Dragon Ascending Part 71: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending in which Tenad Fallon gets exactly what  she wishes for. 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 71:  Be Careful What You Wish For

Tenad arrived back in the med bay before Fury did, although she knew that wasn’t actually true. He no doubt watched her every move and probably kept her waiting simply because he could. She laughed to herself. When had she stopped calling the ship SNT 1 and began calling him Fury. For that matter, when had she begun referring to him as him rather than it? Well she supposed if she were going to be bonded to him it was easier to be on first name basis.

She would have been embarrassed if anyone had known how much extra time she had taken to shower and make herself ready. It wasn’t like it was a fucking political wedding or anything. Well, perhaps it was, now that she thought of it. Though surely she didn’t think she could seduce an SNT after what she’d done to him? Still the dress Fury had created for her was elegant, black, simple, fitting her better than her own skin, and the feel of it against her body was not like anything she had ever felt before, almost like a caress. It was neither sluttish, nor was it prudish. It was exactly her style. He could have dressed her in prison basics and there would have been nothing she could do about it, except maybe show up to their bonding naked, though she supposed he wouldn’t really care one way or another. She had been the one to ask for clothes, after all. She reminded herself, the bonding was a power move for her, nothing more. If he could plug her into his computer and download the software while she slept through the whole thing, that would be just fine. He, no doubt would prefer that. Hell for all she knew it could involve exactly that. She had no idea. He had told her that bonding was different for every SNT, so he could speak for no one but himself and his bonding had even been unique for an SNT, what with him having two compliments, although he’d informed her that Gerando’s bonding with Griffin, as the Apocalypse was now calling itself, was a ménage. Maybe it was the nature of SNTs to be a little kinky. Fury had told her that it was most often sexual because of the humanoid component in an SNT’s make-up, but that perhaps it didn’t have to be. However it was, whatever the process was, right now she’d just as soon get it over with as soon as possible. The longer they waited, the more variables there were that she couldn’t control. In spite of that urgency, she found herself feeling far more giddy, and certainly far less fearful than she should under the circumstances.

She paced the space that only hours ago she had woken in feeling like death on a cracker, periodically glancing at her reflection in the mirror above the sink. She couldn’t believe how quickly she had recovered, and how her face, her skin, now glowed with health. She was nervous, of course she was nervous, but rack her brain though she did, she was sure she had covered all her bases.

Her people would have stuffed McAllister and Manning into the cryo-pods and launched them by now. Oh yes, she would definitely keep them alive. They were her insurance policy. But she didn’t have to put them up in the Ritz, nor waste resources on their upkeep. That meant that the Virago was in place above Tak Minor and the Dreadnaught above Tak Major. Her people would all be onboard and ready to jump as soon as the planet killers’ final countdowns began. It had been the plan all along that if the dampening field were breached then the planet killers would move immediately into place. Certainly she’d never trusted that Fury wouldn’t try to rescue his people. And when Camille stole the Andromeda, she had no doubt that was a part of the deceitful bitch’s plan. So now what had to happen had to happen fast. True enough, Ivanovic was a loose cannon, but not anything she couldn’t handle and after she and Fury were bonded, she planned to handle him a lot. With command of an SNT, she’d have him and Vodni Station by the shorthairs, offering her and the Andromeda Conglomerate a perfect jumping off place for Authority inroads into the Rim, something she hadn’t thought of until her dear departed brother’s antics had forced her to resupply there. Where her father and the other conglomerates had failed fifteen years ago, she would succeed with minimal loss of life and resources.

She would bond with Fury and if they were lucky, if it happened fast enough, this bonding, they would fix the SNT on the surface and then with her inheritance back and two SNTs and a politically valuable space station hers to command, there would be nothing she couldn’t accomplish. Her power would make what her father’d had seem paltry. She paced some more her palms suddenly sweaty. Why was Fury not here? Surely he had to know that the lives of his compliment were in her hands. The destruction of the Taklamakan System would prove to him that she meant business and consolidate her control. After that he would know not to cross her, but before the final sequence, she would have him tractor whatever SNT was in the salvage dump. All her research told her he would be able to do it. And while it might damage the ship further, it was no good to her if it didn’t work. Yes, it was a pity that Camille’s treachery forced her to speed up her plans, leaving her little choice with the SNT on the surface, but really, she didn’t care if it was a mindless automaton as long as it obeyed her. It might actually be better that way. After Fury had lifted damaged SNT from its resting place, surely Fury could fix it once they were out of this shit hole system. Barring that, well a bird in the hand, right? She would still not only have a working SNT, not just any SNT, but SNT1with genetics to make more. She could live with that much collateral damage.

