Archive for November, 2015

The Kavakian Empire – Part Two Emperor Ch12

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 2, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2015 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part Two – The Emperor

Chapter 12

(I’ve been working on this sci-fi novella all through November for National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNo at www.nanowrimo.org. Athough I’m posting this chapter late in the month, I have finished writing all of part two of this story. You won’t see all of the, though, for several months. You will continue to see a post every Saturday. Each post is the unedited version. My hope is to get editing done behind the scenes and have a select few people do reviews for story and writing improvement. If you are a science fiction fanatic and would like to give me a hand, either continue to check by every Saturday and leave comments or email me for the story in its entirety.)

Devon stood in a solid stance with his hands clasped behind his back as he discreetly surveyed the scene before him. He was careful to stand along the edge of the laser room so as not to be noticed. Devon was no fool. If the men knew he was watching, they’d pretend to work harder. And he wanted to see how they behaved in ordinary circumstances.

Except for the guards standing on the outer edges of the room, everyone seemed to be doing something. The tall skinny Tredon man barely thought of as a warrior emphatically jabbed his finger at something on the laser. Devon didn’t have a good view, but he knew Jako was standing over someone. And his erratic gestures suggested he was yelling at them too.

Devon ground his teeth. He was tempted to go tell whoever Jako was talking to that they’d better do as they were told. They’d taken more than enough time to do this job as it was.

When Jako stomped off, Devon’s lips twisted in disgust. The person he had been berating was the Alliance woman. Devon never understood why the Alliance worked so closely with their women. He found it laughable that she had been a part of the firefight on Thendi.

Women could be a huge distraction. Devon kept his put away and only went to see them when his work was caught up and he was feeling lusty. He almost hadn’t allowed this Alliance woman to work on this project. But the documentation Terk had found on her said she was an expert with laser technology.

Devon wasn’t so ignorant as to assume women weren’t as intelligent as men. He knew they could be. He preferred mating with intelligent women, in fact. It helped improve the chances his sons would be intelligent. Devon did believe, however, that women should only serve a limited purpose.

Devon glanced over to where Jori was working. The boy’s brow was furrowed as if in concentration as he fiddled with something on the laser. Jori was diligent and Devon had no doubt that the boy’s claim of being more intelligent than Jako was true. But while Jako was physically weak, Jori was deliberately weak.

Devon felt a stab of a headache and realized he was clenching his jaw too tightly. Why in the hell does that boy have to be so cowardly? Jori was highly intelligent and very talented in martial skills for a boy his age. But his adamant refusal to engage in torture irked Devon to no end. He should have gone through with his threat to send Jori to the gallery along with the Alliance crewmembers, but the little shit had made a good point about counter-productivity.

Devon desperately needed get this laser working, and the sooner the better. It had been decades since his father had lost the Pentam system, but it had also been decades since Devon vowed to get it back.

It wasn’t for lack of wanting that Devon hadn’t reconquered the Pentam system. It was the damned balance of power Lord Falcorn managed to keep in check. In Devon’s grandfather’s time, the Kavakian Empire reigned supreme. No lowly lord was powerful enough to go against the emperor’s will.

Lord Falcorn, unfortunately, was not so lowly. He was Devon’s most powerful ally and adversary. He was one of the few lords with his own fleet space vessels. He didn’t have as many as Devon, but he had enough. His other military assets were not to be discounted either.

Falcorn acted subservient under Devon’s authority and so long as Falcorn paid his taxes Devon didn’t attempt to dominate the man as he did with other lords. He knew attempting to take the Pentam system would cause their delicate truce to break up in an all-out war. Although Tredon men lived for war, both sides were powerful enough that fighting one another would be a great risk. Devon risked being the cause of the fall of his dynasty while Falcorn risked losing the privileges his current power allowed.

