Dragon Ascending Part 46: Brand New KDG Read


Happy Friday, everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending.  Last week Len found out what the Fallons wanted on Sandstorm. This week Arji tells Kresho Len’s story.  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!

If you missed the previous episode of Dragon Ascending follow the link for a catch-up. If you wish to start from the beginning, of Dragon Ascending. Follow the link.  

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 Felish, 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 46: Girlie


He grabbed Arji by the collar and pulled him up on his tiptoes until they were nose to nose. “If you fucked her, I will break every bone in your goddamn body.” Suddenly Kresho was unable to breathe, unable to think of anything but the silver-gray eyes glaring out at him. He let go and gave the man a hard shove. “Fuck, Arji, she’s just a little girl. Just a little girl.” His voice broke with the last word, and he grabbed the glass setting on the table, not caring who it belonged to downing it in one.

“What the hell’s the matter with you Ivanovic? Are you talking about Girlie-Girl? She’s twenty-fucking-four if she’s a day, and plenty old enough to make up her own goddamn mind who she fucks.” He shoved Kresho back hard, oblivious to the fact that he outweighed the barkeep by a good twenty kilos and most of it muscle. Then he straightened his shirt and growled. “Hell, anybody who could reroute a goddamned supply drone, stow away and bloody survive the trip from Tak Minor has earned the right to do whatever the bloody goddamn she wants.” He shook his head, staring at the door, Len had just left through. “That one is a lot of things, but she’s never been a little girl and she’s old enough to -”

Kresho barely made it outside before he dropped to his knees in the sand, too busy puking his guts to hear the rest of what Arji spouted. None of it mattered. None of it, but that she was alive, and she believed he’d betrayed her. He retched again when he thought of her somehow rigging a supply drone, a fucking supply drone! And managing the trip from Tak Minor to Sandstorm. And how long had the girl had to survive in that bloody freezer with no one but the corpse of her mother while she waited for the drone, then reprogrammed it. Jesu Vaticanus, the girl couldn’t have been more than thirteen! He retched again and again until his eyes watered and every muscle felt like it would break with each dry heave.
He would have come back for her. Goddamn it, he did come back for her, but far too late. When he was finally able to get back to Tak Minor, he found no one, only Janesha frozen in the ice. There was no sign of Len. And really, it had been so long, so very long, by then. He’d heard through the grapevine that the science station had been sabotaged and Janesha and Lenore were both dead. Not long after that the station became fully automated, or more than likely just no one bothered with it anymore.

It took him a second to realize Arji was standing in the door watching him. “Jesu Vaticanus, Ivanovic, the goddamn beer ain’t that bad. You okay?”

Kresho spat and wiped a hand across his mouth. For a moment he said nothing. Didn’t think he could talk without puking again.

Arji disappeared and returned with a sealed ration of water, which he handed Kresho. “Sip it slowly. I ain’t wasting good water if you’re just plannin’ to puke it back up. And once your stomach is settled, you best tell me what the hell that was all about.

Inside, Arji settled him in a rickety seat that looked like it might have been on the bridge of a ship at one time, then he commed up front. “Jax, keep Clapper on for a bit. I got some business to tend to.” That done, he turned his attention to Kresho. “Better?” He nodded down at the half empty ration bottle. “Best drink it all. You’ll be dehydrated after heaving up everything like that.” He watched as Kresho obeyed, and then he said. “Tell me.”
Kresho took a couple of deep breaths and tried to gather his thoughts. All he could think about was the young woman glaring from under her hood before she fled into the night.
“The woman, she’s Lenor Felish, isn’t she?”

“She don’t go by that name much around here.” Arji dropped into the matching seat, lit one of his smokes and took a puff. “We called her Girlie when she got here. None of us really thought she was even gonna make it. She shouldn’t have by all appearances, but that’s one tough young woman. She was a scrawny little thing, malnourished, dehydrated and half frozen when we pulled her out of that supply drone. I don’t know how the hell she managed to route it here from Tak Minor, nor how she knew that this was the only place she had a fighting chance of getting to. And that just barely. There she was all laid out in an environmental suit, dead as a sand heap. Her lips were blue as an inso-suit’s lining. We brought her back. It weren’t easy either. Christus and the fucking pope, I had to beat the shit out of her heart, gave the poor thing two broken ribs, but that heart beat and those lungs drew breath, and she’s been Girlie to us all ever since.” He took another puff and blew it out. “Hell, you know we don’t have no kids around here. Nobody wants to bring a sprog into this shithole. Like sentencing them to life in prison, ain’t it? But Girlie, well, we all sorta took to her, helped her when we could,” he grunted a chuckle that came out in a puff of smoke, “when she’d let us. Too independent by half, that one, and she suffered for it more than once, but she’d take no help, didn’t want to be obliging to no one, nor to get attached, I think. Understandable after what she’d been through. Oh, she never talked about it, but word gets round.”

