Archive for February, 2016

The Kavakian Empire Part One Chapter 5 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – Edge of the Dragon’s Shadow (provisional title)

Chapter 5 – Revised

(This is the revised version of part one of my science fiction story. Hopefully, it is a better version. I believe it has a better deep point of view and I think it sets up more tension between Jori and J.D. Don’t be tempted to go and read the unrevised version of this novella. The story has changed in some important aspects. Just come by every Saturday and read a new chapter in the revised version. Please leave feedback because even this revised version is not the final version.)

So far, Jori was not at all what J.D. had expected. Honestly, he wasn’t sure of what to expect. The boy had made some cutting remarks here and there—that was a given. But his mannerisms were very adult-like and his level of intelligence was surprising—surprising and unnerving.

Looking at him now, he appeared to be an ordinary child. He was tall for his age and had some features identifiable as Tredon, the dark hair and the narrowness of his eyes. But he was virtually indistinguishable in the diversity of the Prontaean Alliance. What made him stand out was his mentality and his behaviors.

He walked like a soldier, straight and stiff, as they made their way down the corridor towards the ship’s main common area, the last stop on the tour of the Odyssey. A handful of security guards trailed them, but the boy seemed not to notice or care.

“So you enjoy the science and physics of starships?” he asked casually. They had just left the engineering room where Jori showed an amazing aptitude for the warp engine’s inner workings.

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

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

“I have very little spare time.”

“Well, what do you like to do in general?”

“I like to practice in the martial arts.”

“Yes, I got that impression.” He smiled. When he had shown the boy the gymnasium, his eyes lit up and his mouth actually fell open. It was the only emotion besides irritation that he had seen him express so far. “What else?”

Jori stopped and faced him. His eyes narrowed further. “Why do you want to know?”

Great. More irritation. “Just curious,” he replied honestly. “You and I will be spending a lot of time together so I just want to get to know you better.”

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

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

“Hm,” the boy said. J.D. wasn’t sure whether he meant it as acknowledgement or as a derision.

Okay, then. This isn’t going well. “What about games? What kind of games do you like?”

Jori sighed audibly. “I don’t play games, Commander.”

“None at all? No physical games or strategic games?”

“I suppose I like physical challenges and games of strategy.”

“What about Barson Hop or Treasure House?”

“Those are children’s games,” the boy replied with a hint of disdain in his voice. “I definitely don’t play children’s games.”

J.D. suppressed a sigh. The boy’s tone was grating his nerves. “Okay, fine. How about Schemster?” Schemster was his favorite strategic game. It might be too complicated for someone Jori’s age, but it was the first adult strategic game that popped into his head.

“Yes, I like Schemster,” Jori said.

“Really?” he said in a spiked tone. Although he had begun playing Schemster with his grandfather when he was about seven, none of his friends had. “Good. How about after we eat, we play a game of Schemster?”

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

When they entered the common room, the boy’s posture somehow became more rigid and on guard. It was busy here. It wasn’t as crowded as J.D. had sometimes seen it, but he could understand how being in a room full of people considered as enemies could make one feel so he chose a table in the rearcorner of the room.

Jori took a seat with his back against the wall. It was where J.D. would have sat if he were in a strange place because the vantage point gave a good view of the room.

Shra, one of the common room attendants approached with a smile. “What can I get for you?” Her voice was almost song-like.

J.D. tried to get Jori to order one of the chef’s specialty dishes, but he declined when Shra told him the ingredients. After the food came, J.D. savored each bite. Most children ate all the good food quickly and picked at the stuff they didn’t like, but Jori ate his meal mechanically.

“So, Jori,” he said after they finished their plates. “I’ve been meaning to ask you something.” The boy met his eyes. J.D. hesitated, not sure how to ask. He cleared his throat. “Was your father was on the ship?”

Jori stiffened and looked at him with wide eyes. The look disappeared quickly, though, and the boy squinted at him as though in suspicion. “No,” he said.

What was that about? Well, at least he’s not an orphan. “Good,” he said. “So we can get you back to your family.”

“You’re going to send me back?”

“Of course. Don’t you want to go home?”

“I certainly don’t want to stay here.” The boy frowned. “What sort of compensation are you requesting?”

“Compensation? So far as I know, we won’t be asking for any compensation.”

The boy’s eyebrows drew together. “So you’re helping us and sending us home without expecting anything in return?”

“That’s right.”

“Why?”

