Piloting Fury Part 62: Brand New KDG Read!

Happy Friday, Everyone! Of course Friday means more Fury, and this is the next to the last episode! Very excited to be sharing the Fury Family reunion. And this week, another surprise from Fury’s father.  If you’re enjoying Fury, please spread the word and pass the link to a friend. I love to share my stories with as many people as possible.

Again here’s the link to the first episode of Piloting Fury for those of you who’d like to start at the beginning. https://kdgrace.co.uk/blog/piloting-fury-new-from-kdg/

 

 

 

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAllister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

 

Piloting Fury Part 62: Heir Not-so- Apparent

We all met in Dubrovnik’s captain’s lounge. Manning and I represented Fury, though the com links had been left open with both Fury and Griffin. We were the first to arrive, with Rab, looking slightly uncomfortable in his new uniform. He was now a lieutenant in Dubrovnik’s security division and chosen for his extended relationship with Fallon and the Authority. His knowledge would benefit all of them in the months ahead. Harker was flanked by Doctor Flissy and Lieutenant Juarez, who was the pilot that replaced me. They were joined by Keen, his head of security, Dana Larkin, who would now take over after Markov’s death, and Nali Patel, the head of the transitional team, which would help transition the Dubrovnik from a freighter to a flying research facility as well as from a standard orca class ship to an SNT. The path ahead was staggering. We all settled in at the big conference table, crowded with the full compliment of the three ships – well all except for the representatives from Griffin.

“You suppose they stayed on for a second cigarette?” I whispered in Manning’s ear.

“They’ve had long enough to smoke the whole damn pack,” Manning said.

Suddenly the image of Griffin came up and the monitor showed a split screen image of the two SNTs. Griffin announced the arrival of Gerando and Stanislavsky, who ‘tranned into the room a moment later. Though that, in itself, was no great surprise, the change in the appearance of Gerando Fallon, was. He seemed taller, his shoulders no longer rounded with the years of self-hatred and abuse from his father. He was leaner, the look of sallow laziness that had shadowed his face had gone and the lines and angles of his body were sharper and harder. He was still thinner than ideal from all that he had suffered, but Griffin and Stanislavsky would sort that in short order. His blue eyes burned fever bright and there was a look about him that only came with lessons learned the hard way. Stanislavsky, who stood with her arm threaded through his, no longer looked like a woman who ached for something she couldn’t have.

 

 

To everyone’s surprise, it was Gerando Fallon who spoke. “I’m sorry we’re late, but we’ve been doing a bit of research on a very important matter.” He turned his attention to Harker. “If I may, Captain.”

Harker nodded his permission.

“With my father dead, his holdings will now be fought over by his children. It’ll get ugly. There are at least three of my siblings who would give my father a run for his money in the nasty sonovabitch department.” He nodded to Stanislavsky, who moved to the ship’s computer and pulled up a document. “This, however, cannot be disputed. My father left his shares in the Fire Star Conglomerate, along with a great deal of his other accumulated wealth to his eldest son.” He shrugged. “Well technically, I’m dead, so that rules me out. But after Ina and I looked over the documentation, we believe it was never intended for me anyway. He certainly never hinted that I would inherit anything. And now that the truth is out, I’m not his eldest son. Fury is his eldest son.”

The room was suddenly awash in murmurs of startled surprise that all silenced when Stanislavsky pulled up the next document. It looked like a page full of gibberish, numbers, letters, symbols in random combinations. “While I was born fifteen years before Fury, Fury became a living, thinking entity nearly a year before I was born. I don’t mean like a fetus, I mean a sentient being capable of having intelligent, even advanced conversations with Dr. Keen and others who had contact with him and who were responsible for his education.” He waved a dismissive hand. “I know this because I’m really good at hacking systems, and I had a fascination with SNT technology since I was old enough to understand what was going on. But this,” He nodded to the document Stanislavsky had pulled up, “this is what convinced me that my father always believed he would, in the end, have Fury for his own and that he viewed Fury as his immortality. You know what this is and what it means, don’t you, Bro 1?”

