Chapter One--Tug of War (working title)
He could see into the future, but was having trouble interpreting what it all meant. Jory, officially known as Prince Jordan Vance, tried to see what this event was, but because the future was always changing, it was hard to see how these events would unfold. The near future was easier, as it wouldn’t change as much. The more he tried to see further, the more frustrated he became.
Something had been bothering Jory for several days, and it was something to do with the Elixir that helped him have these powers. Sitting at his desk in his office of the palace, he could see an explosion at one of the facilities where the Elixir was manufactured, but nothing else, and that’s what frustrated him. The Elixir, a preparation that had been discovered almost a thousand years before, had been found to give people certain abilities according to their genetic make-up. Those who were destined to have physical prowess would have greater speed or strength, sometimes both, when they took the Elixir. Mind reading, seeing the future, making things happen with just thoughts, or any combination, was born of intellect. Some, like Jory, had been blessed with several abilities. Seeing the future was the one ability that he had the most trouble with. His sister, Maryllia, was much better at that.
Jory decided not to dwell on the image he was seeing any longer. He would come back to it when he was more relaxed, or could talk to Maryllia or his friend Tobias about this event. He ran his hands through his shaggy dark blond hair, and decided to go into the city to take care of some business he had let slide recently.
The sun shone brightly on Darantha, a warm planet with deserts in the lower elevations and forests in the higher altitudes. It was classified as a Class 3 planet in the Daranth system, meaning it was bigger than other planets in the system, and more populated, making it the governing planet of the system. Jory pushed the button to raise the canopy on his rover to block out the sun as he maneuvered his rover through the streets of the city of Aldra.
Jory parked his rover down a side street, and started walking toward one of his favorite places to get a drink and to look for someone to take care of a debt. With his head down to shield his eyes, he didn’t see Tobias come out.
“Hey! Watch it!” Jory said, then looked to see who it was.
“Why don’t you look where you’re going?” Tobias said, jokingly.
“Sorry, Tobi. What’s your hurry? Care to join me for a drink?”
“You don’t want to go in there,” Tobias said, looking over his shoulder. Jory could see a crowd gathering inside. “Jerik knocked over drinks at an unfriendly table. Be best if we get out of here.”
“Great idea,” Jory said, and they walked down the street to another tavern and went inside.
“Aren’t you out a little early?” Tobias asked as they found a table and sat down.
“I’ve been trying to figure out what this vision means, and it’s frustrating me.”
“What is it?”
Jory told him as much as he could about the vision as the server came around for their drink order. Tobias tried to see beyond the specific time, but came up with nothing.
“You might try your sister or Kiyra or Sam,” Tobias suggested. Their server came back with their drinks and left again. “They are better at seeing the future than either of us.”
“Zhes ti henta amek ki belé?”
Jory and Tobias looked up and saw the debt collector from the city of Holbiné standing in front of them. Wearing a dirty spacesuit and several belts of weapons, he was an imposing figure to everyone but Jory. He had attempted to speak the local language of Aldraic, but was not fluent in it.
“Where the mouse have I been?” he asked in Aldraic, laughing. Then in Standard, “I think we’d better stick to Standard before you butcher the language more. It’s hento for hell, not henta.”
Had anyone else dared to laugh at him, the collector would have blasted them, but Jory knew he wouldn’t do anything to him. Even the collector was afraid of the power of the royal family, and especially Jory. He was heir-apparent to the throne, but also he was a Captain in the Royal Planet Fleet, one of their best pilots and one of their best shots with a blaster, though he was unarmed at the moment.
“So, to what do I owe this honor?” Jory asked now.
“Has Your Highness forgotten about the little money matter from two months ago?”
“Two months ago…let me see…oh yes! My gambling debt. I didn’t pay that off?”
“No, you haven’t, and my client is getting tired of waiting. Royalty or not, I have to collect this.”
Tobias watched Jory throughout this exchange. He knew that Jory had the money with him, but didn’t want to give the collector an easy time.
Jory sipped at his drink. “And what if I don’t pay? What will you do to me?”
