Dragon Ascending Part 53: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone. I’m just back from a glorious writing retreat at the Gladstone’s Library in Wales. I’m all inspired and ready to share another episode of Dragon Ascending.  Last week Kresho’s revelation to Tenad Fallon leaves her wanting more.  This week we discover that she’s not looking for information. 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 53: You Cannot Understand My Reluctance


“I swear to you, I cannot find the blocks I have placed in my memory,” Ascent said, “though it is obvious to me that I have laid them myself so that I might not remember.”

“There’s nothing else I know to do today,” Manning said, running his hand through hair that already stood on end making him look a bit like a mad scientist from an old Terran film. They all were looking a little worse for wear. They had spent a good bit of a hot day crawling through service tunnels and stimulating areas of D’s brain, both bio and tech. Len knew the paths and the tunnels of Ascent’s tech self and bio self better than any of them. He had removed all restrictions for her and she had done her best to explore what she could and help in any way that came to her mind, including trying to talk to him, ask the right questions. Sadly that only got her so far before he became frustrated and all but non-verbal, especially if she got too close to information about his bonding with his compliment or what he recalled about the SNT disaster. When they weren’t together, she poured over every single scrap of data she could find on the databases Fury had downloaded into Ascent’s CPU about SNTs, from the history, to those involved, to the biotech and schematics. Fury had made it all available to her when he discovered her eidetic memory and her penchant for understanding SNT tech.

“I am sorry,” Ascent said. “There are simply places I cannot get to, and I do not remember the pathways or how I managed to block them.”

“Don’t worry,” Mac said. “There are other things we can try.”

While Len didn’t have Mac or Manning’s experience and expertise, she couldn’t easily imagine just what those other things might be, even though she herself had been the one to suggest some of what they had tried based on her own research.

“But you are all exhausted,” Ascent said. “You will all do much better after a good rest. They cannot get to us through the de-mole.”

“Girlie? Are you there?” Arji’s message broke into the silence. It was routed through the CPUs of both SNTs.

Ascent growled and Len glared a warning. “I’m here Arji. What have you got for me?”

“It’s about Kresho Ivanovic. We just got shit-faced together and he, well let’s just say he told me how things are. There’s a lot you need to know. A lot he wants you to know.” Then he dropped the bomb. “He’s looking for you.”

Her heart went into overdrive, and she sat down hard on the floor of the service shaft. “Then he did recognize me.”

“Course he did. I never saw anyone so upset.”

“Well he fucking should be.” The rage she felt burned the back of her throat like bile. “He fucking should be.”

Before she could say anything else, Fury broke in. “Arji Finkle, I do not believe you should be giving any more information to our Lenore right now, for she cannot come to you at this time. And while this frequency is secure from prying ears, Your place of business may not be at the moment with all of your unwanted guests.”

There was silence, and then, “SNT1?”

“It is I, yes.”

“You’re shitting me?”

“Indeed I am not, though I do understand your confusion since I am often told my sense of humor needs work.”

To this, Arji laughed almost hysterically. “Funny thing, I get told that all the time.”

“Great minds, I would surmise,” Fury replied.

“Fucking A!” And then Arji quickly added. “Anyway, it’s a pleasure to meet you, SNT1, and this ain’t something that can’t wait, Girlie. Best you stay safe where you are. Ole Ivanovic definitely don’t mean you any harm, but I wouldn’t bet my right nut about the bad company he’s been keeping. Anyway, Ain’t nobody gonna get your location outa me since I have no godddamned idea how to find you.”

“We’ll find a way to get with you, don’t worry,” Len said.

“I’ll wait to hear back then. And Girlie-Girl, stay safe. You ain’t died yet in spite of the odds. You keep it that way.”

“There is something about Kresho Ivanovic that seems strangely familiar,” Fury commented. “I would be very interested to hear what Mr. Finkle has to say.”

“I do not like this Arji Finkle,” Ascent said. “I do not believe his motives are pure.”