The med bay felt like it was flooded with static, shocking her out of her reverie. The hair on her arms and the back of her neck stood. And then she felt a strange sense of … euphoria? A swelling of her heart, her emotion and longing, tenderness, joy that made her drop to the chair where Camille had watched over her, bathed her forehead, even comforted her, never leaving her side. She had never once said thank you. That never bothered her before. Besides she was an indentured, wasn’t she? She wasn’t doing any of it out of kindness, whatever the fuck that was. She sat for a moment clutching her chest as though possibly the feelings might break her open. How could pain and regret mix so readily with euphoria and tenderness? And worse, when the feeling passed, she felt empty like she had never felt empty before, for the first time since she was a child, she felt the ache of her loneliness. She blinked, stood up and continued to pace. No doubt it was nothing, she told herself. No doubt it was only her body still adjusting to Fury’s bio-tech coursing through her blood. She’d read that SNTs were equipped with better, more healthy function emotions than most people. In her case she supposed that wouldn’t be too difficult. Emotions, feelings were a weakness she could ill afford.

She waited a few more minutes trying not to dwell on whatever it was she felt and at last she called out quietly, “Fury? I’m ready.” She spoke with more confidence than she actually felt. Still nothing. Was he just keeping her waiting out of spite? “Fury?”

Without a word from the ship, the whole med bay shimmered and vanished. Her brother tumbling end over end in space was the last thought in her head before she came back to herself on a narrow catwalk with no safety rail. This transport had been gentle, precise, nothing like when Fury had first tranned her onboard. A good thing, she thought as she stood bracing herself against the vortex that circled and danced and flashed bright just beyond the catwalk. She was already fighting vertigo looking down into the depths through eyes squinted against the brightness. The air around her crackled with that same sense of ecstatic charge she had felt in the med bay redolent with expectation, anticipation, exuberance, passion. Her nipples peaked hard beneath her dress and every cell of her body ached with arousal. If this were an SNT seduction, then surely she would never survive it. She was strangely okay with that, even as she was terrified. The air around her swirled with such expectation that she felt as though a question was being asked. She just didn’t know what it was. She yelled into the wind. “Fury? What do I do now?”



“There is no rail for a reason,” came the reply. “To bond with me you must jump.” Before she could respond it was almost as though he read her mind. “No, you will not die, I will not let that happen, even now.”

“Even now?” Her voice came out small, sounding almost like it had when she was a little girl.

“Even after all you have done, all the pain you have caused those I love. If you still wish to bond, then you must jump. This is my core, my heart, and you can touch it no other way.”

“Will it hurt?” She’d asked her father that question only once. He had lied to her. From then on she just assumed everything was simply meant to hurt.

“That depends on you, Tenad Fallon,” came the reply she hadn’t expected.

“I don’t understand.”

“It depends on you and what you do with what you find when our hearts join.”

“When our hearts join? Our hearts?”

“It is a bonding, not a shackling. If you are sure this is what you want then you must jump. If not I will transport you back to your quarters.”

Fuck! This was not how she expected it to be. She expected to be plugged into a computer or fucked by the machine, or something strange like that, but this? This was stranger still. Nevertheless, she’d made her choice, and she would not, could not back down until she was bonded and in control. It was far too late for turning back. Camille had sealed her fate the minute she ran away with the Andromeda. Barely able to stand in the wind, she inched her way forward, took what little breath she could get into her lungs and jumped into the vortex.

The vortex caught her as she jumped and pulled her in with such force bones in her neck cracked and she wasn’t entirely sure a rib was broken. She had not intended to scream. She wasn’t really sure that she did, and even if she had, it was quickly crammed back down her throat by the wind. She forced her eyes open and held her gaze level until the worst of the vertigo passed and then she looked down, down, down, an effort that was in itself time consuming and exhausting. It was like looking into the bottom of a mining shaft at one of the conglomerate triaxe mines she’d toured several years ago, but this was a shaft of light swirling and dancing around its center, a center that was not empty. Standing far below looking up at her was a man and a woman hand in hand. They watched her for a second then vanished like some sort of holo image causing her to doubt what she saw, and then she was no longer held on the shaft of air, but she was falling, falling at such velocity that she might have blacked out, though only for a second before she settled gently on a surface that felt like a bed.

