The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part One – First Encounter
(Begin reading “The Kavakian Empire” by following the link under categories in the right hand column. Chapter 1 was written in August 2014.)
Jori hadn’t made any snide comments about the incident with Liam. There were no angry retorts or bitter accusations. But he was even more cold than usual. Nothing J.T. did or said could get Jori to say more than a few words at a time. Jori wasn’t rude or childish. He didn’t even look angry. He just refused to open up.
Even so, J.T. felt a little sympathy for him. To have someone try force their way inside your head had to be an uncomfortable feeling, to say the least. Goodness knows J.T. himself was unnerved by the idea of what Liam could do. Since Jori was far from home and surrounded by people he considered enemies, he probably felt even more threatened by the man.
So J.T. didn’t try to push for a conversation. He bore the uncomfortable silence with understanding and gave Jori his space.
Towards midday, though, they went to the gymnasium together. Surprisingly, Jori agreed to a game of wall ball. J.T. could tell Jori still didn’t want to engage in a conversation, so they just played.
Play probably wasn’t the right word. Jori seemed to take the game very seriously. He didn’t pout or get angry when he messed up a shot. He just got more determined. J.T. was fairly good at the game, but no one made the game as intense as Jori.
Suddenly, Jori caught the ball in his hand rather than hit it with his racquet. “I’ve got to go see my brother,” he said abruptly.
“Now?” J.T. asked.
“Now,” Jori replied as he set the ball and racquet down. He grabbed the sweat towel on the way out and headed straight to sick bay.
J.T. could have chosen to stay behind and let the guards follow him. But he was curious. Odd, he thought to himself. I wonder what brought this on.
When they got to sick bay, Terk’s room was full of panicked medics. “What’s happening?” Jori tried to ask one of the medics as she rushed inside the room. But she was too focused to hear.
J.T. and Jori stood outside the room out of the way. J.T. watched the medics, trying to get a hint at what was happening. When he glanced over at Jori, he noticed the boy’s eyes were wide with panic. “It’s going to be okay,” he said as he put his hand on Jori’s shoulder. “They will do everything they can.”
Jori did not reply. He just stood there with a stunned look on his face as he watched the medics bustle.
Suddenly, their panic heightened. They began yelling. J.T. thought he heard one of them say something about Terk going into cardiac arrest.
“No,” Jori said almost inaudibly.
J.T. noticed tears in Jori’s eyes. He could tell the boy was trying not to cry. His chin quivered as he tried to hold it back. It almost brought tears to J.T.’s own eyes seeing him like that. J.T. didn’t have a brother, but he knew what it was like to lose someone close to him.
J.T. hugged Jori’s shoulder. To his surprise, Jori didn’t resist. In fact, he welcomed the embrace. He buried his face against J.T.’s chest and began to sob. J.T. enveloped him in both arms and held him. Jori hugged him back.
It seemed like ages before the doctors calmed, but in reality, it had only been a few moments. “He’s stabilizing,” J.T. heard one of the doctors say.
Jori heard it too and turned to watch them. His arms around J.T. loosened but he did not let go.
“He’s going to be okay,” J.T. assured.
Jori looked up at him. His eyes were red and tears were still falling. J.T. rubbed his shoulder and Jori hugged him close again.
Eventually, Doctor Jerom came over. “I don’t know what happened,” he told them. “He went into convulsions, and then his heart stopped.”
“Is he going to be okay,” J.T. asked on Jori’s behalf.
“He’s stable. That’s all I can tell you for now,” Doctor Jerom said solemnly. “I’m sorry.”
“Can I see him now?” Jori asked.
“Let us see if we can figure out what happened first,” Doctor Jerom replied. “You’re welcome to wait out here for now and I’ll let you know when you can go in to see him.”
After waiting and learning nothing new, Jori finally got to see his brother. He spent the rest of the day by his brother’s side, holding his brother’s hand. J.T. couldn’t convince Jori to leave his bedside, not even to change out of his workout clothes. It wasn’t until dinner time that J.T. finally coaxed him away. Terk still lay there unconscious. You’d never know by looking at him that he’d nearly died. Jori would have been truly alone, then.
(This story is protected by copyright) Copyright February, 2015 by Dawn Ross
So I’m feeling some emotional whiplash here, which could probably be eased a little with more content between the end of the previous chapter and this one. I just don’t know how to feel about Jori, which I think is a real problem. He’s the character I want to relate to/follow the most. And normally I’d say depth of character that gives sometimes contradictory glances is a good thing. But I feel more confused about him than anything else. I don’t know how I should be viewing him.
I agree that Jori’s turnaround was too quick. If he is going to have a turnaround, it should be more gradual so that it isn’t contradictory. Let me ask you, though, does your confusion with his character seem off or is the confusion a good thing? I don’t want to reveal too much about Jori’s character too quickly because I want there to be some mystery. But at the same time, I don’t want the character’s contradiction to be out of place.
Honestly, I feel the confusion is off, which could probably be address with some of the things we’ve already talked about. I get the feel that you want Jori to be a little bit of a mystery, but the information about him is presented in such a way that makes me just want it outright instead of having to piece it together as I go. If that makes sense.
I think I get what you’re saying. Check out my reply to your comment in chapter 16. Do you think I’m on the right track with recognizing what’s wrong?
Thank you so much for your input. I know the story inside and out in my head so I can’t always tell when my writing doesn’t convey what I want it to convey. Having other people point things out really helps. I’m keeping track of all the feedback for editing later.