Archive for March, 2016

The Kavakian Empire Part One Chapter 9 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – Starfire Dragons (provisional title)

Chapter 9 – Revised

(So far, the revised version of part one of this science fiction story is much the same. But there are a few important differences, so please don’t be tempted to read the unrevised novella version. Just keep stopping by here every Saturday for the Kavakian Empire Part One.)

The door slid open and J.D. stepped into the empty tran-car. “Docking bay.” When the door closed, he stretched his mouth into a wide yawn. A tingling sensation spread over him. He held his breath at the height of the yawn, trying to hold on to the revitalizing feeling, but the heaviness of fatigue rolled quickly back in.

Having two security officers keep guard inside his quarters overnight hadn’t alleviated the anxiety of having the Tredon boy there. It wasn’t that he was afraid. Uneasy, maybe. Wary. Perhaps even a little bit concerned. But mostly confused.

He massaged his eyes and brows to alleviate his fatigue and stimulate his brain cells. Jori was an enigma. One moment the boy was making snide remarks. The next, he was nearly in tears over his brother. And when his eyes dried up, his face went back to the same blank expression as though nothing had happened.

A chill went down his spine. Was he truly upset? Or was it just an act to put me off guard? He’d tried to learn more. He asked Jori more questions, simple questions such as what his brother’s name was. But the boy didn’t speak another word for the rest of their time together. It was like he was operating on autopilot—or maybe contemplating some devious plot.

He gave himself a slight shake to ward off the unease. It wasn’t something he needed to worry about right now. The guards had escorted Jori to visit his brother again. He was getting a break while he attended his duties.

The tran-car opened at the front end of the docking bay. He pulled his shoulders back and made his way to the back transport area where the crashed Tredon ship had been brought.

“Has anyone found anything?” he asked the leading officer on duty.

The man straightened and stood respectfully. “We’ve finally gotten some recordings from the cockpit, Commander,” he said. “They don’t tell us much, but there is something odd.”

“Odd? Odd how?”

“Well, Sir. The older boy was the pilot. He was the one who executed the skimming maneuver.” J.D. raised his eyebrows. “And he was also in charge.”

He jerked his head back. “In charge? Are you sure?”

“It seems that way, Sir. Here. See for yourself.”

The officer led him to a viewscreen and played a fuzzy recording with disjointed sound.

It was difficult to see the faces through the static and missing pixels, but the boys’ statures were easy enough to distinguish.

His stomach fluttered. Sure enough, the eldest boy was operating the flight controls. And although the sound was muddled, he thought he heard one of the men call him sir.

“Can you enhance the audio?”

“This is the best I could do, Sir. I tried everything.”

“So there’s no indication of what the Grapnes were after?”

“I did manage to pull the incoming communications recordings, Sir. The sound is just as bad, but Lt. Rorna can read lips. The Grapne simply demanded surrender. That’s all.”

So Jori was telling the truth about that.

“I also found an outgoing communication, Sir,” the officer said.

He tapped on the screen and the message played out loud. ‘We have acquired some supplies as well as the information you wanted about the scientists, Father. We are returning home now and should arrive in half a period.’

He rubbed his chin. There was no visual, but the voice sounded like it could be the older boy. The tone was formal, as though he was talking to a superior officer, but he called the man father. Perhaps his father was a captain or a major belonging to one of the Tredon warlords. It would explain why a boy was in charge. “That’s rather vague,” he said. “Any other outgoing messages?”

“Just a basic request to dock at the Depnaugh Station, Sir. I’m sorry.”

“Any other records that explain anything about these scientists?”

“No, Sir.”

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

“Nothing that seemed significant,” the officer replied. “But you might find the crash video of the cockpit interesting. It shows why only the boys survived.”

“How’s that?”

The officer played another video. Although this recording was worse, he could see enough. Goosebumps prickled his skin. The men yanked both boys away from the cockpit window. Then they pulled them down and shielded them with their bodies.

His own instinct would be to protect children, but these were Tredons—by all accounts, loudmouthed, aggressive, bloodthirsty warriors. This selfless act that put their own lives at risk was surprising, to say the least.

*****

J.D.’s stomach roiled. He had hardly any useful information to pass on. Some commander he was. He might as well be a petty officer for all the value he’d contributed to this ship so far.

