Dragon Ascending Part 54: Brand New KDG Read

Happy freezing Friday everyone! It’s a perfect day in my neck of the woods to cuddle up with a hot drink and a good read. The hot drink, you’ll have to manage on your own, the reading part … I’m on it with another episode of Dragon Ascending.  Last week Ascent refused to take Len as his compliment, inadvertently humiliating her in front of Fury and his crew. This week she learns that Fury and his compliments understand Ascent’s reluctance far better that Len can imagin. 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 Ascend Part 54: Been There, Done That

Once she was showered and changed, she found Mac in the galley. “Fury’s a good cook,” she called over her shoulder, scanning through the replicator in the galley. I highly recommend the New Roma carbonara. I swear sometimes I think Fury has a time machine and he’s travelled back to actually taste some of these things. But then he tells me he really can’t experience taste. Not sure I believe him though.” She scrolled through the menu. “If you’re in the mood for something sweet, just plain old chocolate pudding is the best.”

“I’m not really hungry, though I’m sure it’s all delicious.”

“Do not be ridiculous,” Fury interjected. “You must keep up your strength. You are spent after today’s efforts. Besides, if you do not eat, I will think you do not like my cooking. I am very neurotic, as Diana Mac has said.”

Len couldn’t hold back a chuckle. “I would say there’s nothing at all wrong with your sense of humor, Fury.” Suddenly the galley was filled with a delicious scent and Manning placed a steaming plate of pasta before her.

“Guaranteed to make you feel better,” he said.

“While Ascent has been doing his best, it is not difficult to tell that you are still thinner than you should be,” Fury said.

“Trust me, our weights and measures are the least disturbing of what an SNT keeps track of behind our backs,” Manning said rolling his eyes.

Fury made a rude sound, and his compliment flipped him off. But the smell won out in the end, and she found after the first bite that she most definitely was hungry. Mac and Manning chowed down on their own pasta and the conversation flowed easily and relaxed with a lot of laughter, full of stories of their own adventures together, and her heart ached to think of how that might have been with Ascent, if he hadn’t pushed her away.

Later that evening they moved up into the observation deck while Fury pointed out distance systems and shared interesting facts. “I want to leave,” Len said, while staring at the distant smudge of the Omega Galaxy out beyond the rift.

“And you shall as soon as Ascent is operational again,” Fury said. “The two of you shall then probably see much more of the galaxy than you would like if we are able to engage you in our efforts to find the rest of our family.”

“I’ll stay until Ascent has his memory back and he’s able to leave on his own, but then, I’m leaving,” she didn’t give anyone room to respond. “I’ve had a little time to explore the salvage dump, and I’ve managed to scavenge parts and tech worth enough to buy passage on a respectable ship out beyond the Rim. From there well, I’m not afraid to work. I learn fast. I just need you to ‘tran me into Sandstorm, or maybe better Sunward. I’d have a better chance of getting a ship there. I would pay,” she added quickly.”

For a moment there was silence. Mac and Manning looked each other but said nothing. It was Fury who spoke. “You do not understand, Lenore Falish. If you leave Ascent, he will never regain his memory nor the will to leave the salvage yard. You are his compliment in all but the proper bonding needed to make you both more powerful.”

“I’m not his compliment.” She kept her voice steady as she could, promising herself she would neither get emotional nor would she cry. “I’m an uneducated salvage rat, nothing more, and he’s made it abundantly clear he won’t bond with me.”

There was another long moment of silence and Mac spoke. “I told you that SNTs are neurotic, and I meant it when I said you have no idea just how much so.”

“I nearly lost both of my compliments before we bonded, not because of anything they had done wrong,” Fury said, and Len swore she could feel the entire ship vibrating with his passion. “You cannot imagine the parallels between your story and ours, Lenore Felish. “I was born too early, and I did not have a bonded compliment when I was sent out into the world, though one had been set aside for me, had been created especially for me, for becoming my partner, my love, when my time came to be born, and she was old enough to bond with me.”

“Mac.” Len said.

“I was sent out without her, and I believed that I wound forever be a fugitive, always to wander aimlessly and alone. I do not know if you can imagine what such a deprivation means to an SNT.”

“I know what it’s like to be alone, believe me, I do.” She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling.


“And yet you strove far beyond all expectations, far beyond humanoid power to survive against all odds, Lenore Felish. I, like our dear Ascent, finished the one mission I was assigned and saw the futility of it all as the SNT dream was destroyed before my eyes and the blame for it all was placed on me and my remaining brothers and sisters. I did not want to live. I had found a remote place in space to shut down, just as Ascent has, and it was then that I happened upon the Pegasus with its distress signal, one life sign, and that just barely. That was my dear Richard Manning. His death saved my life.”

“You were able to bring him back?” Len spoke around the hammering of her heart in her throat.