The question caught him off guard. For him, the answer was obvious. Helping people was a normal part of his life. It’s what his family had done and it’s what people all around him had always done. But how do I explain it to this boy in a way that he’ll understand? He struggled for the right words. “It’s what we do. We’re not just out here to patrol our borders. We also help ships in need.”

“Any ship?”

“Yes. It’s part of the directive of the Prontaean Alliance. To provide assistance to any vessel traveling within our territory, whether it be medical or mechanical.”

The boy made an indecipherable grunt.

“May I ask why your ship was in this area to begin with?” he asked, hoping his tone sounded curious rather than accusing. “You’re a little far from home.”

The boy leaned back but didn’t answer.

“It’s okay. You’re not in trouble,” he said.

Jori’s jaw tightened, but otherwise his face was unreadable.

“I’m not going to pressure you into answering if you don’t want to. But it would really help us if we knew. Wouldn’t you want to know if our situation was reversed?”

“You don’t want to know what things would be like if our situation were reversed, Commander.”

J.D. felt his skin prickle at the boy’s tone. “Maybe not. But how you are being treated here and now should be a point in my favor, right?”

The boy didn’t answer. His jaw was no longer clenched and his face was still unreadable. He met J.D.’s eyes with a directness that he’d seldom seen in other boys his age.

“Very well,” the boy finally said. “We were on our way back from the Depnaugh Space Station when the Grapnes confronted us with a demand for our surrender.”

“Surrender for what?” he asked.

“They didn’t state, they simply demanded,” Jori replied. “We denied them, of course, and that was when they began to fire. We knew we were outgunned and so we ran.” The boy twisted his mouth when he said the last word.

“I’m not sure I understand,” he said. “The Grapnes are usually greedy, but they’re also cowardly. What profit is it for them to attack a Tredon vessel, even if their ship did outmatch yours? Did you have valuable cargo?”

“No,” the boy said. “Just some foodstuff and supplies to repair our ships.”

That confirms what my team has found so far, but there must be more to this. “If you’re not sure, we understand, of course. But your ship is small. Surely you overheard something of the situation?”

Jori’s brow furrowed and his jaw line hardened again. “I don’t know,” he said through clenched teeth.

J.D. suppressed a sigh. The boy was hiding something. Why else would he be so unyielding. But he didn’t want to push it, so asked another question instead. “So when your captain ran, did he intentionally go into Alliance territory?”

At first, he thought the boy wasn’t going to answer. His lips were pressed tight and he jutted out his chin. J.D. didn’t press him, but he waited for an answer.

“We hoped the Grapnes wouldn’t follow,” the boy finally said. “That and we thought the Hellena system would provide us with some cover.”

That made sense, at least. But it still didn’t solve the mystery of what the heck the Grapnes were doing. The boy was hiding something, that he was certain. But he could see the boy’s aggravation was building. As curious as he was, he didn’t want to further rankle the enemy child who would soon be sleeping in his quarters.

*****

J.D. couldn’t move his general. His soldiers were blocked and three of his key pieces were in danger of being captured. He stroked his chin as he studied the board, trying desperately to find a way out of this mess. There was none.

He wasn’t quite sure how the boy had done it. One moment, his soldiers had Jori’s pieces caught in a pincher and the next moment, his general was on the verge of capture.

The pincher formation had long since been scattered and Jori could win in less than five moves. Darn the boy’s smart. He couldn’t believe it. He may not be a professional player, but his major at the Institute was in strategic planning and analysis. Schemster was actually a required subject for anyone seeking a degree this field, and he was the second best Schemster player at the academy that year. To be beaten by a ten-year-old was both shocking and humbling.

“That was amazing,” he said after Jori won the game. “The last person to beat me was a Schemster Master from Harbon.” No one could beat a Harbon strategist. Harbon was planet within the Alliance that specialized in strategic warfare.

The boy’s eyes narrowed. “One should never underestimate his enemy,” he said in a low town.

A chill went down his spine. “Shall we play again?” he asked, pretending the boy’s bluntness didn’t get to him.

Jori agreed and they played another game.

J.D. had let children win before—not that he had let Jori win. The boy won fair and square—but his manner sparked his competitive side. This time, he paid more attention to the moves. Still, the boy outflanked him here and blocked him there. J.D. moved his red colonel in an attempt to keep Jori’s soldiers from getting past his front line. But two moves later and his colonel was down. It wasn’t without sacrifice, though. Jori had lost a major and two soldiers in the process. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to stop him.