He sucked in his breath and stood up straight as he entered the captain’s ready room. Captain Robert Arden gave him a slight nod and tilted his head towards an empty chair at the table where Lt. Jenna Stein and Lt. Commander Bracht were already waiting.

“Report,” the captain said. His voice sounded terse and his eyes were hard.

He resisted the urge to swallow. The captain was always this austere. It didn’t mean anything. At least he hoped it didn’t. It was just the captain’s way. “I’ve just sent you a detailed report of yesterday’s events. But here’s the highlights.”

He briefly related his conversations with Jori. And just to show he was trying to be thorough in his job, he also gave an overview of the information from the crashed ship, a report the captain had no doubt already received.

“So the boy didn’t know what the Grapnes wanted either?”

“I wouldn’t say he didn’t know, Sir. He said the Grapnes didn’t tell them what they wanted, and this seems to be true. But he’s not very forthcoming in information. There’s still a possibility that he knows but doesn’t want to say.” He held his breath, expecting the captain to chastise him for not making the boy give him more information.

The captain tapped his bottom lip with his index finger. “The message about the scientists sounds concerning. Perhaps it has something to do with what the Grapnes were after. Ask him more about this. Be persistent but gentle.”

He nodded and softly let out his breath.

“If the still refuses to say anything, I will consider getting Liam involved,” the captain added.

Liam. He felt a twang in his gut at the thought of what the man could do. But his methods weren’t harmful. And they were sound. “I will try, Captain,” he replied. “But I’m not sure if I can get Jori to reveal anything.”

“Is he giving you trouble?”

“No, actually. It hasn’t been too bad.” Frustrating, yes. But not bad. “He just isn’t very talkative.”

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

“Thank you, Sir,” he said. “But it’s not that he’s shy. He’s not a timid child at all. He’s guarded, yes, but he also seems to be very self-possessed. And he’s highly intelligent. He seemed to know a lot about our engine room functions. And he even beat me at Schemster.”

“He beat you?” The captain’s brow furrowed. Jenna’s eyebrows went up. Bracht’s frown deepened. No one else on the ship had been able to outplay him.

“Yes, Sir. I admit, however, that I wasn’t taking the game seriously. I won the second time, but just barely.”

“Impressive.” The captain steepled his fingers under his chin.

“Yes, Sir. He seems rather mature for his age as well. It’s a mistake to think of him as an ordinary child. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the son of some high ranking warlord or something.”

“I knew he was dangerous,” Bracht said.

“I agree with your assessment,” Lt. Jenna Stein said to him. “If he be of high rank, his intelligence may be because of enhanced genes.”

“How’s that?” the captain asked. “I thought the Tredons had also stopped the genetic enhancements after the Gene wars.”

“Careful breeding,” Jenna replied. “These past hundred years or so, the Tredon warlords only be procreating with women who carry enhanced genes, which be why there was nothing in his medical assessment to indicate genetic modification.”

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

“Select breeding is not against the law, however,” Captain Arden said. “But it’s something we should take into account regarding security. We don’t know what genetic abilities he’s inherited.”

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

“I agree.” Turning to J.D., the captain added, “There is something else I need you to try and talk to him about. Dr. Jerom found a lot of bone reconstructions in both of the boys.”

“I have many myself,” Bracht said. “It’s probably just a result of training.”

“No. There are so many, it is beyond concerning. I would say it’s alarming, in fact—especially when you consider how young they are.”

His skin crawled and his stomach knotted.

“You think they be abused?” Jenna asked, echoing what he was thinking.

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

“Yes, Lt.,” the captain said to Jenna. “I think they’ve been abused. Dr. Jerom was hard pressed to find bones that hadn’t ever been broken. Those that were, were broken at different times, which rules out the possibility that they were involved in a single cataclysmic event.”

Nausea rolled around in his gut.

Jenna frowned deeply. “I suppose it not be surprising.”

“I know there is not much we can do about it,” Captain Arden said, “but I feel we should ask and do what we can for them while they are here.”

“I’ll talk to him,” he said.

“And see if you can find out who we can contact in order to get them home.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Thank you,” Captain Arden said to the group. “That’s all I have for now.”

*****

J.D.’s fatigue was gone. He felt good as he jaunted towards sick bay to meet Jori.

However severe Captain Arden’s looks seemed to be, the man was nothing like Rear Admiral Zimmer. This meeting would have gone much differently if Zimmer had been in charge. He would have been scolded and the man probably would have ordered him to use more force with the Tredon boy.