“Jesu Vaticanus, Ascent! yours are?”

Manning cleared his throat and shifted from foot to foot finding a spot on the floor particularly interesting.

“Dear Richard Manning, you are certainly not immune to the jealousies of an SNT,” Fury said half teasingly. “Have we not had our own lovers’ spats often enough when you stoked my jealousies.”

“I didn’t!” Manning said, and now it was Len’s turn to blush.

“SNTs are programmed with a great capacity to love, and the humanoid side of that love in its most flawed form is well sprinkled with jealousy, especially for our beloved compliments.”

“I’m not Ascent’s compliment,” Len said, blushing furiously. Fury’s comment was just the kind of statement that would send Ascent off into another bout of silent brooding.

“Oh I think you are in every way that matters except for the one that might truly do Ascent some good.”

The service tunnel suddenly went dead silent, with both Manning and Mac noticeably holding their breath.

Fury continued. “All that we have done, Ascent, everything that we have tried has been for naught, and we have, all of us, known what would remove those blocks, what would heal you and return to you your identity. A part of you has been missing for all these long years. And now that part of you, has returned. I do not know how, I cannot explain the compatibility that should have been impossible, but it has happened against all odds. My dear Ascent, if you wish to recover that which you have lost, you must do what you know in your heart must be done for you to ever be whole again. You must bond with Lenore Falish, take her to your heart as your compliment and be healed.”

To this, both Mac and Manning simply nodded as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, the simplest.

For a moment silence crackled in the air and the static of Ascent’s discomfort raised the tiny hairs along Len’s arms. The longer the silence stretched, the hotter her cheeks became. And then he gave the answer she knew he would. “No.” It would have been bad enough if he’d just left it at that, but he didn’t. “That is not going to happen. It cannot. Find another way.”

And then Fury had to argue. “Ascent, while I do understand your reluctance, it is clear to me that this is what must happen.”

“You cannot understand my reluctance. You cannot possibly,”

“I know that you mourn the loss of your companion, but she is lost and you cannot bring her back, and you must move forward. Bonding with someone new, while it may be unconventional, it was always the plan that there might be back-ups for such losses. And while Lenore Felish may not have had that training, she is compatible.”

“I’m here! You two! All right?” Len broke into the argument, doing her best to control the trembling in her voice. “Don’t fucking talk about my like I’m a goddamned piece of furniture, a replacement for something that was broken, something much nicer, something…” She stopped talking fearing the tears that were threatening. Goddamn if she was going to blubber like a baby, she’d do it later, not in front of someone who already thought her inferior.

“Bloody hell? Are SNTs always this fucking callous?” Mac said. And now to have pity, to have someone else fight her battles, Len wished the floor would open up and the sand below swallow her whole. But even Mac couldn’t just leave it. “Fury, maybe you’ve forgotten what it was like, how it was with us, but I sure as fuck haven’t.”

But it had given Len the little bit of time to regroup before Fury could speak. “Right.” She forced a laugh. “The lord of the manor has spoken. I don’t know about you two, but I need a break, and then I’ll see what else I can find in the database that might work. If you’ll excuse me, I need a shower. Thanks for everything. Fury, why don’t you ‘tran up your compliment and give them a break.”



“Lenore Felish, I did not mean to,”

“Forget it.” She waved a dismissive hand. “We’re all tired and strung out. We can regroup tomorrow.”

“The subspace is always open if you need us.” Mac gave her a quick hug, studying her with intense blue eyes trying to ascertain if she were all right. Well she’d been through worse, hadn’t she? Lots worse.

Manning gave her shoulder a quick squeeze, and when Fury tried once again to speak, Manning cut him off. “‘tran us up Fury.” Clearly the SNT did understand the warning in his voice. In a heartbeat, the two were gone.

Len only waited until she was sure that they were gone and then she turned and climbed down the service tunnel taking the shortest route to her quarters.


“I want to be left alone right now, Ascent. Go away.”

