The Kavakian Empire – Part Two
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Note from Author:
I debated back and forth about whether Captain Robert Arden should have his part of the story told. My first decision was to exclude him. He was not really going to be a part of Terk, Jori, and J.T.’s experience. And I worried that I’d clutter the reader with too much information.
But as I honed the plot structure, I realized that the captain was important at the very end of the story. And I remembered reading something about how a writer needs to be careful about surprises and deus ex machina. Although readers often like surprises, or surprise twists, they like for the surprises to be plausible. In other words, you can’t have a character suddenly pull out a weapon and kill his enemy if it wasn’t known to the reader that the character was a type to have such a weapon available. Likewise, I couldn’t have Captain Robert Arden pop up out of the blue right when he is needed and say, “Here I am! I’ve come to save you just in the nick of time.”
So I have decided to include Robert’s perspective in this story. In order to prevent my readers from getting bored, I have tried to enrich Robert’s experience with interesting stuff.
Now that I’ve made my final decision, I need to insert the chapters with Robert’s point of view. Pretend the following is the very first chapter, before J.T.’s experience on planet Thendi.
“Sir! Two Tredon warships just came into view,” Lt. Handly reported.
“Shields up!” Captain Robert Arden of the Odyssey was suddenly alert. The gigantic warships had come out of nowhere. They literally just appeared in the empty space around the planet.
Robert’s command was implemented just as a hailstorm of firepower fell upon the Odyssey ship. Their shields disintegrated the energy blasts, but the enemy’s efforts would not be in vain. Enough firepower would soon deplete the strength of the shields. Since Tredon warships were known to have more firepower, the Alliance ships could utilize their superior speed and maneuverability to avoid being hit while simultaneously emitting their own energy blasts to weaken the enemy’s shields.
“Jensin, take evasive action now, delta maneuver. Wilshire, fire the cannons.”
Both officers acted immediately. Mock battles with two other Alliance ships had given Robert’s crew plenty of time to practice these past weeks. They knew the Tredon warships would come. They just didn’t know when.
Vice Admiral Belmont’s voice sounded through the comm. “Release the Pterodons.” Robert relayed the order to his fighter pilots.
Before his first space jet was out of the hull, a swarm of Asps emerged from the belly of the enemy warships. There was a slight chance that a small enemy vessel could maneuver through the Alliance vessels’ shields and destroy targeting weapons or shield generators, so the Pterodon pilots were their next line of defense.
One portion of the view screen displayed the jets. Robert monitored the dots representing the numerous squadrons as they engaged in battle. Lights blinked out as Pterodons and Asps were destroyed. Losing a Pterodon jet was disappointing, but at least there would be no pilots to mourn. Unlike the pilots of the Tredon Asps, the Pterodon pilots flew their ships virtually.
“Port shields at sixty-five percent, Sir,” Handly announced.
“Jensin, kappa maneuver now.” Robert knew that if Handly was reporting this shield level that it had the lowest level of the eight shields, and changing to this maneuver would present the opposing shielded area of the ship. As part of the procedure, Robert entered the data on his console so that the vice admiral and other captains could note the change.
“Sir,” Brenson said. “Flight Commander Madan is reporting a twenty percent loss of our Pterodon jets.”
Robert cringed inwardly at the number. Never in his career had he lost so many jets before, and in such a short amount of time no less. The Tredon’s obviously had a superior jet fighting force.
I wish J.T. were here, Robert thought to himself. Although J.T. had only been his second for a short time, the two of them were proving to be a good match. J.T. excelled in all the areas of command that Robert was only merely competent at, and vice versa. One of the skills J.T. excelled in was strategy.
Although J.T. had been part of the strategic planning, the vice admiral sent him to command the ground fighters on the surface of Thendi. Bracht had been sent there as well, and Robert couldn’t help but to feel inadequate right now.
Despite his feelings, though, Robert had plenty of experience with space battles. It was why he had been chosen to protect the border between Tredon and the Alliance in the first place. But his experience only told him they were outgunned and quite possibly outmatched.
