Archive for rough draft

Take Ten for Writers – Writing Exercise 01

Posted in Other Stories with tags , , , , on March 4, 2017 by Dawn Ross

Take Ten for Writers

This writing exercise is set in the year 3010. I have just completed my mission and need to send an update to my commanding officer. But the system only lets me send up to ten words. This will be my title. The story itself will be my personal log. The personal log has to begin with, “After a long…” and it has to contain the words, “blindingly bright” somewhere in it. Here it goes:

*****

55 Cancri e

Planet Celean Is Dead Thanks to the Bregonite Zealots

After a long month of interviews and interrogations, I have finally determined what I believe to have been the cause of the destruction of the planet Celean. The Bregonites started a nuclear war. Somehow, they infiltrated the Dominion of Sargon, accessed the secret nuclear control room, and set launched the warhead.

At first, I didn’t believe it was possible. Both the Dominion and the United Peoples have a myriad of checks, controls, and firewalls. But the Bregonites’ infiltration ran deep. And their zealotry and willingness to die was well beyond reason.

Of course, when the United Peoples’ capital city was struck, their leaders sought immediate retaliation. The Dominion barely had any time to figure out how it had all started. They tried to contact the United Peoples but they were either met with bureaucratic red tape or hostility. Their attempts to work together to find out what happened blew up in their faces… literally.

I arrived in time to see the final blow. It was blindingly bright and seemed to have encompassed the entire quarter of the northern hemisphere.

I admit, I was so angry at the breadth of this needless devastation that my interrogations were harsh; illegal even. Every Bregonite I’ve come across in this mission is now dead.

Some of the things I’ve done will give me nightmares. But the memory of the dead planet will haunt me for eternity. It will haunt all of you as well. No one will ever forget Celean. And hopefully, we’ve learned a valuable lesson and will never allow such an atrocity to happen again.

*****

It’s not the greatest short story ever. But keep in mind that this is just a rough draft and it was done in about ten minutes. The purpose of these writing exercises isn’t to write some great fantastic story. It is to trigger the imagination.

Try your own writing exercise based on this set up. Don’t worry about your writing skill. Don’t worry about plot or direction. Just write and explore and see where your mind will take you. And most importantly… Have fun!

 

(c) 2017 Dawn Ross

Advertisements

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 12

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , on January 24, 2015 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part One – First Encounter
Chapter 12

(Read the previous chapters under the “The Kavakian Empire” link under categories in the right hand column, beginning August 2014.)

Dinner is going to be an interesting event, J.T. thought to himself as he and Jori made their way to the captain’s dining room. Even if the young prince hadn’t said it, he was obviously upset by J.T.’s prying. In a way, J.T. understood. But at the same time, what did the boy expect?

Jori’s previous formality and distance was nothing compared to now. He wasn’t just being overly formal, he was cold. Instead of just being brief with his answers, he was also being curt. And sometimes he didn’t even bother to answer.

Despite being given the cold shoulder, J.T. didn’t give up. “I believe the captain has requested Genevian dishes for dinner. Have you ever had Genevian?”

“It hardly matters, does it?” Jori replied.

J.T. ground his teeth in annoyance and suppressed a rude reply. “Probably not,” he said as kindly as possible. “But I’m only asking out of curiosity. There’s no harm in asking, is there?”

“Ask your questions then. But do not think you can trick me by being nice to me, and then asking.”

“No one is trying to trick you, Jori.”

Jori made a grunting noise but said nothing. J.T. sighed heavily.

The captain’s table was set in a small room, just a little larger than the center table set for ten. Everyone was there, it seemed. Some were sitting but most standing. The captain was standing closest to the door and was the first to greet J.T. and Jori.

“Welcome, Jori,” the captain said with a smile. Jori acknowledged him with a gesture but did not smile in return. “I’d like to introduce you to a few other members of my crew. You remember Lt. Commander Bracht, Lt. Jenna Stein, and Dr. Beck Jerom?”

“Yes,” Jori replied.

“This is Lt. Handly, one of our operations officers,” the captain continued. “Lt. Sara Fisher from engineering, Lt. Rik Gresher from security, and Lt. Triss Stever, one of our helmsman, or helmswomen, I should say.”

