A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part Two – The Emperor
Part two of the Kavakian Empire saga continues. If you haven’t read any of part two yet, you can find the first chapter under The Kavakian Empire category heading and Sci-Fi Part 2 subheading. And if you haven’t read any of this sci-fi story yet, start with the Sci-Fi Part 1 subheading.
Note from the author: This is not the most exciting chapter ever, but it does have a purpose. After you read this, please comment below to give me some ideas on how to spice it up.
Captain Robert Arden’s head wound had been healed, but he had a headache for a different reason. His ship had been repaired in good time, but not fast enough. Every moment took the Tredon’s further and further away. If Robert didn’t hurry, the enemy would soon be out of reach.
Most of his officers who had been fighting on the planet were back on board. Lieutenant Commander Bracht was among them and was now standing before Robert in the ready room. The Rabnoshk warrior’s at-ease posture made even the most formal military stances look lazy. He stood stiff and alert as he gave his report about what had happened on the planet.
“I retreated as ordered. The others were just behind me, Sir.” Despite the harshness of Bracth’s voice, his tone was respectful. And if Robert wasn’t mistaken, Bracht also sounded regretful. “But when we got up the shaft, an enemy blast broke the cab loose and sent it crashing. I shouldn’t have left them, Sir. I should have stayed behind.”
“You did the right thing,” Robert said. “You couldn’t have known this was going to happen. And if you had stayed behind, you would have been captured or killed as well.”
Bracht opened his mouth to protest, but Robert forestalled him. “I’m glad you’re back, Bracht. I’m going to need your help to get them back.”
“I’ll do whatever it takes, Captain.” Bracht almost sounded relieved. His race despised the idea of retreat. Telling Bracht that he was still needed let him know the fight wasn’t over yet.
“I know you will. Now go get some rest. I’ll need you refreshed for when we catch up to the Tredon ships.”
“Yes, Sir.” Bracht snapped a salute and left.
The laser room where Bracht had last seen J.T. and his team had been re-secured by the Thendi. The dead and wounded were gathered, but J.T. and the others weren’t among them. Robert could only surmise that the Tredons had taken them captive. If the young princes were with their father during this battle, then perhaps they had been able to convince the emperor to spare their lives. It was a dim hope, but Robert clung to it.
Robert hated losing his crew members. He couldn’t help but to feel personally responsible for them. This battle had already taken forty seven men and women from his ship. That was over six percent of his crew and far too many, and more than he had expected. But this was nothing compared to the total death count. Between him and the two other Alliance ships, one hundred and eighty three were dead and thirty four were in critical condition. The Thendi didn’t have a full count yet, but they were estimating over five hundred of their people had been killed in this battle.
Robert rubbed his temples. Too many dead. Too many dying. A small handful still missing. And very little that could be done about it.
The comm beep interrupted him. His view screen indicated it was Vice Admiral Belmont.
“Admiral,” Robert answered.
“Captain Arden, I’m calling to confirm the Cronus is now repaired and on its way.”
Robert’s ship had been the first to complete enough repairs to begin pursuit of the enemy warships. He had been given orders to head full speed to the Tredon borders in hopes that the superior speed of the Alliance ships would be able to intercept them.
“That’s good news, Sir,” Robert replied.
“Also, I’ve received confirmation that the Defender and the Poseidon are on the way to the Tredon border as well. I expect the Defender to arrive first and the Poseidon and Cronus a few hours after you. You are in charge of the search until I arrive.”
“Yes, Admiral. Do we have permission to engage?”
“I’ve put in a full recommendation to the Council that we declare war, but as you know they will spend a lot of time in debate.”
Robert nodded. He wanted to say that declaring war shouldn’t be an easy thing, but he knew the admiral’s position. Although Robert hated the idea of war, he accepted the fact that it might be the only way to get his crew members back.
“You may engage if you feel you have the upper hand but do not pursue them into their territory until war is declared,” the admiral replied.
“Yes, Sir. I will keep you informed.”
“Thank you, Captain. Belmont out.”
The view screen switched off. Robert sat back in his chair and sighed. His headache seemed to have ebbed a bit. He had been worried that if he intercepted the Dragon and Basilisk alone he wouldn’t be able to confront them. But the arrival of the other ships gave him a little hope.
There was still going to be a problem of finding the Tredon warships. If they were cloaked, it would require a very close scrutiny of their short range sensors to detect them. Lieutenant Brenson was the best when it came to this sort of thing, but not even ten ships would be enough to patrol the entire length of the Tredon border.
Still, Robert had a better chance than he had previously. If he succeeded in getting his crew members back, perhaps he could avert a war.
(This sci-fi story is protected by copyright) Copyright June, 2015 by Dawn Ross
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