Although Jori was considered his enemy, and even though the boy frustrated him, there was no way he’d hurt him—no matter what his orders were. It would be the Kimpke incident all over again. And his career would be over for sure this time.

“Where’s Jori?” he asked one of the security officers guarding the other boy.

“I believe he went to the gymnasium, Sir.”

Maybe I can get Jori to play a game of wall ball or something. It could be a way to get him to open up a little.

He went to his quarters and changed his clothes. Then as he headed towards the gym he hummed a happy tune from his homeland. He really needed to stop worrying about his status here. After all, Captain Arden had requested him as his second in command despite the Kimpke incident. This had to be a good thing.

The gymnasium was a big place. Weight machines were in one area, cardio machines in another. There were various courts sectioned off along the edges of the gym. Some could be used for a variety of sport games while others were for more specific activities such as gymnastics or martial arts.

He expected to find Jori in the martial area. Lt. Rik Gresher was teaching a class there, but Jori wasn’t around. After walking around the gym’s track, he finally found the boy working out in one of the holo-stations.

A dozen officers surrounded the area, watching and whispering. When he peaked between them, he could see why. The holo-station made a realistic cracking sound as Jori’s staff smacked the side of a holo-man that was made to be about Joir’s height. Another short holo-man appeared behind him, but he reacted quickly, swinging his staff around and taking the holo-man’s feet out from under him. The boy jabbed the end of his staff into the holo-man’s chest. It disappeared and another holo-man appeared.

Jori moved faster than he could believe, and with astounding precision. He felt his blood run cold as holo-man after holo-man fell to its virtual death. Even without a phaser or the strength of a man, the boy had the potential to be deadly. It made his own martial skill look pathetic in comparison. Probably best not to let him know this.

The last holo-man disappeared. The boy froze in an offensive stance, as though waiting for more. His face was red. Sweat dripped from his brow and his chin. And he breathed heavily.

“You think you’re something, doing you?” someone said.

What the heck? He glanced at the four security officers.

The newly promoted Mik Calloway stood with his arms folded and his lips curled in a sneer. “But you’re nothing but a slant-eyed space-thug.”

Jori straightened. His face turned a darker red and he bared his teeth. J.D. imagined his own face was just as red. He clenched his jaw as a swelling heat surged throughout his body.

“Lt. Calloway!” He quickly pushed through the group of onlookers and planted himself directly between the officer and the boy. His nose was inches away from Calloway’s. “What in the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Calloway went white. “Nothing, S—“

“Nothing? Nothing! Your job is to guard, not shoot your mouth off.” His blood was boiling.

“But he’s a murderous—”

“He’s a guest on this ship! Were you not told to be civil?”

Rather than appear chastised, the man scowled darkly. At least he wasn’t stupid enough to try and make another excuse. There was none.

“Don’t let me hear another harsh word come out of your mouth again.” He glared at the man until he looked away. He didn’t look down, as someone ashamed might do.

I knew I shouldn’t have allowed this man to be promoted. “Rest assured, this behavior will not go unmarked. I will speak to you about this later.” After he cooled down. And in private. Reprimanding an officer in public was not something he did. It was something Zimmer would do, but not him.

He stood there for a few moments longer before finally turning to Jori. He half-expected to see the same angry look on the boy as before. But it was gone. Jori stood in an at-ease stance with an emotionless cold look on his face.

 

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 8 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – Starfire Dragons (provisional title)

Chapter 8 – Revised

 

(Check under Categories for “The Kavakian Empire” then, “Sci-Fi Part 1 – Revised” link in the right hand column in order to read the previous chapters of this science fiction novella. This story has changed so make sure you go to the revised one.)

“I will see my brother now,” Jori said as he pushed his chair out.

J.D. opened his mouth to reply, but the boy was up and already turning his back to leave. He closed his mouth and suppressed a groan.

“Sorry,” he said to Shra as he tilted his head towards the Schemster game still on the table. “I’ve gotta go.”

He managed to catch up to Jori and the security officers without running. Jori didn’t even acknowledge him. His nerves prickled. He clamped his mouth closed. Chastising the boy for his rudeness would only make matters worse. Just try to remember what he’s going through.