After greeting each one with a nod, Jori replied, “I’m assuming everyone here knows who I really am?”

“Yes,” the captain replied.

“Then you will all address me as Swent Prince Kavak, or just Swent Prince for the duration of this visit.”

J.T. wanted to groan but managed to keep his chagrin in check. Instead he gave the captain a helpless shrug.

“And if we don’t?” Bracht challenged.

Before the captain could give Bracht a warning, Jori replied, “Then I will address you as bonan.”

Bracht darkened but a look from the captain kept him from replying. Bonan meant unworthy slave in Bracth’s tongue. J.T. wanted to warn Jori that provoking a Rabnoshk warrior probably wasn’t a good idea, but he doubted it would do any good.

“I see no reason why you shouldn’t be addressed by your title, Swent Prince” the captain said politely to the boy.

They settled down at the table and began serving their meal. The captain asked Jori if he’d ever had Genevian food and thankfully Jori replied in the affirmative rather than give the caustic answer he had given to J.T.

But the civility was not to last.

“So, how do you like our ship so far, Prince Kavak?” Lt. Gresher asked.

“It’s Swent Prince,” Jori corrected sternly. “My brother is not dead.”

“My apologies, Swent Prince,” Lt. Gresher replied politely. “How do you like our ship so far?”

“It is surprisingly well maintained,” Jori admitted.

“You should see our cells,” Bracht replied.

“Bracht,” the captain warned.

“What? It’s where he should be,” the warrior muttered.

“What’s the matter, Rabnee?” Jori retorted. Rabnee was a derogatory name for a cowardly Rabnoshk warrior. “Are you afraid a child will be able to overwhelm your crew?”

Bracht growled in reply.

“Bracht!” the captain yelled. “You will apologize at once.”

The Rabnoshk warrior turned so dark red, J.T. was sure he was going to explode.

“There’s no need, Captain,” Jori replied. “A forced apology is no apology at all.”

Thank goodness, J.T. thought. Bombshell diffused… for now.

The captain glared at Bracht but did not push for the apology. The room fell into an uncomfortable silence.

The captain broke the silence by clearing his throat. “Well, Swent Prince, I will be talking to your father soon to make arrangements to get you home.” Jori did not reply so the captain continued. “If you’d like to speak to him as well, I’d be happy to make arrangements.”

“I do not wish to speak to my father,” Jori replied.

“No?” the captain asked. “Surely you want him to know you’re all right.”

“I do not wish to speak to him,” Jori said a little more firmly.

The conversation lagged for a bit, but the captain tried to get it started again. At first he asked casual questions, which Jori answered in his usual brevity. But the brief responses compelled the captain ask more probing questions.

“I assure you, Captain,” Jori said, “that if you try to torture the information out of me, you will still find out nothing.”

The captain was obviously a bit taken aback by the response, but he didn’t let that deter him. “We’re not going to torture you, Swent Prince. We’re simply asking. It’s perfectly reasonable for us to ask.”

“I suppose you have a right to interrogate your prisoners,” Jori replied contemptuously. “Shall I sit in a dark room while your Rabnoshk warrior goads me?”

“Jori, that’s enough,” J.T. replied harshly, his frustration finally getting the best of him. “You seem far too mature to be acting like such a child.”

Jori gave him a dark look, but surprisingly said nothing. He didn’t even correct J.T. for not using his formal title. Still, the boy looked sullen for the rest of the evening and there was little conversation.
*****

Dinner was over and J.T. and Jori readied themselves for sleep. J.T. was unnerved by the boy’s continued silence and decided it was time to say something.

“You were very rude at dinner, Jori,” J.T. said harshly. “You know, we are trying hard to be polite and make you feel comfortable. And we are doing everything we can to help you and your brother. I don’t expect you to spill your father’s secrets, but I it’s not unreasonable to expect you to be courteous… and perhaps show a little gratitude.”

“Bracht started it,” Jori replied.

“Now you really sound like a child.”

Jori scowled darkly but didn’t say anything more. Just before going to bed, however, J.T. thought he saw the boy’s look go from a sullen one to a more contemplating one. Must be my imagination, he mused. I hope this brat doesn’t kill me in my sleep.

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

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 11 Rough Draft

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2015 by Dawn Ross

 

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – First Encounter

Chapter 11

(The previous chapters can be found under the “The Kavakian Empire” link under categories in the right hand column, beginning August 2014.)