If Devon succeeded in taking the Pentam system, his power would double and Lord Falcorn would be doomed. So it was in the lord’s best interest to keep Devon from succeeding in such a venture. If Devon were to organize his fleet to go after the Pentam system, Falcorn would react in what he considered as self-defense and use the vacuum of Devon’s absence to oust control. If Devon had the laser, though, he could take Pentam with just a few ships instead of his entire fleet. The rest of his fleet would keep Lord Falcorn at bay and Devon would regain the glory his father had lost.

Devon scrutinized each of the Alliance workers. They all appeared to be working, but he had no way of knowing if they were doing anything productive. Jori was supposed to be making sure, but for some reason it was Jako who went around to each of the prisoners.

Jako never looked happy when he inspected the work. But Devon suspected there was an alternative reason as to why. With the way Jako strutted around with his chin held high, it was obvious he was enjoying his current dominant status. No Tredon ever took Jako seriously, but these Alliance men, and woman, had no choice.

Devon glanced at Jori again. His clenched jaw sent another jab of pain to his skull. He wished he could discern if the boy was up to something. But why would he help the Allaince? It made no sense, yet he couldn’t help but wonder whether Jako’s accusations were true. That Jori refused to torture the prisoners did not support Jako’s view. The boy never participated no matter how much Devon tried to bully or force him.

Devon stepped from the corner in a huff. Jako couldn’t be relied upon to give accurate information about Jori. And somehow Devon suspected Terk would protect him. It was time to gather information from other sources.

Devon deliberately walked across the laser room. All the men, including the Alliance crew, stiffened. Their already vigilant guard stances seemed even more attentive. Devon would have smiled, but it would ruin the moment.

One warrior guard did not need to adjust his stance. Jetser was a seasoned warrior, one of the best there was. Sometimes it annoyed Devon that Jetser didn’t seem to fear him. But Jetser always did what he was told and then some. Devon couldn’t complain.

“Come with me,” Devon told the man.

Jetser gave a slight deferential not. “Yes, Your Eminence,” he replied. His face was calm and cool with no hint of worry at being called out by the emperor. If it had been any other man, their face would have turned white.

Devon led Jetser to a private room off from where the laser was being worked on. There was no desk or chair to sit in so Devon and Jetser stood facing one another in the at-ease stance.

“You have heard Jako’s claims. What do you think of them?”

“I think Jako is jealous, my Lord, of your son.”

Devon frowned. “So you believe he is trying to undermine him?” The idea of someone trying to undermine a Kavak chafed him.

“I don’t think he intends it as an affront to you, my Lord.” Jetser must have noticed Devon’s annoyance. “I think he’s worried. Jako’s only redeeming quality is that he knows this stuff better than anyone, or at least he used to. He probably feels Jori’s aptitude will oust him.”

“Hm.” Devon nodded his head. He hadn’t considered that. “So you do not think Jori is helping the prisoners?”

“No, my Lord.”

Devon narrowed his eyes. “You haven’t seen or heard anything that would lead Jako to think he was helping them?”

“Jori is not as impatient with them as Jako is, but he’s not friendly with them in any way.”

“Not impatient, as in, he’d rather help them than motivate them?”

“Jori has never been fond of torturing.”

Devon let out a slight snort. “No doubt a doing of his mother’s. I should have pulled him away from her sooner. The boy is far too womanish.”

“He’s still young, my Lord. Still learning.”

Devon pursed his lips. True. But damn him. It doesn’t look good to have a son who’s so soft. Whatever Jori’s shortcomings, at least Terk made up for them. At the same time, though, Terk was becoming a great warrior, but Jori was already beating him in games of strategy. Neither boy was perfect, but together they damned near were. And they were as close to perfect as Devon was ever likely to get.

He had had other sons once, but they fell markedly short of his expectations and died in some way or another. In a couple of cases, they died at Devon’s own hand.

But Devon couldn’t have any more children. An assassination attempt kept it from happening. The assassin used a poison that corrupted Devon’s DNA. If by some small miracle he did happened to impregnate a woman, the results were mental retardation, deformities, or other unacceptable flaws.

The technology existed to manipulate DNA, but this was universally frowned upon. Generations ago, genetic manipulation was common. But from what Devon had read, the average citizens rallied against the practice with a war that spanned the galaxy.

