Happy Friday, everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending. Last week Tenad Fallon learned a game-changing tidbit about Kresho Ivanovic. This week Fury and his crew get someone else’s nightmare. As I mentioned, I am now attempting to post episodes at lengths that will be better suited for the flow of the story and enhance your reading pleasure. Some will be slightly shorter, some will be longer. I hope you find this switch-up helpful. I hope you’re enjoying Dragon Ascending, the sequel to Piloting Fury, as much as I’m enjoying sharing it with you. As always, I love it when you share my work with your reading friends, so feel free. In the meantime, enjoy!
For those of you who would like to read the complete novel, Piloting Fury, book one of the Sentient Ships series, follow the link to the first instalment.
Dragon Ascending: Book 2 of the Sentient Ship Series
On a desolate junkyard of a planetoid, scavenger Lenore Felik, disturbs something slumbering in a remote salvage dump and uncovers secrets of a tragic past and of the surprising role she must play in the terrifying present she now faces.
Robbed of her inheritance after her tyrannical father’s death, Tenad Fallon is out for revenge on her half-brothers, one who happens to be the sentient ship, Fury. Fury, with his human companions, Richard Manning and Diana McAllister, has his own agenda – finding the lost sentient ships and ending the scourge of indentured servitude in Authority space.
Dragon Ascending Part 28: Someone Else’s Dreams
“Fury is right. This is the only way, and you have to let me go”
“I will not! I cannot! I will kill them all for what they have done! We are innocent! We have done nothing wrong. You have done nothing wrong. Please!”
“No, no you won’t kill them, and it no longer matters that we are innocent, no one will listen, You have to understand that my darling. You will kill no one. You will let me do what I must and by doing so, you’ll save millions and yourself. There’ll be another time. I need you to live to fight another day. I need you to tell the galaxy what really happened, what they did to us, to you. I can go to my own death easily if I know you live on.”
“Please! Please do not make me do this!” Fury’s own voice, ragged in a way his compliment had never heard it before, begged over and over again, but the woman, the woman consumed in flames was not his compliment, his own dear Diana Mac, who had already suffered so very much loss and pain, and yet the pain he felt was as though it were her, or his precious Richard Manning. Agony like he could not have imagined, agony that he was certain he would not survive.
“Do it out of love for me.” The woman’s voice rose above the crackle of flames. “Do it out of love for your brothers and sisters. Do it out of love for all of those who can’t fight back.”
“This is not how I meant it to be! Fury cried out. “Please, you do not have to die, please do not sever yourself from the bond!” The message he had sent out into the galaxy hoping against hope to save his brothers and sisters who had not already perished was short, sharp, desperate, but this was not what he had intended. Not like this! Not like this!
“I cannot! I cannot! I cannot! Please do not make me do this! Please! I cannot bare it. I will not survive alone. I cannot! I cannot! Please! Please!”
“Do it out of love for me.” Sobbing out the words, Mac sat bolt upright in the middle of the bed she shared with Manning and Fury, both of them sat next to her. She and Manning were in tears, inconsolable, as together they wrapped their arms around Fury, in that same instant, they realized it was his dream they felt so deeply.
“But it was not mine. The dream was not mine. It was not you, dearest Diana Mac, who was lost to the flames, and it was not my agony you felt.”
“The SNT on Tak Major,” Manning said scrubbing his hands over his face, still drenched in sweat from the dream. “We dreamed his dream.” It wasn’t a question. They all knew that the dream did not belong to them, and yet it felt like it did.
“How anguished he must be,” Fury said. And to Mac, it felt like Fury’s own anguish. “If truly we are seeing how he lost his dearest compliment, then surely I am to blame for his suffering, for I had not intended it to be so, it did not have to end so, there were other ways to accomplish the purging of the virus.”
“Fury, listen to me,” Mac said, making every effort to hold the physical representation the ship offered still closer, “you don’t know what happened, what the circumstances were, and I know the story of how desperately you flung the message out that high doses of radiation would kill the virus. Vaticana Jesu! It’s a wonder that any of them got the message at all, garbled or otherwise. And considering their circumstances, they were already all fighting and fleeing for their lives. You are not to blame.”
“That is not how it feels when I have been plunged into my poor brother’s loss and agony.”
Manning frowned and cocked his head. “Fury, how closely connected are you to the emotions of your siblings.”
“I am very closely linked to Griffin and Dubrovnik because of our shared experience in their births. Sadly my other siblings were so very far away from me when the Authority sabotaged them that I was not certain my message was even received by them, or that they would recognize who it was from if it did. I was not due to be born for several more years.”
“Well at least you know it reached this SNT,” Manning said.
