Happy Friday everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending in which much we learn Kresho’s story. 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!
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 73: Kresho’s Story
“Five Jaegers are no match for an SNT.” Ori continued their story. “The two remaining knew this well. They fled, and I didn’t pursue them. I now knew it was the man on the Fidelio I wanted, Kresho Ivanovic. Of course he went by another name then. He was the one who could help me.”
“Because he’s an SNT scientist?”
“Because I needed a new compliment, and someone who understood my kind a little better, who had helped bring us into existence, would be much more suitable for that bonding,” Was it possible that there was pain in her voice as she spoke.
“So you stole him away and left me and my mother to rot in that hell hole?” Len exploded, wiping fiercely at her eyes.
“Listen to Ouroboros, my darling,” Dragon said tenderly. “I know this is not easy for you, but there is power in knowledge, and she and Kresho Ivanovic have much of it to offer you.”
“I did not. I would have never left the two of you in such a horrible place. I had every plan that Kresho and I would return for you and your mother, but you must understand, it was a very, very long time before I knew you were there.”
“You didn’t tell her?” Len turned those firebrand eyes on him, and he struggled to hold her gaze.
“Sh! Listen! Listen, my love. You must hear everything,” came the adoring voice of her SNT.
“Kresho Ivanovic did not tell me of you and your mother because he could not remember,” Ori said, and he nearly crumpled under the weight of his own pain. To his surprise, Ori’s warmth surrounded him, supported him, and in his own private sub-processor she said quietly. “Only a little longer now my love and she will understand and she will find as I do, nothing lacking in you.” So he took a deep breath and clung to her, clung to the comfort he hadn’t expected from her as she continued their story.
“It was my plan in those days to hunt down and rescue as many of our people, those who worked on the SNT Project, as possible, and then to regroup with my siblings so that those with injuries, with losses would have the understanding and the support of their humanoid family as well as that of each other, so that we could make new bondings, begin again, no matter how hard it was. I knew it was the only way forward from the horrors we’d lived through. Then in time, I hoped that we could heal enough to vindicate ourselves. Sadly, I did not take into account how difficult that task would be, nor did I understand that because I was an SNT, because I was a fugitive, the Authority would not give up so easily, and I could not lead them back to the Taklamakan System, for while I did not at that time know of you and your mother, I knew of my brother, and I would keep him safe at all cost until it came time for him to rise again from the desert and take his rightful place.”
“By that time the Fidelio had taken heavy fire.” Kresho managed. “The core had been breeched and was overloading. Those who could were scrambling for the escape pods. I couldn’t.”
“Kresho Ivanovich was mortally wounded. I had only a split second to ‘tran him away and jump before the Fidelio exploded.”
Ori paused, and he could feel her examining him to make sure he was up for more. She hadn’t been this careful of him in so long that he wondered if her were dreaming it all. At last she continued. “An SNT can jump as often as necessary, and in the beginning I barely came out of hyperspace long enough to settle before it became necessary to jump again. All that time I was trying to save Kresho’s life. That could only be accomplished with the injections of my bio-tech materials, which of course, he repeatedly rejected, for he was not trained to be a companion. But I knew I must have a companion, that I could not go on alone, for I had seen my brother in the desert go to ground and bury himself in the salvage yard as he settled into the long sleep so as not to endure his mourning. I understood his anguish, and I nearly did the same, but I could not, for in my core I burned to see my brothers and sisters vindicated, exonerated. I, however, could not imagine continuing without a companion and when I found out who was onboard the Fidelio, I knew that I would need Kresho Ivanovic, and he would need me.
“In the beginning, you cannot imagine what it was like for our family, Lenore Felish, how isolated we were, how entirely alone we were, when our very purpose had been to draw all humanoids closer together, and yet we were being blamed for atrocities we did not commit. There was no place safe where we could hide, certainly not within Authority space. I tried every route I could imagine to get back to the Taklamakan System, hoping that I might coax my brother out of his slumber of mourning. In the end, we had no choice but to crossed beyond the Rim.
“In those early years Kresho had no memory of his life before, nor how he had come to be with me. He chose the name Kresho Ivanovic because he had no memory of his previous name. Of course I told him about my brother when he was well and we were bonded. It was only luck that the rebellion on Vodni Station happened when we were once again on our way back to the Taklamakan System, which was at the time under Authority control, though only loosely. By that time the SNT disaster had become old news and the Authority propaganda machines were telling everyone all of the SNTs had either been destroyed or decommissioned and rendered harmless in remote outlying space docks. The timing was right at last for us to return to the Taklamakan. We had no way of knowing that the Authority had decided they would destroy Vodni Station so that they could isolate further the Outer Rim Alliance, whom they feared might gain power through their continued consolidation. Vodni Station serves as a valuable link between the two arms of the Outer Rim Alliance bisected by the Great Dust Cloud. The Authority did not want this.”
“Ori never backed down from a fight,” Kresho said picking up the story again, “She wasn’t willing to see the station destroyed and the link broken between the safe corridors for refugees from Authority Space and what she saw as a safe place for SNTs. The Rim Alliance turned a blind eye to a lot of things that were banned in Authority Space and blatantly thumbed its allied noses at the conglomerates’ efforts to get a foothold beyond. The fall of Vodni Station would pave the path for conglomerate inroads into the Rim. The plan had been to rebuild the station with conglomerate money and strong ties to the Authority. It was to be the first step into Authority control of the Rim.”
“To make a very long story short, there was a battle,” Ouroboros said. “In that battle Kresho was injured badly, but of course with his bonding to me, he healed rapidly. What the trauma did bring about that we had not expected, though, was the return of his memories and of you and your mother still stranded on Taklamakan Minor. It was only then that I realized just how valuable you were, Lenore Felish.
“Even after that, it was almost a year before we were able to return to the Taklamakan System, for there was no safe passage. Kresho sent encrypted message after encrypted message, but they were never answered. We hoped against hope that it was because your mother considered contact unsafe. By that time we had taken over Vodni Station with the help of the Outer Rim Alliance, and had enough fire power and clout to enforce the treaty that the Authority had tried to trample and assure that the conglomerates would be keeping their hands off for a long time to come. When that safe corridor was once more established so that we could get to the Taklamakan System, we went immediately to Taklamakan Minor for you and your mother, but we were too late.”