Despite the limitations of the natural born man, they eventually won. Strict laws against genetic manipulation were passed. After the universal declaration, those born with manipulated DNA were not given the same rights as other citizens. They were practically relegated to the status of slaves.

Even Devon’s ancestors complied with the new universal stance. They cheated it, however, by only breeding with others that had ancestors who used genetic manipulation. In fact, Devon chose the women in his harem based on their DNA compatibility and the ones he favored most had benefited generations ago by DNA enhancements.

Jori and Terk’s mother was one such woman. That she also had the abilities of a Truth Seeker also made her a desirable. Although Terk and Jori did not have her ability, they were both excellent results of select breeding. They were the last two he had sired and were the only two sons he had left.

Jori irritated him a great deal, but Jetser was right. He was still young so there was still time to mold him.

“I want you to have a long talk with him about being careful not to look like he’s befriending our enemy.”

Jetser nodded respectfully. “Yes, Your Eminence,” he replied.

Devon gave Jetser a dismissing nod. “Bring me Hagar,” he said.

Jetser nodded again with a slight bow. Devon stepped out of the at-ease stance and crossed his arms in front of him. He wasn’t quite as annoyed about Jori as he had been a moment before, but he wanted to make sure. Hagar came recommended by Trevine and was proving to be a very promising warrior guard. Devon would have him keep a closer eye on Jori and report anything suspicious.

 

Please comment below to tell me what you thought of this chapter. I’m an amateur writer and am in desperate need of constructive criticism.

(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright November, 2015 by Dawn Ross

You may share this sci-fi novella so long as you link back to this website and mention, The Kavakian Empire by Dawn Ross.

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The Kavakian Empire – Part Two Story Issues Update

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 2, The Kavakian Empire, Writing with tags , , , , , , on November 21, 2015 by Dawn Ross

I spent the entire Halloween weekend working more details into my outline. When I got done, I realized some serious shortcomings.

Part Two really is awesome. It has the perfect story elements for a good plot. And the plot escalates just like it’s supposed to. A good plot was something that Part One was very weak at.

I think I did a great job on Terk’s character in Part Two. He really takes the spotlight. And that, therein, lies part of the problem. Jori and J.T. are too wishy-washy. I can’t have that. Jori is the whole reason I am writing The Kavakian Empire to begin with. And J.T. is a major part of Jori’s story.

So on Halloween day, I brainstormed for ways to improve their characters. This is what I realized I needed to fix:

INCREASE CONFLICT
One reason Terk came out to be such a fantastic character is because he creates conflict. Jori and Terk were too wishy-washy because they just went along with everything. So, I tried to think of ways to increase their conflict

Internal Thoughts
One way to increase conflict is to get inside the character’s head more. The Emotion Thesaurus is helping me with this. By doing a better job at writing internal thoughts and emotions, I hope to shed some light on what my wishy-washy characters are thinking. And what they’re thinking can be a conflict because it might not be what the person observing them thinks they are thinking.

Take Jori, for example. He is very good at masking his emotions. So when I had him talking to his father, it looked to the reader like he was just going along with his father without much resentment. But by adding more internal thoughts, I hope to give the reader a better insight on how Jori feels about the man.

Use a Character’s Strengths Against Them
Another way to increase conflict is to understand that a character’s strength can also be his weakness. For example, my character Jori tends to care a great deal about certain people. I think most of us can agree that caring about people is a positive strength. But it’s not such a great trait to have when you’re part of a brutal warrior race, especially when a person you care about is supposed to be your enemy.

Conflicts with Friends
Conflicts with the enemy are a given. So writing Jori’s conflict with his father was easy. But what if he has a conflict with his brother, someone he cares deeply about? Writing J.T.’s conflict with the emperor was easy, too. But what if he has a conflict with one of his own men, like Harley?