After his morning duties, J.T. found Jori in the gymnasium. The boy had already been there a while. He was in a steady sweat as he performed a far more complicated version of shadow boxing, including flips, spins, and kicks. Jori was fast and agile, and obviously very good. He had gathered a small crowd of Odyssey crewmen, who watched with awe.

Since it didn’t look like Jori would be done anytime soon, J.T. decided to change into his workout clothes. He ran a few laps around the gymnasium until Jori was finished. When J.T. approached him, Jori told him that though he was done with that particular exercise, he still had a couple hours of training to go.

“A couple of hours?” J.T. asked. “Is it normal for you to exercise for so long?”

“Yes,” Jori stated. “Four to six hours a day.”

“That’s a lot. Do you have time for other studies?”

“Plenty of time. My intellectual studies also take up four to six hours a day, which reminds me … I will need some reading material. I’m currently studying Pershornian Warfare, Fourth Generation, and Alkon’s theories on quantum mechanics.”

“Impressive,” J.T. replied, truly awed. Although he specialized in strategic warfare, he did not get into the complexities of Pershornian warfare until he had entered the Alliance academy. “I can get you a digiview with access to the MDS. You are welcome to read anything you find on the MDS.”

“That is acceptable,” Jori replied.

There was a silence between them as Jori looked over the gymnasium to decide what he wanted to do next. Finally J.T. offered, “How about a game of wall ball?”

“What’s that?” Jori asked.

J.T. explained how two players face a wall and hit a ball back and forth with a racquet. It was J.T.’s favorite exercise. Jori agreed and the two played. It was a long game at which the boy never seemed to tire from. Jori turned out to be very good at it. They each had won an equal number of games when they stopped because Jori hurt his elbow when he fell. They sat on a bench as J.T. and Jori examined the injury.

“It’s not bad,” Jori replied impassively. “But I can’t play anymore today.”

“We should go see a medic to make sure it’s not broken,” J.T. said.

“I don’t need a medic. It’s not broken. Just bruised.”

“It wouldn’t hurt to check,” J.T replied. “And at the very least, we can get you something for the pain.”

“I don’t need anything for the pain,” Jori said firmly. “I would know if something was fractured or broken, so seeing a medic is a waste of time.”

“Okay,” J.T. relented. “Speaking of broken bones, though, Dr. Jerom noticed that both you and your brother have had quite a few.”

“Yes,” Jori confirmed.

Jori did not offer any other information so J.T. pressed. “It’s unusual for someone your age, of any age actually, to have had so many bone reconstructions. How did they all happen?”

“Various things,” Jori replied.

“Like what?”

“In exercises, games… I’ve been in a couple of vehicular crashes.”

“So all accidents?”

“Mostly.”

“Mostly? As in some were intentional?” J.T. asked.

“That is correct.”

J.T. felt his stomach squirm. Why would anyone intentionally harm another, especially a child? “From your father?” he asked, not really wanting to hear the answer.

“From my father, others, and from my Jintal training.”

“Jintal training!” J.T. replied in alarm. Jintal was a harsh training method that was used to build up pain tolerance. “Aren’t you a little young to undergo Jintal training?”

“Yes, but my father found a way to persuade a Jintal master to teach us,” Jori said. He spoke as if it were no big deal and it unnerved J.T. even more.

“You know this is wrong, don’t you, Jori? What your father puts you through is abuse, torture even, and it’s morally wrong.”

“My father is not known for his morality, Commander,” Jori stated matter-of-factly.

J.T. was incredulous. A part of him wanted to comfort the boy, but Jori was so unemotional about the entire issue that J.T. wasn’t sure how to respond.

“Aren’t you worried,” J.T. finally said. “Worried that your father will kill you, or get you killed?”

“I do not think about it,” Jori replied. “I wouldn’t be the first to die by my father’s hand, but there isn’t much I can do about it.”

J.T.’s gut twisted further, making him queasy. “If you could get away from it, go somewhere else, somewhere safe, would you go?”

Jori paused a moment thinking about it. Finally, he said, “No.”

“Why not?” J.T. asked in disbelief.

“Because of my brother. And my mother.”