He took a couple of deep breaths and focused on the calming rhythm of the footsteps echoing down the hall. Jori didn’t say a single word along the way. It was probably for the best since none of their conversations had gone well. Still, it irritated him that the boy was pointedly ignoring him.

He ignored the trailing security officers as well. The behavior struck him as arrogant. But then again, maybe the boy was pretending they weren’t there because he didn’t want to think about the fact that he was surrounded by enemies. That’s right. Try to think optimistically. Remember, he’s been through a lot. Not that he’d act the same way if their situations were reversed. But Jori was a child and children were not always easy.

When they reached Jori’s brother in sick bay, he stood off in the corner to give the boy some space. Oddly, the boy didn’t even look at his brother. His face was void of any emotion as he examined the medical diagnostics monitor by his brother’s bed. Dr. Jerom came in and briefly explained the medical situation.

“I’m sorry. We still don’t know if he’ll survive.”

Despite the grim news, Jori still didn’t display any emotion. He looked over the medical monitor and asked the doctor a number of very specific medical questions. At first, Dr. Jerom answered in layman’s terms. But Jori’s questions were so technical that the doctor found he had to answer the same in return.

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

Dr. Jerom looked like he wanted to say more, but Jori turned away. The doctor scowled, probably at the apparent dismissal. J.D. made a slight apologetic shrug. Maybe the boy didn’t know he was being rude. Maybe no one had ever taught him any better. That seemed plausible, considering where he came from.

Dr. Jerom left with a shake of his head. Jori gave J.D. a look, as though expecting him to go as well. He crossed his arms and leaned against the wall instead, partly out of spite for the boy’s rudeness. But mostly because Jori’s demeanor worried him. His brother could possibly die and the boy didn’t have the decency to show a single shred of emotion.

Jori turned back to his brother and stood quietly by his bed. The blank look on his face didn’t change. Neither did his posture. He just stood there, like a statue.

J.D.’s legs began to ache. He suppressed a yawn. If the boy thought he could bore him into leaving, he was wrong. He’d stand here all night if he had to.

His thoughts began to drift. He shook his head and regained his focus. Something had changed. The boy held his brother’s hand. His brow was furrowed and he looked genuinely concerned. J.D.’s skin tingled with goosebumps when the boy gently rest his other hand on his brother’s forehead.

He slowly stood up straight, careful not to disturb the boy. Jori’s eyes looked wet. Are those tears? A flush of warmth washed over him. Is this an act or is he really about to cry?

When the boy’s chin began to quiver, he knew what he was seeing was real. He uncrossed his arms and went to stand by the boy’s side.

“He’ll be alright,” he said, and put a comforting hand on Jori’s shoulder. The boy flinched ever-so-slightly, but otherwise didn’t acknowledge the gesture.

*****

Jori’s eyes burned. A surge of sorrow threatened to overwhelm him. He clenched his jaw and took quiet deep breaths in hopes of keeping the tears at bay.

He didn’t mean to let these people see this weakness in him, but being here with his brother, touching him, feeling the emptiness within him, stressed the stark reality of the situation. Dammit, Terk. You have to get through this.

Flashes of what his life would be like if Terk died churned chaotically in his head—having to face his father alone, his father’s anger, his mother’s despair, Master Jetser’s disappointment.

“He’ll be alright,” the commander said as he touched his shoulder. Whatever frustration he had sensed from the man earlier was gone, replaced by an inner warmth. He tensed at the unexpected gesture and genuine emotion, and his cheeks burned. Yeah. But how far will his compassion go if he finds out our secret?

He’d told the truth when he said the Grapnes never gave a reason as to why they were to surrender. But he had his suspicions. They probably knew the secret. Bok, the loud-mouthed braggart, had gotten drunk at one of the space station bars and said too much.

Terk was beyond pissed. Master Veda was even more so. And they’d been forced to leave before they had gotten everything they needed. Their father would be pissed, but at least the blame could’ve been put on Bok.

This wasn’t going to happen now, though. The pang of sadness swelled again. Not so much for Bok, but certainly for the others—especially Master Veda, and now possibly Terk.

A guard coughed, reminding him that the danger wasn’t over yet. What mother would think, what father would think, none of it would matter at all if he never made it back home. He may be free to walk about this ship—with guards in tow—but he was still a prisoner. J.D. promised to get him home, and he sensed the man was telling the truth, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t change his mind—especially if he found out the truth.

