more harm than good, then I will seriously consider your idea.”

Before Jori could say anything, the beep of the comm notification diverted the Captain’s attention. “Go ahead,” he said.

“Sir, I have Rear Admiral Zimmer online,” the voice said through the comm.

“Will you excuse me?” the captain said to Jori. Jori sensed dread from the captain and was confused by it, but now was not the time. He gave a nod in assent and left wondering why the captain felt unease at the mention of his rear admiral.

***

“Rear Admiral Zimmer,” Robert said to the admiral through the vid-comm. “To what do I owe this pleasure?”

“I hear you have the Kavakian princes on board your ship, Captain,” Zimmer said crossly. “And I’m wondering why you didn’t notify me directly.”

Robert’s heart sunk, but he tried to answer nonchalantly. “My apologies, Admiral. Since they are just boys, I didn’t think their presence warranted a priority report.”

“Having the sons of the Alliance’s worst enemy on board your ship is not a priority?” Zimmer said angrily.

“Since they are just children, I figured not, Sir.”

“You figured wrong. Just what did you plan on doing with the children, anyway?”

“I am in the process of making arrangements to get them home.”

“Out of the question,” Zimmer said angrily. “We could use these children to negotiate the release of some of our people.”

Robert was appalled but managed not to let it show on his face. “If the emperor found out we have his children it will likely trigger a war.”

“We can reinforce our borders,” Zimmer replied offhandedly. “I will be at Caspan in a week. I want those children brought to me immediately.”

“Capsan? But that is at least thirty day-cycles away for us, Sir.” Robert tried hard not to let his anger show. Zimmer was a fool. After Robert had talked with Jori, he was even more certain of the risk of war. The idea sickened him. When he was a young officer, younger than J.T., he was forced to fire on an enemy ship in battle. The enemy ship ended up having children aboard, many who had been killed or maimed in the firefight. Robert still had nightmares about it and he had absolutely no desire to be a part of a war ever again. It was why he redirected his path towards negotiations.

“Where are you now?” Zimmer asked. Robert gave his current coordinates. “Very well,” Zimmer said. “We can meet at the Chevert outpost. I am only about ten day-cycles from there. I will see you then.”

“Yes, Admiral,” Robert replied, trying to keep the dread from his voice. He was going to have to break his promise to the young prince. It would do no good to argue about it with the rear admiral. He wouldn’t understand, and likely wouldn’t care. So Robert said nothing. He had no choice but to follow orders.

“One more thing,” Zimmer said. “You implied that the emperor does not yet know that we have his children.”

“That is correct,” Robert confirmed.

“Do any other Tredons know?”

“I have not contacted anyone as of yet, Sir.”

“Good. Keep it that way.”

“Yes, Sir.” Robert replied.

When the conversation ended, Robert sat back in his chair in deep thought. He had so hoped to keep this from Zimmer. Now he was going to have to break his promise to Jori. This is not good, he thought. This is not good at all.

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

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 18

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , on April 4, 2015 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part One – First Encounter
Chapter 18

(The first chapter of “The Kavakian Empire” can be found by following the link under Categories in the right hand column. You can also find the first chapter by looking for August 2014 under Archives.)

“Jori, I’m really sorry about what just happened,” J.T. said with sincerity. “This was not supposed to happen at all, I promise you.” Jori’s eyes burned angrily. “You know I’m telling the truth,” J.T. added.

“If I hadn’t been here, that man might have killed my brother,” Jori said heatedly through clenched teeth.

“I know. I’m sorry, I really am,” J.T. said. “I know some of us hate more strongly than others, but I didn’t expect anyone to take it so far.”

“How can I trust you now? How can I trust anyone? Who will try to kill my brother next? Will it be you?”

“That’s not fair, Jori,”J.T. replied with a hint of rebuke. “I supported your suspicion. I backed you up against my own crew member.”

Jori looked away. J.T. let him think about it for a bit, and stepped out of the room to speak to security. “Has someone alerted the captain?” he asked.

“Yes, Sir. He’s on his way here now,” one of the officers replied.

“Good. Thank you,” J.T. said.

When he went back into the room, Jori no longer looked angry. But there was something else in the boy’s eyes.

“What happened in Gereva,” J.T. asked.

Jori hesitated. He looked down to his feet, then to the side again. J.T. didn’t think he was going to answer, but he finally met J.T.’s eyes and said, “I killed them. I killed that man’s family.” He swallowed hard and looked away guiltily again.

J.T. felt his chest tighten. “What?” he asked in astonishment. “How?”

Jori looked down at his feet and spoke in a low voice. “It was three years ago. My father directed an aerial battle over a small space station called Gereva. He allowed my brother and I watch. At some point he asked us if we’d like to help by firing torpedoes at space station. He’d never allowed us to participate in a real battle before so we eagerly agreed. We . . .”

J.T.’s shock turned into dread. He put a comforting hand on Jori’s shoulder and knelt down so he could look into Jori’s eyes. Jori was trying hard not to cry. “It wasn’t your fault,” J.T. said.

“It was,” Jori replied. The tears welled up and began to fall down his cheeks. “We had fun doing it. We even had a competition to see who could make the biggest explosion.”

J.T. swallowed hard. “Oh, Jori,” he said sadly. “You didn’t know what you were doing,” he tried to say reassuringly.

Jori shook his head as if to agree. “We learned, though. After our soldiers secured the space station, our father took us inside. There were so many people, women, chi . . .” Jori suppressed a sob.

J.T. moved to comfort him, but Jori put up his hand to hold him back. “I could feel the ones that were still alive,” Jori said.