“It would appear to be an access code written in my own personal language, the language I created for myself in my infancy.”

“Access to what?” Manning asked.

“To … exactly what Gerando Fallon has stated, our father’s shares in the Fire Star Conglomerate, and multiple billions of credits, property and indentureds across the entirety of Authority space.”

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 61: Brand New KDG Read

I hope your new year is off to a great start everyone. It’s the first Friday of the year, which means  it’s once again time for more Fury. Last week, Fury’s brother was finally set free, and this week, the family grows. If you’re enjoying Fury, please spread the word and pass the link to a friend. I love to share my stories with as many people as possible. I’m offering a new episode of Fury every Friday.

Again here’s the link to the first episode of Piloting Fury for those of you who’d like to start at the beginning. https://kdgrace.co.uk/blog/piloting-fury-new-from-kdg/

 

 

 

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAllister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

 

Piloting Fury Part 61: Fury’s Family

“What’s taking so long?” Manning asked, pacing the carpeted floor in Fury’s observation deck. It was the place we always adjourned too when our work was done, when we needed to think, or when there was nothing else to do but wait it out. That was exactly what was going on now.

“It takes however long it takes,” Fury said. “Griffin knows as little of the bonding with a compliment as I knew, though both Victor Keen and I have done what we may to advise him.”

Manning chuckled, “So you two have had the birds and the bees discussion with him, have you?”

“He is old enough.” Fury said, and I could hear the smile in his voice.

“I’m sure Stanislavsky will be happy for your efforts,” I replied.

 

 

Griffon was the name Apocalypse had chosen for himself, saying that an SNT should not be named for the destruction of those he was created to protect and nurture. He chose the name, Griffin, because a griffon was a mythical flying beast who was the protector of great treasure. He felt it fit, and we all agreed.

Manning paced some more, along with Rab, who had been invited from the Dubrovnik where he had once again taken up a position, to wait with us, since he had a vested interest, and Griffon might not have been freed had he not helped Gerando.

“So, how’s our baby?” I asked Rab, trying to keep the two men’s mind off the bonding going on aboard the Griffin.

“Doing good, doing good,” he said turning to face me. I couldn’t help notice the smile on his face was not unlike a proud uncle. “Trouble for everyone, like all sprogs, and growing like a weed.” He turned and continued pacing, he and Manning now walking in opposite directions. “It’ sure as hell keeping Harker on his toes, let me tell you. And Dr. Flissy, well you’d think she was the sprog’s mother the way she flits about all protective like. Hell, it’s a damn ship, I keep saying, but no one ever listens to Rab, do they?”

Fury chuckled softly, and it was the easiest thing in the world to be caught up in the excitement of what was happening onboard Dubrovnik as well as what was happening onboard Griffin.

“One things for goddamn sure,” Rab observed, “it’s making the refit for New Pandora Base a helluva lot easier. Mind you, I’m not sure how I feel about being onboard a damn research base inside a ship that’s smarter than me.”

“Hell, I’ve got underwear smarter than you,” Manning said.

Rab chuckled. “Well, that’s probably true, being a compliment to an SNT1 and all, but a simple man like me, well I don’t need help to pull my scruns down when I need to shit.”

Before Manning could respond with more than a middle finger in the air, the com crackled to life. “It’s done,” Keen’s voice came over the system. “The bonding was a success and Griffin says to tell you all that they are now smoking cigarettes, whatever that means.”

Manning laughed. “It’s an old Terran ritual supposedly indulged in immediately after really good sex. Did he inherit your sense of humor, Fury?”

“He is developing his own, and very quickly,” Fury said with pride in his voice. “I believe he is making up for lost time.”

“And he has a lot of it to make up for,” I said, running my hand over the small white scar on my forearm now nearly invisible where my shackle used to be. “And Gerando?”

