The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part Two – The Emperor
Chapter 7 of 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.
Terk led Hanna down the corridor. Two Tredon warriors followed silently. Although they didn’t say anything, they made her nervous. Hanna had heard enough lewd comments from other Tredon warriors to suspect they were leering at her ass as she walked.
She didn’t know where she was going. But despite Terk’s starkness with her before, she felt slightly less apprehensive with him present.
“Wait outside,” Terk told the two guards when they reached what looked like the infirmary. The sterile smells that permeated the room were much like any other sick bay, but it was not as well organized. Several beds sat haphazardly around the room against the walls. A number of cabinets and medical devices were cluttered around. Most of the beds were occupied. Hanna saw only one man tending to him, though this man looked more like a warrior than a medic.
“Come with me,” Terk said. He led her past the open room and into a smaller room with a single medical examination bed. “Sit down.”
Before Hanna could ask what was going on, an older man came into the room. He was mostly bald with a greasy head, clean-shaven, and he was probably the fattest Tredon that Hanna had ever seen. When the man saw her, his eyes lit up and his lips curved in a way that made Hanna’s skin crawl.
“Get Terena,” Terk ordered him.
The man blinked as though surprised Terk was there. His manner suddenly shifted into one that was more subservient. “My Lord, your father ordered me to examine her.”
“He ordered that she be examined. He did not specify that you be the one to do it.”
“But surely I’m the most qualif – “
“Damn it, Fink! Do not argue with me. Get Terena now.” Terk glared angrily at the man as he bobbed his head up and down and backed out of the room.
When he was gone, Terk turned to Hanna. “Terena is the one who provided the injection that kept you from being raped. Other than my brother and I and one other person, she is the only one who knows it is a pseudo-strain.”
Hanna nodded gratefully but didn’t say anything. She felt more at ease now that she knew she wasn’t being taken to be hurt again. But still, Terk intimidated her. He stood there with his arms crossed, and although he didn’t look at her he made her feel very uncomfortable.
Time seemed to lag for the few moments that he stood there, but respite came when an older woman entered the room. Her grey hair streaked with black hung loose, just as did her robe, or dress, or whatever it was that she was wearing. It was brown and plain with a simple belt at the waste. Her hands were slightly blotched with age and her knuckles bulgy. Her face was only somewhat wrinkled, but it crinkled more when she smiled.
“My Lord.” She nodded at Terk.
“Terena.” Terk nodded back and stepped aside. “This is Hanna.”
Terena’s smile widened. It was a genuinely kind smile and Hanna couldn’t help but to smile back.
“It is good to meet you,” Terena said as she grasped Hanna’s hand with her gnarled one. Her touch was gentle and as reassuring as her smile. “Go ahead and lay down now, dear.”
Hanna let Terena guide her down, but she glanced nervously at Terk. For some reason, laying down made her feel vulnerable.
“My Lord?” Terena said when she noticed Hanna’s unease.
“You have two choices,” Terk said to Hanna. “I can stay in here or I can leave.” Hanna almost answered but Terk held up his hand and stopped her short. “My choice depends on you. If I am to leave, you must give your word that you will not make any trouble here. Terena is one of the very few on this ship who truly wants to help you and I will not have her hurt in some feeble escape attempt.”
“You have my word,” Hanna replied truthfully. “I won’t try anything.”
Terk stared at her a moment as if analyzing her. “Call me if she causes any trouble,” he said to Terena on his way out.
When he was gone and the door closed, Terena began a basic medical examination. “How are you doing, my dear?” she asked as she checked Hanna’s eyes with a light pen.
“I itch like crazy.”
“I bet you do,” Terena said. “I’m sorry about that. It’s an allergic reaction to the pseudo-virus I gave you. I will give you something to help before you leave.”
“So pseudo means fake, right? I don’t really have Ghondorian venascabia, do I?” Hanna spoke quietly even though the door was closed. For all she knew, the room could have been bugged.
“No, you don’t,” Terena said with a reassuring smile. “What you have can be easily cured by your doctors. All they need to do is give you a katharos of some kind.”
“I’ll tell them, assuming I ever get to leave here. Will I? Get to leave here, that is?”
Terena sighed sadly. “It doesn’t seem likely, but don’t give up hope just yet.”
Hanna hoped. She hoped the Alliance would be able to come to her rescue. “What about the other doctor, the creepy man. Won’t he be able to check the records and see I really don’t have Ghondorian venascabia?”
“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of the records. Besides, Fink isn’t smart enough to figure out it’s a pseudo-strain. If by some miracle he does, Terk will handle him.”
“Hm. Terk does seem rather intimidating. Too bad he can’t use that to influence the emperor.”
“No, he has very little influence there.” Terena said while prodding Hanna’s abdomen as part of her examination. “But he does have enough pull to help you a little. Unfortunately, doing more would only put him and his brother in danger. If that happens, they wouldn’t be able to help anybody in any way.”
“So they help other people?” Hanna asked curiously, wondering if she was reading too much into what Terena had said.
Terena didn’t answer, though. She only smiled in reply, so Hanna changed the subject. “You’re a woman.”
“Yes,” Terena replied.
“I thought Tredons suppressed their women. I didn’t know they were allowed to become doctors.”
“I’m not a doctor. I’m a nurse,” Terena replied kindly as she read the results on the hand-held body scanner.
“Medical personnel are in short supply and I have enough skill in treating the emperor’s concubines that he tolerates me.”
Concubines? She should have known. “How did you come to be here in the first place, if you don’t mind me asking? Surely he didn’t just hire you.”
“No, dear. He didn’t hire me. I was one of his father’s concubines.”
Hanna’s eyes widened and she sat up abruptly. “Are you the emperor’s mo – ?”
“No, dear,” Hanna said as she put a comforting hand on Hanna’s shoulder to lay her back down. “I wouldn’t even call myself his stepmother since I had no part in raising him.”
“What a life.” Hanna replied. “I couldn’t even imagine living most of my life on this terrible ship.”
“Oh, I don’t have it so bad as some,” Terena said. “Besides, there are a few good things about this place. And even a few good people.”
“Really? Like who?” Hanna asked bitterly.
Terena smiled and patted her shoulder. “Your exam is over, dear. Let me get you that antihistamine and you can be on your way.”
Note from the author: The purpose of this portion of the chapter is to give a little more information on what Terk had done to protect Hanna. It is also to introduce Terena, who is important much later in the series. Perhaps the reader also gets a little more insight into Terk’s character. As I write from Hanna’s perspective, I find myself asking if she is important to the story later. I haven’t written her in any part of the story except part two, but I bet there are some important roles she can play as the series develops.
(This sci-fi story is protected by copyright) Copyright June, 2015 by Dawn Ross
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