Other Conflicts
The above are the types of conflict I used, but there are a number of other ways conflict can be used to help make a character more interesting. Conflict can be internal, such as when dealing with addiction or by having to make a difficult choice. Conflict can also be external. External conflicts don’t have to be just with people or society either. Someone could have conflict with an object, such as one a racecar driver might have with their car. Or it can be with the environment, such as needing to cross a mountain pass in winter.

ISSUE CORRECTIONS
Once I decided on what I needed to make my characters more interesting, I brainstormed some ideas on how to implement them into the story. I came up with several great ideas and grasped onto two situations that I felt would really spice up the story.

Coming up with more content meant editing and adding to my current outline. I added several chapters or subchapters and 4,890 words to my outline and I made revisions to a few of the chapters that I’ve already written. If you’d like to see the revised version of those chapters, please email me at naturebydawn at aol dot com.

NANO
By the way, I’ve been participating in NaNo, aka the National Novel writing month, at www.nanowrimo.org. Hopefully, this will keep me motivated so that I can finish Part Two in no time. You can find me on NaNo by searching dawnross.

The Kavakian Empire – Part Two Emperor Ch10a – Insert

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 2, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2015 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part Two – The Emperor

Chapter 10a – Insert

(I realized that I forgot to tell you all what happened when Devon called Jori back. So this part of chapter 10 needs to be inserted prior to what you read a few weeks ago. Remember, this science fiction story is a work in progress. You will find many errors as you read. Feel free to point them out and please provide me with constructive criticism.)

Jori’s stomach felt like it was full of rocks that were grinding together. And it wasn’t because he thought he was in trouble. He was used to being punished. It was because his father knew something was amiss with the Alliance crew members. Jori was sure that whatever pain he felt from being punished wouldn’t even come close to the pain he’d feel if something happened to J.T.

Seeing people die, especially when they were brutally murdered, already gave Jori nightmares. And if this happened to J.T., the nightmare would be a hundred times worse because the death would be of someone he cared about.

Jori steeled himself for whatever was to come. He stood in what some called an at-ease stance with his hands behind his back, but he was anything but at ease. His muscles were rigid and he dared not give in to the desire to fidget. He held his breath as his father stood over his desk, looked down on him with a threatening glare.

“Why do the prisoners have so much information on their digiviews?” His father’s voice was quiet, but Jori could sense his boiling anger.

Rather than be intimidated, though, Jori’s eyebrows drew together. It was no secret that the digiviews were full of information. “Although they have general knowledge on lasers, they aren’t familiar with this project.”

“So you thought it was a good idea to give them information beyond the project, information they should already know?”

Jori felt a twinge of annoyance. For once, he hadn’t done anything wrong. “The more information they have, the more likely they’ll be able to complete the project.”

“How can I be sure they’re knowledgeable enough if you’ve given them all the answers?” His father’s lips were pressed together and his jaw tightly set.

Jori had to be careful to keep his tone from sounding peevish. “Since they only minored in the technology, I gave them references they could turn to so they wouldn’t mess anything up.”

His father took a deep breath. Jori could sense his irritation, but he seemed to accept the explanation. Something else was bothering him though. “Why does Jako seem to think you’re helping them?”

The rocks in his stomach tumbled again, but Jori kept his face neutral. “Jako is jealous because he knows I’m smarter than him.”

His father raised his eyebrow impatiently. “So you’re not helping them?”

“I merely make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. If I help them, it is to make sure they’re doing it right.”

“And I suppose you’re not protecting them either?” His father’s nostrils flared and his breathing sounded heavier.

Damn Jako. Jori knew the man was going to be trouble, but that he actually had the nerve to make such accusations to his father really irked him. “Protecting them how?” Jori replied. He tried to make his tone sound innocent, but it sounded vexed instead.

“By not properly motivated them,” he said through clenched teeth.

Jori’s mouth was dry and he wanted to look away from his father’s glare. But he managed to hold his eyes and keep his composure. “Jako’s desire to exert his newfound dominance on them is counter-productive.”

Jori knew his tone had come across as sounding defensive because his father’s fists were balled up so tight that his hands were turning white. “Is that your sentiment talking, boy?”

