The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part Two – The Emperor
(This part of the sci-fi saga was written during National Novel Writing Month. By the time you read this part, I have finished writing all of part two and am now working on editing. I’d like to make this part of the story good enough to publish into a book, but I need your help. As you read each of these chapters, please leave me a comment with constructive criticism. If you’d like to read the entire unedited version of this science fiction novella, please email me at naturebydawn at aol dot com.)
J.T. adjusted the knob clockwise by one click. The numbers on his scanner changed by 2.57 degrees. After documenting the change in the notes section of his digiview, he turned another click.
Photon energy in laser technology was becoming easier to understand. There was still a lot J.T. struggled with, but Jori made it easier by telling him what to do instead of explaining why it needed to be done that way. So for now, J.T. documented the readings and send the information along to Jori later for interpretation.
Although his work was getting easier, life as a prisoner was getting more difficult. The incident with that woman the other day frightened him. And some of the guards were being more abusive.
J.T. heard someone snickering and looked across the room to see Lank standing over Hanna. J.T. reddened at the implication. Hanna was kneeling while she worked on something lower down on the laser and Lank turned it into something obscene. The way he stood directly behind her and thrust out his pelvis made J.T.’s body tense. He clenched his fists, but a quick glance around him made him think better about going to confront the man.
Watching Lank’s persisting harassment of Hanna was another thing that made being a prisoner here more difficult. J.T. hated not being able to do anything about it. He was their leader, but his only ability to lead at the moment was by trying to stay positive. By trying to remain confident, J.T. hoped to make sure they maintained a sense of hope. We can get through this, J.T. thought. Jori and Terk will help us.
J.T. glanced at Jori. He was supposed to be working on another component but J.T. noticed he kept glancing over at Lank. The boy had a frown on his face, but he didn’t do anything to stop Lank’s behavior.
Jori had generally been able to keep Lank in line, so J.T. wondered what had changed. Was it the interview with the emperor? Did I fail the test? He had no way of knowing. Jori hadn’t been by to speak to him since.
J.T. considered taking his digiview over to Jori for examination but thought better of it. If Jori was avoiding him, there was probably a good reason. The last thing he wanted was for the emperor to be suspicious and allow Jako to take over.
The numbers on the scanners were making some sense mathematically, but he only had a vague understanding as to why. J.T. pinched his bottom lip and studied the numbers.
Something stirred in the room. J.T. didn’t feel it so much as sense it. When he looked up, his back stiffened and his breath caught in his throat. The emperor strode purposefully towards him.
J.T. forced himself to move. He looked back to what he was doing with the laser and turned the knob another click. His movements were jerky but purposeful. If the emperor thinks I’m not working, there’s no telling what he’ll do.
But the emperor did not stop to check on J.T. He walked right past him and up to one of the guards. J.T. watched from the corner of his eye as Jetser was led away.
J.T.’s hears still beat rapidly in his chest. He took some deep breaths in order to calm himself. It’s nothing, he told himself. But a he still tense. Jetser had been helping him too. Does the emperor know? Will Jetser alert the emperor to the princes’ deception? J.T. glanced over at Jori to see if he could get a cue from him. Jori seemed more intent on his work somehow, but he didn’t look concerned. It wasn’t reassuring. Jori tended to behave more militaristic around his father but otherwise he was good at hiding his emotions.
J.T. shook himself inwardly. There was no point in worrying so he went back to work. He tried to push all his thoughts aside and concentrate on his task, but he couldn’t quell the unsettled feeling in his stomach.
“It’s okay.” Jori was standing next to him. He took the scanner from J.T.’s hands and examined it. He kept his head down and his voice low when he spoke. “Jetser’s not in trouble and he’s not going to say anything.”
It was like Jori was reading his thoughts, but he had probably only sensed J.T.’s unease. When Jori had been on the Odyssey a few months back, he had explained that he was only a low-level reader. He could sense emotions, but he couldn’t pull or read direct thoughts. Most people were nervous around any sort of Reader, but J.T. had grown comfortable with Jori.
J.T.’s neck and shoulders relax ever so slightly at the information. He hadn’t even realized they had been so tense. But he was still bothered. “Something’s going on though. Am I right?”
“Jako has made my father suspicious, but I’m sure it’s settled now.”
“Then why didn’t you say something to Lank?”
Jori raised his eyebrow at J.T.’s tone. J.T. hadn’t meant for it to come out that way, but his worry for Hanna made him unabashed. Not only that, Jori and Terk did owe him, owed Captain Arden. Who knows what the Grapnes would have done if they had caught the boys so far from home. Terk surely would have died from the crash. The Grapnes did not have medical personnel as talented as those from the Alliance. Still, J.T. could hardly expect them to be able to counter their father’s will.
“My father thinks I’m being too lenient with you all,” Jori said in a low tone. His eyes flashed in warning. “He thinks I should have you beaten every once in a while so you don’t forget your status here.”
J.T. couldn’t help but to swallow the lump in his throat. He wasn’t afraid of Jori, but he was afraid of what his father might make him do. “I’m sorry,” he said. “About your father, that is.”
“It is what it is,” Jori replied. He made a slight movement with his hand dismissively. “The interview you had with my mother went well so I don’t think he’ll push it any time soon.”
“So that was your mother.”
“Thank you.” Jori’s mouth turned slightly upward.
“She’s a Truth Seeker.” J.T. tried to keep his tone flat. The idea of being touched by a Truth Seeker made his stomach crawl, but still, he didn’t want to sound like he was making an accusation.
Jori hesitated. His face was unreadable. “Yes.”
Although he had expected the answer, a tingling sensation went down his spine. “Are you?” he asked.
“No, I don’t carry the right genes. Neither does Terk.”
J.T. let out his breath in relief.
Jori’s brow drew downward. “I know how people feel about her ability. I think you know how I feel about it too.” J.T. recalled how vehemently Jori had reacted to Liam’s Reader ability when he was on the Odyssey a few months back. “But she only does what my father makes her do.”
J.T. nodded his head in understanding. Still, his stomach fluttered anytime he recalled her touching him with her power. Her ability was highly feared and completely illegal to use in Alliance territory. Alliance citizens with this ability were supposed to register themselves. Even relatives had to register so the law could keep an eye on them and look for cases where the ability might manifest.
“I hate to consider this then,” J.T. said. “Can she use her ability to convince your father to let us go?”
Jori shook his head soberly and turned away. “He’s been trained to resist it. And he’d kill her if she tried.”
J.T. sighed heavily. We’re never going to get out of here.
He was about to ask Jori if he and his brothers had come up with a plan, but Jori looked all business again and handed him back the scanner. “I have to get back to work. I suggest you do the same.”
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
You may share this sci-fi novella so long as you link back to this website and mention, The Kavakian Empire by Dawn Ross.