J.D. frowned as he studied the board. His strategy wasn’t working. The boy’s strategy seemed to be to win at all costs, even at the loss of important pieces. This gave him an idea.

He let Jori’s pieces get to his side of the board. Then one-by-one, he took out both the boy’s colonels, all but one of his majors, and five of his eight guns. It was only a matter of time before he captured his general.

Fourteen moves later and J.D. finally won. He half-expected Jori to pout or to be angry, as some children his age tended to be when they lost a game. But to his surprise, the boy seemed to take it in stride.

“Your moves are unpredictable,” Jori said. His face lacked any expression.

“Well, you know what they say about keeping your opponent guessing.” It was a taunt of sorts, a way to get even for Jori’s comment about underestimating one’s enemy. He didn’t mean to say it out loud. It made no sense to antagonize someone he’d be sharing quarters with. But it slipped out. There it was.

The boy raised his eyebrow but said nothing. J.D.’s skin prickled ominously. Bracht was right. He’s no mere child. Not at all.

 

I’d love to hear some constructive criticism. Please leave a comment below. Praise would be most welcome as well.

(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright February, 2016 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.

Advertisements

The Kavakian Empire Part One Chapter 4 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – Edge of the Dragon’s Shadow (provisional title)

Chapter 4 – Revised

(Note from author: Part one of my science fiction story is being rewritten. A few important aspects of the story are going to change from the original version, so don’t go back and read the other version in order to find out what’s going to happen. Just come by every Saturday for a new snippet of my novella.)

The gentle heat of the healing bed eased the tension in Jori’s body. His pains ebbed away slowly as his body mended. It was a relief, being healed. But at the same time, an invisible weight seemed to press down on him. Each time he reached out his senses to his brother, he felt a coldness wash over him. Terk’s life force was weak—so weak, he feared it would disappear altogether.

He no longer sensed the mad rush of the doctors. They had pulled away some time back. Their emotions had felt reluctant, like they wanted to do more but for whatever reason, couldn’t.

At first, he thought they meant to let him die. In a way, it was what they were doing. But he understood. When the doctors back home knew there was nothing more to be done for a soldier, they called it a state of critical condition. They said sometimes a man could pull out of it and sometimes he couldn’t. It’s all up to you now, Terk. Come on, you can fight this.

Damn those Grapnes. This was their fault. They were the reason his brother lay at the edge of death. And those damned bastards were the reason for the deaths of the other men on his ship.

He felt an ache in his chest. He knew his men were all dead without anyone telling him. The memory of Bok’s impaled body and Veda’s crushed skull flashed into his mind. It wasn’t just what he’d seen, though. He’d felt the voids of their missing life force. They died protecting him, protecting Terk mostly. But still. They were all gone.

The ache in his chest rose. His eyes began to water. Without them, and without his brother, he was left to face the enemy alone. His heart began to flutter, but he pushed his panic down. I’m a warrior, dammit. I won’t be afraid. He’d fight these Alliance weaklings if he had to. Even if they did outnumber him. Even if they were much stronger than him.

A shallow beep indicated the healing bed was done. He reached to open the lid, but someone else beat him to it. Medic Shera smiled down. He barely glanced at her and flicked his gaze at the Alliance officer standing behind her instead. It was the same man as on the planet, a commander by the insignia on his brownish-grey uniform.

The man stood stiff but alert, in a readiness similar to that of a soldier’s but perhaps a little more at ease. He was tall and fairly well-built as compared to the other Alliance men he’d seen, but not as muscular as a Tredon warrior.

And the man had a smirk on his face. Jori clenched his jaw and scowled. The man thinks he’s triumphed over me? He has no idea what I’m capable of.

He sat up quickly. The insult on his tongue died away as the room spun. He gripped the edge of the bed waiting for the the whirling in his head to subside.

“You alright?” the man said.

His vision came back into focus. The man was standing right beside him now. Jori clenched his jaw. The man was close, close enough for him to strike right in the nose. He was strong enough to draw blood. But no. That was Terk’s way, not his.

The insult came back into his head, but so did a sense of the man’s emotions. The commander didn’t feel cocky. He felt concerned. Jori focused on the sensation. Not a hint of arrogance. So it wasn’t a smirk after all. He could see it now. One side of the commander’s mouth was naturally turned up more than the other.

“How are you feeling?” the medic asked.

He turned back to her. “Well.”

“Good,” she said. He could sense her unease as she did a brief medical inspection. He ignored her again. She wasn’t his concern. This place was. They were helping to heal him, but they could have something else planned. He needed a way out for just in case.