“No, Sir,” Jori replied. He lifted his chin in a way he hoped would reflect the confidence he didn’t feel. “I am tired of having to work with these cowardly men, but I do what I must so that the laser can get done as quickly as possible. The more Jako wants to punish them, the longer it will take.”

His father still had a dark look, but his fists were no longer clenched. “So you’re taking it easy on them for the good of the empire?” His father sounded skeptical but Jori could sense he was buying it.

Jori forced himself to clench his teeth and frown in a way that he hoped his father would interpret as hate. “I have no love for the Alliance.”

“Then it won’t bother you if I sign them up for another round in the gallery.”

Rather than give in to panic, Jori tried to hold on to his look of hate “Not at all, Sir.”

“Good. Then when Derianna is done, I will make the arrangements.” His father stared at Jori for a moment to see if he’d react. Jori’s stomach turned, but he didn’t let anything show. Still, his father wasn’t satisfied. “And if you hate the Alliance so much, I expect you to participate.”

Jori felt the blood drain from his face, but he forced himself the keep the hateful look. This time, though, the look was a reflection of how he felt about his father. “You know I won’t.”

His father’s face turned red and he bared his teeth when he spoke. “Then when I am done with them, it will be your turn.”

Nervousness and outrage rumbled together in Jori’s stomach. He defiantly held his father’s stare, but didn’t reply. So be it, he said to himself. He would have said it out loud but he knew it would earn him a hard slap.

Despite Jori’s Jintal training, a form of training that taught him to endure pain, he still felt anxious about being punished. But while his father thought the torture would make Jori more compliant, it only served to make him hate his father more.

“Damned your stubbornness, boy,” his father said through clenched teeth.

 

Please comment below to tell me what you thought of this chapter. I’m an amateur writer and am in desperate need of constructive criticism.

(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright November, 2015 by Dawn Ross

You may share this sci-fi novella so long as you link back to this website and mention, The Kavakian Empire by Dawn Ross.

The Kavakian Empire – Part Two Emperor Ch11 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 2, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2015 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part Two – The Emperor

Chapter 11 – Revised

(Be sure to read last week’s book review of The Emotion Thesaurus. Sometimes I am unaware of my writing weaknesses until someone points them out. Some comments from readers for part one of my science fiction story told me they were having a difficult time getting into the characters. I wasn’t sure what I could do about it until I read The Emotion Thesaurus. As per last week’s post, I learned a lot form this book. And as such, I think I can use the information I learned to make a big improvement on chapter 11 of part two. So here is the revised version.)

Terk sat at his father’s desk in the ready room. He was alone. His father had gone to bed a while back. Terk should have gone too, but he had something, someone, to take care of, someone he should have dealt with earlier if he hadn’t been so busy.

Terk tapped the tabletop loudly as he waited. His jaw was sore from clenching his teeth, but he had too many thoughts going through his head for the pain to register.

From what Jori had said, all father had wanted when he called him back was to get an update on the progress of the laser. Jori said father was suspicious, but only about the Alliance crew. Nothing else. Nothing else Jori will tell me anyway. Even though Terk wasn’t there, he had sensed Jori’s apprehension and his father’s agitation. Jori and I are going to have a little talk later.

Terk felt tensions growing all around. It was like he was skimming a planet’s atmosphere, one wrong move and the ship would spin out of control, crash and burn. We were almost discovered, Terk thought. That man nearly caused a disaster. A shiver went through him. No. Don’t think about what could have happened. Terk tightened his fists. Think about what will happen if I don’t get this under control.

Terk felt his face flush as he considered the audacity of Jako’s actions. He clamped down on his teeth so hard that pain shot down his neck and to his arms. He clenched his hands until they were white. That damned skinny little bastard went behind my back! Terk slammed his fist on the table. He so badly wanted to beat the shit out the man, to hear him cry and beg for forgiveness.