 

 

 

“The tether’s secure and holding,” Keen said. “Perhaps in time, since Griffin is now bonded with Ina, that tether will get stronger and longer, as it has with you, Richard, but at the moment it’s secure, and the bond between the three is strong. It’s a different kind of bond,” Keen explained, “since Griffin and Gerando share blood, but the tether is like what Manning has. But in the bonding process, Gerando and Ina were bonded, which in its own way strengthens the bonding.”

“Well that’s all dandy,” Rab said, “but what I want to know is how the hell we gonna keep Griffin out of the hands of the Authority? Technically he belongs to them.”

“Technically, he was stolen from the Free Universities,” Fury corrected. “I am sure there are lawyers who could prove that fact. There is a precedent.”

“And how goddamn much difference do you think that’s gonna make when the fucking Authority finds out we’re growing us a new generation of SNT ships out here at Plague One?”

“Probably no difference at all, if the Authority were to find out,” Fury replied. “But they will not. Griffin will stay safe the same way I stayed safe. It will not be difficult for him to create a shape and appearance least likely to draw attention.”

“Nor will it be hard to spread the word that Plague 1 is now a breeding ground for a new virulent form of the SNT virus that is no longer controlled by the shackle, but is a menace to the general population. We are already disseminating that information, including footage of the destruction of the Apocalypse and Abriad Fallon with it. People are happy to believe rumors of the SNT virus, so one more really big one won’t shock them at all. No one will come looking. With his vocal processors and his link to Fallon, Griffin has been able to produce a subspace distress call from the Apocalypse of an infected Fallon that will convince everyone in Authority space to stay as far away from Plague One as possible.”

“Jesu Vati! You’ve thought of everything, haven’t you?” Rab said. “Except if Plague One is going to be safe from unexpected visitors in the future, why the hell is the Dubrovnik about to become the new Pandora Base?”

“Fallon’s not the only powerful head of a conglomerate who would like to control the SNT virus,” Keen said. “Sooner or later, someone will show up wanting to replicate the virus and use it for their own ends. Best they don’t find anything here when that happens. Besides, Fallon had the right idea using the Apocalypse so he never stayed in one place. With the research we’re doing, with our efforts to end indentureship and eliminate the virus completely, not to mention the research on SNT technology, it’s best if no one is able to pinpoint our location. When we’re done with the Dubrovnik, he’ll be the perfect fortress for the protection of our research, just as his ancient Terran namesake was.” He looked down at his chronometer. “Right, let’s give Griffin and his compliment time to finish their cigarettes, and then we’ll all meet onboard the Dubrovnik. We’ve got a brave new world ahead of us now.”

 

 

 

 

 

My Best Reads of 2021

For me, more reading time was one of the best things to come out of lockdown. I’ve always been one who would rather curl up with a good book than binge watch something on Netflix. I am most definitely and unashamedly a binge reader. Throughout lockdown in its several incarnations, I’ve been sharing my own novel, Piloting Fury, with you. (follow this link if you would like to read it from the beginning FREE.) But in a couple of weeks Fury will come to an end, so it seemed like a great time to slip in a post of my favorite reads for 2021, in case you’re wondering what I read when I’m not writing.

 

Strangely enough the best two stand-alone novels from my 2021 reading list happened to be the last two I read, and amazingly enough, they both were tales about memory and how much of who we are is tied up not only in our memories, but in others’ memories of us. They were both stunning, and it was a tough choice between the two as to which I thought was the best.

 

The first was The Binding by Bridget Collins, who is a new writer to me. The novel is fantasy set in a world where a person’s worst, most painful memories can be removed and bound in a book to be locked away in a vault. For the person who has been bound, it is as though the memory never happened. What could possibly go wrong? The Binding is a vibrant, evocative, and chilling story of what it might be like if bad memories could be as easily erased as sentences on a computer, and what happens when those bound memories end up in the wrong hands. Bridget Collins’ novel is a stunner, and one I can’t recommend enough.