He glanced subtly around the room and mapped out all of his surroundings, the way Master Jetser had taught him. Two armed security officers stood just outside the divider that sectioned off the area he was in. He could sense two more on either side of the opening. And a quick glance further revealed two more guarding the main exit. Then there was the commander himself. At least five medical personnel were also nearby. In Tredon, doctors were also warriors. He doubted it was so here, especially since half of them were women, but it was best not to make assumptions. Besides, they were probably all stronger than him. Maybe not as fast, though. Maybe.

There was nothing nearby he could use as a weapon. Not even any medical tools. The security must have had them cleared away. Smart. It’s what he would have done. Well, except his prisoners would be in a cell. Or if they were injured he might let them be healed. But they’d be strapped down. These Alliance people were a little more trusting, but perhaps not so foolish.

The medic handed him some clothes. He unfolded the black jumpsuit. It was black in color and long sleeve like his uniform. But there the similarity ended. The material was not the same, nor was it the same style. It didn’t even have built-in armor to protect him. He frowned but said nothing. It wasn’t like he had much of a choice. At least it was black.

“I bet you’re hungry,” the medic said. “Would you like something to eat?”

“Yes,” he replied. The healing bed always left his stomach feeling hollow.

“Anything in particular?” she asked. “I believe our processor has some Tredon recipes.”

Instead of food, He gave her a list of nutritional requirements. For some people, food was a vice. He might not be physically strong yet, but he was mentally strong enough not to be weakened by temptation. “I do not care what form it comes in or how it tastes.”

Both the medic and the commander raise an eyebrow, but neither commented. Of course the Alliance was wrought with temptations. Why else would they keep so many women about.

“Very well,” the medic replied.

The medic left. He came down off the healing bed and faced the commander. He chastised himself for automatically going into a militaristic at-ease stance. This was the same way he faced his instructors and his father as a sign of respect. This man didn’t deserve his respect so he unclasped his hands defiantly.

“Hello,” the commander said. When he smiled, the crookedness of his mouth was even more pronounced. “I’m J.D.” He held out his hand in greeting.

Jori glanced at his hand with a frown. A trick? No. The commander felt genuine. Odd. I’m his enemy. Why should I shake his hand like we’re friends? Because of Terk, that’s why.

He tentatively put out his own hand and performed the customary hand shake of the Alliance. “Jori,” he said, giving his own informal name in return. He had decided it was safe to give his real name. He wasn’t well-known. Terk, on the other hand—they couldn’t find out who he was. Or what he’d been up to. Whatever niceness these people were presenting wouldn’t last if they knew.

*****

J.D. noted the boy’s wariness. It wasn’t a nervous wariness, but an alert guardedness of a soldier. “It’s alright,” he said. “We’re going to help you.”

“And what of my brother? Are you helping him as well?” the boy, Jori, replied accusingly.

“He’s stable at the moment, but he’s in really bad shape.” He wasn’t surprised to hear the other boy was his brother. Even though the faces of both boys had been battered from the crash, there was a strong resemblance between them. “He’s in a status we call critical cond—.”

“I’m familiar with the term,” Jori said.

“So you understand it’s not as simple as putting him in a healing bed.”

The boy scowled. “I just said I understood.”

J.D. cleared his throat. “Good,” he said, ignoring the boy’s attitude. “I promise we’ll do whatever we can to help him pull through, though.”

The boy’s frown disappeared. Without thinking, J.D. put his hand on his shoulder to assure him. The boy glanced at the hand with an unreadable expression and he pulled it away awkwardly.

The hardness of the boy’s demeanor returned quickly. “And what of me?” Jori asked. “I’m assuming I am to be held as your prisoner.”

“Actually, you will be staying with me.”

The boy’s brow furrowed, hooding his dark narrow eyes. “Are you to be my interrogator?”

The way he said the word interrogator made him think he really meant torturer. “No! Goodness no. We will certainly ask you questions, but we do not torture people.” My God. What sort of world does this boy live in?

“You say you will do everything you can for my brother. Is this contingent upon my cooperation?”

J.D. raised his eyebrows. Big words for a boy. “No, of course not,” he replied as assuredly as he could. “We’d be grateful for your cooperation, though. And it would certainly help if we knew what was going on, what happened between you and the Grapnes. But we’re not going to hold you or your brother’s life over your head in order to get that information.”

“You swear it?”