“Who is your mother?”

“She is one of my father’s concubines.”

“And so if you left, you’d leave them behind?”

“Yes,” Jori replied. “And because I have responsibilities.”

“You are too young for so much responsibility,” J.T. said.

“Fulfilling my responsibilities keeps my alive, Commander.”

J.T. put his hand on Jori’s shoulder. “Oh, Jori. I’m sorry,” he said, not knowing what else to say.

“Don’t feel sorry for me,” Jori replied. His tone was still formal, but seemed softer somehow. “My life is not so dark and dismal as this conversation has led you to believe.”

“Let’s change the topic, then,” J.T. said. His stomach was in knots the disturbing conversation. “Tell me, if you spend most of your day exercising and studying, what do you do for fun?”

“Sometimes exercising and studying are fun,” Jori replied.

“I can see how that can be. But nothing just for the sake of having fun?”

“My brother and I did some fun things at the Melna space station,” Jori offered.

“Like what?” J.T. asked, realizing that Jori was never volunteering any detailed information unless specifically asked.

“We used a holo deck to visit some exotic planet-scapes. And we went to see some laverjack beasts that the Hurvans were transporting.”

“Sounds interesting,” J.T. said sincerely. He asked more about the planet-scapes and found that Jori studied other cultures as a hobby. And they boy’s eyes practically lit up when he talked about the laverjack beasts. Jori was really opening up so J.T. took the opportunity to ask about the scientists.

“What about scientists. Did you speak to some scientists when you were at the Melna space station?”

Jori wrinkled his brow in bewilderment. “That’s an odd question.”

J.T. sighed. He wasn’t sure how to bring up this topic without it sounding accusatory. But he had to ask. “We found some communications on your ship about some scientists and we are wondering what it is about.”

Jori’s eyes darkened and his jaw clenched. “I see,” was all he said.

“Can you tell me anything?” J.T. asked, keeping his tone casual.

“Nothing,” Jori replied coldly. “We are done talking.” With that, Jori got up and marched away.

J.T. cursed to himself. He had been making real headway with the boy and should have waited to ask about the scientists. Or at least found a better way to ask.

 

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

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 10 Rough Draft

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , on December 27, 2014 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – First Encounter

Rough Draft – Chapter 10

(Click August 2014 to current under the Archives to read the previous chapters on this sci-fi space opera story.)

Jori was left with his brother and the security detail in sick bay while J.T. went to the docking bay to follow up with the findings on the crashed Tredon ship. The senior officer on duty approached him and reported that they were able to recover some information.

“Video recordings of the cockpit confirm that the two boys are indeed the Kavakian Princes,” the officer said. “They never state it in any of the communications, though.”

Communications could be intercepted so J.T. suspected the princes never broadcasted their identity in order to keep it secret. They were vulnerable away from their own territory, especially with only a few warriors and a small ship to protect them.

“Did you find out what the Grapnes were after?” J.T. asked.

“They never said. Not even when the prince asked them directly. They just simply demanded surrender.”

J.T. suspected the Grapnes must have discovered who they were and taken advantage.

“I did find this, however,” the officer said as he pointed at a line on the digiview screen. “I think it’s a message from the prince to the emperor.”

The officer tapped the line 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.”

“That’s rather informal and vague,” J.T. said. “He didn’t even announce who he was. Are you sure it was from the prince to the emperor?”

“He sounds young,” the officer replied. “The two princes were the youngest ones on the ship. And who else would their father be?”

J.T. agreed. It wasn’t Jori’s voice, so it must have been his older brother’s. “What about these scientists he mentioned? Did you find anything more?”

“Nothing, Sir. There’s nothing in the ship files and no mention in any other communications or video recordings. And we’ve recovered all that we could.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant. I will take this to the captain,” J.T. said. “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 explains why the younger prince survived.”

*****

J.T. visited Captain Arden in his ready room. Lt. Jenna Stein and Lt. Commander Bracht were there as well. J.T. related his recent discussion with the officer in the docking bay.

“I agree with your take on the Grapnes’ intent. That was my deduction as well,” the captain said. “Commander, ask the boy about the scientists. Be persistent but gentle. If he refuses to say anything, I will consider getting Liam involved.”

