The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part Two – The Emperor
(You are in the midst of the continuing saga of The Kavakian Empire. This is part two of the sci-fi story so if you haven’t already, be sure to check out part one. Tabs on the right.)
The brig was foul and murky. J.T. and his crewmen were put three to a cell. There were enough beds for each, as well a food and water dispenser, and even a toilet. But the entire space was grungy. The floor was sticky and the walls were stained. And the place smelled like excrement.
J.T. sat on one of the beds and rubbed his wrists where the guards had removed the bonds. Harley and Lt. Sam Simmonds sat on the beds across from him doing the same. Both looked despondent. J.T. realized he probably looked just as downcast as they. He definitely felt that way.
“We’re going to die, aren’t we, Sir?” Harley asked.
“It certainly seems so,” J.T. replied, too glum to sugarcoat it for the young man.
“I can’t believe those boys pretended not to know us,” Simmonds said. His grey mustache turned downward when he frowned. When Jori was on the Odyssey, he and Simmonds had seemed to get along well. Simmonds, being a science officer, was highly impressed with the young prince’s own knowledge of the sciences.
“Figures,” Harley added. “The Tredons are a bunch of murdering cutthroats.”
“They’re just boys,” J.T. said. Despite his current situation, he couldn’t help but defend them. “Let’s just see what happens,” J.T. added, trying to sound optimistic.
If Captain Arden had had his way, J.T. would have been on the Odyssey instead of on the ground. But Vice Admiral Belmont insisted that J.T. was the best man to lead the ground force. It was logical. However, J.T. suspected the admiral had some reserve about J.T.s part in the Kimpke incident. Although he agreed that Rear Admiral Zimmer’s orders had gone too far, he didn’t like the fact that J.T. had disobeyed a direct order. The ground force was the best out of the way place to put such a man, especially since the admiral probably didn’t believe the Tredons would have made it to the ground anyway.
At least J.T. had been assigned a good team. Of those who were also captured, four were lieutenant junior grades and the other five were full lieutenants. Their rank wouldn’t save them though. Only Barslow and Simmonds had a chance of surviving. Barslow was an engineer and Simmonds was a science officer. Perhaps the emperor might have a use for his two tactical officers, Mendosa and Walden, as well. Everyone else may have minored in the sciences, but they probably didn’t know enough to keep them alive long enough for help to arrive.
Who’s to say whether Captain Arden is even alive? J.T. thought. The captain had faced the Tredon warships directly. If Emperor Kavak had time to dismantle the laser, then the Odyssey and the other Alliance ships must have been taken out of the picture. J.T. hoped the ships were able to retreat. More than that, though, he hoped Captain Arden hadn’t been killed or seriously injured. Robert Arden was the kind of man who would do just about anything to rescue his crew.
J.T.’s thoughts were disturbed when two big warriors stopped outside the energy shield of his cell door.
“You,” the older greying warrior said sternly while pointing directly at J.T. “Come.”
J.T. stood reluctantly as the younger man disabled the charged shield. It occurred to him that he could try to fight, but seeing how big the men were and that there were two others just down the hall made him think otherwise. What’s the point? he asked himself. Where would I even go?
Before he could think of anything to do, the older man grabbed him by the arm and twisted him around. Next thing J.T. knew, both his hands were cuffed behind his back. Harley and Simmonds looked like they wanted to jump up and help, but the younger Tredon Dragon warrior stood over them with a daring look. J.T. gave a subtle shake of his head to his two crewmen, and then let himself be led out of the cell.
“Where are you going with him?” one of the Tredon guards asked.
“Prince’s orders,” the older man replied. “You got a problem with that?”
“No, Sir,” the guard replied.
The greying man didn’t say which prince. Although Terk had kicked him earlier, J.T. felt a little hopefulness mixed in with his apprehension.
His hope was dashed, though, when the two men took him to an isolated room and clamped him into a metal chair that had obviously been used for torture.
Both warriors stood silently in front of him in an at-ease fashion as though waiting for something. Although the older man’s hair had a lot of grey, he still appeared to be a strong and healthy warrior. His demeanor was cool, but he looked ready to spring into action at moment’s notice.
The other warrior was younger, about J.T.’s age. He wasn’t clean-shaven like the elder man. He had a sparse mustache and a small patch of hair on his chin. And his black hair was wavy, which did not appear to be a common feature among the Tredons.
J.T. felt anxious, but determined not to show it. He was about to ask the men what they were waiting for when the door to the room opened.
It was Jori. His face was unreadable as he placed himself before J.T. in front of the two guards.
“I told you that if our situations were reversed, you would not be treated the same,” Jori said evenly. J.T. didn’t know how to reply, so Jori added, “If it were up to me, this wouldn’t have happened. But it’s not up to me.”
“Why haven’t you told your father about what happened?” J.T. asked, referring to how Captain Arden of the Odyssey had saved him and his brother’s life.
“It would do more harm than good,” he replied. J.T. had felt slightly hopeful when he saw Jori come in the room. But the boy’s placid look made him uneasy. “He believes any sort of sentiment is a weakness. Besides, if he did know he might suspect Terk and I alerted you to this plan. He’d probably realize that he’d have both the laser and the scientists in custody if it weren’t for us.”
“So what happens next? Are you going to kill me?”
“I wouldn’t do that, even if father ordered me,” Jori said, again without emotion.
“Torture me then?” J.T. asked sourly.
“I’m not, no. But you will be tortured. Terk may be compelled to participate. But believe me when I say it is not something that either of us wants to do.”
“So do something,” J.T. said.
Jori huffed. “It’s not that easy,” he objected, finally showing some emotion. “I’ve managed to alter your records to show that you and your crew may be useful in getting the laser fixed. My father won’t kill you just yet. But he will make sure you’re properly motivated.”
“What then?” J.T. asked. “How will we get out of here?”
“I don’t know.” Jori replied dolefully. “I’m sorry this is happening. I truly am.”
J.T. nodded his head. He wanted to say he understood. But did he? He was going to die here. He just knew it. “What about Hanna?” J.T. asked. “That man is going to rape her.”
“He’s not,” Jori said. “Terk is taking care of it. She will be hurt, though.”
J.T. was somewhat relieved. Somewhat. “He’s eventually going to kill us, you know. We can’t fix that laser, even if we wanted to.”
Jori’s brow furrowed. “I know,” he replied sadly.
“Are you sure your father wouldn’t let us go if he knew we rescued you?”
“I’m sure. You mustn’t say anything to anyone either. Only a couple of my men, including Wexam and Master Jetser here, know,” he said indicating the two guards behind him. “If my father suspects Terk and I have a concern for you, he will keep a closer eye on us and we won’t be able to do anything more to help you.”
“Or worse,” Master Jetser said. “He will order the boys to torture you to death in order to force any such sentiments they have out of them.” Master Jetser had a surprisingly kind voice for such a gruff man.
Jori nodded in regrettable agreement.
J.T. scowled in concern. What kind of monster would do such a thing? he asked himself. The same kind of monster who would allow a woman to be raped and would torture everyone just for the hell of it.
“Tell the other members of your crew to play along as best they can,” Jori said. “But don’t tell them how they’ve come to be recognized as experts. I realize some of them will suspect, but I don’t want anyone accidentally blurting anything when they are being questioned. Understood?”
“Good. Now I suggest that when we take you back to your cell, you look like you’re in pain or someone will wonder what happened in here.”
“Thank you,” J.T. said with sincerity. “I know you can’t do much, but I appreciate anything you can do.”
Jori gave a disheartened look in reply.
(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright May, 2015 by Dawn Ross
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