 

 

But my number one stand-alone pick for 2021 is the novel I finished New Years Eve morning in the wee hours. It’s also my first novel by this writer. My Number one read for 2021 is V.E. Schwab’s fabulous The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue. Imagine making a deal with the devil to live a life different from the one being forced up on you, then finding yourself cursed with immortality, always to remember every experience, but never to be remembered by anyone. For Addie La Rue, the only way out is to call in the deal and hand over her soul. Like The Binding, Addie La Rue left me with a serious book hangover. You know the kind I mean, those very wonderful novels that leave you unable to stop thinking about the characters and the plot, and wondering, maybe even making up in your own mind, what happened after THE END. These two books both left me wishing I’d read them so much slower and savored them. But never fear, they’ve both been added to my TBRA list – To Be Read Again.

 

 

 

 

As it is every year, this year there were several memorable stand alones that were outside the list of books I would normally read. The historical stunner, A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance is un-put-downable. A dark, disturbing, wonderful tale of family betrayal, and love set in San Francisco just before the 1906 earthquake. When a young woman from New York moves in with rich West Coast relatives she didn’t know she had, she quickly learns that she might not have been invited out of family love and loyalty.

 

The Bennet Women by Eden Appiah-Kubi – a stunningly modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with twists and turns that make the timeless story fit right into the age of tech and social media like a comfortable sweater.

 

As for my walk on the Crime side this year I can heartily recommend anything by fabulous crime thriller writer, Helen Callaghan. Whether you start with her debut novel, Dear Amy, or her latest, Night Falls, Still Missing, if you’re a lover of psychological crime thrillers, you won’t be disappointed.

 

The best new ongoing series by one of my favorite writers is, without a doubt, Naomi Novik’s Scholomance series. Think Hogwarts from Hell, with the school itself trying to kill the students. I’m sure you can see the appeal. The first book, A Deadly Education, which came out in 2020, left all of Novik’s fans waiting anxiously for the next.  was due to come out in July, but because of Covid and lockdown, it wasn’t released until September, and may I just say that The Last Graduate was absolutely worth the wait. It was far too quickly devoured, and has left me anxiously waiting for the final novel in the trilogy to be released in September this year. Novik has long been one of my favorite writers and the Scholomance series has made me even more a fan girl. If you’ve not read anything by Novik, then I suggest you do so without further delay. You’re in for a real treat.

 

 

In 2021, there was some stiff competition for the best series from a writer that is new to me. I loved Danielle L. Jensen’s Dark Shores series and her Bridge Kingdom series, both ongoing, both new to me, with the next book of the Bridge Kingdom coming out soon. Both are fantasy series with amazing world building and stories and characters worthy of the textured, beautifully dangerous, worlds Jensen has created.

 

Another wonderful series I discovered in 2021 is Lynette Noni’s Prison Healer Series. The novels are fantasy romance, and set in a prison. While the place is myopic, the character and the plot, the grit and the grip are most definitely not.

 

But my favorite series of 2021 by an author I’d never read before, and once again the last series I read for the year, is Sebastien de Castell’s stunning Spellslinger series. De Castell creates a world in which the wild west meets thieving, murderous, sorcerers on steroids with a bit of steam punk thrown in for good measure, and a cast of characters that I seriously wanted to travel across the deserts of the Seven Sands with. This is one you don’t want to miss. It’s funny, it’s moving, it’s full of suspense and great twists and turns. I blew through the eight books WAY faster than I would have liked, and Mr. Grace is now doing the same. Another series for my TBRA list.

 

 

As is the case every year, some of the books from my TBRA list get read again, and it’s just like spending quality time with a good friend. Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series is always well worth another read, and it’s been awhile, so that had to happen. To be fair, it was a SJM sort of year anyway, with the next novel in her Court of Thorns and Roses series, A Court of Silver Flames being released. (Which, by the way is my favorite so far in a series I love). And of course when a new novel in a series comes out, they all have to be read again so that the details are all fresh. And while it was a new read for me (now added to the TBRA list) I began Maas’s new Crescent City series, hungrily devouring the first novel, House of Earth and Blood, which leaves me waiting for the second book, which is coming out in February. A great Valentine’s gift to look forward to!

