The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part Two – The Emperor
Chapter 10a – Insert
(I realized that I forgot to tell you all what happened when Devon called Jori back. So this part of chapter 10 needs to be inserted prior to what you read a few weeks ago. Remember, this science fiction story is a work in progress. You will find many errors as you read. Feel free to point them out and please provide me with constructive criticism.)
Jori’s stomach felt like it was full of rocks that were grinding together. And it wasn’t because he thought he was in trouble. He was used to being punished. It was because his father knew something was amiss with the Alliance crew members. Jori was sure that whatever pain he felt from being punished wouldn’t even come close to the pain he’d feel if something happened to J.T.
Seeing people die, especially when they were brutally murdered, already gave Jori nightmares. And if this happened to J.T., the nightmare would be a hundred times worse because the death would be of someone he cared about.
Jori steeled himself for whatever was to come. He stood in what some called an at-ease stance with his hands behind his back, but he was anything but at ease. His muscles were rigid and he dared not give in to the desire to fidget. He held his breath as his father stood over his desk, looked down on him with a threatening glare.
“Why do the prisoners have so much information on their digiviews?” His father’s voice was quiet, but Jori could sense his boiling anger.
Rather than be intimidated, though, Jori’s eyebrows drew together. It was no secret that the digiviews were full of information. “Although they have general knowledge on lasers, they aren’t familiar with this project.”
“So you thought it was a good idea to give them information beyond the project, information they should already know?”
Jori felt a twinge of annoyance. For once, he hadn’t done anything wrong. “The more information they have, the more likely they’ll be able to complete the project.”
“How can I be sure they’re knowledgeable enough if you’ve given them all the answers?” His father’s lips were pressed together and his jaw tightly set.
Jori had to be careful to keep his tone from sounding peevish. “Since they only minored in the technology, I gave them references they could turn to so they wouldn’t mess anything up.”
His father took a deep breath. Jori could sense his irritation, but he seemed to accept the explanation. Something else was bothering him though. “Why does Jako seem to think you’re helping them?”
The rocks in his stomach tumbled again, but Jori kept his face neutral. “Jako is jealous because he knows I’m smarter than him.”
His father raised his eyebrow impatiently. “So you’re not helping them?”
“I merely make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. If I help them, it is to make sure they’re doing it right.”
“And I suppose you’re not protecting them either?” His father’s nostrils flared and his breathing sounded heavier.
Damn Jako. Jori knew the man was going to be trouble, but that he actually had the nerve to make such accusations to his father really irked him. “Protecting them how?” Jori replied. He tried to make his tone sound innocent, but it sounded vexed instead.
“By not properly motivated them,” he said through clenched teeth.
Jori’s mouth was dry and he wanted to look away from his father’s glare. But he managed to hold his eyes and keep his composure. “Jako’s desire to exert his newfound dominance on them is counter-productive.”
Jori knew his tone had come across as sounding defensive because his father’s fists were balled up so tight that his hands were turning white. “Is that your sentiment talking, boy?”
“No, Sir,” Jori replied. He lifted his chin in a way he hoped would reflect the confidence he didn’t feel. “I am tired of having to work with these cowardly men, but I do what I must so that the laser can get done as quickly as possible. The more Jako wants to punish them, the longer it will take.”
His father still had a dark look, but his fists were no longer clenched. “So you’re taking it easy on them for the good of the empire?” His father sounded skeptical but Jori could sense he was buying it.
Jori forced himself to clench his teeth and frown in a way that he hoped his father would interpret as hate. “I have no love for the Alliance.”
“Then it won’t bother you if I sign them up for another round in the gallery.”
Rather than give in to panic, Jori tried to hold on to his look of hate “Not at all, Sir.”
“Good. Then when Derianna is done, I will make the arrangements.” His father stared at Jori for a moment to see if he’d react. Jori’s stomach turned, but he didn’t let anything show. Still, his father wasn’t satisfied. “And if you hate the Alliance so much, I expect you to participate.”
Jori felt the blood drain from his face, but he forced himself the keep the hateful look. This time, though, the look was a reflection of how he felt about his father. “You know I won’t.”
His father’s face turned red and he bared his teeth when he spoke. “Then when I am done with them, it will be your turn.”
Nervousness and outrage rumbled together in Jori’s stomach. He defiantly held his father’s stare, but didn’t reply. So be it, he said to himself. He would have said it out loud but he knew it would earn him a hard slap.
Despite Jori’s Jintal training, a form of training that taught him to endure pain, he still felt anxious about being punished. But while his father thought the torture would make Jori more compliant, it only served to make him hate his father more.
“Damned your stubbornness, boy,” his father said through clenched teeth.
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 November, 2015 by Dawn Ross
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