The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part One – Starfire Dragons (provisional title)
Chapter 30 – Revised
(Part of this chapter is new. The other part was in the unrevised version of my science fiction story. Hopefully, I have done a better writing job this time around. Any tips or advice? Please comment below.)
“How is our patient?” Captain Arden asked J.D.
“Very well, physically,” J.D. replied. “There’s no sign of brain damage and the paligenesis treatment will have him on his feet in another day or so.”
He shivered involuntarily. Although the elder Prince Kavak’s muscles had atrophied, the paligenesis machine was helping to rebuild his cells. So rather than spend days or even months on rehabilitation, the young man would be back at his full strength by the time they got him to the Chevert Outpost.
“And non-physically?” the captain asked, catching on to his hint.
He sighed. “Attitude-wise he’s no worse than Jori was when he first arrived. But I get a sense that he has a bit more of a temper.”
“And he probably be better able to act it out,” Lt. Stein added.
The captain furrowed his brow. “Do you get the impression he’ll act out, Commander?”
He shrugged. “He seems fine with me, but he’s been giving the security guards some ugly looks.”
“Do you think he knows about Laren?” the captain asked.
His gut twisted painfully. He hadn’t told anyone about Jori’s confession. He should have told the captain that Jori and his brother had played a part in the attack on Gereva. He wanted to. He wanted to trust the man. Surely, the captain would understand the boys weren’t directly at fault, that their father put them up to it.
But Captain Arden was still an enigma to him. He seemed to be a man of both morals and of duty. And when the two conflicted, he suspected the captain would choose the moral path, but he still didn’t know him well enough to be entirely sure.
“I don’t,” J.D. replied regarding Laren. “If he did, I don’t think he’d be cooperating as well as he is right now.”
“The child might tell him,” Lt. Stein said.
Another shiver went through him. “Maybe.”
“If I may, Sir,” Bracht said. “When the elder prince is released from sick bay, both children should be required to stay together at all times so I won’t have to split the security detail.”
“I agree,” J.D. said, hardly believing he’d said it. “Remember, Jori is a level nine in hand-to-hand combat.”
Lt. Stein let out a low whistle. She must have missed this piece of information from one of his earlier reports.
“He’s smaller, so probably can’t use his skill as effectively yet,” he continued. “But his elder brother may be a different story.”
The Alliance security officers averaged level five. J.D. himself was a level seven. And Bracht was the only one above Jori at level ten. Actually, the Rabnoshk warrior was well beyond level ten, but the holo-system only went up to ten.
Captain Arden frowned. “Very well. Do you mind having both children in your quarters?”
“I actually think it would be best,” he replied. The two of them were obviously close. Perhaps Terk would be more considerate of the consequences of his actions with his brother around.
“We can reinstate that two or more guards also stay in your room,” Bracht added.
He stroked his chin. I trust Jori, but can I trust Terk? Would having security in my room be a provocation or should I show him I trust him? Bracht would no doubt think him a fool if he did the later. And maybe he was. “No. I think I’ll be alright.”
The captain’s eyebrows went up again. “Are you sure?”
He nodded. “For now.”
The captain folded his hands. “It’s decided then. However, there is another security issue we must be concerned about. The source of the signal disruptions has still not been found.”
“Sir,” Bracht said. “Security has reported no unusual activity from the Chekrosians. Their presence must be coincidence.”
“Probably so, but they must still be considered. I want the reports of their activities to be more detailed.”
“That is all I have,” the captain said. “Anyone else?”
“Captain, Sir,” Bracht said. “I have concluded my investigation on the rumor that someone was harassing the child.”
“Yes, I’ve read the report. So in your personal opinion, was the rumor unfounded?”
“No, Sir. I believe something did happen. But considering no one has confessed and that the child has said nothing of it, I assume it was a relatively minor incident. And I believe I have made myself clear to the team regarding how I feel about such behavior.”
The captain turned to him. “Commander?”
“I honestly haven’t had a chance to find out anything from Jori. But I concur with the Lt. Commander.”
The captain nodded. “Then if that is all?”
J.D. glanced at the others and they glanced at him. No one said anything.
“Good day, then. Dismissed,” the captain said.
Robert reviewed Lt. Chandley’s analysis. So far, it was inconclusive. The Chekrosians’ vessel was quiet. His own crew members had manually scanned every corner of the Odyssey, including around the Chekrosians’ quarters, and reported everything was normal. And when the signal disruption was actively occurring, the ship’s internal sensors were unable to locate the source.
Robert stroked his bearded jaw. At least the disruptions had subsided. But he wasn’t certain whether this was a good thing. It would be odd if it was simply something in space they’d passed through because no similar anomalies had ever been reported before. Or if it had been glitches in the system that had now self-adjusted, it would still mean a problem since such corrections should’ve showed up in the ship’s auto-log.
Any other captain might let this go. But he’d learned long ago to never dismiss anything as a mere coincidence. Perhaps I’ll order another manual scan.
The beep of the comm interrupted his thoughts. He glanced at the small viewscreen on his desk and cringed.
He sighed heavily, then composed himself and pressed the answer tab on the screen. “Rear Admiral Zimmer,” he said to the admiral through the vid-comm. “To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“I hear you have the Kavakian princes on board your ship, Captain,” Zimmer said crossly. The elder man’s wrinkled face was creased in a perpetual frown over his weak chin. “And I’m wondering why you didn’t notify me directly.”
Robert’s heart sunk. “My apologies, Admiral. Since they are just boys, I didn’t think their presence warranted a priority report,” he said, hoping he sounded nonchalant.
“Having the sons of the Alliance’s worst enemy on board your ship is not a priority?”
“Since they are just children, I figured not, Sir.”
“You figured wrong. Just what did you plan on doing with the children, anyway?”
“I am in the process of making arrangements to get them home, Admiral.”
“Out of the question,” Zimmer said angrily. “We could use these children to negotiate the release of some of our people.”
Robert hoped his dismay didn’t show on his face. “If the emperor found out we have his children it will likely trigger a war.” Darn it. Everything’s been going so well up until now. His stomach rolled uneasily.
“We can reinforce our borders,” Zimmer replied offhandedly. “I will be at Caspan in eight days. I want those children brought to me immediately.”
Dear god. Does this man have no brains at all? The Alliance didn’t have the resources to effectively reinforce the border against a horde of Tredons. I’ve got to think of something.
“Capsan?” he replied. “But that’s at least thirty day-cycles away for us, Sir.” He tried hard not to let his anger show. The fool.
“Where are you now?” Zimmer asked.
He gave his coordinates.
“Very well,” Zimmer said. “We can meet at the Chevert Outpost. I am only about ten day-cycles from there. I will see you then.”
“Yes, Admiral,” he replied. Chevert. It’s where I wanted to go anyway. He’d get there a few days before Zimmer. Maybe I can come up with something before he arrives.
“One more thing,” Zimmer said. “I take it you haven’t contacted the emperor to tell him we have his children.”
“No, Sir,” he confirmed.
“Do any other Tredons know?”
“I have not contacted anyone as of yet, Sir.”
“Good. Keep it that way.”
The conversation ended and the viewscreen blinked back to Lt. Chandley’s report. He sat back heavily in his chair. What am I going to do? He had so hoped to keep this from Zimmer. Now he was going to have to break the promise he made to the younger prince. This is not good. This is not good at all.
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 June, 2016 by Dawn Ross
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