J.T. did not care for Liam. The man made him uncomfortable. But his methods were sound. “I will try, Captain,” J.T. replied. “But I’m not sure if I can get Jori to reveal anything.”

“Is he giving you trouble?” the captain asked.

“No, actually. He’s being cooperative. But he 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.”

“It’s not that,” J.T. said. “He’s not a timid child. Jori’s guarded, yes, but he also seems to be very self-possessed. And he’s highly intelligent. It’s a mistake to think of him as an ordinary child.”

“I knew he was dangerous,” Bracht said.

“It’s not surprising,” Lt. Jenna Stein offered. “The Kavakians stopped the genetic enhancements at the same time as other cultures when the practice was strictly outlawed. However, I believe the Kavakians found a way around the laws.”

“How’s that?” the captain asked.

“Careful breeding,” Jenna replied. “These past hundred years or so, the Kavakian emperors have only been marrying women who carry enhanced genes. Part of the reason why so many of the emperors’ offspring do not survive is because they are terminated for not carrying the enhancements.”

“That’s barbaric,” J.T. said.

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

“Select breeding is not against the law, however,” Captain Arden said to the Lt. Commander. “But it’s something we should take into account regarding security. We don’t know what all their genetic enhancements entail.”

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

“I agree.” Turning to J.T., the captain added, “There is something else I need you to try and talk to the young prince about. Dr. Jerom found a lot of bone reconstructions in both of the boys. There are so many, it is beyond concerning. I would say it’s alarming, in fact.”

“You think they are being abused?” Jenna asked.

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

“Yes, Lt.,” the captain replied. “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.” J.T. felt a little sick at the thought. Jenna seemed to as well. “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 Jori,” J.T. said.

“Thank you,” Captain Arden said to the group. “That’s all I have for now. I will see you all at my table for dinner tonight. Commander,” he said to J.T., “the young prince is invited as well. And there is one more thing I need to speak to you about.”

Lt. Jenna Stein and Lt. Commander Bracht left the room, leaving J.T. and the captain alone.

“What is it, Sir,” J.T. asked as he sat back down.

“I will be contacting the boys’ father soon,” the captain said. “And as you can imagine, I’m quite daunted by the task. After all, what is a mere captain doing contacting an emperor, an enemy emperor no less? By all rights, this should be handed by officials from the Alliance council, not me.”

“I agree,” J.T. replied.

“To notify the council, I have to go through the chain of command. Let me ask you, Commander, what do you think of Rear Admiral Zimmer?”

J.T. tensed at the name but hoped the captain hadn’t noticed. “Uh… well,” J.T. hesitated, feeling a little trapped.

“It’s all right, Commander,” the captain replied. “I realized the Kimpke incident left you with a bad taste in your mouth, but putting that event aside, what is your honest opinion of the man? This is strictly between you and I and I swear I will not use the information against you in any way.”

The captain’s earnest manner put J.T. at ease so he spoke honestly. “I think he’s an arrogant ass,” he replied bluntly. Captain Arden raised an eyebrow. J.T. probably should have been more tactful in his answer, but his emotions about Zimmer were strong. “I felt that way about him from the moment I met him so my feelings are not entirely based on the fact that he nearly ended my career.”

“Your own actions nearly ended your career, Commander,” the captain replied.

J.T. made an effort to hide his anxiety. Not once since the captain appointed him as his commander a few months ago had he brought up the Kimpke incident. “I realize that, Sir, and I’m not trying to shift blame,” J.T. replied more calmly than he felt. “I meant to say that his method of command compelled me to the actions that nearly led to my dismissal from the Alliance fleet.”

“And what do you mean by his method of command?”

Captain Arden’s tone was curious, not accusatory, so J.T. answered honestly. “He refuses to listen to the advice of his officers, even when presented with compelling evidence. And while many believe he makes decisions based on his intelligence and years of experience, I believe his decisions are severely limited by his ego and by his many prejudices. He never admits when he’s wrong and when things don’t turn out the way he expects them, he somehow manages to make others look and feel responsible.” J.T.’s heart raced, but it felt good to finally be able to speak out about Zimmer. It occurred to him that he may have gone too far with his new captain, but Captain Arden did not look angry or disappointed. If anything, he looked thoughtful.

“And you came to this opinion before you got into trouble?” the captain asked.