“Handly, which ships are we fighting?” Robert asked his operations officer.
“It looks like the Dragon and the Basilisk, Sir.”
Robert resisted the urge to slump his shoulders and tried not to let the bad news discourage him. I shouldn’t have asked. The appearance of the Dragon meant Emperor Kavak himself had come and he brought his most notorious captain general, Brevak of the Basilisk. From what Robert knew about these two, three Alliance ships wasn’t going to be enough to fend them off.
The arrival of either the Dragon or the Basilisk had been considered in the strategic council, but Vice Admiral Belmont had decided it was unlikely for both to come. There was a play of politics in his determination. Robert didn’t care to understand the dynamics of it all, but it angered him that the admiral had let politics influence his strategic decisions.
This battle might be a small one by Alliance standards but losing it could lead to losing greater battles in the future. The Tredons were already a threat. If they won this battle, they’d have more power than ever before. And it could lead to an all-out war, something Robert had long been hoping to avoid.
“Fore-dorsal shields at sixty percent. Fifty-five.”
“Gamma maneuver,” Robert replied automatically. “Do we know how their shields are faring?”
“We’ve had minimal effect, Sir,” Handly replied. “They’re still at over eighty per – Sir! They’re releasing the Anacondas.”
“Wilshire, direct half your shots at those carriers.” Robert felt his panic begin to rise. The battle was not going well at all. Anaconda carriers could take nearly as much firepower as the warships. It was unlikely that the Alliance ships would be able to stop those carriers from reaching the planet’s surface. Anacondas carried both ground troops and Tredon’s notorious atmospheric jets, the Rattlers. Robert silently hoped J.T. was ready for the onslaught.
“Concentrate firepower on the Dragon’s starboard,” Belmont’s voice commanded through the comm. Robert’s instinct was to stop the Anacondas, but Belmont’s decision was a good one. If the Dragon received enough damage, the emperor might very well decide to back off the entire fight.
“Sir, all our shields are at less than fifty percent,” Handly said. “Port shields now at thirty five percent.”
Robert began to sweat now, but sat up straight and tried to look confident. He couldn’t let crew see how crestfallen he was becoming. Their maneuvers were doing no good at avoiding the Tredon’s firepower and it was only a matter of time.
“Sir, I just got a report from the Cronus. They’re pulling out.” Brenson’s announcement confirmed Robert’s discernment. That left only the Odyssey and the admiral’s flag ship, the Dauntless against their formidable enemy.
Before Robert could react, Lt. Handly interrupted with more bad news. “Sir, port shields are down. I believe an Asp has gotten through and taken out its shield generator.”
Damn. “Jensin, back to the kappa maneuver.” Shield down or not, they had to keep fighting.
“Call in the Pterydons,” the admiral ordered. Robert did so. His view screen showed the number of their jets had depleted greatly as compared to the Tredon Asps. Keeping the Pterydons out was doing little good anyway. Ordering them in meant the admiral was likely getting ready to call a retreat.
Robert was suddenly jostled violently. His chair restraint kept him seated, but the belt had put a lot of pressure on his body.
“Sir! We’ve taken a hit.” Handly’s voice sounded shaken, though Robert knew him to keep a level head is stressful situations. “The port hull’s been breached and we’re taking in atmosphere.”
“Seal the area,” Robert ordered even though Handly was probably already doing so.
“Aft-dorsal, rear shields are also down. All other shields are beginning to fall below ten percent.”
“Jensin, get us out of here.”
The ship didn’t appear to move and it was just then that Robert noticed other crew members had been injured. Even though they had all been strapped in, the jolt of the ship had been violent enough to cause some of the crew to hit their heads on their consoles. Jensin was conscious but his head was bleeding profusely and he looked dazed.
“Medical team to the bridge!” Robert called out as he tried to unbuckle himself from his chair. Jensin’s backup was completely unconscious, as were the only two other bridge crew members who could pilot the ship. That first impact had been a bad one.