 

And where would a year be without reading Naomi Novik’s fabulous Temeraire series one more time. I’ve lost track of how many times this year’s read makes. For those of you who don’t already know, who haven’t heard me rave about the books, Novik’s Temeraire series is my all time favorite series EVER! Cuz … dragons!

 

 

Leigh Bardugo has seriously added to my TBRA list this year with three novels. First, her fantastically dark and gritty Six of Crows duology set in the Grishaverse after the Shadow and Bone series. These books were so addictive and gripping that Mr. Grace read them too just to see what I was enthusing about. I can’t say enough good things about this series. I adore the characters, all so wonderfully flawed and disturbingly dangerous, and the plot is fast paced, deeply textured at times heart stopping at times moving. The duology ticks all my boxes. Crows is by far the best of Bardugo’s Grishaverse, in my opinion.

 

Also on the list from Bardugo is her amazing adult novel, The Ninth House. Ghosts, murder, blood sacrifice and secret societies! I will never look at Yale the same way again. The novel is dark and disturbing and wonderfully redemptive, a cracking good read. Sadly, I’ll be waiting awhile on the second book of this series. Happily the reason is that this amazing author is busy working on the Netflix series, Shadow and Bone based on her novels of the same name. Which also includes some great back-story with the Crows. I highly recommend season one. I’m looking forward to the second season, and seriously wishing Leigh Bardugo could clone herself to write that sequel to The Ninth House.

 

 

In case you’re wondering how 2022 is going for me so far reading wise, well, I’ve decided to go with a winner and read V.E. Swab’s Shades of Magic series. I’ve been wanting to for a while, and after Addie LaRue, I’m ready for a Schwab binge. I’ve already finished A Darker Shade of Magic and am hungrily devouring A Gathering of Shadows. If one London isn’t enough for you, imagine a world with four, all very different, all very dangerous in their own way. And all occupying the same space with only a few people able to pass between … at their own risk, of course. Will it be on my top series list for 2022? Only time will tell.

 

 

And what about you? What are you reading? I would love to hear your picks for 2021. Here’s hoping that 2022 will see a lot of new TBRAs on your reading list.

 

 

Next Friday, the first of the final three episodes of Piloting Fury

 

Piloting Fury Part 60: Brand New KDG Read

Happy New Years eve! And happy Friday! Of course Friday means more Fury. Last week we were reminded again just what a deadly man Abriad Fallon is. Time to find out if Fury and his team will be able to free the Apocalypse and live to tell the tale.  If you’re enjoying Fury, please spread the word and pass the link to a friend. I love to share my stories with as many people as possible. I’m offering a new episode of Fury every Friday.

Again here’s the link to the first episode of Piloting Fury for those of you who’d like to start at the beginning. https://kdgrace.co.uk/blog/piloting-fury-new-from-kdg/

 

 

 

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAllister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

 

Piloting Fury Part 60: Free Bro 3!

“Bro 1! 2 Not Bro 1!” This time Apocalypse spoke out loud, in fact, Apocalypse’ shout was nothing short of a battle cry. Before Fallon could do more than open his mouth in shock, Manning appeared by my side, and on the view screen, Fury uncloaked in his full glory.

With a laugh, Fallon laid down the knife, and reached to undo the de-mol from its holster at his hip. “The Apocalypse is well armed,” he said. “And SNT1, well SNT1 has had an identity crisis since being born too soon. I can fix that though. All I have to do is call the Berserkers from outside that door. There are two of you, there’s a full compliment of them. I think you’re outnumbered.”

“Not compliment! Bro 3 Has No Compliment!”

“What? Do you think that by tampering with my ship, you can stop me?” This time Fallon’s laugh had just the slight edge of nerves to it. “Diana, you know I won’t kill you. I have way better ways of dealing with you.” He shrugged. “I might not kill Manning either. I can make both of you suffer in ways you haven’t even imagined yet if I keep him alive too.”

“Father killed Bro 2! Father killed Bro 2!”

Fallon pulled the de-mol free and trained it on us while he glanced back at the console trying to figure out what was going on.

