Dragon Ascending Part 57: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending.  Last week Kresho prepared to meet Fury, and possibly his doom. This week Len gets caught by the wrong person. 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. This one is particularly long in order not to break the flow of events. 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 57: Give Me One Good Reason

“Give me one good reason why I should not ‘tran you into space instead of on my bridge, Kresho Ivanovic, or should I say Keith Vanderbilt?”

“I don’t give a fuck what you call me, but I have information you need, information about one of your passengers. I would just as soon the Fallons weren’t privileged to it.”

When Fury didn’t immediately answer, he added. “Look, I can help. I’m an SNT Scientist. I was on the project before you were -”

“I know who you are,” Fury cut him off. “And I remember you as someone trustworthy back then. But that fact is drawn into question in light of what you did afterward, what you’re doing now, so I will ask again, why should I ‘tran you onboard?”

“Because you don’t know what I did, Fury. You have no idea. No one does. Look, I’m completely at your mercy. You know where my ship is. You could blow it out of the sky before I knew what hit me, and I know why you would love to do that right now, but we need to talk or huge mistakes that may cost you more than you can easily imagine will be made.” When there was no response, he continued. “Look, just ‘tran me aboard and make sure they don’t know. Once you’ve done that, I think you’ll have a lot more information that will help you and your friends.” He held back a little hiss as he sliced the inside of his arm with the old Terran switchblade he always kept on his person to give him that little extra edge should he ever need it. He cut it just enough for a thin ribbon of red to glisten to the surface. And then the bridge of the Compass shimmered with a transport in progress, and in an instant he was reduced to his molecular components, at the mercy of the angry SNT on the other end as to if they should be rematerialized into him or if they should become just so much space dust. This time he got lucky, but it was not Fury’s bridge he came back together on. Instead the tran ended none to gently in a small cell.

He landed on his hands and knees and caught a harsh breath, then coughed. “Jesu Vati it smells like puke in here.”

“I saw no point in cleaning it up so that you could add to the stench.” Fury’s voice filled only his head, “but I see now that I shall not have that pleasure of watching you disgrace yourself.” Instantly the room was pristine again and smelled more like herbs than harsh cleaners. “Was this your secret then? Who? Who would allow this with someone untried and untrustworthy?” His voice was a painful roar inside Kresho’s head.

“I didn’t come here to talk about who pulls my strings. I didn’t come here with excuses. Give me a little more credit than that. It’s the girl you have here,” he waved a dismissive hand before Fury could speak. “Yes I know she’s here, and I know what she thinks about me, but believe me, the only reason I didn’t come for her is because I was unable.” Christ, the downside of the old silent conversation was that the emotions were all there in the thoughts. There was no disguising them.

“I know.” That left him wrong-footed.

“Arji Finkle has told me as much, told her as much, though with no details since there has not been time. I am not certain she believes it, but I do.”

“And you still want to toss me out the airlock?”

“Lenore Falish is safe, and she shall remain safe, but my compliment are not. They have been stolen from me, a thing you were fully complicit in.”

“You think I had a goddamned choice? I have wet dreams about Fallon heads on a pike. “I need you to know about her, about Len. She’s more than she appears, more than she knows, and she’s the most valuable cargo I reckon you’ve ever had onboard.”

“And she is in great danger.” Fury said. Just like that the conversation was over Kresho’s jail door burst open.



Len didn’t know Fury’s schematics, and they were nothing at all like Ascent’s or Quetzal’s. While his core was the heart of an SNT, it was different from Ascents’s, but then no one was like SNT1. Not only was Fury the prototype for all SNTs, but he was the most sophisticated SNT ever conceived. He was the only one actually conceived, making him far more humanoid in his biotech and making his development to maturity far slower than his brothers and sisters, whose biological components were cloned from humanoid DNA. The plan had been that once Fury was fully mature, ships would then be cloned from his biological components. The thing was that Fury’s inner space, the space that was actually used as a ship, had been modified to pass for a small, battered, cargo/smuggler, which was apparently what he and Manning had done in order to keep SNT1’s disguise while they found a way to get Diana McAllister away from Abriad Fallon.

Len wasn’t unfamiliar with smugglers, since some of them doubled as salvage vessels when they were really down on their luck, but the thing about smugglers and salvage ships is that while the basic design might have been there beneath it all, the ships were almost always repurposed multiple times, and each time they were made over with salvage and secondhand parts so that their form fit their function. No doubt it was also the case with SNTs, the ones who had survived. They would have had to disguise themselves. That made exploring Fury truly an adventure, and she seldom knew exactly where she might turn up.

She had planned to hold fast until she, Fury and Ascent figured how to proceed with finding Mac and Manning, but then the strange energy had coalesced and dispersed on board, and energy she had felt just below her sternum, as though her chest were suddenly filled with nanites for a split second and then they were syphoned out. It was a transport, but no ordinary transport. It was then that she realized Kresho Ivanovic had just been transported onboard and that both he and Fury had intended to keep it a secret, to protect her, no doubt. But she didn’t need protecting, she needed fucking Ivanovic, or whatever he called himself, to explain why the hell he left her and her mother to die.

Fury had transported him to the same place he had transported the Fallons, but it didn’t affect him in the same way it had them, and she really couldn’t picture Fury going easy on him. There was something about that transport, something so familiar that she could feel it knocking on the inside of her brain, something she should have been able to figure out, some connection she should have drawn.

“Ascent?” She spoke inside her head, “I need to hear what’s being said.”

Immediately the conversation that had been blocked to her came to her once removed with Ascent acting like a transmitter.

“Yes I know she’s here,” she heard Ivanovic’s voice in her ear. “And I know what she thinks about me, but believe me, the only reason I didn’t come for her is because I was unable.”

That ratcheted up Len’s pulse and made her more determined than ever to find him. He had answers she needed. After several false turns, she found a lift that she was pretty sure led down to the cargo bay. Inside her head, Ivanovic said, “I need you to know about her, about Len. She’s more than she appears, more than she knows, and she’s the most valuable cargo I reckon you’ve ever had onboard.”

“The fuck,” she said in her head and Ascent shushed her.

As the lift doors opened, she moved down a narrow hall. An open door on one side revealed utilitarian bunks in a tiny space, which she ignored. Fury had told her there was a space at the end of the short corridor used for quarantine or as a holding cell for prisoners when there was a need. That’s where he was being held. She was so focused on the conversation, that she was completely caught off guard by an arm around her throat drawing her up tight against a sweaty male body that stan of puke and anger, just as both Ascent and Fury said at the same time that she was in danger.

“Well, well, well! What have we here, the entertainment?” The man behind her thrust a hard-on up against her back and raked an awkward hand over her breasts, and she went dead still. She didn’t care who the hell it was, though she thought she knew, she wasn’t going to be taken that way again.

“I haven’t had a good fuck since I got here. Ugly, dirty lot, all of you down on that sand heap. Still, a man has needs.”

He shoved her up against the wall, face to. While she hadn’t seen him, she could tell he was much bigger than she was, and the reek of him was nearly enough to make her gag. With one hand, he held her firm while with the other he went to work on his fly. He had to lean over her to yank and shove at her trousers, and it was then that she struck, bringing the crown of her head back hard into his face.

“Get off her, Jessup, you idiot! What the hell are you doing?” Tenad Fallon grabbed her brother and pulled him back, but he backhanded her in a wave of curses and sent her flying across the floor, giving Len just enough time to duck and scramble. As she crab-walked back out of Jessup Fallon’s reach, his body shimmered and he was transported. It was only before she blinked out of existence that she realized she was being transported too.