“Yes, I swear it,” he replied. J.D. might not know Captain Arden that well, but he doubted the man wouldn’t let the youth die out of spite.

Jori stared at him as if studying him. “Good,” he said. His expression was stone-faced.

J.D. sighed inwardly. No boy should be this hard. I’ve certainly got some rough travels ahead of me with this one.

 

I’d love to hear some constructive criticism. Please leave a comment below. Praise would be most welcome as well.

(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright February, 2016 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 One Chapter 3 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – Edge of the Dragon’s Shadow (provisional title)

Chapter 3 – Revised

(Note from the author: This is the rewritten version of part one, chapter 3 of my science fiction story. The original version was posted in the summer of 2014. I’ve only changed a little bit of it. Mostly, I tried to rewrite it in deep PoV. Let me know what you think of my novella so far. Feel free to leave constructive feedback below.)

“He must be kept in the brig.” Lt. Commander Bracht had a powerfully deep voice. It sounded like the Rabnoshk warrior was making a demand, but J.D. had come to realize in his short time on this ship that it was just the way the man spoke. Direct. To the point. And sometimes even overly bold.

“The brig? For a single child of no more than ten cycles, Sir?” Lt. Hanna Sharkey replied.

“He killed four Grapnes!” Bracht said a little too harshly. J.D. saw Captain Arden’s eyebrow raise ever so slightly. The look was all that was needed. “Single handedly,” Bracht said more calmly. “Besides, he’s a Tredon. Our enemy. They can’t be trusted.”

J.D. agreed with Bracht to a point. The boy’s phaser was a kill-weapon, not a defensive weapon like their own Alliance issued phasers, which could be sent to stun or kill. But the boy was defending himself. And he didn’t fire at J.D. or his other crew members.

“Enemies or not,” the captain replied. “We are not at war with the Tredons. Nor do we wish to be. This situation must be handled carefully. I won’t treat the child as a criminal without just cause.”

“Killing four men isn’t just cause?” Bracht said, his tone sounding angry.

“It was self-defense,” J.D. added.

“We don’t know that,” Bracht shot back. “The Grapnes said the Tredons attacked them and stole their cargo.”

“There is no evidence of stolen cargo,” J.D. replied. Bracht harrumphed. “Besides,” J.D. continued, “I don’t think he should be held responsible for it if they did. He’s just a boy.”

“You saw what that so-called boy did with your own eyes. He’s dangerous,” Bracht said heatedly.

“But he didn’t shoot at us.” J.D.’s own tone was getting a little heated. He was new to the Odyssey so he was still unsure of the Rabnoshk warrior. But he wasn’t about to back down. Everything he’d witnessed so far indicated the boy was acting in self-defense. And he’s still just a child.

“He threatened you.”

“He was just trying to determine if we were a threat.”

“Obviously you weren’t since I heard you surrendered to him.”

J.D. bristled. “That is enough, Lieutenant Commander.” He eyed the man sternly. He wanted to say more, to defend his decision, but he had already given a full report of his actions. There was no reason to defend them against this man.

Bracht clamped his mouth shut. His frown deepened, but he didn’t argue further.

J.D. turned back to the captain. The captain glanced back and forth between J.D. and Bracht. His demeanor gave no indication of what of he thought this outburst. It made J.D. a little uneasy, not knowing. The man’s apparent indifference always made him feel like a fish in an aquarium.

The captain set his elbows on the conference table and intertwined his fingers. “Lieutenant Stein?” he said, addressing Jenna, the ship’s top anthropologist.

“I would not underestimate these Tredon warriors at any age,” she said. She pronounced warrior as varrior and J.D. recognized her accent as from the desert world of Kochuru. “There be no telling when this boy began training…or what sort of training he had.”

“So you’re recommending the brig as well?” Captain Arden said.

“I’m not sure that be called for, Sir,” Lt. Stein replied. “The Tredons do be our enemies, but we can never make peace if we treat even their children as criminals. I recommend a full armed security detail, no less.”

“Armed?” J.D. said. “If this boy has training, we risk him being able to disarm someone.”

“Which is why he should be in the brig,” Bracht said.

J.D. clenched his jaw. “That’s not what I meant. I say unarmed. And if he causes trouble, then we can restrain him. Whatever fighting skills he has, he’s not that strong yet.” Certainly your security team can handle a small child, he wanted to say. Best not sound petty, though.

“And what of the other one?” Bracht asked.

“We’re not even sure he’ll live,” J.D. replied.

