The mission is underway. The Dragon Emperor leads a battle in space while his warriors swarm the surface of a planet where a device that can be converted into a powerful weapon awaits. His plan to regain the supremacy lost by his father is progressing perfectly. One thing threatens it all—his ten-year-old son.Though young, Jori promises to be the greatest Dragon Warrior in history. His fighting skills are already better than those of his older brother. He is profoundly intelligent, and he has other skills that even the emperor himself doesn’t have. His only weakness is his sentiment. As the emperor’s dream of dominance comes closer to fruition, Jori’s struggle between morality and familial duty threatens the course of many lives, including his own.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Science fiction stories, movies, and TV shows captivated my imagination. I was a prolific daydreamer, and still am. One story with many Star Trek elements developed into a saga. It became so vast that I had to write it down.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Initially, my characters were largely based on people in Star Trek. When I realized this, I thought deeper and worked hard to give them their own color. I picked out the qualities I wanted and brainstormed new ones. I then wrote character journals for the most prominent story participants. The character journals covered everything from physical attributes to strengths and weaknesses to backstories. The journals also included the different ways each character would handle a particular situation.
The two men led him to an isolated room and clamped him into a cold metal chair. Lumpy crusts dotting the armrests could have been rust but looked more like scabs.
The warriors faced him but didn’t make eye contact. Their hard expressions brooked no room for conversation. Their alert posture reminded him of how Jori had often stood, with feet planted at shoulder width, chest out, and hands clasped behind the back.
Hapker worked his tongue to wet his dry mouth. He concentrated on his breathing in a determination not to show his anxiety.
The longer he waited, though, the greater his trepidation became. Jori wouldn’t torture him, would he? Would Terkeshi? It saddened him that the boys could be capable.
The handle to the metal entrance door clicked. Hapker tensed as the door creaked open. When Jori entered, he let out a breath but his muscles remained taut.
Jori bore his usual unreadable expression. He stepped forward and took a stance that mirrored the two warriors behind him. “I told you that if our situations were reversed, you would not be treated the same,” Jori said evenly. “If it were up to me, this wouldn't have happened. But it's not.”
“You didn’t tell your father how we helped you,” Hapker rasped through the dryness of his throat.
“It would do more harm than good,” Jori replied. “He believes sentiment is a weakness. It’s probably best he doesn’t know about our connection.”
Hapker glanced at the two guards.
“Don’t worry about them,” Jori said. “I told them everything, and I trust them with my life.”
Hapker tried to read their faces, but their blank stares told him nothing. “So what happens next? Are you going to kill me?” His gut twisted as he imagined being killed by this boy, a boy he cared about.
“I wouldn't do that, even if Father ordered me,” Jori said, again without emotion.
“Torture me then?” The words soured his mouth.
“I won’t, no. You will be tortured, though. Terkeshi may be compelled to take part. Trust me when I say it is not something that either of us wants to do.”
Hapker swallowed the lump in his throat. “So you’ve come to tell me we’re still friends.”
Jori’s expression twisted into a fleeting look of hurt.
Hapker didn’t give him time to respond. “I understand. We were both forced to do things we didn’t want to do. I forgive you. I hope you can forgive me too.”
Jori’s hard demeanor faltered. “Damn you, Hapker—”
“It’s okay,” he said soothingly. “I know this isn’t your fault. Whatever happens, I don’t blame you.”
Jori’s forehead wrinkled. “I am sorry. I wish things could be different.”
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