“Yes, Sir,” J.T. replied. “I could site you several examples if you’d like.”

“No, that’s quite all right. I am familiar with the admiral’s method of command. Do you know why I requested you as my commanding officer, despite your actions at Kimpke?”

“I’ve always wondered, Sir,” J.T. said.

“As subordinates, we are expected to do as we are told even if we disagree. Your actions at Kimpke imply that you will disobey the chain of command whenever you don’t want to do something.”

J.T. opened his mouth to protest but the captain held up a hand.

“I don’t, however, believe this one incident sets a precedent. You no doubt felt strongly about what was happening and you were faced with a moral dilemma.”

“Yes, Sir,” J.T. replied. Maybe someone finally understands, J.T. hoped silently.

“Although I believe it is important that we strictly follow our chain of command,” the captain said, “I don’t believe we should always do so blindly. I actually find what you did to be noble. You were backed in a corner and faced with either doing something that went against your conscience or disobeying and risking court martial.”

“I don’t make a habit of disobeying orders, Captain,” J.T. said. “But I honestly don’t think I could have lived with myself if I had done what the admiral ordered.”

“That’s what I hoped for when I took you on, Commander. Out here, we are often faced with moral dilemmas. There will be times when we will have to do things we don’t agree with. But at the same time, it is our responsibility to speak up when we are ordered to do something we feel will cause great harm. I am currently faced with such a dilemma.”

“I’m not sure I understand, Sir,” J.T. said. He realized in a brief moment of panic that he may be facing another Kimpke-like situation.

“Knowing the admiral,” the captain said, “what do you think he would do if he found out we have the Kavakian princes on board our ship?”

J.T. hadn’t given it much thought, but he suddenly realized what the captain was getting at. Sure enough, he thought, it’s Kimpke all over again. To the captain he said, “He’d order us to bring in the princes for questioning.”

“Exactly what I was thinking,” the captain replied. “And what do you think would happen if we did such a thing?”

“I think if Emperor Kavak found out, he’d have a valid argument for getting a number of other dignitaries to side with him against us. We’d have war.”

“And how do you feel about a war with the Tredons, Commander?”

“Despite how disagreeable I think the Tredons are, I think going to war with them would be a terrible mistake.”

“Are you telling me this because you think it’s what I want to hear, or because it is how you truly feel? You are a strategist, after all, and strategy is a war tactic.”

“Sometimes fighting is necessary,” J.T. replied. “But strategy isn’t just about fighting. It’s about protecting. And it’s about protecting while losing as few casualties as possible. If we go to war with the Tredons, many will die. And not just the fighters, but innocent people too. The Tredons will use our value of human lives against us. They will strike at military bases as well as homesteads. The best strategy in this case is to avoid going to war with them.”

Captain Arden nodded in agreement. “I’m glad we’re on the same page in this. Let me tell you what I’m facing and let’s see if you have any ideas on what we can do to avoid a war.”

J.T. nodded and so Captain Arden explained how contacting the emperor himself could cause problems. “He’s not going to believe we intend no harm,” he explained.

“What if we put off telling him for as long as possible?” J.T. replied. “We could wait until we reach the Chevert outpost before contacting him.”

“That’s an idea,” the captain said. “I’d think Jori would want to speak to his father sooner, though.”

“I can talk to him,” J.T. offered. “I think our main problem, however, is with what Zimmer will want us to do. How do we handle this if he orders us to bring the boys to him?”

“I am hoping you can help me come up with some ideas. My current plan is to notify him through the monthly report. After all, I’m given a lot of leeway to make my own decisions without involving our superiors,” the captain explained.

“It’s a fine line,” J.T. said, “but you may be able to argue your way out of a reprimand if you handle this on your own. I say you because the rear admiral will not listen to any argument I make.”

“Nor I, most likely,” the captain replied with a frown. “Finding out more on the scientists the elder boy alluded to may be helpful. If it’s valuable information, it could distract him.”

“Understood,” J.T. replied. “I will do my best to see if I can get Jori to trust me.”

“If not, there’s the reader.”

J.T. pointedly ignored the reference to Liam. “There’s another concern I have,” J.T. said instead. “How are we going to get the princes home? Even though the Chevert outpost is in neutral space, we’re just one ship. The emperor could lay a trap for us there… or anywhere.”

