The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part Two – The Emperor
(If you started reading this science fiction story from the middle and want to read it from the beginning without having to sift through posts, please email me, the author, at naturebydawn at aol dot com. I will be happy to provide you with the story all in one document. I may also be able to provide you with specific doc types so you can read it on your e-reader.)
J.T. was working when two big warriors approached. The biggest man jerked his arm painfully and turned him away from his task.
“Come with us now,” he said. The smell of his breath made J.T. step back, and the man took it as noncompliance. Both men grabbed him by his arms, clenching him harder than necessary. J.T.’s heart pounded in his chest as he was escorted out. He’d gotten to know these two men a little. They both seemed to have a special hatred for J.T. and his crew. They liked to bully the Alliance prisoners whenever Jori wasn’t around, sometimes to the point of violence.
They know. J.T. had been noticing the deepening look of suspicion in Jako’s eyes. The man looked over his shoulder constantly, making J.T. nervous. It didn’t help that he hadn’t slept well with all the studying he had been doing in his cell. Some things were starting to make more sense but many aspects still kept eluding him.
J.T. suppressed a sigh of relief when they reached the door to the small room he had first been taken to meet Jori. Perhaps Jori needed to speak to him again. But then he remembered who was escorting him. It was highly unlikely that Jori would let these men in on their secret.
The door opened and J.T. was practically thrown in. He stumbled and nearly fell, but one of the warriors still had him by the arm. J.T. was spun to the side and forced into the torture chair.
It was then that J.T. noticed the emperor. His heart skipped a beat at the intensity of the man’s deep dark eyes. The emperor stood silently as the warriors clamped J.T.’s wrists to the chair, but the way his jaw clenched and nostrils flared made him look like he was ready to explode.
The emperor wore a black armored uniform that somewhat resembled the one Terk and Jori wore except with many more metal spikes and a few gold trimmings. His bare arms bulged with muscle and he towered over his two sons, who stood on either side of him.
J.T. met Terk and Jori’s eyes. As usual, both of them held a neutral look. J.T. had gotten to know them well enough, though, that he was sure he saw worry in their eyes.
He didn’t let his eyes linger for long for fear that the emperor would suspect something more. Maybe he already knows they’re in on it, J.T. thought. But he discarded the idea. If that were true, the boys would probably be the object of their father’s dark glare rather than be standing beside him.
It was then that J.T. noticed there was someone else in the room. The person was standing just behind Terk and the emperor and wearing light blue, of all colors. J.T.’s brow furrowed in confusion. Every single crewman he had seen on the Dragon thus far wore brown, dark grey, or black. But blue?
“Do it,” the emperor said.
Terk stepped aside and J.T. was surprised to see a woman. She was tall, about Terk’s height, but not as tall as the emperor. Her shoulders were broad but so were her hips, giving her a nice curvy figure. But it wasn’t her figure that caught J.T.’s breath. She was beautiful. She had jet black hair, olive skin, full lips and dark narrow eyes.
Her light blue dress swished as she came forward. J.T. realized his jaw was hanging down and he clamped his mouth shut. She seemed not to notice. It was his eyes she was looking at, and he was looking into hers. He couldn’t look away. He was so absorbed into them that he didn’t even flinch when she touched his forehead, causing a slight inaudible buzzing in his head.
“You will answer all questions truthfully,” the woman said.
She was still touching him when the emperor began to ask questions. “Do you or your men have the required knowledge to complete this laser?”
A shock of not-quite-pain but certainly discomfort came through the woman’s touch. J.T. winced. His fear sharpened. Is this woman a Truth Seeker? He didn’t know. He’d met one before but they didn’t try their little tricks on him so wasn’t sure if this was what it felt like. The buzzing in his head was certainly something he’d never felt before. And there was something else too. He could have sworn he heard a whisper, lie.
“Yes, I believe we do,” he said. The lie came easier than he expected. Did I really hear what I think I heard?
J.T. noticed Jori’s stony face give way to a look of relief. The boy glanced at his father to see if he noticed but the emperor was too busy glaring at J.T. The man’s scowl deepened. “Do you intend to fix the laser?”
Lie. The whisper was in his head and so light, he still wasn’t sure. “We have no choice,” J.T. replied.
“Answer the question, yes or no.”
J.T. hesitated. The strange feeling from the woman’s touch sharpened again. Lie. “Yes,” he said.
“So there is no plan to escape?”
Lie. J.T. was sure he heard it this time, but he assumed it was his own thought magnified by whatever the woman was doing to make his head buzz. Lie. But J.T. thought it would be foolish to lie and say no. He wanted to tell the truth this time because he knew the truth would make his lies more believable. At the same time, though, he felt compelled to lie. I need to tell the truth, he thought.
Then inexplicably, the buzzing in his head stopped. J.T. answered the emperor truthfully. “We’ve planned, but so far have discarded any ideas.”
“Impossibility. Your men are too attentive. And we’re scientists, not warriors.” J.T. swallowed hard. He might have overplayed that last part.
The emperor glared at him, as if trying to read him. “Is he telling the truth?” He was looking at J.T., but the question was not directed at him.
“Yes,” the woman said.
“I sense no lies in him,” Jori said.
“He’s too afraid,” Terk added.
“Is there a chance he can resist your touch?” the emperor asked the woman.
“I feel no indication that he has this kind of training, my Lord.”
“Yes or no, Woman.”
“No, there’s no chance he is resisting.”
The emperor nodded to the woman and she stepped back. Her eyes went downcast. Now that J.T. was broken by her spell, a flash of recognition hit him. Jori had those same eyes.
He glanced at the four of them several times. Jori had other facial features that resembled hers. At the same time, Jori and Terk looked very much alike. And they both resembled their father, but Terk more so.
And then another realization hit him. Jori had said once that he was a low-level reader. Did he get this skill from this woman who is possibly his mother? And if so, is she a Truth Seeker? And is Jori also a Truth Seeker? The thought gave him chills. A Truth Seeker could not only pull thoughts from people the way a high-level reader could, they could also implant thoughts. So maybe it was her voice I heard in my head.
J.T. was not allowed to contemplate this for long. “You will now answer some questions testing your knowledge,” the emperor said.
Jori asked a series of questions. J.T.’s anxiety subsided as he answered each of Jori’s questions correctly. He knew the answers, too, from what he had learned so far. The answers weren’t being put into his head.
When Jori was done, the emperor was still frowning but he looked satisfied rather than angry. The enraged look returned, though, when the emperor put himself right in front of J.T. and bent face to face. J.T. could feel the heat of his hatred.
“You will finish this laser. And if I see any hesitance in you, or any indication that you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, I will have this woman turn your mind to make you think you’re a dog. From there, you will be my loyal servant, groveling at my feet, licking my boots, sucking my dick, and doing whatever else I ask of you, no matter how painful, unpleasant, or humiliating.”
J.T. swallowed hard but there was nothing to swallow. His mouth was dry. “I believe you.”
The emperor turned away abruptly and headed towards the door. “Get him back to work, now,” he said to the two boys. “Woman, with me.”
The woman nodded meekly. At first, she followed him out with her eyes looking down at her feet. But just before she stepped out of view, she turned and looked at Jori with a slight smile and winked.
Please comment below to tell me what you thought of this chapter. I’m an amateur writer and am in desperate need of constructive criticism.
(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright October, 2015 by Dawn Ross
You may share this sci-fi novella so long as you link back to this website and mention, The Kavakian Empire by Dawn Ross.