I begin my return to a normal blogging schedule with a sci-fi short story in three parts. This is just the first part. My posts won’t always be like this, but I intend to be more story focused, just not always fiction. I hope you enjoy.
Relentless – Part 1
And, so it comes to this, Molech.
Joshua Carpenter stood on the stone terrace outside the palace court and watched the twin suns disappear in the horizon. It was peaceful in the quiet of the moment. He knew that peace would be only a memory by the time the twin suns made three more cycles across the sky.
His long, deep blue overcoat was unbuttoned and so was his white silk waistcoat. He had tucked his white linen gloves into the waistband of his deep blue breeches. It was a mark of his shedding the rituals of the day; a day spent organizing an answer to Molech’s assault against the Federation and against him.
A shuffle of feet on stone came from inside the court.
“Everything prepared?” Joshua asked without turning his gaze from the horizon. The last vestiges of reds and oranges were swallowed by deep purple that gave way to black.
“Yes, Your Grace.” A man answered in a soft, quiet voice.
Joshua turned to face an older man who stood in the doorway between the terrace and the red stone court. The man wore a long, white, wool tunic that was far too long for his small frame. Large, billowy sleeves hid his arms and hands. He kept his eyes on the ground before him. Joshua was not a tall man, but he towered over this man.
“Abram? Say what you will.” Joshua said. He spoke with kindness toward his longsuffering servant and advisor.
Abram raised his head to look Joshua in the eyes. His bald head and long beard gave him a look of wisdom that suited him. However, his face looked grave and filled with foreboding.
“My prince, is this really worth it? Is she really worth all of this?” The humility and reverence was gone from his voice. Instead, there was a bit of chastisement. Abram sometimes took this tone with Joshua when the old man felt he was being an impetuous child.
“The War?” Joshua asked, but it was more to himself than to Abram. “It seems foolish to go to war for the sake of Elyse, I know.”
“So, it is for her sake and not just your honor?” Abram asked.
“My honor? Molech and I have been at war for my honor since the day I took my first breath. No, I go now for love.” Joshua smiled and walked into the palace court. He walked past Abram and the old man turned to follow him.
“The love of a woman who does not love you in return? Do you think this will convince her?”
“She was taken, Abram. I do not do this for her love; I do this for my love. Believe me; I do not go into this lightly. I know the consequences of my actions.” Joshua stopped in the middle of the court and looked down on the seal that covered the middle of the red stone floor. The gold words United Federation of the Bara Galaxy encircled a depiction of the worlds and star systems that claimed allegiance to Joshua’s throne.
“My prince, if you…”
“I am the Sovereign Prince of the Federation. No action I take is alone. If I do battle with anyone, then I bring the entire Federation against them. I know this. I am also a man, Abram. I cannot standby and do nothing. My love demands action.” Joshua interrupted.
“But, my prince…” Abram began again.
“Elyse will die if I do nothing, Abram!” Joshua spun around to face Abram. “She will die, and her blood will be on my hands. Molech took her because he is desperate to get at me. I must act.”
He rested both his hands on the old man’s shoulders. The two looked at each other silently, and Joshua smiled.
“Trust me, Abram. Have I ever done anything for the harm of the Federation? For any of my subjects?”
“No, Your Grace. You have always acted in wisdom and prudence.” Abram returned to his reverent tone.
“Then trust me, Abram. Trust me in this, too.”
“Yes, my prince.” Abram bowed.
Joshua took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “And, we know where he is, for certain?”
“Our intel tells us that he is where he said he would be, on his home planet Hatti.” Abram rummaged in his robe and pulled a small scroll from his left sleeve. He handed it to Joshua.
Joshua unrolled the scroll of translucent paper to look at a moving map that showed him red dots that represented the locations of Molech’s armies and his own. Green outlines detailed the star system around the planet of Hatti. Something about it puzzled Joshua.
“Are these numbers correct?” He asked.
“It is what our intel tells us. What do you see, my prince?” Abram shuffled to him and looked at the map.
“His numbers are fewer than what I remember. Make sure our defenses are fortified, especially around Salem.”
“The planet is secure.” Abram said.
“Good.” Joshua rolled the scroll up again. “Now, you are my regent while I am gone. I’ll try not to make it so long this time.” Joshua smirked and patted Abram on the back. The old man let out a deep sigh.
“Yes, Your Grace.”
Joshua looked toward the throne that sat on a high dais a few feet to his right and nodded his head. Without another word, he turned to his left and walked out of the court. The time to act had finally come.
~Remember, this is a copyrighted creation. See my notice in the sidebar. I would love to hear your thoughts on this story in the comments below and on Facebook. ~