“I agree,” the captain replied. “If we can wait to contact the emperor until the very last moment, then all we’d need to do make sure the boys are in good hands and leave immediately.”

“Rear Admiral Zimmer isn’t going to like this when he finds out. We’re really pushing the gray area, aren’t we, Sir?” J.T. asked.

“We are,” the captain agreed. “If you disagree with this, Commander, feel free to let me know. I can’t promise I won’t order you to do something you don’t like, but I will listen to any objections you have.

“I have no objections, Sir,” J.T. replied earnestly. “I’m with you one hundred percent.”

This space opera is protected by copyright. Copyright December, 2014 by Dawn Ross.

The Kavakian Empire – Part One Chapter 9 Rough Draft

Posted in The Kavakian Empire with tags , , , , , , on December 20, 2014 by Dawn Ross

The Kavakian Empire

A Space Opera by Dawn Ross

Part One – First Encounter

Rough Draft – Chapter 9

(Click August 2014 to current under the Archives to read the previous chapters on this sci-fi space opera story.)

From the author – I’m going to switch gears here a bit. I know you’re supposed to show and not tell, but one of my steps before showing the story is to tell it in a rough draft form. And so this is how I am going to be posting this sci-fi story for a while. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first one is personal. My mom passed away recently and it has been difficult for me to write.

The second reason for posting this story in rough draft form is for copyright reasons. As it stands right now, anyone can copy and paste this story and publish it. I don’t think it is good enough for that purpose, but someone is sure to try it anyway. By posting parts of the story in rough draft, this will make it less likely that someone will copy and paste the entire story and put it in book form. If they do, it will look very odd.

And so here is Chapter 9 of the space opera, The Kavakian Empire, in rough draft form:

 

“I will see my brother now,” the young boy Jori said. Rather than wait for J.T. to respond he headed out of the recreation room.

J.T. raised his eyebrow and turned to Chesa. “I guess I gotta go,” he shrugged apologetically.

Neither J.T. nor the boy spoke but the sound of footsteps echoed down the hall as the two plus four security officers made their way to sick bay. However loudly the guards seemed to walk at the back of their heels, the boy did not seem to notice them.

Even when they reached sick bay and met four other security officers guarding the unconscious prince, Jori completely ignored them. J.T. silently wondered if Jori was ignoring the guards because they were beneath his notice, or because he didn’t want to think about the fact that he was surrounded by enemies.

Jori walked straight to the medical diagnostics monitor by his brother’s bed. Dr. Jerom came in and briefly explained the medical situation. The young prince was in critical condition and he was unsure whether Jori’s brother would survive.

Despite the grim news, Jori did not display any emotion. He looked over the medical monitor and began asking 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. J.T. did not understand half the medical jargon, but Jori seemed to understand very well.

“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 at Jori’s dismissal. J.T. gave a slight apologetic shrug and so Dr. Jerom left with a shake of his head.

Jori approached his brother’s side. J.T. tensed a little as he recalled what Jenna had said about Kavakian princes killing off one another. The eight surrounding guards seemed to tense too.

What happened next was something none of them expected. Jori took his brother’s hand and gently held it. J.T. noticed Jori’s demeanor change. Instead of a face of blank emotion, the boy looked genuinely concerned.

Jori put his other hand on his brother’s forehead and stroked it tenderly. As he did so, J.T. noticed that Jori’s eyes were watering. J.T., moved by what he saw, put a comforting hand on Jori’s shoulder. The boy flinched ever-so-slightly, but otherwise did not acknowledge J.T.’s gesture.

*****

Jori was silent has he and J.T., along with four security guards, went from sick bay to J.T.’s quarters for sleep. But while he maintained an outward calm, Jori’s thoughts churned chaotically. His brother Terk was in very bad shape. All sorts of scenarios about what would happen if Terk died manifested in his head.

His father would be greatly angered by Terk’s death. No doubt he’d use it as an excuse to rally for a full-scale war against the Alliance. Jori wasn’t sure how he felt about war. He was sure, however, that he wouldn’t want to face it without his brother by his side. Without Terk, Jori would be the sole heir to the Kavakian Empire. Although some might consider this an opportune circumstance, Jori did not like the prospect of being without his brother. They did everything together. If Terk died, Jori would be alone.