The captain rest his chin on his steepled fingers. Although the captain could be hard to read, J.D. had been relieved when the man didn’t react to him allowing the enemy onto the ship. He seemed to have taken it as a given.

The captain lay his hands flat on the table. “I’m not going to put a boy in the brig unless he gives us a reason,” he said. “That is my final decision. We’ll worry about the other one if he makes it.” Bracht didn’t look happy about the decision but he didn’t argue. “I will, however, recommend a four-man detail of security at all times.”

“I have six in sickbay now, Sir,” Bracht replied. “Should I call two of them off?” J.D. thought Bracht’s tone was almost insubordinate—almost.

“No,” the captain replied. Only a small lift of his eyebrow told J.D. that he had heard the tone as well. But he didn’t acknowledge it in any other way. “Let’s keep the security on him until we have had a chance to speak to him. Commander,” he said to J.D., “I want you to go down and talk to him.”

“Yes, Sir,” J.D. replied.

“Lieutenant Commander, organize a security detail shift of six to stay on him for now and add security to engineering and other off-limit areas of the ship.”

“Yes, Sir,” Bracht replied. He seemed somewhat mollified by the captain’s acknowledgement that the boy could be a security risk.

“If the boy isn’t going to be in a cell,” Hanna said, “where is he going to stay?”

“J.D.?” The captain said.

J.D. was about to suggest an officer, but something about the look the captain was giving him told him he was asking something else. “Me?” he asked dubiously.

“He’s of a warrior class,” the captain replied, “which means he’s used to a ranking hierarchy. I need someone of high rank and with martial skills to instill authority. Besides, I hear you’re good with children.”

“That’s no child,” Bracht muttered.

J.D.’s mouth fell open and he snapped it shut again. This was another test. He was sure of it. But then again, he couldn’t argue with the captain’s logic. Although J.D. wanted to give the boy the benefit of the doubt regarding security, now that he was faced with being directly responsible for him he wondered if he’d taken the wrong stance. What have I gotten myself into?

 

Please comment below with constructive criticism, tips, and/or hopefully some praise.

(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright February, 2016 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 One Chapter 2 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – Edge of the Dragon’s Shadow (provisional title)

Chapter 2 – Revised

(Note from the author: This is the rewritten version of part one, chapter 2 of my science fiction story. The original version was posted in the summer of 2014. I changed a little bit of the beginning, as you will see with Jori’s reaction to the medics. And I’ve tried to write this in deep PoV. Let me know what you think of my novella so far. Feel free to leave constructive feedback below.)

Jori’s head swam as his view of the planet distorted into the interior of the Alliance ship. His skin tingled at the sensation of being disintegrated and reintegrated. The process wasn’t painful, or even dangerous, but he couldn’t help but to tense up every time he used a transport.

The prickling of his skin quickly dissipated and his vision sharpened. He stood on the transport platform, face level with a half-dozen strangers. Several of them rushed forth. Jori’s heart skipped a beat. A man with dark hair shoved something at his chest. Jori slapped it away and swung his hand back around in a fist. A strong hand grabbed him by the crook of his arm just before he hit the man’s nose.

“Whoa, young man,” one of the security officers beside him said.

Another hand grasped Jori’s shoulder painfully. A hot flush of adrenaline shot through his body. His heart jumped into a rapid pulse and his muscles tightened.

Jori wrenched against the hands holding him. It didn’t work. The men hardened their grip.

The medical man who had escorted him from the planet rushed away. He yelled something as he went but all Jori could hear was his own heart pounding in his ears.

“No! You promised!” he yelled after the man. Let me go!” He’d been tricked. They weren’t going to help him. He was their prisoner.

Jori struggled, but the hands held him tight. If only he weren’t so small. And if only he wasn’t injured.

“The doctor is prepping for surgery,” the same security officer said. “And this guy’s a medic. He only wants to help you.”

Jori paused. There was a truth in the man’s words. He could feel it. Stop panicking and think.

Jori worked on controlling his rapid breathing. He slowly lowered his fist and glanced around the room at the strangers before him. The man he had nearly punched had taken a couple of steps back. His eyes were wide. He’s afraid. Jori could not only see it on the man’s face, but he could feel it with his senses as well.

Jori could also sense a hint of unease from many of the others. The people wearing the same light blue uniform as the man stayed back. Their postures, although tense, were not poised to attack. Jori took a closer look at what some of them were holding. They were scanners, like the security officer had said.

