The King has spoken
“All rise in the presence of His Majesty, the honourable King Wilbur, ruler of all Carac,” announced the royal scribe, bringing about a hush to the lively conversation taking place at the far end of the large rectangular wooden table.
King Wilbur entered the great hall, flanked by Sir Lambert, his bravest and most trusted knight, Lord Fenton, the man in charge of his royal army, and two advisors whom Jason was not familiar with. Their footsteps echoed through the large, high-ceilinged room as they walked across the polished marble floor towards the table.
King Wilbur looked as regal as ever in his gold trimmed red robe which bore the royal insignia on his chest as he slowly and deliberately walked over to the ornately decorated wooden throne at the head of the table. His large build, flowing white hair upon which rested a bejewelled golden crown and his neat white beard gave him a look of importance and nobility, instilling a feeling of awe in Jason.
The King was in attendance in his capacity as ruler of Carac, to hear an official request from Prince Jason, Commander-in-Chief of Carac’s sky defence force.
Jason remembered the very first time he had entered the great hall and dined with the King. The large chandelier still hung above the table, but the candles which once illuminated it had been replaced with electric light bulbs.
The red and yellow stained glass windows and arrow slits which let in the late afternoon rays of sunshine were still exactly as he remembered them, except for the invisible force field which now protected them from the outside.
“You may be seated,” announced the royal scribe, as soon as the King and his small entourage had taken their seats.
Jason bowed and seated himself down once more on the throne at the far end of the table. Being a royal Prince now entitled him to this privilege. To his right sat his wife, the Princess, and to his left sat his next in command, Admiral Hayes and Bart, the ex United Earth Government guard whose mind Jason had altered.
The King was next to rise from his throne.
“Honourable Prince Jason,” he began in his booming voice, “You may address the royal council.”
Jason rose from his throne once the King had seated himself.
“You Majesty, Honourable ruler of all Carac,” he began. “Thank you for granting me an audience at such short notice. As you know, our faster than light star ships are now space worthy and ready to defend this great civilisation from any threat to the peace we now enjoy. We have advanced and powerful weaponry capable repelling any force who dares to attack us.”
Jason paused, taking a quick sip of water before proceeding.
“Your Majesty,” he continued. “There is, however, one possible threat to our peace from my home planet, Earth. The leaders of Earth, were they to discover the existence of Carac and all her valuable natural resources, may launch an unprovoked attack with the sole intention of controlling these resources which are in short supply back on Earth.”
He paused again, taking another sip of water.
“Honourable King Wilbur, I humbly request permission to launch a pre-emptive strike, in order to neutralise this threat before it’s too late.”
Jason bowed politely and took his seat.
“Your request will be considered,” replied King Wilbur. “Please leave us, while we deliberate. The scribe will inform you as soon as we have reached our decision.”
Jason and his little group stood up, bowed, and briskly exited the room, retreating to a nearby lounge where he anxiously awaited the King’s decision.
“I’m sure he will rule in your favour, Jason,” said Jasmine encouragingly once they were comfortable.
Jason managed a smile, though his wife could tell that he was apprehensive.
After what felt like an eternity, though it was in reality only an hour or so, the royal scribe summoned them back to the great hall where the King was ready to deliver his verdict.
“Jason, most respected Prince, and Commander-in-Chief of Carac’s sky fleet,” began the King, “After much deliberation, and after taking all factors into account, I have decided to turn down your request.”
Jason felt red hot anger wash over him as the King continued to speak.
“Calm down, Jason,” he thought to himself. “Slow, deep breaths.”
He managed to keep his face expressionless as he listened, while he could feel his temperature and anger rise to a crescendo.
“As King of Carac, I have to consider the needs and the safety of the kingdom, therefore, I cannot risk the lives of the people of Carac against an unprovoked and unknown enemy, who, by all accounts, may have a technologically superior army. I have seen the horrors of war first hand, and experienced the pain and suffering that comes with it.”
Jason nodded, silently.
“We are not ungrateful for all that you have done for the people of Carac, and I am personally indebted to you for saving my daughter from her terrible illness, so please don’t take this decision personally.”
Jason simply nodded again.
“This meeting is adjourned!” concluded the King.
“Thank you for your audience, Your Majesty,” replied Jason calmly, as his group rose from their seats and bowed.
Later that evening, in the Princess’s chamber, Jason tossed and turned, unable to fall asleep. He was visibly agitated and restless. Princess Jasmine knew him well enough to allow him his space, keeping to her side of the bed.
Jasmine supported her husband completely on his planned offensive and was just as surprised as Jason was at her father’s decision turning down his request.
Eventually Jason gave up trying to fall asleep and got out of bed.
“Jason?” whispered Jasmine. “Are you all right?”
“I’m sorry, Jasmine, he replied.”I’m going over to the Equinox. I can’t sleep.”
“Please don’t,” she whispered. “I need you here.”
Jason ignored her, got dressed, and walked out of the room.
A short shuttle flight later, he was seated in the captain’s chair, on board the Equinox, staring at the main view screen, with his thoughts and music for company.
The music usually helped to calm him whenever he felt agitated or restless, but not tonight. Tonight, he felt red hot anger at the King and he just could not let it go.
“So, the ungrateful Wilbur has dared to turn me down, has he?” Jason thought to himself, “And this, after all that I have done for this dammed planet!”
He was seething with anger now.
“I think it’s time to show the ungrateful Wilbur who’s really in charge here. I will make him pay for daring to defy me!” said Jason out loud.
The grimace soon gave way to a ghost of a smile as he contemplated his next move.