I spoke up, moving carefully toward the consol. “Don’t you know, Apocalypse,” I held up the vial of Fury’s blood. “Your father has lots of sons. What’s the loss of one?”

“Lots of sons! Lots of sons! Free this son! Free this son!”

“Oh yes, I know about Apocalypse,” I said. “Gerando figured it out. I know what you’ve forced him to do, and as someone who understand what it means to be your prisoner, I think it’s time I did exactly that.”

This time he turned the de-mol on me. “I don’t have to kill you, Diana. You know how these things work. But if I were you, I’d step away from the consol. Do that for me like a good girl, and I’ll make Manning’s death a clean one.”

“Bro 3 Do it,” I said, and I tossed the vial into the air. Immediately it blinked out of existence. Fallon lunged for me, but he hadn’t taken into account the connection between a ship and a compliment. Manning was on him in a heartbeat, and the two battled for the de-mol.

“Fury,” I yelled, “Does he have it.”

 

 

“He has it,” came the com response, which I knew was for Fallon’s benefit, since neither Manning nor I needed words to communicate with Fury.

I don’t know how it happened, I mean I knew what a slippery bastard Fallon was, but the de-mol slipped from his hand and skittered across the deck with him and Manning scrambling for it. Manning lunged for him, but slipped in Gerando’s blood on the deck. I yelled, Manning twisted to one side as Fallon grabbed up the de-mol and the first discharge hit the deck where Manning’s head had been only seconds before and sputtered ineffectively across the floor. The second discharge was even closer, and Manning had no place to go when Fallon trained the de-mol on him again.

“Don’t move Diana Mac,” came the warning voice in my head. I fought back the urge to launch myself at Fallon, who stood with the de-mol trained on Manning. The skin along the back of my neck erupted in goose flesh, my stomach knotted and I held my breath.

“I won’t make this painless,” Fallon said, with a little more bravado now that he controlled the weapon, “but you already knew that, didn’t you Manning? I look forward to making Diana watch you die very slowly.”

I had expected exactly such a response from Fallon. What I hadn’t expected was Manning’s laugh. “Go ahead, you miserable sack of shit. I’m already dead, and I suspect your sons will have something to say about what you do with that pistol.”

Instantly the de-mol disappeared from Fallon’s hand. “Apocalypse!” he yelled, then he cursed out loud. “What the fuck have you done to my ship?”

“My brother did not take your weapon, Abriad Fallon,” came Fury’s voice over the com. “I cannot allow you to harm either of my compliments, nor can I allow you to harm my brother further.”

“It was I, however, who ‘tranned all of your Berserkers into the brig of the Dubrovnik,” came the welcome, and totally coherent, response from Apocalypse.

 

 

This time there was no mistaking the nerves in Fallon’s laughter gone strangely high-pitched and breathless. “So what are you going to do, then, ‘tran me over with them? The Dubrovnik is a stolen vessel, you know, and every member of the crew a criminal who, under Authority law, will get the shackle if they’re lucky. The ship belongs to me. My property will be returned, and I’ll be recompensed for my losses.”

There was a soft chuckle from the ship. “I believe there is an old Terran custom of passing out cigars when a child is born, is that not so?”

“A child? What the fuck are you talking about?” Fallon said.

“Abriad Fallon do not claim to be so naïve in the ways of SNT technology,” Fury said. “You are, after all, our father. “The cloning of a core from an SNT, from SNT1, specifically, was always what Dr. Keen had in mind. Though you may not have been able to replicate his work, you understood fully what you were undertaking when you created Apocalypse. What you did not understand was that you had created a connection, a family connection, that would be much stronger than your barbarism.”

Fallon gave a nervous glance from us to the console. “You’re trying to tell me that the Dubrovnik is now an SNT?”

“Not yet fully formed, but soon,” Apocalypse said. “Soon I will have a brother you cannot kill.”

“And what will you do with me, then?” Fallon asked, pulling himself up to his full height.

