Dragon Ascending Part 67: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending.  Last week Mac and Manning realized just how bad their situation really was. This week help comes from unexpected sources, but will it arrive on time? 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 67: The Dragon Ascends

“Are you the reason our compliments are all at risk?” Fury all but roared.

“I’m the reason you have discovered Dragon, it is you, SNT 7, isn’t it? I knew one of my siblings was sleeping beneath the sand, but you I would not have expected. Never mind, we can catch up on old times later, and I will explain everything. Right now what has to be done will take all three of us and –.”

“Kresho, she’d better have a plan and it had better happen fast,” Came Gerd’s voice over the com. “I don’t know exactly what happened, but the Dreadnaught left for Tak Minor like a bat out of Vati hell. ETA, best case scenario, six hours.”

Just then a low murmur came through the sub processor, not much more than a static buzz, but in response Dragon groaned down the link, a groan that became more a howl of agony and pain. It grew and grew until it filled the space inside the Compass and still grew until Kresho was certain his eardrums would burst. No! It was more like his whole soul would explode, and then Dragon said. MY LENORE IS DOWN THERE! I WILL NOT LOSE HER!”

The whole desert trembled and rocked below and the de-mole perimeter sparked so that the entire, enormous, outline of it was visible from orbit. And just like that, it exploded in a burst of color and light that made the sun seem only a dim shadow. Kresho shielded his eyes and when he dared to open them just a slit, the desert collapsed into a sinkhole of sand, wrecks of ships and water-collection systems, robotic lifts and derelict building materials erupted like the volcanoes on Diga Vulcanus, exploding outward and outward and outward in waves until, at last, a shape began to immerge, at first coated in the rust colored dust of the desert and then, as though immerging from the amniotic dust from the womb of the planetoid, its skin heated nearly molten before the glow died away into the sheen of burnished alloy. It rose and rose and rose from the gaping abyss up and up into the sky. It was slightly bigger than a falcon class harrier, but shaped like nothing Kresho had ever seen before, as though it has spread bio-metallic roots beneath the surface in search for precious water, but as it ascended, its shape changed and morphed as it gained altitude. Roots shrank away, streamline wings spread outward, the ship elongated into a shape not unlike a falcon with wings drawn back preparing to plunge into a stoop only just visible against the glare of the sun.

“Wait!” Fury said, sensing, as they all did, that Dragon was about to jump to hyperspace. “We need a plan. And almost faster than thought, the idea was in all of their heads, though Kresho wasn’t sure which one of them had sent it. It didn’t matter. He shivered at the thought of the power of three sentient ships thinking as one.

The Compass was the fastest and stealthiest of the three ships. While it had been enhanced by SNT tech and benefitted from Ori’s efforts, it was not in and of itself an SNT. It was just a way for Ori to transport a part of her consciousness when it was far less easy for the core of her, her heart to move at anything close to speed. Without another thought Kresho jumped, heading for Tak Minor, the last message from both of the ships was, “Bring back our Beloveds.”

This would not be a pleasant encounter, but that mattered far less than that he could complete his mission. “Don’t worry,” Ori’s voice was soft inside his head, choosing to communicate through the sub processor now that it had been opened after so many years, “we will not fail in our mission, Kresho. There are three of us now, and long-range sensors on Vodni Station have detected our baby brothers both heading this way at speed. Once we are together, we will no longer be able to keep our presence, or mission quiet.”

“Maybe it’s time for the Authority and The Rim Alliance to know,” he replied.

“Yes. Yes it is time, and it’s time for us to begin to right the wrongs that have been done to us, to the inhabitants of Authority space.” She sighed deeply. Kresho felt her satisfaction, and her anticipation to begin what they’d both worked secretly toward for what felt like an eternity. Then she added, as though she read his thoughts, which she probably did. She often did when it suited her. “Len will forgive you, you know, for in the end there is nothing to forgive.”

He grunted. “If she doesn’t kill me first.”

“She will not.” She spoke with confidence he didn’t feel. While of course she probably wouldn’t actually kill him, would she understand? Would she forgive him when he explained?

“She has been a sojourner too long,” Ori said. “It will be good to have her back where she belongs.”

He studied her for a moment. He didn’t know why he always thought of it that way. Of course he couldn’t see her, and she, for the most part, kept her mannerisms and emotions completely hidden from him. He envied Diana McAllister and Richard Manning, and now Len, that openness with their SNT companions. That had never been Ori’s way.  He wondered if either of the other SNTs had any idea just how volatile the situations was, Tenad Fallon’s craziness aside.