“I am prepared to get this debt by any means I have to, even if it means I cannot come back into this zone again,” said the collector, tapping his blaster at his side. Jory could see that even though he had made the threat, the collector was still hesitant about following through with it.
Setting his drink slowly back down onto the table, Jory reached into his pocket and withdrew a roll of currency and thumbed off several bills and gave them to the collector.
“Take this to your client, and tell him to leave me the hento alone. I’m not giving this to you because of your threat, because your threats don’t scare me, but because I want to be done with this.”
“My client will be very happy, Your Highness,” said the collector. He put the money in his pouch, gave Jory one last look, and left without another word.
“What was that all about?” Tobias asked.
“I played cards a couple months ago, and I thought I’d be pretty good at it,” Jory said with a grin. “But little did I know that the guy I was betting against was an expert mind reader, so although I tried my best to clear my mind, I’d had too much to drink to do it properly, and he could see my hand anyway, and I lost. I didn’t have any more money with me, and I just kept putting him off. I was going to pay him today.”
With his business concluded sooner than expected, Jory was free to do what he wanted. He and Tobias talked for a while, then Jory wanted to go find his sister or his fiancée, Samara, to help him figure out what his vision meant. Something told him that he needed to find out soon, or lives could be at stake.
He pulled up at the palace and went inside to speak to his sister Maryllia, who had come home from her duties with the security division of the RPF. Jory found her in the library of their home.
“Hey,” he greeted when he saw her.
“Hi, Jory,” she said. “What’s up?”
“I’ve had a vision, and I can’t figure out the time table of it, and it concerns me a little,” he said
“Let me see what I can visualize.”
Maryllia closed her eyes, as did Jory, and together they relaxed and tried to see what the vision was about. Jory again saw the Elixir facility, then saw it explode. He tried to see more clearly anything in the picture he saw that could tell him when this was happening. Sun angle, season, people in view. He tried to slow down the events, but because he was seeing the future, time couldn’t be slowed down for him to see anything specific.
His sister sighed, and Jory opened his eyes.
“I can’t see anything except the facility exploding,” she told him. “Though I did see men running away from there just before it exploded. Men in dark suits of some type, like workmen’s suits.”
“Dark suits,” Jory repeated. He delved into his mind again, looking for any memories of dark suits. Looking into the past was easier than the future, because with the past, things could be slowed down or even paused for a moment. He looked into his memories of every place he had been, either for his duties as Prince, or as Captain in the RPF. “Dammit,” he exclaimed softly, opening his eyes once more.
“Nothing. I mean, I can see dark suits, but nothing that would be even remotely connected to terrorism.”
“Do you think someone is going to try to blow up the facility?”
“Yes, I do. It’s just a matter of when.”
Maryllia touched her brother’s arm. “You know that the general needs to know this,” she said.
“Yeah, I know. I just wished I could give him more to go on right now.”
“Maybe this will be enough. Security could be tightened around the facility; hopefully that will be enough to put a stop to any terrorism.”
“Thanks for your help, Maryllia,” he said, and he kissed her on top of her head, and left once again, this time going to the RPF base on the outskirts of Aldra.
“Is the plan ready?” Kiral Radern asked as he came into Center Communications, where many people, officers and civilians, had been working on a strategy for Radern’s plan.
“Yes, sir,” an officer answered.
Radern smiled, his dark eyes unfocused for a moment. He had been planning this for almost a year, and it was finally going to be put into motion. “Excellent! When can we execute it?”
“As soon as the fleet is given the flight plan and can go over it with their pilots.”
“Make it happen, Captain.”
The officer nodded, and left to give the instructions to his superiors. Radern walked around to his computer and flipped the screen on to view the plans. Once they started this plan in motion, it would get increasingly difficult to execute, as it would alert other systems to heighten their security. But Radern had prepared for that, too, and had his men already in place where they needed to be. They were just waiting for their orders.
Ornocto was a Class 3 planet, and Radern was the governing magistrate of the Beldon system. He had become a powerful person with his abilities from the Elixir, and ruled by decree, with no chance of a vote. He had control of the committees and councils on the other planets, with people handpicked by Radern to govern over them, and reporting back to him.