Jori’s heart still throbbed, but the sensation was lessening. He got his breathing under control and forced himself to relax. The security officers loosened their hold but didn’t let go.

Another man wearing a light blue uniform stepped forward with his scanner. “May I?” he asked.

Jori focused is his senses on this skinny red-haired man. He could feel the medic’s wariness, but there was concern as well. And no malice. The man wasn’t a threat.

Jori nodded in consent. As the man scanned, the others wearing blue began to bustle. Jori ignored them. They weren’t a threat either. It was the ones wearing the brownish gray uniforms he had to worry about. The three around him felt as vigilant as any warrior. There were two more amongst the medics, standing with their feet apart and with their hand on the phaser holstered at their side. They were at the ready, but none of them felt hostile.

“Get that gurney over here!” one of the female medics said.

Jori snapped his attention in her direction. His heart leapt to his throat as she leaned over the unconscious body of the other boy. He tensed. She’d better not hurt him.

Jori focused his ability on her emotions. Worry and a strong desire to help. Jori swallowed away some of the dryness in his throat. It wasn’t a trick after all. The enemy was really helping them—for now anyway.

“Let’s get you to sick bay,” the skinny red-haired man said. He called for another gurney.

“I’ll walk,” Jori replied. It was bad enough being surrounded by the enemy. He wasn’t going to lay vulnerable for them too.

Jori moved to step down off the plat form. The hands held him for a moment, but let him go forward.

“You really should get on the gurney,” the skinny medic said.

Jori ignored him and followed the other medics who were wheeling the other boy away. Jori reached out his senses to see if he could feel anything from the unconscious form. A coldness swept over him. No. Jori clenched his jaw. He couldn’t cry here. Not in front of all these people.

His brother was alive, he knew it with certainty. But there was nothing else, no other sensations at all. You can’t die Terk. You just can’t.

When they reached sick bay, Jori watched men and women wearing white swarm around the body of his brother. The medical man from the planet was amongst them. Jori sensed his urgency and the urgency of the others. There was a lot of yelling as orders were called about.

They’re serious about helping. We are their enemies, yet they are helping us. Perhaps the things Jori had heard about the Prontaean Alliance were true. His father would have called their compassion a weakness. At the moment, Jori didn’t care. His brother had a chance to live. Jori took a deep breath and let some of his tension go.

One of the men wearing white approached and knelt down before him. Jori briefly noted the green of his eyes and the rich dark brown color of his skin.

The security officer gripped his shoulder again. “Careful, Doctor,” he said. “He nearly rammed his fist into the nose of the last medic who came up to him.”

Jori clenched his jaw and frowned. That’s hardly fair. I thought he was attacking me.

“I can hardly blame him,” the doctor replied. “It looks like he’s been to hell and back, and now he’s surrounded by a dozen people he doesn’t know. Isn’t that right, young man?”

The doctor smiled warmly. He seemed to understand. Jori felt a sense of relief but didn’t return the smile.

“Let’s get you to one of our healing beds so I can take a look at you.” The doctor put his hand on Jori’s other shoulder. Unlike the security officer, though, his grip was gentle. And Jori sensed a genuine kindness from the man.

“We’re going to do everything we can to help you,” the man said.

“And my brother,” Jori said. He felt a sudden pang in his gut. Was it a mistake to let them know the other boy was his brother? Too late. They’d probably figure it out anyway. Other than Terk being three years older than him, they looked very much alike. So long as they don’t find out the rest of it. They’d let us die if they knew.

“And your brother,” the man replied. “I promise.”

Jori surveyed his surroundings as he followed the doctor through the sick bay. The room was vast, but seemed smaller because of all the sectioned off areas. Lots of places to hide—if the need arose. And there were multiple exits, exits which didn’t have security officers guarding them.

Jori could use this opportunity to get away. But that would be stupid. Where would he go? It was evident these people intended to heal him. Let them. If they tried to hurt him later, at least he would be at his best.

The doctor brought him to one of the sectioned off areas. A female medic was already there, sorting through some medical tools. The doctor motioned Jori to the healing bed, which had already been lowered. Jori came in and sat down. Only one of the security officers followed him in. The other two waited on the other side of the partition.

“What’s your name?” the doctor asked.

Jori didn’t reply. He didn’t dare. They know I’m a Tredon, but that is all they need to know.

“I’m Doctor Gregson and this is Medic Shera.”

Jori still didn’t reply. They were going to heal him anyway. No need to make friends.

Medic Shera handed the doctor an oxygen mask. “Well, young man. I’m going to need to set your arm. This will make it so you won’t feel a thing.”

