The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part Two – The Emperor
(Haven’t read part one of The Kavakian Empire novella yet? Missed the first three chapters of part two? Review the archives on this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request to get this sci-fi story sent to you in a word document.)
“The results of the scan we did on the prisoners, Sir,” Terk said to his father. Even sitting behind a desk, the big man looked domineering. He wore a perpetual frown that was beginning to crease his face with age, but it was a mistake to see him as an old man. His father was as powerful as any warrior, if not more so. Terk felt feeble in comparison, but was confident that he was only a few years away from matching his father’s physique.
“How many?” his father asked brusquely in his usual deep-toned voice.
“Ten, Sir,” Terk replied.
“Ten alive or ten total?”
“I thought I told you to kill the ones who were of no use.”
“There are three who have questionable value, Sir,” Terk replied impassively without a hint of the nervousness he felt. “But considering how limited our own knowledge and resources are, I’ve kept them alive for now.”
“Define questionable,” he father challenged.
“They are junior grade officers who have only minored in the sciences.” When Jori had given Terk the altered records, he told him he made it look like all the officers had at least some useful skills. It would have been too suspicious if everyone had been made an expert, Jori had said. And Terk agreed.
“And you think a minor education is worth keeping them alive for?” his father said with a hint of suspicion. Terk didn’t like to kill people without just cause. His father knew this and considered it a weakness.
“Even a minor education is more than most of our men have in this field,” Terk replied in a disinterested tone.
The man glared at Terk, as though trying to discern whether he was just trying to get out of his duty. Terk stood motionless, though he felt a flutter on the inside. He suppressed the urge to swallow, knowing his father would notice the movement. His father’s doubt was palatable, but Terk managed to hold the neutral stance until his father turned to peruse the files.
Terk understood Jori’s desire to help J.T., and even to help the woman. But to try and save all ten of them was pushing it. Their father had reason to be suspicious. Although it was well known that Alliance officers were required to have a diverse education, Terk was afraid making all ten of them appear to have value might make the deception obvious.
The laser had been dismantled and brought aboard some hours ago. There had been only a few minor incidents. An Alliance ship harried them from time to time, but with little affect. Some laser parts had been broken but Jako assured they could be fixed. Neither of these things slowed them down and so everything had gone according to his father’s plan, except they hadn’t captured any real scientists to finish the laser.
Father’s going to be pissed when he realizes they’re worthless, Terk thought to himself. Jori’s only prolonging the inevitable.
“Very well,” his father said after reviewing the information. “We will keep them alive for now.”
Terk suppressed a sigh of relief. He could no longer sense his father’s suspicion. The ruse worked for now.
“But they need to be given a taste of what will happen if they don’t cooperate.” His father said. “Gather them all in the gallery at o-seven.”
“Yes, Sir,” he replied. Terk clenched his teeth and held back a desire to argue. He knew what his father meant to do. The gallery was only used for one purpose. As much as Terk wished otherwise, he knew that debating it with his father would be pointless. Well, at least they will get to live, he thought.
“One more thing,” his father said. “What was your brother doing earlier today?”
Terk’s heart skipped a beat. “What do you mean?” he asked, knowing full well what his father was referring to.
“He was supposed to be helping to dismantle the laser and catalog the parts. But I was told that he didn’t show up until they were halfway through.”
Terk sensed his father’s annoyance but couldn’t tell if he was also suspicious. “He was with me,” he replied, hoping Jori had given or would give the same excuse. His heart pounded in his ears, but he managed to keep his nervousness from showing.
“Why?” his father demanded.
“I thought he was supposed to,” Terk lied.
“He was supposed to help with the laser,” his father said angrily.
“I didn’t know, Sir. If I had, I would have sent him away.”
“He was with you the entire time?”
“Yes, Sir.” Terk’s heart was still racing.
“That will be all, then,” his father said. He outwardly appeared to accept the lie, but Terk could sense his aggravation.
Terk didn’t want J.T. to die either, but he was willing to accept whatever his father decided to do. It wasn’t like he could do anything about it. But Jori refused to do nothing. This wasn’t the first time he had gone behind his father’s back to help someone. And Terk was scared that one of these days he was going to get caught.
Damn him, Terk thought. Why do I keep enabling him? I should just put an end to the prisoners and be done with it.
End of Chapter
Note from the author: I’ve been told that I give too much information and bore the reader, so I wasn’t going to include this chapter. We already know from chapter 3 that Jori has altered the Alliance crew’s records, so this chapter would seem to be redundant. However, I realized there are a few plot holes that needed to be filled. The reader needed to know that the laser was successfully dismantled and taken and that they were on their way back to Tredon territory. Also, the reader knows why Jori wasn’t in the laser room like he was supposed to be, but did his father suspect anything?
Another reason I decided to include this chapter has to do with setting up the events that will occur in future chapters. Terk and Jori’s relationship with their father is an important element to the story. And giving a little more insight to Terk’s character will help the reader understand his internal struggles and motives.
So what do you think of this chapter? Constructive criticism is welcome.
(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright June, 2015 by Dawn Ross
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