He hated all the questions the commander had asked. The more he asked, they closer he came to his secret. He considered not answering at all, but he decided to give him something. Even though J.D. had said he wouldn’t be interrogated, things could change.

What if they access the ship records? What if the Grapnes tell them what they know? A rising fear swelled him his chest. Whatever the commander promised, he wasn’t the one in charge.

Damn you, Terk, for leaving me here alone with these people. His burning in his eyes swelled and he felt liquid running down his nose. With a subtle sniff, he sucked it back up. Dammit! He bit the inside of his cheek and a metallic taste filled his mouth. Control. I need to control this. Emotion is weakness.

He clenched his teeth in determination. A rising heat surged within. Damn Bok! Damn those Grapnes! And damn to you too, Father! Thanks to Bok and the Grapnes, he and his brother had lost their entire crew, their cargo, and their ship. To say his father would be greatly displeased would be a vast understatement. It wasn’t his fault, or even Terk’s. But since he was the only one left, he’d be the one to answer for it.

The information he and Terk had gathered might help to appease his father. Well, maybe. He needed more, a lot more. Killing some Alliance officers could help.

It was all up to him now. He instinctively evaluated his surroundings. The commander wasn’t armed, making him easier to overcome. The guard closest to him wasn’t paying as much attention as he should have so he could easily take his weapon and use it on the others. He’d shoot the tallest of the guards first. This man was the most vigilant. He’d shoot J.D. next since he was the commander and would likely be the quickest to react to the situation. Then he’d take out the guard with the hair so fair that his eyebrows looked invisible against his light skin. Calloway was the name he’d heard one of the guards say. Whatever his name was, even though the man’s posture was more arrogant than guarded, he could sense an extreme hatred from the man and such hatred was too unpredictable to disregard.

His stomach churned, making him nauseous. He should hate these people. His anger was real enough, but not enough to make him act. He’d killed before. He killed those Grapnes. And the people of the Alliance were his enemies, after all. It’s what he’d been trained for. He was a soldier—a warrior.

I can take them. But then what? He couldn’t carry his brother. And he certainly wouldn’t leave him behind. No. He had to think of something bigger and better to appease his father. Perhaps he could find a way to steal information or technology or sabotage the ship.

He wouldn’t do anything just yet. Wait for an opportunity. Wait for Terk. Wake up, big brother. I need you.

 

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 March, 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 7 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – Starfire Dragons (provisional title)

Chapter 7 – Revised

(Check under Categories for “The Kavakian Empire” then, “Sci-Fi Part 1 – Revised” link in the right hand column in order to read the previous chapters of this science fiction novella. This story has changed so make sure you go to the revised one.)

Lieutenant Junior Grade Mik Calloway’s legs were cramping. The urge to shift his balance intensified, but he couldn’t do it with Lieutenant Commander Bracht watching. The man scowled darkly and his nostrils flared as he stood before him and several other security officers. The big blond Rabnoshk warrior said nothing as he eyed each of them in turn. When the man’s eyes fell on him, he resisted the urge to swallow down the lump welling in his throat.

The Lt. Commander was upset, this much he was certain. He only hoped the man wasn’t upset at him. It was only a slight modification. Not really a lie. But the warrior was strict about such things. I had to do it, though. Jack was such a goodie-goodie. He always got all the recognition. Ass-kisser. I only did it to get what I was due.

Lt. Gresher entered the security officer’s hall. As usual, he was wearing that stupid smile of his. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the man’s mouth wasn’t so wide. He looked ridiculous. But everyone seemed to like him, so no one made fun.

Gresher nodded to the Lt. Commander and took his place in the line. The Rabnoshk warrior responded with a penetrating look, but didn’t chide the man like he should have.

“In case you haven’t already heard, we have two Tredons on board,” the Lt. Commander said. “Regardless of how many of you feel about Tredons, I expect you to do your duty with the fullest integrity of an Alliance officer.”

He paused a moment, probably to emphasize how important he felt duty was. The man was all about duty. He wouldn’t be surprised if the word was tattooed on his ass. Well, at least he hadn’t gotten caught and his recently promoted rank was still intact.

“What you may not be aware of is how this situation is being handled and the increased danger it presents,” Lt. Commander Bracht continued.

The man paused again as he gave each of the officers another sour look. Mik subtly shifted his feet and gritted his teeth in impatience. He had seen the security alert earlier but was not one of the ones called to duty. He’d been itching to find out what was going on, but the most anyone would tell him was that two Tredon children had been rescued from a crash.