No. I need to stay in control, he told himself. Terk took a couple of deep breaths and tried to keep his emotions from spilling over. If he went off on Jako, his father would be suspicious as to why. Terk could make something up, but the situation was too tenuous already. He had to do more than just make Jako afraid. He had to convince him of a better way. It was the smart thing to do.

It was Master Jetser’s idea, of course. Terk never would have thought of it. He had a tendency to let his anger get away from him. But Master Jetser’s idea was a really good one and Terk wanted to play it out. The tension in his jaw relaxed somewhat, but he didn’t completely let go of his anger. He still needed it.

Terk sensed Jako’s approach and sat up straight and tall in his father’s chair. He clasped his hands in front of him in order to keep them still.

Terk could sense Jako’s nervousness, but the man actually had the nerve to let out a sigh of relief when he entered the room. Terk pursed his lips and glowered. He thought he was going to see my father sitting here.

When Jako noticed Terk’s look, he averted his eyes and licked his lips. Terk felt the corner of his mouth twitch. Good. The bastard finally has the sense to be nervous.

Terk’s first instinct was to yell at the man before him, but he kept his tone steady. “Do you know why you’re here?” he asked through gritted teeth.

Jako shifted his feet. “No, my Lord.” He licked his lips again. “I’m doing the best I can considering the inferiority I have to work with.”

Terk’s frown deepened at Jako’s lack of self-control. If Terk ever fidgeted in front of his father like this, he’d get the shit beat out of him. But since this was how he wanted Jako to react, he disregarded it. “My father just proved the Alliance crewmen know what they’re doing, and that they’re cooperating.”

Jako frowned. “Really?”

“Do you doubt him?” Terk leaned forward and glared coldly.

“N-no. Of course not, my Lord. It’s just that, well, I don’t see how it is possible.”

Terk sat up straight again and gave Jako a blank look. Put him at ease, Master Jetser had told him. Let him talk first. And then let the hammer fall. “So you think they’re completely worthless.”

“Completely, my Lord.” Jako met his eyes. Terk suppressed a scowl and kept his face neutral as Jako spoke. “When I ask them questions, they barely know the answers. They don’t seem to know what tools to use. And when they do use the right ones, they use them wrongly. I have to constantly fix their mistakes.”

All true, Terk thought. Damned this man for being too smart for his own good. Terk wanted to knock Jako upside his head, but he leaned forward expectantly and kept his tone light in order to play out Master Jetser’s advice. “And you don’t think their ignorance is an act?”

Jako puffed out his lean chest and lifted his chin. “Not at all, my Lord. I think they’re lying in order to save their skin.”

Time for the hammer. Terk raised his eyebrows. “So you can complete this laser all on your own?”

Jako blinked rapidly. His mouth hung open for a moment as he considered his response. “Um, y—“

Terk let his mask fall and his scowl return. His tone deepened. “Don’t lie to me, Jako.”

Jako paled. “Well… no,” he said slowly. More quickly he added, “I can do it with more help. With real help.”

Terk gritted his teeth. “This help you speak of is not available.”

“But these men are useless,” Jako said. His shoulders slumped and he kept glancing away, refusing to meet Terk’s dark eyes.

“Wrong.” Terk slapped the desk hard and stood up quickly. Jako flinched and took a wary step back. “They can help you.”

“How?” Jako shifted from foot to foot.

Terk put his hands behind his back walked stiffly from behind the desk. “Let’s pretend we kill the Alliance men now and leave it all to you. And when the laser can’t be fixed…” Terk stood directly in front of Jako now. He stared hard into the man’s eyes, not giving Jako any choice but to meet his stare. “…who is my father going to blame?”

Jako’s eyes went wide. Terk’s ability felt the man’s apprehension. He felt puffed-up as a result, but he kept the smugness from showing on his face.

“B-but it won’t be my fault. I don’t have enough help,” Jako said.

“Who else is he going to blame?” Terk’s scowl deepened and nostrils flared. “My father might put some of the fault onto Jori, but of the two of you, who is more expendable?”