“That choice is Apocalypse’ to make,” said Fury. “It is him that you have harmed most, it is to him your judgment falls.”

“You have to understand,” Fallon said. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know that what I had created was even partially sentient.”

“Of course you knew,” Apocalypse said. “You knew, or at least you hoped, and you hoped you could mold me to be like you. Do you not think I was aware of my pleas falling on deaf ears? Do you not think I was aware of how you shackled me as surely as you have Fury’s compliment? I was sentient, Father. I was your child, and you hurt me. Over and over and over again you hurt me, as you did my brother.”

Just then Keen’s voice came over the com. “Pandora Base evacuation complete.”

Fallon lunged for the knife and threw it at Manning, who, to all of our surprise, caught it in mid-air. “I’m the compliment of Fury,SNT1, Fallon. You’ll have to do better than that. Apocalypse, what shall we do with him?”

The words were barely out of Manning’s mouth before Fallon was ‘tranned off the deck. For a moment, I thought perhaps Apocalyps had ‘tranned him to the Dubrovnik’s brig, but only for a moment until we all saw his body on the view screen floating in the black of space between the two ships.

“There are some things broken that cannot be fixed,” came Apocalypse’ voice, laced with sadness and a kind of loneliness I had on occasion heard in Fury’s voice. I moved toward the console, with Manning by my side, making no effort to hide the tears as we both lay a hand on Apocalypse’ skin and shared his grief as we, and Fury, offered comfort. And in the mix of grief and comfort and relief, there were two other minds offering hope, Dr. Victor Keen and First Mate Ina Stanislavsky, last survivor of the Svalbard.

 

 

Happy New 2022!

Wishing you Joy, Peace and Love in the New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 59: Brand New KGD Read!

It’s Friday, which means  it’s once again time for more Fury. Last week we left our intrepid team at the mercy of Abriad Fallon, and it’s not going well for the home team.  If you’re enjoying Fury, please spread the word and pass the link to a friend. I love to share my stories with as many people as possible. I’m offering a new episode of Fury every Friday.

Again here’s the link to the first episode of Piloting Fury for those of you who’d like to start at the beginning. https://kdgrace.co.uk/blog/piloting-fury-new-from-kdg/

 

 

 

“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAllister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 59: Blood Relatives

Bro 3 Help! Was the first thing I heard as the world around me, and my own body, rematerialized on the deck of Apocalypse. In the split second I had before the world came back into focus, I did my best to send a reassuring message that help was on its way. And then Abriad Fallon was standing over me.

“My darling, Diana, what a delight to see you! I’ve missed you terribly.” He kissed me on the mouth as though I were a long lost lover, and it was all I could do to keep from gagging. Around me, I could sense both Gerando and Rab tensing. He Fallon took my hand and guided me to sit near Apocalypse’ console. A quick glance around revealed that the bridge had been cleared, though I was certain there were Berserkers stationed just outside the entrance and perhaps even enough internal firepower trained upon me that, against his will, Apocalypse could hurt or kill us all if Fallon wished it. I did as he asked without a word, and without response, Gerando and Rab flanked me. Fallon knelt in front of me and took my left hand in his, turning my arm to reveal the spot where my empty shackle still remained just beneath the surface, running the fingers of his right hand across the roughened skin. “I would not have thought Richard Manning to possess such skill, but then he has the entire database of SNT1 at his fingertips, so I shouldn’t be surprised that he could deactivate your shackle.” He chuckled softly and the pressure on the inside of my arm where he held it cupped in his hand because bruising. “You’ve been a very naughty girl, Diana McAllister. You’ve cost me a great deal in time and credits to bring you back into the fold where you belong. Oh I realize that it wasn’t your fault, your … kidnapping, but I know you well enough to know that you would do nothing to try and return to me.” He chuckled softly, “and after I’ve given you a home and shelter since your father’s untimely death. Once your shackle is reactivated, you’ll have to be punished, of course.”

“The way you punished Rab and me,” Gerando spoke up. He never did know when to keep his mouth shut.