He was a lieutenant junior grade now. He had a right to know more. What good was his new rank if he was still going to be treated like a grunt? Well, at least now they realize they need me. Took ‘em long enough.

The Lt. Commander took a deep breath. His face darkened. “The two boys will be treated as guests.”

Mik nearly choked. “What the fuck?” he said. Fortunately, the Lt. Commander didn’t seem to have heard him above the gasps and curses of the other officers.

“Silence!” the big man bellowed.

Mik and the others stiffened in attention. His blood ran hot. Tredons had killed two of his friends back on a space station a few years ago where he had been awaiting his new assignment on the Odyssey. And now their devilish little spawn were being treated as guests.

“The older child is in sick bay, still unconscious. But the other is with Commander Hapker. Reports tell me this younger one is very intelligent and highly trained,” the Rabnoshk warrior said. “So I want you to keep a very close eye on him. And do not underestimate either of them.”

“Why aren’t they in a cell?” Mik demanded.

“That is not your concern, Lt. Calloway,” the man replied with an angry glare. Mik should have known better not to question him, but he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Your concern is to the safety of this crew. At the same time, I expect you to be on your best behavior. Despite what these children are, you will not provoke them. You will guard them, and you will guard their safety as well.”

“Their safety?” another officer said.

“They’re barbarians,” Mik added. “Why should be care about their safety?”

Other officers began to protest too. He heard words like butchers, brutes, animals, and monsters and agreed with them all.

“We have our orders,” the Rabnoshk warrior interrupted. “The children are not wanted for any crimes and so they are not going to be locked up unless they give us reason.”

“Are we going to wait until they kill someone first?” Mik asked.

“Watch your tone, Lieutenant,” the man growled. His dark eyes bored into his own.

He gritted his teeth in seething fury, but turned away from the Rabnoshk warrior’s look.

“You have your orders,” Lt. Commander Bracht said with his attention back on all the officers. “You will keep them away from secure areas while at the same time allowing them to visit the public areas of the ship. And however you feel about them, you will behave in a professional manner at all times. I do not want to hear of any name calling and I will not tolerate anyone using force, unless it is clearly necessary. Is that understood?”

Most of the officers mumbled a yes, sir, but Mik said nothing. When he chose security as his profession, he hoped he’d be fighting Tredons not helping them. The mangled bodies of his friends seared his mind. That these children were probably just toddlers at the time didn’t matter. They were Tredons and all Tredons were the same.

“Is that understood?” the Lt. Commander said again more forcefully.

“Yes, sir!” they replied. He mouthed the words, but defiantly made no sound.

When the Rabnoshk warrior dismissed them, he stormed out.

 

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 6 – Revised

Posted in Sci-Fi Part 1 - Revised, The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2016 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

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

Chapter 6 – Revised

(All previous chapters of this science fiction novella can be found under the The Kavakian Empire → Sci-Fi Part 1 – Reviesd link under Categories in the right hand column. Don’t be tempted to read the unrevised version. The story has changed.)

“Murder?” Captain Robert Arden said. “Before you were just claiming theft and now you are telling me these Tredons murdered one of your people?”

“Yes, Captain,” Captain Seth of the Grapnes replied. “The Tredons are murderous cutthroats and our people simply want their justice.”

“Who did they murder?” He allowed an inflection of skepticism in his voice. He was usually polite when he addressed others, but Captain Seth crossed the line. Shooting down another ship was intolerable, especially since the man seemed to have no valid reason for doing so.

“A very important dignitary.”

Robert pursed his lips. If the Grapne was telling the truth, he was stretching it. “Yes, but who? And how?”

“I cannot provide you with the details,” the Grapne said. He grinned as he spoke and seemed to have a difficult time keeping eye contact. Most of the Grapnes he had met before tended to fib, and fortunately weren’t very good at it.

“Can’t or won’t.”

“Can’t, Captain Arden. Because I don’t know. I am just going by the information given to me by my superiors. You understand.”

Robert sighed in frustration. “You stated earlier that you yourself are the victim of this theft at the Depnaugh Space Station. How is it that the Tredons murdered one of your dignitaries during this theft, but you can’t tell me who? You were there, after all.”