“No, Tenad Fallon, this is not the place of seduction, this is the place where I see who you really are.” Fury spoke as though he had read her mind, something she hadn’t taken into account, but it wouldn’t matter what he saw there inside her head now when she would have control soon enough.

“Ah, but you are not in control, Tenad Fallon. You have never been.” She could have sworn the touch that brushed her face was physical, gentle even, and then it came to rest on her forehead and moved down to shut her eyes as though she were dead. “Watch,” his voice was only a whisper against her ear, and for a brief moment she thought that in spite of what he had said this was a seduction after all. “Watch and see the truth. First my truth.”

It could have been a split second, it could have been an eternity. And to her horror, she did not see his truth, but she lived it as though it were her own. She lived his birth too early and alone without a compliment, his impossible mission, the loss of his Diana Mac. She lived his anguish in bringing Richard Manning back from death, their love, their passion, their anguish over Diana Mac’s suffering at the hands of her father. She rejoiced with them in the ecstatic happiness of freeing her after so long, of bringing her home, of bonding with both of them here in this place. She lived the rescue of Apocalypse from his suffering, now a fully bonded SNT, now Griffin.  She experienced the transformation of the Dubrovnik. She shared his excitement at finding one of his siblings buried in the salvage yard in the Sea of Death. And worst of all, she shared his agony, like no pain she had ever felt before at having his beloveds ripped from him by her in order to steal from him something she had no right to take. That pain was transformed into rage and then transformed again into a plan. Somewhere far away she could feel herself writhing under the weight of his emotions, his … his love for them. Somewhere far away she cried out in anguish, his anguish until she thought the agony would destroy her. Even if he could bring her back from the dead, she couldn’t imagine wanting such a thing bearing such a weight of agony and so much of it laid at her door. She couldn’t imagine ever deserving to live again.

“At your door, yes, Tenad, the one just outside your shriveled heart. But you don’t feel it, you never do because you live far from that heart, don’t you?”

It wasn’t Fury who spoke this time. It was a woman. She opened her eyes to see Diana McAllister sitting by her, not the malnourished pale indentured her father tortured, but a woman with long dark hair. Bright eyed glowing with health, and beneath was that same fire that had been there even back then, even as her father and brother tortured her and tormented her endlessly. But both McAllister and Manning were in a state of frozen slumber now, out of her way, but still safe and sound. Surely this was an illusion. After all why wouldn’t Fury be able to create such an illusion here at his core and with the treatments she had taken to even be able to be here, illusions, even hallucinations shouldn’t really surprise her.

Once again Fury spoke close to her ear, now almost as though he were inside her head. “You have seen my memories, Tenad Fallon, but you have remained isolated within the safety of my walls. So now, look upon the present, which has not unfolded quite like you had planned.” Once again the hand swept her eyes closed and she watched in horror as not one, but two ships, ships that had to have been SNTs, threw protective shields around Tak Minor and Tak Major. One was Fury, doing this even now, even in his distraction, protecting a worthless bunch of smelly salvage rats. Why? And Tak Minor, well it was lifeless, no great loss at all really.

The other, she assumed was the sibling from the salvage yard, not nearly as bad off as Fury had said. How could that even be possible?

“Anything is possible if it means protecting those we love,” came Fury’s voice.

“McAllister and Manning?”

“Safe, as is my brother, Dragon, and his compliment. It appears you have underestimated us, Tenad Fallon.”

“So it would appear,” she said. Deep down in her gut it didn’t really surprise her. “And now you’ll kill me.” To her surprise, she wasn’t nearly as fearful of that death at an SNTs hands as she would have been at her own.

“For the sake of your brother, Gerando, to whom Griffin and all of those souls from what you call Plague 1 owe their lives, I will not kill you, Tenad Fallon.”

“Then what?” She did her best to meet the gaze she could not see, “Will you torture me, like my father used to do?”

“No, I will not torture you. I will let you do that to yourself. You wanted a bonding, and you endured a great deal to get it .So be it, so you shall have it, but perhaps in future you should be careful what you ask for. Now it is time for you to look at your own heart. I only hope that you are ready.”

She wasn’t. Death would have been easier. The thought came often after that when she was able to surface from her own depths and glance away from the horrid mirror that was her heart enough to cry out, enough to beg for an end to it, and beg she did.