“Lenore now is not-”

“You humiliated me in front of Fury and his compliment,” She cut him off.

“Lenore I-”

“You never miss a chance to remind me that I’m not good enough, that I’m not her, but you could have at least said we needed to talk about it, saved my dignity, what little is left to me after everything, and then at least let me make it sound like it was my choice too, that I didn’t want you just like you didn’t want me.” Once she started she couldn’t stop. “And now they all feel sorry for me. They pity me. Goddamn it Ascent! I don’t want anyone’s pity.”

“Lenore, please, I didn’t-”

“Shut up, Ascent!” She stomped her foot so hard her knee popped as she reached the bottom of the ladder. “Just leave me alone, okay? Leave me alone.”

In her room, she changed quickly and grabbed up her backpack, and headed for the outer airlock. It was early evening, after the Shimmer but too early for the winds. She had a couple of hours.

“Lenore you cannot go out, you know this.”

“I’m going out, unless I’m now no better than a fucking indentured for you to command and control.”

To this he made no response, as the door slid open and she quickly descended to the ground below, thinking that maybe she might just spend the night in one of the derelict shuttles she had found that was still air-tight and relatively safe. She didn’t need Ascent’s help. She sure as fuck didn’t need Fury’s crew’s pity.

She walked hard for nearly an hour when Fury spoke onto the subspace. “Lenore Falish, I am sorry for my callous behavior. I still do not always understand human interaction as well as I would like. It was not my intention to make you uncomfortable in any way.”

She didn’t plan to answer, but after a moment of stomping through the sand and sweating profusely, she changed her mind. “What? Did your compliment read you the riot act?” she asked, “make you apologize.”

“I do not need my compliment to tell me when I have acted foolish. For the most part, I can figure that out on my own. And they do not know that I have contacted you. Well perhaps they do know, since I would not put it past them to be listening in.”

“Apology accepted,” she said. “Now can we please drop it? I don’t want to talk about it right now.”

There was a long pause during which she was pretty certain Fury’s compliment listened holding their breath. At last Fury spoke again, very cautiously. “Ascent is very upset.”

“Yeah, well he always is after he’s reminded me yet another time that I’m not her and that I’m nothing more than an uneducated salvage rat. I just need to leave. I just need to go somewhere else, anywhere that’s not here where it hurts all the time.”

She could sense Fury discussing with his compliment, and then Mac spoke. “Len, we’re ‘tranning you up for the night. You’ll be safe here, and I think we really need to talk.” Then she added quickly. “If that’s okay with you.”

It was then that she realized she stood rooted in the sand, not even bothering to fight back tears, and she didn’t want to go back to Ascent right now, but she also didn’t really want to be alone. She swallowed back the tightness in her throat and nodded. “Okay.”

Seconds later she found herself ass over teakettle on the bridge of SNT1 with Mac leaning back against the console. “I battled with the ‘tranning for ages,” Mac said, reaching down a hand to help her up. “I still don’t much like it. Manning took to it like he was born to it, but then he sort of was, I guess. I hope you don’t mind, but we told Ascent you were here so he wouldn’t worry.”

She took the offered hand. “Doubt he would really give a shit one way or another.”

“You know better than that,” Mac said. “Fury only suggested what he did because he knows Ascent knows that too.” Before Len could respond she said. “Come on. You can use the guest room shower and Fury will replicate you something to wear while you’re here, then we can talk.”

“I don’t need pity.”

“Good because you won’t get it here.” Mac pointed her to a small but pleasant sleep room with a bathroom incorporated. “But you know very little about SNT’s. Oh I know that you already probably know more about the science and the schematics than either Manning or I do, but SNT’s are as much of a mystery to us as humanoids are to them. We have to learn to be together and,” she leaned closer, “I’ll let you in on a little secret, they are even more neurotic and full of self-doubt than we are.”

Len grunted a laugh. “That’s a really scary thought.”

Mac smiled and waved her into the room. “Hon, you have no idea.”