Ori had suffered nearly as much as he had at Len’s loss, and she had mourned with him. And then to discover after all of this time that she was alive, that she had survived against all odds was nothing less than a miracle, and Ori was beside herself. He was pretty sure her emotions were as strong as his were. He could feel anticipation, a certain kind of tension he’d not felt in her in a very long time, not since they battled together to keep him alive. And now, now his own emotions frightened him almost as much as hers did. He seldom felt her temper, but when he did, it felt as though he were being ripped apart, it felt like he felt when the Fidelio was attacked, when he was certain he would die and wished like hell he could just get it over with. But this, this was worse. He couldn’t tell from his own emotions if he was mirroring hers, or if he was simply afraid for Len. Possibly he was afraid for himself, afraid of the uncertainty that now lay before him after all this time, all their efforts, and then believing for so long Len was dead. Surely even Ori, in all of her layers of plans upon plans and schemes upon schemes, could not have foreseen this. Surely she had to know that Len was Dragon’s now, that she’d found a true home with him. Christ, he didn’t want to think about what would happen if she ignored that fact. “You can’t have her now, you know?” The words were out before he could stop them, along with the sharp clench of pain below his breastbone he always felt when he thought about Len and how Ori had sought her out, used him to do so, along with the fear of what might happen now, now that she didn’t need him anymore.

This time it was not her anger he felt, rather a stillness, the kind of stillness you feel when someone inhales and then holds their breath. The fine hair on his arms rose from the tension he felt around him, the sudden closeness, a sharp sense of pain followed by a sudden withdrawal that left him breathless, and chilled. And then the feeling passed and she said, “Tenad Fallon is awake.”


“All right, everything is prepped and double checked,” Len said, checking the propulsion systems of the cryo-tubes one last time. “They’re not much, but they’ll get you into orbit. This trip, you don’t want to go any farther than that. Camille will pick you up. I’ve modified the homing beacons so that only a ship with SNT tech can pick it up. She smiled down at them where they both lay in the pods ready for the cocktail of drugs that would put them to sleep before the deep freeze set in. “I wouldn’t have known how to do this back before I bonded with Dragon, but it seems pretty straight forward now.”

When they couldn’t get the coms to work at the pick-up site, it had been all they could manage to get Manning back to the station. There were a couple of times when Len thought she’d have to come back for them one at a time. Even Mac was weakened and was feeling the lack of the connection to the tether. She had gotten them both under warming blankets and made them a thin high protein soup her mother had made for them back in the day, back when rations were sparse, and they needed the warmth and the calories. They’d had to help Manning with his. She’d scarfed a couple of energy bars she’d brought with her, knowing she’d need the calories far more than they did for what still lay ahead of her, wishing like hell she’d not had to expend so much energy on the wasted trip to the pick-up site and then helping Manning get back. Even fresh from her bonding as she was, it wouldn’t be easy.

“What about you?” Manning managed, already struggling not to slur his words. “Are you sure you can make it to the top of that mountain? You said it was damn near impossible.”

“Not for me, it isn’t. I’ve recharged my suit by cannibalizing my old one and the last of the power form the Tri-axe cell since we won’t be needing it. Besides, I don’t have to make it back. I only have to make it to the top, or maybe not even that far, to wherever the dampening field leaves off. Besides,” she added with a little shrug, “I’ve done it before, and made it back safely.”

Mac let out a slow whistle. “Color me impressed.” Her own words were beginning to slur as well.

“Anyway,” Len said looking down at the settings on the pods one last time. “I have Dragon’s blood in me now. I’m tougher than I was.” She hoped. She couldn’t be sure that was true. She didn’t know how the whole thing worked, how much of Dragon’s strength would be with her without the tether, but she wasn’t about to tell them that. Besides there were only two pods no matter what, and she had options they didn’t, neither of them could have made it in their condition, even if they had the knowledge and skill needed to survive on this ice cube. “I can control your lift-off remotely, so as soon as I’m clear of the launch zone, I’ll release the clamps and enable the sequence.” She gave them her best reassuring smile. “Now, nighty-night. When you wake up Camille will take us all home to our Beloveds. Damn, it felt good to be able to say that, and there was nothing she wanted more right now than for them all to be in the arms of their partners again. “Have a nice rest and I’ll see you soon.”

“Len.” Mac blinked up at her, through drowsy eyes. Manning was already asleep. “Stay safe. We’ll see you soon.”

Len gave her a nod and a smile, then pulled the cryo-pods shut and checked the seals. When she was sure they were both well asleep, she clipped the remote control onto her mag belt, donned her helmet, and headed out into the blizzard, taking a quick look around the main station before she left. Just one more time, Mama and then I’ll be back for you and we’ll never have to come back to this horrible place again. She thought it all but said nothing out loud. The truth of the matter was that she would need every smidgeon of power and oxygen if she were to complete this ascent, but there was no other way. And she would get back to Dragon. He would not be bereft again. “I love you, I need you, I love you, I need you.” Her steps synced with the mantra she sent down the sub processor hoping against hope that Dragon could hear, hoping that he could at least feel it. When she was at a safe distance, she launched the cryo-pods and watched them shoot into the dusky sky. And after that, there was nothing but following the suit telemetry and adjusting her pacing and breathing for the long ascent through the blizzard.