The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part One – Starfire Dragons (provisional title)
Chapter 20 – Revised
(We’re already up to chapter 20! If you’ve read the unrevised version of this science fiction story, you may have noticed the revised version hasn’t yet gotten to the same scenes. I’m a little worried the revised version may be too long and boring. Please let me know what you think so far. And, btw, if you haven’t read the unrevised version yet, don’t. Start reading the revised version by scrolling down to find Categories in the right hand column. Then click under “The Kavakian Empire” link where it says “Sci-Fi Part 1 – Revised”.)
Mik Calloway stifled a yawn. Eight hours of menial safety inspections really took a toll. It was a simple job that any greener could do. But it was boring as hell. Not to mention how his new status should have meant this kind of shit-work was beneath him. Damn that commander.
He licked his lips and imagined a hard drink running down his throat. It’d have to wait, though. He hadn’t worked out in a couple of days and a bout of boxing would probably do him some good.
He stepped into the tran-car. “Level three, quarters.” His mouth soured when he said it.
Thanks to the commander, he was still sharing a bunk with three ensigns. He’d been schedule to move out into his own private quarters, but the reprimand caused the date to be pushed back thirty days. Jackass.
The tran-car let him off just a short walk to his quarters. When he reached his room, the door slid open automatically.
“Are you friggin kidding me? The boy can’t be—” His roommate, Agni, clamped his mouth shut. Lt. Naran pursed his lips and gave Agni a warning look.
“What? What’s going on?” he asked.
Agni shrugged his shoulders. “Nothing.”
He huffed. “It’s about that Tredon brat, isn’t it?”
“It’s not your concern.” Lt. Naran’s tone was authoritative, as if the man had any pull over him when off-duty.
He pointed at Agni. “But it’s his?” Agni and the lieutenant were as tight as could be, as though being from the same planet and the same continent made them brothers or some stupid shit.
“Mind your own business, Calloway,” Lt. Naran said in the same bossy tone.
“Tchah. Whatever. I could care less about what you duds are talking about.”
He went to his desk and opened the lower cabinet. The sonometer he used for keeping track of his vitals and stats while working out was right at the top. But he pretended to rummage about and discretely triggered the recording device hidden beneath the upper cabinet.
This device had helped him a great deal over the years. He got one of his roommates at the institute kicked out when he learned of and reported the man’s hidden secret. He didn’t say how he’d found out, of course. Then there was the time he’d recorded some intimate secrets from a woman here on the Odyssey and used it to get her to sleep with him.
Mostly, the recording device helped him find out what people were saying about him and kept him apprised of all the juicy gossip.
Once triggered, he grabbed the sonometer and gathered the rest of his workout gear.
“See ya,” he said as he headed out the door. Chumps.
The pounding of his heart increased each time he replayed the recording—and so did the heat flaring in his chest.
“No friggin way.” He slammed the recording device down on his desk, sending an echoing crack around the room. If his bunkmates had been here, they’d have given him dirty looks. “I can’t believe this shit.”
He stood abruptly. Who can I tell? Everyone should know about this. But he wasn’t even supposed to know. And if he told anyone, it could come back on him. He couldn’t afford another reprimand. Damn that commander.
People moved out of his way as he stormed down the corridor and into the lounge. A sharp grinding pain surged from his jaw down to his tightly balled fists. He plunked down on a stool at the far end of the bar and fumed.
“Gin, straight up,” he barked at the attendant before the man could even ask.
When the attendant finally set down his drink, he took in a mouthful. He barely grimaced as the burn washed down his throat.
The heel of his foot drummed the floor in no particular rhythm. Not many people were around this close to shift change, but one man caught his eye.
Young Lt. Siven Addams, the too-good-looking, lucky-ass, ass-kisser. The man was sitting all alone, but probably only because he was waiting for his girlfriend, Felissa—a woman he’d do himself in a heartbeat if she’d ever bothered.
Lucky bastard. Siven didn’t deserve that woman, or his rank for that matter. Just because his marksmanship was so great didn’t mean he deserved his high rank.
His rank. Then he already knows! Mik gulped down the rest of his drink and slammed down his glass. There was still a little time before Siven’s girlfriend got off duty, along with a herd of others. It was now or never.
He got off his stool and took the one next to Siven. “Perfect time for a hard drink, huh?” he said.
“I’m drinking a virlini,” Siven replied blandly.
Non-alcoholic then. How does a pussy like this get a woman like Felissa? “Really? I’d think you’d want something a little harder after having to deal with the spoiled little prince all day.”
Siven’s bushy dark brows went up. He put down his drink, splashing liquid on the counter, and glanced around to see if anyone was close by. “How in the heck do you know about that?” he hissed quietly. His brows hooded over now.
“I heard Lt. Naran telling Agni.” He smiled inwardly. One of two things was going to happen here. Siven would make a report against Lt. Naran for telling an ensign or Siven would figure that since the secret was already out, he could tell a certain someone else. Either way, no matter what happened, Mik wouldn’t be implicated. It wasn’t like he was giving the secret out to anyone who didn’t already know.
“Shit. No one’s supposed to know.” Siven’s nostrils flared as his worry seemed to turn to anger.
“I think everyone should know. Especially your friend Laren.”
Siven didn’t reply. The man didn’t much care for Mik, but this was okay since he didn’t care much for Siven either. Still, they had this one thing in common. He couldn’t imagine Siven enjoying being forced to protect the Kavakian Princes. Something had to be done.
“Wasn’t he volunteering his services in a village when the emperor attacked it? Wasn’t his wife and child killed?” Mik continued. “Can you imagine what it must be like for him? Having to try and save the life of the elder brat while the little one walks free on this very ship, without a care in the world for all the people his father has murdered?”
“They’re just a children,” Siven replied stiffly.
“Yeah, but they’re children who are going to grow up someday. Hell, the young one’s already shown how dangerous he can be. Jack said when they landed on Pensla he watched that child kill four Grapnes. The little shit is already a killer and he’s barely ten cycles old. I can’t imagine what we will have on our hands if his older brother wakes up.”
Siven still didn’t reply, but he could tell the man was thinking about it. The seed was planted, and so he left it alone for now. Perhaps later, he’d make other comments to help the seed grow.
I’d love to hear some constructive criticism. Please leave a comment below. Praise would be most welcome as well.
(This sci-fi saga is protected by copyright) Copyright May, 2016 by Dawn Ross
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