He snuffed out his smoke and lit another. For a moment, he sat smoking in silence, lost in memories that broke Kresho’s heart even to think about. And then he said. “It’s your turn, Ivanovic, don’t think I didn’t see the look on that one’s face before she left. If looks could kill, you’d be a gonner’. You better come clean, and it better be good, or I’ll put the word out, and you won’t be shuttling back to that nice cushy little ship of yours ever again, you got that?”

“You won’t believe me if I tell you,” Kresho said.

Jax stuck her head in with a couple more pints and nodded anxiously back into the bar. “Don’t mean to disturb the party boys, but Tenad Fallon’s looking around for her pet, Ivanovic. ‘F I was you, I’d be for getting my ass out there and making sure it’s a damn good lie you tell her.” Then she ducked out.

“Arji, I promise I didn’t betray Len, I would never have. Until tonight I thought she was dead, and on my watch. And the look on her face when she saw me, well I’m guessing she blames me, but I swear, I couldn’t get to her. I tried, Christu Vaticanus, I tried. She and her mother haunt my nightmares, but I swear to you, I would never ever do anything to hurt that young woman. Now I have to go, or there could be hell for all of us to pay. Fallon thinks I went to see a whore.”

“Go out the back, then, and around. I’ll make sure Tula and Vaness vouch for you. Goddamned good thing I trust you, Ivanovic, or I would knock you on the head and you’d wake up in the middle of the Tak in the Shimmer. I expect answers b‘fore you leave Sandstorm. You fucking got that?” Arji motioned him through the back door with a jerk of his head.

Kresho lingered only long enough to nod his understanding, and his thanks, before he went out into the early evening, bracing for the beginnings of the wind that even with the extra shielding around Sandstorm, managed to filter in. His head was still reeling from what he’d just learned, and it ached from puking his guts. He slipped around the Dust Bowl and in through the front. Goddamns it, now he had one more secret to keep. The last thing in this system he needed was for Tenad or her fucking brother to find out about Len. And he had to find Len. He had to talk to her. He owed her that much. He owed her the truth, though who the fuck would ever believe it? His hand froze against the scanner that slid open the revamped airlock and for a second he thought he’d puke again. Did Ori know about this? Jesu Vaticanus! If she did …

“Oy! Either get your ass in or out, Ivanovic and stop letting the fucking sand in,” Clyde Viklund, the acting bouncer said, glaring at him.

He stepped inside, just as a message came in his earpiece. It was Ori. “Can you get away?” She asked without so much as a greeting. “I think I might have a plan that could work.”
“And what do I tell Tenad?”

“Tell her the truth.” The com went dead. Just like fucking Ori to dump him in it and leave.
“So? Was she good?” Tenad came to his side. “You look like she might have been a little rough on you.”

He forced a smile. “I like it rough.”

Her eyes hooded slightly and she damn near purred. “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me, Ivanovic.” She nodded to her indentured. “Shall I send Camille for a pint?”

“Afraid not. Look, the one thing about Sandstorm is that you never know where you might get helpful information. Oh you won’t get any, of course. They hate Authority scum here, and they especially hate Fallons, but one of the punters I met gave me a tip I need to check into to.”

“I’ll come with,” she said.

“No offence, lady, but I don’t want you on my ship. She has a few little trade secrets I’d rather keep to myself. I need some of that tech to test a theory. If it works, if it’s true, I’ll let you know.”

She studied him for a moment, then yawned behind her hand. “I’ll expect a report in the morning then. I’ve taken all the local ambience I can handle for one day. Think I’ll head back to the Virago and turn in early so we can get a fresh start in the morning.”
“Knock yourself out,” he said.

She gave him a throaty chuckle. “You’d like that wouldn’t you?”

“Oh absolutely not,” he said, holding her green-eyed gaze. “I’d rather do that myself.”
“Now where would be the fun in that, me being unconscious while you … did whatever it is you fantasize about doing to an evil Fallon? Wouldn’t you rather have me conscious for every last bit of the pain and torment?” Eyes still on him, she motioned her indentured to her side. “Take me home, Camille.” She shrugged when she saw the surprise on his face. “She’s a far better pilot than some of my own crew, and the only one I trust with my personal shuttle.” They turned and walked out the door.

Kresho motioned Gerd and Dyrg over. “I’ve been summoned,” he spat. They both nodded in sympathy. “Keep an eye on things here and let me know if anything changes. Oh, and what happened to little brother?”

“He ordered several of his crew to keep an eye on the wicked sister, then buggered off back to his ship for another dose of the good stuff,” Gerd made no attempt to wipe the smirk off her face.

“Her shuttle just took off,” Kresho’s PD offered up in his ear. He had a few of his own people to keep an eye on things, but local control at the landing pad happily consented to give him word when a Fallon was on the pad or leaving for their flying fortresses. He’d made sure there were extra water rations and any other contraband he knew was in short supply in Sandstorm. He couldn’t afford not to be generous under the circumstances. He thanked the controller then headed out to the nearest blind spot where he ‘tranned up to the Compass.


One thought on “Dragon Ascending Part 46: Brand New KDG Read

Comments are closed.