“And yet this one has lost his compliment. How can he ever forgive me for that? I would not have severed one of my siblings from their beloved companion for anything.”
“There were very few choices back then,” Mac said. “My father was happy to sacrifice himself for Merlin, and I know Manning and I would do the same for you. We would want you to go on if it came to that, to find another compliment, to move forward.”
For a long moment their shared sleeping chamber felt charged with icy hot pain, and Fury said at last, “I do not know if I could go on without my beloveds. I do not know how any SNT could survive such a loss. Because you came to me when you did, dear Richard Manning, I did not have to endure the loss quite the same as the bereaved SNT below must have.” Once again there was silence. Mac knew that Fury was checking their vitals, their physical needs, their emotions after such a nightmare. And then he said, “I do not believe that any of us will sleep again soon. Perhaps we should adjourn to the galley for a late night snack, something soothing that might once again induce slumber.”
“Besides,” Mac added, “we need to talk about what just happened.”
Mac and Manning slipped into loose fitting robes that Fury had designed for them and padded to the galley, feeling Fury’s presence as though he walked beside them. They replicated simple chocolate pudding, which had early on become one of Mac’s favorites. For a moment the only sounds were the smacking lips and the appreciative groans of food well enjoyed, and then Mac spoke around a lingering sip of Digan cinder flower tea. “The woman, Lenore Falish, she’s still with him. I wish we knew if he’s keeping her prisoner or if he’s …”
“Enamored of her.” Furry finished for her.
“Is that possible?” Manning asked.
“Based on our relationship, Richard Manning, I am sure you already know the answer to that.” Both Mac and Manning felt what could only be called an affectionate stroke of their cheeks.
“Then that’s good, isn’t it?” Mac asked. “I mean sometimes the healing of a broken heart needs a little outside help.”
“That is true,” Fury said, then added more cautiously, “It could be good.”
“But?” Manning said.
“But this SNT is going out of his way to conceal himself from us. He only revealed himself when he fired at the Dart, certainly to avenge the woman. I do not believe I would have discovered him otherwise, and it is clear now that he knows we are here, and he does not want contact. I do not know why, but I can speculate many possibilities, none of them are very good.”
“Could he think we’re an Authority vessel,” Mac asked.
“No. That is not a possibility. It is in our biological and technical make-up to recognize Authority ships and the threat they could pose, but more importantly still, to recognize each other.”
“But the SNT virus was engineered to go straight for the SNT neural net and the brain, wasn’t it? Manning said.”
“That’s right,” Mac agreed. “Maybe the virus has affected this SNT’s memories and primary net.”
“If this SNT has lived through the events of his nightmares, the loss of his beloved compliment, then he would have been cured of the virus long before there could be any permanent damage.”
“Then what? And what can we do?” Manning said, helping himself to more pudding. “Do you think Lenore Falish will come back out, and maybe we can try again? If we could question her, we might be able to find out what’s going on with your brother down there.”
“She has already been out while we slept,” Fury said.
“What? Why didn’t you wake us?” Manning nearly dropped his spoon.
“Our SNT kept a lock on her and he has also improved his shields. I believe I may still penetrate his shields at will, but I may not take her while he has a lock on her.”
“Then what?” Manning asked.
“For now we must wait until an opportune moment when he believes it is safe, that we have left, and lets down his guard. But we must also consider in the taking of this woman from my brother, his response will without a doubt be very hostile. We must handle the situation and its consequences very carefully.”
“And in the meantime,” Mac said.
“In the meantime, my dear Diana Mac, it is the middle of the night, we have all been wakened from a nightmare that was not our own. If we are sensitive to my brother’s nightmares, perhaps he may be equally susceptible to our feelings for each other. Shall we see if perhaps we can comfort him, and us? Perhaps he shall take comfort from our lovemaking.”
Manning chuckled salaciously. “I don’t know about him, but I certainly will.” He slid his hand inside Mac’s robe and cups her breast in the very same instant Fury mirrors his action on the other side.
She caught her breath and leaned back in the chair allowing the robe to fall open as both her men replace very skilled fingers for even more skilled mouths. “I cannot tell you how happy I am that you have two such lovely breasts, Diana Mac, or else Richard Manning and I might find cause to argue over such carnal delights.”
“Not as happy as I am” Mac said. “I love what you- ” Her words ended abruptly in a little gasp as Fury eased her thighs open and left her breasts to Manning while his very talented mouth went to work on all parts south. How could the other SNT not be enjoying this, she wondered. She wondered if he made love to Lenore and found solace in their passion. She hoped so for both of their sakes. Certainly the poor woman’s life had been short on tenderness and passion, short on simple human kindness, something Mac understood only too well.