“You didn’t know, Jori,” J.T. said again. “Your father did this, not you.”

“I’m a criminal,” Jori said, looking earnestly into J.T.’s eyes. “You should take me into custody and let me answer for my crime.”

“You’re not a criminal,” J.T. replied as he rubbed Jori’s arm consolingly. “You couldn’t have understood what you were doing. I know you are really mature for your age, but you are still naive in many ways.”

“I understood when we walked through the station,” Jori replied.

“I know you did,” J.T. replied. “You learned something then, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” Jori said.

“You came to understand the consequences of such actions and you won’t want to do it again, right?”

“No, I won’t want to. But my father will want me to. I may not have a choice,” Jori replied sadly.

“Someday you will,” J.T. said. Jori nodded in reply.
*****
Jori was wiping his eyes when Doctor Jerom approached the doorway and motioned for J.T. to come talk to him.

When J.T. followed the doctor to his office, Captain Arden was already there.

“How’s Jori taking this?” the captain asked.

“He was angry, but I think he’s calmed down now,” J.T. replied.

“That’s good,” he said. “What happened?”

J.T. explained what had occurred with Laren, including Laren’s reluctance.

“How did Jori know?” the captain asked curiously.

J.T. glanced at the doctor and decided that even though Jori didn’t want him to tell anyone but the captain, that telling Doctor Jerom was acceptable. “He can sense emotions.”

“He’s a reader?” Captain Arden said with surprise.

“Not like Liam,” J.T. said almost defensively. Readers like Liam were required to register with the Alliance, but not readers like Jori. J.T. had looked into the Alliance laws to make sure. They distinguished the differences just as Jori had explained. Since Jori’s ability didn’t invade other people’s minds, his ability was not considered a violation of privacy. But still, J.T. realized he should have told the captain. “Jori only just told me the other day that he can only get a simple sense of what someone might be feeling.”

“I see,” the captain replied in a tone that suggested they would discuss later why J.T. didn’t tell him about Jori’s ability earlier. “So he sensed Laren was up to something?”

“Yes,” J.T. replied. “Was he? Was Laren up to something?” he asked turning to the doctor.

“I’m not sure what was in the syringe yet,” Doctor Jerom said. “But whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t hippoceretine.”

“So Laren was trying to harm Terk,” J.T. said with a regretful sigh. Jori’s reaction made J.T. suspicious, but he didn’t want to really believe Laren would do such a thing. Now, he had no choice but to believe it.

“It appears so,” the captain said with a hint of regret.

“I think,” Doctor Jerom said, “Laren has tried this before.”

“When Terk nearly died the other day?” J.T. asked.

Doctor Jerom nodded. “If you don’t mind, Captain, I’d like to run a few more tests.”

“Certainly, Doctor,” the captain replied. “Commander, I need to apologize to Jori.”

With that, all three left the room. Doctor Jerom went one way while J.T. and the captain went to Terk’s room. Jori was sitting by the bedside and holding his brother’s hand. Jori’s eyes were still a little red, but it wasn’t noticeable that he’d been crying.

When the captain entered the room, Jori stood up and stood formally before the captain.

“Jori,” the captain greeted. “I’m so very sorry about what just happened. I assure you that I will do everything I can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

“I’m sure you know now that it isn’t naivety that makes me believe you, Captain,” Jori said formally.

“Commander Hapker told me of your ability,” the captain replied.

“Good,” Jori said tersely. “Because if I didn’t know you were telling the truth about this incident, if I didn’t believe you truly meant to protect my brother, this conversation would be going very differently.”

J.T.’s eyes bulged at how blunt Jori was being and at how humble the captain was in response. “I understand, Swent Prince, and I’m glad you know I am telling the truth. I truly regret this incident.”

Jori responded by nodding curtly.

When Captain Arden left, J.T. gave Jori a look. “You could have been a little more polite to him, you know. It wasn’t his fault.”

“He’s the captain, isn’t he?” Jori said, not really asking. “His fault or not, it is his responsibility.”

“And he is taking responsibility,” J.T. reminded him a hint of sternness.

“I know,” Jori softened. “Look, J.T. I know you and I have come to a better understanding of one another. But I still need to keep my guard up. I can’t afford to keep exposing my weaknesses.”

“Being upset about your brother is not a weakness,” J.T. replied unassumingly.

“Such sentiment is weakness. Emotion is weakness,” Jori said.

“Emotion in itself is not a weakness. Losing control of your emotions, however, is. It is about control of your emotions, not about elimination of your emotions.”

“You know how I feel about my brother,” Jori said. “If you wanted to, you could use that against me.”

“There are people in this world who would do such a thing. But it doesn’t make you weak,” J.T. replied. “Having compassion for others is a good thing. If you don’t, if you don’t care, then you’re just a bully.”

“I’m supposed to be a bully. That’s what being a Kavak is all about.” Jori said, but not sounding like he really believed it.

“Is that what your father tells you?” J.T. asked. “I think he’s wrong. There are better ways to lead than to bully people.”

“Maybe,” Jori replied. “But if you weren’t who you are. If I were on another ship, perhaps, my emotions would have left me vulnerable.”

“Your sentiment for your brother just saved his life. And your brother obviously has emotions for you as well, since he saved your life when your ship crashed,” J.T. said recalling the video he had seen of Terk protecting his brother. “Together, you and your brother are stronger because of your emotions.”

Jori didn’t reply, but he was obviously thinking about it.

“I can’t deny there are times when it is best to keep your emotions to yourself,” J.T. added, “but you shouldn’t make yourself numb to them.”

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