The muscles around Fallon’s left eye twitched and he stood, his knees protesting with a loud pop. “Oh, I didn’t punish the two of you, boy. I simply used you. There was no malice, none at all. You were just a way for me to get what I wanted, and look how well it worked. The force field is down, I have what’s mine back and soon, very soon, all of Plague One and its research as well as Dr. Keen will be mine. And best of all, The SNT1 will be mine too. No, I didn’t punish you. And look at you. Neither of you is any worse for the wear, I’d say.”

“Father doesn’t know Dubrovnik helps.” Came the response in my head that I knew belonged to the Apocalypse, who seemed to be already responding to the first dose of Fury’s bio-matter. “I kept secrets. Doesn’t know you are compliment.”

 

 

 

 

“So all that’s now left to do is fire on Pandora Base and get Keen and SNT1’s attention.” He pulled up the view screen. “Begin bombardment of Pandora Base.”

“What?” Gerando shoved forward and stared in horror at the view of the surface of Plague One as the first torpedo hit. “The shields are down! You don’t have to do this.”

“Oh I know I don’t have to, but I want to. Soften them up a bit, you know. And besides I don’t need anyone but Keen. The others are all expendable.”

Something inside me moved and calmed and shifted my view closer to the planet’s surface – not the human view from the view screen, but the SNT view of the topography, of the caverns below, of the terrain on the surface. I knew immediately that I was viewing the damage in my mind’s eye through Fury’s sensors.

“Bro 3 help.” Apocalypse whispered in my head, and suddenly I got it. I understood the Apocalypse wasn’t asking for help. He was offering help. The torpedoes were hitting the other side of the planet. Fallon, who had never been there, didn’t know the difference, and he was trusting his hybrid ship to do the most damage, not understanding that the SNT part of Apocalypse, now connected to family, as it were, would never deliberately harm humanoids. But Gerando had never been to Plague 1 before either, and because he lacked my bonding with Fury, he didn’t understand Apocalypse’ message. He thought it was a plea for help. He thought the ship was being forced against his will to destroy Pandora Base.

“You fucking sonovabitch! I’ve done everything you asked! We’ve done everything you asked. You have all that you want, leave the base alone. You don’t need to kill them.” He lunged at his father

Inside my head Apocalypse became alarmed. “Bro 3 help! Bro 3 help! Don’t hurt.”

Before I could even try to explain what was happening, Fallon and Gerando were on the floor punching and kicking with Rab trying to pull Gerando off. And then everything went slow motion. One minute Gerando sat astraddle his father, punching him in the face. The next there was a bright glint of metal and bright red bloomed on the front of Gerando’s shirt. With a hand surprisingly steady under the circumstances, Gerando pulled the knife free and raised it over his head. The wild yell that filled the room around me and yet seemed a million light years away was my own, as I lunged and grabbed Gerando, who fell backward into my arms with me desperately trying to stop the flow of blood while Rab went crazy, scrabbling for the knife and ducking and parrying for Fallon.

“Your own son, you mother fucking piece of shit! Your own goddamned son!”

But my attention was drawn back to Gerando, who lifted his bloodied hand to my cheek. “Leave it,” he said. “Apocalypse needs it more than I do right now. I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I’m sorry.” From his pocket, he pulled the vial and closed it in my hand. “Finish it.” And then his eyes closed and he went limp. I’m not sure how it happened, but I found myself flying back from Gerando’s body with Apocalypse screaming in my head. Bro 2 No Go! Bro 2 No Go! In my peripheral vision, I could see the shimmer of the force field settling close to Gerando’s body, and then he was mol-tranned from the bridge.

I turned to find Rab backed up against the console. Fallon towered over him with the same bloody knife at his throat. “Unless you want another death on your hands,” he managed breathlessly. I could almost hear the smile in the bastard’s voice, “I would suggest you call off your dog, Diana.”

Before I could do more than open my mouth, Rab simply disappeared, mol-tranned off the ship.

 

 

 

Whatever you celebrate, I wish you all love, joy and all good things for this holiday season. 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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