Terk noticed Jako’s adam’s apple bob up and down. Good, he is afraid, Terk thought. He suppressed a smile and felt some of his tension ease. Now to convince him.

“This is what I propose,” Terk continued. He still frowned and looked Jako in the eyes, but he tried not to sound as hard. “Even if these Alliance men might not know all of what they’re doing, let’s try to squeeze as much usefulness out of them as we can. Who knows, perhaps we’ll get lucky. And if not, much of the blame can be laid at their feet instead of yours.”

Jako let out a breath. “Yes, Sir,” he said.

Terk felt the man’s anxiety fall away again. I can’t have that, now can I, Terk thought. Jako was convinced, but Terk had a reputation to uphold. “One more thing, though,” he said.

“My Lord?”

Terk leaned in nose-to-nose with Jako and gave the man his most menacing glare. “Jori is your immediate superior in this.” Terk’s voice was quiet. If he spoke any louder, it would come out as a growl. “You report any problems you have to him.” Jako took a step back and Terk took a step forward. “If he thinks it is important enough, he will come to me and I will go to our father.” Another step back and another forward. “If you ever go over my head again, I will open the air-lock and let you out. Do you understand me?”

Jako hit his head on the wall as he tried to take another step back. Terk held his glare.

“Yes, S-sir.”

Terk pulled back made his face go blank in order to keep his self-satisfaction from showing. “Good. I’m glad we’ve cleared this up. Dismissed.”

Jako stood straight and tried to regain his composure. Terk went to sit back behind his father’s desk.

“Sir, one thing, though,” Jako said. He licked his lips again and cleared his throat. He straightened the front of his uniform and met Terk’s eyes.

Damn, I should’ve stayed standing there, Terk thought.

“I’m worried because it seems the young lord is helping the prisoners,” Jako said.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Terk replied. Terk furrowed his brow and gave Jako a warning look. It wasn’t because Jako was being brave, though that did annoy him. And it wasn’t that the damned bastard couldn’t leave things well-enough alone, though that irked him as well. Terk’s heart pounded in his chest and he felt his body go tense. He’s jealous, he thought. The fucking bastard is jealous of Jori and he thinks I’ll support his suspicions because he believes my brother and I are rivals.

“I swear, Sir. He’s always—“

“I’ll take care of it,” Terk said. He leaned forward and glared fiercely. But Jako, as smart as he was, missed the signs.

“But—“

Terk slapped his hand down on the desk again. Jako jumped.

“I said I’ll take care of it.” Terk stood swiftly and held Jako’s eyes as he stamped his way forward again. A warmth spread over him like fire.

A loud thud resounded in the room when Terk slammed the skinny man up against the wall. Jako’s face went deathly pale and his eyes fully dilated while Terk’s face was red and hot and his eyes cold and dark. “And if you breathe even a whisper of this ridiculous accusation to my father, I won’t kill you.”

“Y-you won’t?” Jako blinked his eyes and tried not to meet Terk’s hateful look.

“No. I will send you to Ankgar.” Terk breathed heavily through his bared teeth and shook with rage. “And I will stand there and watch as he peels away your skin, patch by patch. I’ll smile as he slowly dips you into a pot of boiling water, only to pull you out again so that you can live on. You will be crying out agony but I will be laughing with joy as you live rest of your life in perpetual pain.”

Terk’s nose burned with the smell of Jako’s urine. Jako was even whiter than he had been before. He trembled violently. Terk could tell the man wanted to offer platitudes, but his fear paralyzed him.

Finally, the respect I deserve, Terk thought. There was no room for smugness now, though. Only the raging fire within him. He didn’t care how sensible Master Jetser’s advice had been. If Jako got his brother in trouble, Terk would make damned sure the bastard suffered in the most agonizing way possible.

 

So tell me, did this chapter do more to make you connect with the characters? Did I do a better job of building the scene and with not making the conversation seem so contrived? Do you think I benefited from The Emotion Thesaurus? Please comment below to tell me what you thought.

(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright October, 2015 by Dawn Ross

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