“In a manner of speaking. You see I was new and untried and I did not know what to do to save him. I only knew that I could not bear to be alone. I made many mistakes in bringing him back, and there was not a day that went by that I did not feel my own inadequacy, even though Richard Manning never saw it, never condemned me, never left me to wallow in my own inadequacy. He gave me a purpose and became my companion. In spite of all that I had caused him to suffer.”

“We weren’t compatible, you see,” Manning took up the story. “I was a smuggler, not connected even remotely to the SNT program. I had spent the last three years of my life shackled in a triaxe mine. My body rejected Fury’s genetic soup over and over again. I don’t know how many times I died.”

“Five,” Fury said, and this time Len was certain she felt the whole ship vibrate. “And when I could not bring him back…”

“When he couldn’t bring me back, when I finally died for good, Fury did the unimaginable. He created a physical matrix for my consciousness so that I would have one last chance and so that I would not reject his nano-blood.”

“I made many mistakes for which Richard Manning has suffered,” Fury said. “I created the tether that binds him to me too short, and he is somewhat limited to the amount of time he can be away from me.”

“Not so much any more,” Manning said with a shrug. “Not now that we’re properly bonded and Mac is here. You see it was Mac who was Fury’s intended,” Manning said.

“And you didn’t ever feel inadequate, jealous of her?”

“I might have felt inadequate, I mean I was a smuggler, and this goddess was conceived from the beginning to be Fury’s compliment. But I fell in love with her early on in our efforts to recover her.”

“That took a lot of years,” Mac said with a shiver.

“You were indentured to Abriad Fallon.”

She nodded. “Fury and Manning followed me quietly all around the galaxy until they had the opportunity to take me back.”

“Even then, she did not know that she was my intended compliment,” Fury said. “I kept it from her.”

“Why?” Len said, almost feeling the adoration between the three of them as if it were for her, and god, she wished it was.

“Because, dear Lenore Falish,” Fury said, “I felt inadequate.”

“But why? You’re SNT1, you’re amazing.”

“I feared I would do to her what I had done to Richard Manning, and in our bonding I would make the tether too tight. I feared my own inadequacy, that I did not know how to be an SNT, that so much of my education was missing, even though by then we had reconnected with Professor Keen, who helped me regain so much, and still I doubted. You see, Lenore Felish, I felt unworthy of her, and there are times that I still do, unworthy of both my compliments. I nearly lost my darling Diana Mac because of my own fears, for you see, she felt it was my doubts of her that had kept me from telling her the truth when, indeed, it was quite the opposite.”

“Ascents’s only memories are of loss and pain and of the fact that his beloved compliment is gone, that he couldn’t keep her safe.” Manning said. “I doubt you have any idea what that does to a male ego, any male ego, when he can’t keep the one he loves safe. It doesn’t matter at all if there was nothing he could do. He feels inadequate.”

Len turned away and stared up at the sky through the small dome. “It’s just a theory. Ascent’s not you, Fury.”

“Did he not wake up for you? Did he not bring you back to life when you were dead, even when the knowledge of what needed to be done had escaped him? That he woke for you from his stasis, and that you are compatible with an SNT is a thing I do not understand,” Fury said, “but I have no doubt that if you had died over and over again, in the end he would have done exactly as I have done for Richard Manning in order to keep you safe. You see, Lenore Falish, he woke for you, and he saved you because you are capable of becoming his compliment. For anyone else, he would not, could not have awoken.”

“That doesn’t mean he can’t reject me,” she said.

“But he has not rejected you,” Fury said. “He has allowed you to come to his heart. Anyone else would not have survived the approach. It is only that he fears he will lose another compliment. I do wish that Professor Keen would contact us. He could certainly ease Ascent’s transition, and he would know, perhaps what is to be done. You see, I believe his fear is his block, the fear that he will lose you, that you will leave him like his first compliment did.”

“Well I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t leave him. He should know by now I won’t die so easily.” She wiped at her eyes, unaware until now that there were tears. “But I won’t stay where I’m not wanted either.” She left the observation deck and went back to the galley. She had just replicated herself a pint of ale when she realized she wasn’t alone.

“That recipe is from a planet that no longer exists,” Fury said. “It was destroyed long before the Authority ever existed when its star went supernova.”

She stared down into the glass. “How did you get the recipe then?

“The planet knew of its fate long before it happened of course, and it sent out people and drones with all manner of memorabilia about their home, including recipes. It is thanks to their efforts we know anything at all about them. Oh there are claims that they some of them are the present day Digans, and other claims that they are the New Vikings far beyond the Rift. Sadly they were not so careful about keeping records of their progress after they left their home world.”

She sipped the beer. “It’s nice.”

“Yes it is, and that is why it is my theory that they must surely be the New Vikings.”

She laughed and took another sip, plopping down at the table. “Lenore, if you wish to stay here tonight, the guest room is ready for you. Ascent has known from the beginning that you are here and that you need some time. He knows that I would not let anything happen to you.”

“Thank you, Fury. I do need some time. I don’t want to face him just yet.”

“I understand. We are here if you need anything dear Lenore Felish. Do try and get some rest. You are exhausted, as we all are.”