“Backup crew, I need you here now!” Robert’s heart raced in panic, but in his mind his body moved in slow motion. Ship alarms were sounding as he finally released himself from his chair and made his way to Jensin’s station. Handly called something out but Robert didn’t hear. The ship shuddered violently again. Robert lost his balance. He reached to brace himself on the edge of the communications console and missed. His arms flailed as the motion of the ship sent him flying in the other direction. We’re all going to die. It was a fleeting thought cut short by a sudden blow against the back of his head. Blackness followed.
Note from Author:
This next chapter is just a brief overview from Robert’s point of view. Insert this chapter after Terk helps Hanna and Jori speaks to J.T. for the first time, and before the chapter where Terk reports to his father (between chapter 3 and 4 in the blog).
Captain Robert Arden was in his ready room with a few of his officers and with the Admiral and other ship captains on the visual comm. Robert’s head throbbed painfully, but he had no time to get medical treatment. He had regained consciousness on the bridge as a medic was examining him. The medic told him he was not severely injured, so Robert immediately returned to his duties.
Fortunately, the backup crew had made it to the bridge and executed the command to retreat. They were now a distance away from Thendi repairing their ship and awaiting reinforcements. Ship repairs were going slowly. Because the Dauntless was the last to retreat, it was in the worst shape. It would be several hours before any of the Alliance ships would be ready to pursue the enemy.
In the meeting with the admiral, they discussed how they had lost the battle, and probably the laser too. Prior to the attack, both Robert and J.T. had been vying to get at least five Alliance ships to protect the planet. Robert diplomatically held his tongue about how he and J.T. had been right all along.
Robert believed one of the reasons Rear Admiral Belmont did not heed the advice about needing more ships was because he had underestimated the intel that Robert had passed on from Jori. A child was not to be believed, the vice admiral thought. His beliefs were reinforced by the fact that they had not seen any activity along the Tredon border and had not spotted a single Tredon ship on the wrong side of the border. In fact, Belmont was so sure that nothing was going to happen that he had been about to recall the three ships from Thendi when the attack suddenly came.
The admiral admitted none of these things now, of course. He found all sorts of other reasons as to why they lost the battle.
Robert briefly reflected on Jori and Terk’s stay. Rear Admiral Zimmer had been irate that Robert had let them escape. But Vice Admiral Belmont agreed it was best, and later so did the Alliance Council. Robert was verbally reprimanded and only a brief mention was made of it on his record.
There was some good news in this meeting with the admiral. Scores of people had been rescued from the planet. Those people had included the scientists working on the laser. Since the laser wasn’t finished, at least there was a chance the Emperor wouldn’t be able to complete it. And it also meant there was a chance the scientists could start the laser anew and repair the planet as originally planned.
Reports confirmed the number dead and the number of crew members still unaccounted for. J.T. and many other crew members were missing. He did not make it with the others rescued from the planet. Lt. Commander Bracht was alive but he was on one of the other Alliance ships awaiting transport. Robert had not yet had a chance to speak to him.
Robert reflected on why J.T. wasn’t with him. He was sent to lead the planet ground force. If his crew hadn’t been so well trained, it could have caused them to panic when Robert was left unconscious. Not only had they lost their captain, but there was no second-in-command to take his place. Plus, J.T. was an excellent strategist and he may have come up with an idea that could have helped turn the tide of battle before it even reached the ground. But everyone had their opinion about J.T.’s part in the Kimpke incident.
If you are reading this post and have no idea what I’m talking about, then you have probably missed the other chapters on The Kavakian Empire sci-fi saga. Although the part 1 novella still needs a lot of revision and a better plot, I highly recommend you read it first before beginning the much better part 2 novella. All chapters of this sci-fi story can be found in the column on the right under the Categories heading.
(This sci-fi novella is protected by copyright) Copyright July, 2015 by Dawn Ross
Free to share so long as you link back to this website and mention, The Kavakian Empire by Dawn Ross.