The Kavakian Empire
A Space Opera by Dawn Ross
Part One – Starfire Dragons (provisional title)
Chapter 32 – Revised
(This chapter is even newer than the last. The following two scenes were not even mentioned in the unrevised version of this science fiction story.)
J.D.’s skin prickled and his jaw tingled as though his blood had drained from his head. His breath caught every time one of the two princes swung or kicked at one another. The two boys sparred in a blur of motion. Jori whirled and twisted like a blade in a cyclone, with Terk moving nearly as fast.
Although it was only Terk’s second day out of bed, his treatment was complete and he was at full strength now. Yet he still barely matched the moves of his little brother.
One of Jori’s kicks caught Terk right in the jaw. Spittle flew, and maybe even a little blood. J.D. flinched, certain that Terk’s temper would ignite and the two would fight for real.
The two stopped for a brief moment. Terk shook his head, then spit off to the side. His expression was blank. Not a hint of anger showed.
In one quick motion, he raised his fists and the two sparred once again.
After two hours of sparring, a rather large crowd had gathered. Most had their mouths agape. Not even Lt. Commander Bracht and Lt. Gresher’s sparring bouts looked like this. Bracht, though strong and fast, definitely didn’t have Jori’s agility and flexibility. And the two men didn’t land nearly as many hits as the two brothers.
A deep thud sounded as Terk’s leg jutted into Jori’s gut. The boy tumbled back, but quickly somersaulted to his feet just as his brother honed in for another attack.
J.D. hesitated to stop this. To others, it might appear the two brothers were fighting. Yet, somehow he knew they weren’t. Despite the intensity of their movements, neither did any serious damage to one another. Dear god, this must be their normal.
The sparring ended abruptly, as though the brothers had reacted to an indiscernible signal. The two bowed respectfully to one another. The whispers of the onlookers grew louder, but no one seemed to be brave enough to direct their questions and comments to the princes themselves.
Terk turned away toward the exit of the gym while Jori made his way to J.D.’s side. Terk stopped short and turned to his brother with a half-frown. He hesitated a moment, then met with J.D. as well.
“We’re ready to go,” he said with a hint of irritation in his voice. He scowled down at his brother, who returned the look with a dark one of his own.
Instead of leaving, the three of them ended up stopping to watch the officers using the various martial equipment. Terk squared up his stance and crossed his arms in front of the speed bag where Bracht was practicing. The back of J.D.’s neck prickled. The increased rate of his heart quickly caught up with the beat-beat-beat of the bag being hit.
“What the hell?” Terk said loudly. “You have a tame Rabnoshk? So much for them being a superior warrior race.”
Bracht caught the speed bag in both hands and growled. “Fool, boy! You know nothing of what it means to be a true warrior.”
Terk reddened. “A true warrior doesn’t serve his enemies.”
“A true warrior knows hate is his only enemy. One day, perhaps you and your barbaric peoples will evolve and learn this.”
Terk uncrossed his arms dramatically. He puffed out his chest and clenched his fists. “You think you’re better than me, you fucking Rabnee?”
“That’s enough!” J.D. quickly stepped between them. “Lt. Commander,” he said to Bracht, “I suggest you go back to your practice.”
Bracht jutted out his chin. “Gladly, Sir.”
The Rabnoshk warrior pounded the bag anew. It was the same rhythm, yet somehow louder and more menacing. The security officer guards were still but looked ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. Each one of them glared threateningly at the daring prince.
I’m going to have a talk with that man. Bracht had just set a terrible example in front of the crew. Not that it was unprovoked, but he should have ignored the boy. No good can come of this.
“Is everyone here a coward?” Terk said loudly.
The beat of the speed bag faltered. J.D. suppressed a curse. “Do you think it’s smart to try and pick a fight with every member of this crew?” he said to the prince before Bracht could make another comment.
“You mean this crew of weaklings?” Terk made an emphatic gesture with his hand.
“I mean an entire ship full of people who hate you and would rather see you dead than walking these halls.”
“I’m not afraid of you. But I can tell you’re afraid of me.” The elder prince smiled dangerously.
J.D. ignored the flight-side of the fight-or-flight sensation welling up within him and stood firm. “I don’t deny that your behavior gives me a reason to be concerned.”
“Reason to be concerned?” Terk made a derisive snort.
He let the comment pass. “But don’t think for one moment that I’ll let that stop me if you cross a line.”
“And just what do you think—“
Jori stepped between them. “Achta!” he said to his brother. “Isha dong wacha be? Dukka ma sevi den… agi den.” Jori’s tone was harsh and his brow furrowed in a heated glare.
Whatever language the boy had spoken, J.D. had never heard it before. It wasn’t Tredon yet it was obvious Terk understood.
The elder prince bared his teeth angrily. J.D. braced himself, expecting Terk to turn his rage loose on the boy.
Jori stood fearlessly against his taller and larger brother. The two of them glared at one another with balled fists hanging at their sides. The air around them seemed to crackle. J.D.’s heart froze. If the two fought for real…
Just as he mustered the mindfulness to intervene, Terk’s posture visibly relaxed and his face went blank. His eyes broke from his brother and bored into J.D.’s.
“Lucky for you, my brother likes you.”
Without waiting for a reply, the elder prince turned and stalked away.
J.D. glanced down at Jori. The boy’s face looked nearly ready to spit fire as he watched Terk’s back. It was difficult seeing him as a ten-year-old boy right now. Is Terk afraid of him?
“Thank you,” he said to the boy.
Jori made a sharp nod, but said nothing.
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 July, 2016 by Dawn Ross
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