Jori jutted out his hand and stopped the doctor short. “No,” he said. The security officer moved forward, but the doctor made a slight wave of his hand. The officer gave him a dubious look, but the doctor ignored it and looked at Jori instead.

“It’s just so you won’t feel the pain when we set your arm.”

“No anesthesia. No drugs,” Jori said. It was bad enough he was injured and at their mercy. He didn’t want to be drug-addled to.

“Are you sure?”

“Do it,” Jori said.

The doctor hesitated. He glanced at the nurse and back, then at the security officer. The security officer shrugged.

“Very well then. Sit back.”

Jori leaned against the open hood of the healing bed. The doctor got on one side and the medic on the other. Both put their weight against him to hold him down. He didn’t need to be held down, but he didn’t struggle against them.

“Ready?”

Jori nodded.

The doctor pressed down on his arm. Pain radiated sharply. Jori gritted his teeth and grunted, but he didn’t dare cry out. His head swam and nausea swirled in his gut. Jori breathed heavily, but in a controlled way that helped him deal with the pain.

“Are you sure you don’t want any anesthesia?”

“Just hurry up, dammit!” Their kindness grated his nerves.

The doctor jerked his arm and pressed again. The pain was blinding, white and hot. The room was spinning now and he almost blacked out. He growled, but not loudly enough for it to count as crying. Master Riyochi would be proud.

Jori inhaled and exhaled deeply as the doctor did a quick scan.

“All done with that,” he said. “You were very brave.”

Jori scowled. Brave? What does bravery have to do with it? The people of the Alliance obviously knew nothing of bravery. Still. At least they were helping him and his brother.

The pain in Jori’s arm slowly subsided into a heavy throb. The doctor guided him down. Jori didn’t need his help, but didn’t object. When he was in position, the doctor closed the lid of the healing bed.

The vibrations of the bed began to hum, Jori closed his eyes and concentrated his senses on what was going on in another part of the sick bay. He felt the tension of the numerous doctors and medics. He could tell they were desperately trying to accomplish something. However, it wasn’t them he was trying to feel. It was his brother.

Jori focused intently, but his brother’s life force was weak. He was barely alive. Jori swallowed down a sense of dread. He couldn’t lose his brother. They had to save him. They just had to.

*****

J.D. sifted through the last remnant of charred debris in the cargo hold. Protein bundles, just as the manifest said. J.D. didn’t get it. The Grapnes claimed the Tredons stole their cargo but everything this ship held was accounted for in the manifest.

Captain Arden said he’d been trying to get more information, but he told J.D. the Grapnes wouldn’t or couldn’t say what this mysterious stolen cargo was supposed to be. This race wasn’t known for their honesty but they had to be after something, didn’t they?

J.D.’s crew had checked other parts of the ship as well. Nothing of apparent value was found. He supposed there could have been something that was completely demolished by the crash, but surely a trace would have been seen. Nothing. Not a darned thing.

J.D. sighed heavily from his nose. He didn’t dare breath out of his mouth. Smoke still lingered, but it had dissipated enough for his breathing apparatus to filter it. It didn’t filter out the smell, though. J.D.’s nose stung with the odor of burnt chemicals.

J.D. stepped from the Serpent’s gored innards to its charred head. The cockpit didn’t look as damaged, but it smelled just as bad.

Footsteps sounded behind him. “Sir,” Lt. Hanna said. “We’ve confirmed. There are twelve bodies, not including the four Grapnes. They’re all Tredons, all male, all adults.”

Darn. If one hadn’t been a Tredon, it might have explained the elusive cargo the Grapnes were claiming. J.D. didn’t really want to find an innocent victim on this ship, but it sure would have explained this mystery. And he would have an explanation to give to the captain. So far, he had nothing. The man’s going to think I’m not doing my job if I don’t find anything.

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” J.D. said without turning. He entered the information on his digiview and transmitted it to the captain.

“Have you been able to access anything here yet?” J.D. asked the officer working under one of the consoles.

“Not yet, Sir. Things here are pretty damaged. I might be able to get some data from the cad deck but I have to take this apart to reach it.”

“Do it,” J.D. said. Something more was going on here and he was going to figure out what it was. If the ship didn’t reveal anything, then they’d have to try to get it out of the boy. J.D. didn’t relish that idea at all.

 

Please comment below with constructive criticism, tips, and/or hopefully some praise.

(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright February, 2016 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.