Hearing one of the four guards behind him cough made Jori realize that he might not get back home. Jori may be free to walk about their ship, but he was a prisoner none-the-less. He knew full well that there were places on the ship he would not be allowed to go. And he had no doubt that these guards would stalk him at every turn. Captain Arden promised to let Jori and Terk go home, and Jori believed he was telling the truth, but there was nothing to keep the captain from changing his mind.

Jori imagined what would happen if he tried to escape this very moment. He evaluated the situation in his mind. The commander wasn’t armed. That made him easier to overcome. The guard closest to Jori wasn’t paying as much attention as he should have so Jori 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.T. next since he was the commander and would likely be the quickest to react to the situation.

Although Jori considered, he didn’t make a move. He probably had the element of surprise on his side. He maybe even had more martial skill than these men. But one against five were not good odds. Not only that, he still had his brother to think about.

Jori and the others met two guards at the door of J.T.’s quarters. One of those guards had a very dark look. Jori tried to ignore him, but he could still feel the penetrating and hateful glare of the man. J.T. acknowledged both officers and so Jori learned this man was named Calloway.

*****

Mik Calloway and another Lt. Jr. Grade, Siven Addams, stood guard outside of Commander Hapker’s quarters. Two other officers guarded from inside. It was only supposed to be one guard inside, but Mik convinced them it should be two so that they could keep one another alert. That was what Mik told them, anyway. He actually just wanted a chance to speak to Siven privately.

“It’s a good thing we’re keeping the prince’s identity secret,” Mik said. “Your friend Laren would be pissed if he knew.”

Siven didn’t reply. He didn’t much care for Mik, but that was okay since Mik didn’t care much for him either. Still, Mik wanted to come across as friendly in order to plant a seed, so-to-speak. Mik hated the fact that they were protecting the Kavakian Princes. But he wasn’t about to risk his own career in order to do something about it. That’s where Siven came in.

“Just think,” Mik continued, “Laren lost both his wife and child when the emperor attacked his village. Can you imagine what it must be like for him? And to think that one of the emperor’s sons is right here, just on the other side of this door, without a care in the world for all the people his father has murdered.”

“He’s just a child,” Siven replied, although without much enthusiasm.

“Yeah, but that child is going to grow up someday. Hell, he’s already dangerous. Jack said when they landed on Pensla he watched that child kill four Grapnes. The little shit is already a killer and he’s barely ten cycles old. I can’t imagine what we will have on our hands when his older brother wakes up.”

Siven still didn’t reply, but Mik could tell he was thinking about it. The seed was planted, and so he left it alone for now. Perhaps later, he’d make other comments to help the seed grow.

*****

Jori lay in a small cot set up for him in J.T.’s quarters. J.T. was already asleep in his bedroom, but the two guards inside were awake and alert. Jori didn’t mind them too much. It was the one outside the door that concerned him.

After seeing the hateful glare from the man named Calloway, Jori questioned whether he should have told the captain his identity. There was a good chance the captain would find out anyway from the evidence of the crashed ship.

What’s done was done, though. At least Jori didn’t tell the captain about the other part of their mission. Since it was merely to gather information and since that information was only in Jori and Terk’s head, there was no way the captain could find out about it.

This information was all Jori would have to appease his father when he returned home. Jori and Terk lost their entire crew, their cargo, and their ship. To say his father would be greatly displeased would be a vast understatement.

Jori and Terk needed to make up for their failure somehow. Jori once again considered a plan of escape. There were only two guards nearby and the commander was sound asleep. All Jori would have to do is disarm one guard and then kill them both before they had a chance to cry out. Since J.T. was asleep, he would be easy to dispatch.

Even though Jori contemplated this, the thought of actually killing these men made him uneasy. Jori knew he should hate these Alliance crew members but those negative feelings didn’t arise.

Besides, what would killing these men achieve? He couldn’t take on the entire ship’s crew. His father would not consider the death of a few Alliance personnel enough to make up for all that Jori and Terk had lost. No, Jori 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.

Whatever Jori decided to do, it would have to wait until Terk recovered… if he recovered.

 

This space opera is protected by copyright. Copyright December, 2014 by Dawn Ross.