Dragon Ascending Part 65: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending.  Last week, just when things looked dire, help came from a surprising place. This week, with little choice, Len returns to Tak Minor. 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 65: Homecoming

They dropped out of subspace and slid into orbit around Tak Minor without a hitch. Camille really was a good pilot.

“I’m putting us into the lowest safe orbit I can. It’ll make ‘tranning you all three back easier, and Woah!” Suddenly she was fiddling with the controls, as the ship bucked in the high winds, only for a few moments and then it stopped. “Is that the highest point on the planetoid,” she asked pointing out the telemetry.”

“That’s Mount Orion, yes. It’s not that high, but it’s… woah!” Len repeated her words. “It’s not under the dampening field.” Then she added, “there’d be no need for it to be there since it can only be accessed in an environmental suit,  and even that’s pushing it if you have to make it there and back.”

“Plus it would take a lot of unnecessary energy to place the whole mountain in the dampening field,” Camille said. “I’m sure Tenad would have made sure that Fury’s compliments didn’t have the equipment to make that trip and back just to get a signal out.”

“Even if they did, they’d die,” Lenore said. “That’s what happened to the previous resident. He made an ill-advised research trip up the mountain and was lost in a freak storm. We never found his body,” she added. “But then we never looked. Sounds harsh, I know, but supplies were limited and a trip for nothing more than reclaiming the dead was not considered an acceptable risk.” She made no effort to hide the bitterness in her voice. Nor the determination. When this was all over, she would most definitely bring her mother away, give her a proper burial.

“I thought Taklamakan Major was a horrible place,” Camille said with a shiver.

“At least there are regular ships to Tak Major. You can get off if you can manage a berth on one of them. And pay for it.”

“Fuck,” Camille said under her breath. She asked no questions. An indentured would have had that desire to question punished out of them early in their servitude.

“How long have you been indentured?” Len asked.

“Six years. When my father’s ship had to drop a load of cargo it was carrying on special commission for the Andromeda Conglomerate, the ship was confiscated and we were all taken into servitude for the debt. My mother died trying to get me to safety. My father died of exposure his first winter in the tri-axe mines.

“You must hate her, Tenad Fallon.”

“Revenge is a dish best served cold,” she responded. “And mine is colder than this planetoid could possibly get.”

“That’s why I was on Tak Minor,” Len thought of her own dead mother and the sacrifices she had made, “to keep from becoming an indentured. I know what Diana McAllister went through, being indentured to a Fallon. Your revenge can’t be cold enough to suit me.”



Camille glanced over at Len, then back at the telemetry, maneuvering them out of the chop and into a smoother orbit. “Oh, Tenad wasn’t like her father. She never punished me. She didn’t need to after her people killed my mother and made me watch. One threat was all it took. No, with me, she was endlessly patient. But then she saw me the same way she saw her PD or her med-bot. We were all just devices that could be replaced if we didn’t work properly.” She shivered. “I saw things, cleaned up things, watched her do things, and I had to act like none of it bothered me, like I was nothing more than a service bot. I saw what she did to indentureds who she thought betrayed her.” This time she didn’t look at Len, but the lines of her jaw hardened, and her shoulders tensed. “I cleaned up what was left when she was done with them. And every time, every single time, I vowed I would make her pay for my family, for all of those who didn’t manage to escape beneath her radar. She wants this badly. I’ve never known her to want anything this badly, and I will do anything in my power to see that she doesn’t get it, to help take her down.”

She didn’t speak again until they were nearly over the transport spot. “You’d best get ready. It won’t be long now.”

Carefully, methodically, just like her mother had taught her, Len donned the environmental suit, making every check, then making it again. It kept her mind from wandering where it shouldn’t go, to all that had happened the last time she was on Tak Minor. In her head, she could make out the faint reassurances that Dragon made, a constant chatter that she held close, knowing, as she did, that once Camille ‘tranned her down, they would be out of contact, and she would for the first time become aware of the tether that bound them. That made her think about Manning, she worked more urgently. Was he okay? Was Fury and Professor Keen right that because of the bonding with Mac, his tether would be lengthened. If not, then she could very well find him in very bad shape.

Had they found her mother where she lay in her frozen tomb? Did they know that unless she could get them off the planetoid that horrible place would be their tomb too? She didn’t doubt for a minute that Tenad Fallon, if she could bond effectively with Fury, would never bring them back to him, and if she kept them alive, it would be just barely. She seriously doubted if the woman understood that their deaths would mean her death and the death of every single person onboard her ships and her brother’s, and who knew what other revenge a mourning SNT would wreak on the Authority. Certainly nothing they didn’t deserve. And she hoped whatever happened, however this ended, that revenge would fall on Kresho Ivanovic’s head too.

“We’re over the sight,” came Camille’s voice on her com. All your systems are tracking normally on the monitor. Just give the word.”

“Give me a second,” she replied, this time unable to keep her voice completely steady.

“You all right?” Camille asked.

“I’m fine,” she said after a deep breath. I just need to-”

“Just tell me when you’re ready,” Camille interrupted gently.

She took a couple more deep breaths, forced back the memories of this place and focused instead on the SNT waiting for the return of his loved ones, on the SNT waiting for her to return to him. “Dragon, I love you. And I’ll see you soon,” she sent her thoughts down the subspace.

“And I love you, dearest, dearest Lenore. I will welcome you home soon.”

She felt Fury’s tacit presence and felt his anxiety for his compliment. “I’ll bring Mac and Manning back safely, Fury,” she said.

Then she spoke into her com. “I’m ready to ‘tran, Camille. See you soon.”

“Transport beginning,” came the voice on the other end of the com.

There was a brief second when she felt as though Dragon had poured all his love for her through the sub processor and straight to her heart. The sudden fullness of it calmed her, centered her, and focused her as the airlock faded and disappeared and the tether snapped and vanished and she came back to herself in the endless blizzard of Tak Minor, both foreign now after so long away, but at the same time way too familiar.