“A misunderstanding, Captain, I assure you. It wasn’t me they stole from. It was from another one of our ships.”

Robert gritted his teeth. “Even if what you say is true, I’m afraid justice is out of reach. Nearly everyone on the Tredon ship was killed in the crash.”

“You said there were survivors,” the Grapnes said. “They must answer for their crimes.”

“The survivors are children and I will not be handing children over to you.”

“But it was the children who committed the murder.”

He folded his hands and grasped them so tightly that his knuckles turned white. “Forgive me, Captain Seth,” he replied, “but it seems your story keeps changing in order to fit the situation.”

“I’m not hiding anything, I assure you,” the Grapnes replied with that same ridiculous smile. Robert had read somewhere that Grapnes tended to smile a lot because they thought it would make people believe their lies more easily. “We simply want the justice that you are required by law to provide.”

“I’ll tell you what, Captain Seth. You provide me with concrete evidence that these children personally committed murder, theft, or any other crime, and I will consider turning them over to you.”

“Our evidence must be supported by their testimony,” the Grapnes insisted. “We must take them into custody in order to build our case. You understand.”

The man is smooth. I’ll give him that. “I will not be handing children over to you for interrogation without evidence, and that is final.”

“What about my four men they killed on Pensla?”

“That was obviously self-defense. It is not enough to convince me that I should hand them over.”

“My superiors will not be happy, Captain Arden.” The Grapnes’ grin finally faded. “Your council will hear of this.”

“I’ll take my chances. In the meantime, you will report to the Melna Check-in Post immediately where a hearing will be held on your actions and your ships weapons will be disabled.”

“But Captain—“

“Immediately!” He took a deep breath to calm himself. “If you do not, I will put out a warrant for your arrest. I have Alliance authorities expected you at the station in half a day cycle’s time, so you had best be on your way.” He abruptly terminated the conversation and plopped back in his chair with a heavy sigh.

“I think they be lying,” Lt. Jenna Stein said. Both she and Bracht had observed the entire conversation.

“I couldn’t agree more,” Robert replied.

“Killing someone sounds like something the Tredons would do,” Bracht said.

“Yes, but it doesn’t mean they did kill someone. Nor does it mean the boys specifically killed anyone,” he said.

“Even though that boy killed four Grapnes?”

Robert clenched his teeth. Bracht made a great security officer, but he tended to be unbending in some of his opinions. “Tell me, Lt. Commander,” he said patiently, “If your ship were shot down and people from that very ship confronted you, wouldn’t you react the same way?”

Bracht scowled, but didn’t answer.

“Has security reported any problems?” he asked him.

“None, Sir. But it doesn’t mean there won’t be any.”

“Hopefully not,” he replied.

“If his brother dies, the boy may no longer cooperate,” Jenna said.

“And if he lives, my security team will have two Tredon warriors to contend with,” Bracht added.

“Both your points concern me, but there are larger matters to contend with at the moment,” he said. “For one, what are the Grapnes really after? And two, what are we going to do with these boys? If they’re innocent, getting them home won’t be easy.”

“They’re not innocent,” Bracht said.

Robert frowned at him. Until he knew more, the boys were considered innocent. In which case, he would need to get them back to Tredon somehow. It wasn’t as simple as calling on the Tredons. They’d likely see the fact that he had two of their people as highly suspicious. The Tredons and the Alliance were already on uneasy terms, and the last thing he wanted was for them to suspect he had anything to do with this tragedy.

“What if we take boys to the Chevert outpost and give them what they need to find their own way home?” Jenna said. She was very good at grasping the depth of a situation.

“I’m not sure that’s safe,” he replied as he massaged his brow where a headache was developing. “We can’t leave them on their own, especially not with the Grapnes after them.”

“I do find their behavior odd,” Jenna said.

He nodded. The Grapnes might shoot down another ship in order to steal its cargo, but so far, nothing of value had been found. And even if there was, for them to risk offending such a powerful adversary was highly unusual.

“What if the Tredons find out we have them?” Jenna said.

“Believe me, I’ve considered that. Let’s see what Commander Hapker reports. In the meantime, I need you to check with the Depnaugh Space Station to see if authorities there know anything.” He certainly wasn’t going to find out anything from the Grapnes.

“Yes, Sir,” Jenna replied.

“Bracht. Let me know immediately if your security encounters any problems.”

“Yes, Sir.”

 

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

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