After a fairly lengthy hiatus, Piloting Fury is back! I apologise for the delay, but sometimes life gets in the way. For those of you who would like a recap or to start at the beginning, see the link below.
We left Mac and Manning to complete their bonding with Fury, and now it’s time for them to set their plan to save Pandora Station into action. Please spread the word and pass the link to a friend. I love to share my stories with as many people as possible. Once again I’ll be offering a new episode of Fury every Friday.
If you would like to recap Fury or if you’re new and would like to read the whole novel so far, go to this link to start at the beginning, and enjoy! : https://kdgrace.co.uk/blog/piloting-fury-new-from-kdg/
“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAllister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.
Piloting Fury Part 58: Returning Property
Bro 3 near! Bro 3 near! Need help please! Bro 3 need help!
The message filtered through into Fury’s heart, which was also his brain, loud and clear, startling us all back to the grim reality we now faced, but this time our return message was instantaneous and far less awkward.
And in an instant I was aware that the rough basics of our plan had filtered into the part of Apocalypse that was sentient, the part that longed to connect as much as Fury did. In that same instant, I caught another reassuring voice in the mix, Help Comes! I was surprised to find that it was Gerando Fallon’s.
Fury clothed us all instantly, and we were back on the lift heading to the bridge without any of us commenting on what we’d just experienced. But really there was little need to. We were bonded now, and some things no longer needed to be said.
On the bridge, Stanislavsky met us with Rab and Fallon by her side. Fallon was now the epitome of health thanks to Furry’s blood – well I’d come to think of it as Fury’s blood at least. All eyes were on Manning and me as though perhaps Fury had forgotten to clothe us. I wondered if we looked different, but no one commented.
“The Ares is ready,” Fallon said, looking me up and down.
Manning growled and pulled me close, but I could tell in the feel of his touch that it was now as much for reassurance as it was because he didn’t want me to go.
“You are strong now, Diana Mac. You are infused with my essence. Your presence alone will help Apocalypse.”
“But this will help even more,” Stanislavsky handed me two tiny vials of Fury’s biological soup. “Since Apocalypse is part SNT, and he is equipped with a good mol-tran, if you open the first vial just before you transport and leave it open, the molecules will disperse themselves when you’re recombo’ed onboard the Apocalypse.” She handed me two vials. “The second will do the most good if you can get it into the control room. It’ll be there where Abriad Fallon will have used the most SNT technology, other than the engine room, which you aren’t likely to be able to get to. I’ve equipped Gerando with a vial as well, since he already has a connection with Apocalypse and may have a better chance of getting to the engine room than you will. Use them all if you get the chance, and wherever you and Apocalypse feel they’ll do the most good. It can’t hurt having the bonded compliment of Apocalypse’ brother onboard, nor can it hurt having his own flesh and blood onboard,” she said nodding to Gerando.
I didn’t ask if Fury could keep a lock on me. It was like keeping a lock on himself. Even at that, the situation didn’t make me comfortable. I knew how cunning Fallon was. He didn’t get into such a position of power from being otherwise. Still, I could see no other real way to end his reign of terror.
Keen’s image came up on the viewing screen. He looked from me to Manning and back again. “It’s done then, and just in time. Apocalypse is about to enter Pandora space. Evacuation to the Dubrovnik is moving along as fast as we can manage, but without a major distraction, we won’t be anywhere near finished by the time Fallon has his guns pointed on us, and with the force field down, Fallon can waltz right in and knock at the door. Are you ready?”
We all nodded.
“Diana,” he said turning his attention to me. “This isn’t what I would have chosen, none of it.”
“Me neither,” I said, “but it’s what will work.” I sounded a lot more sure than
“I am ready to transport you aboard the Ares,” Fury said. That was what everyone heard, but what I felt was his reassurance, as though he spoke it in my heart.
Gerando blew out a harsh breath, shot me a glance, but then looked away quickly, as though he feared my gaze. “Let’s get it over with then.”
Before we could go, Manning pulled me into his arms and kissed me hard, then he turned to Gerando. “If anything, anything happens to Mac, you’re a dead man, I don’t care whose brother you are. You got that.”
“If anything happens to her I deserve to be a dead man,” came the reply. Then he gently placed a hand beneath my elbow and we all held our breath.
The cold emptiness at the pit of my stomach was not from the mol-tran this time, but from the separation from my ship and compliment. Once we reformed aboard the Ares, that cold became a warm surge, a reminder that I was not alone.
“Fucking hell, I hate those things,” Rab said rubbing his arms as though he were chilled. “I don’t care if they are SNTs and reliable. A body wasn’t meant to be disintegrated and then reassembled.”
“You can sit there.” Gerando nodded me to a seat near the console. “Buckle in. This needs to be a bumpy ride to make it look authentic.” He still avoided my gaze.
“You might want to see what you can do to make her look a bit roughed up,” Rab said, his face turning crimson as he spoke. “The old bastard isn’t going to believe you’d get her here without a fight.”
“Bloody hell,” Gerando cursed under his breath. “I’m not going to hurt her.”
“He won’t believe that,” I said. I wasn’t sure I believed it myself.
“I don’t care what he believes, I’m not hurting you.”
“What? You afraid of Manning?” Rab asked.
“Fuck you,” came the reply from where Gerando hunched over the console as though he could hide behind his efforts.
“Then you do it,” I said to Rab. “Trust me, there’s nothing you can do to me that I haven’t had done before and worse. I can take it.”
Rab turned a bit green around the edges and shook his head, suddenly finding the console way more interesting to him than I’m sure it really was. Gerando, on the other hand, went angry red. He’d given me more than his fair share of the beatings and abuse I’d received at Fallon family hands, and I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some satisfaction in his discomfort, but there was no time to dwell on it and no time for anyone to get their licks in and make me look the part before Abriad Fallon’s voice came over the com.
“I see you’ve survived the virus.”
My own edges turned a little green as I thought of the sonovabitch infecting his own son as he had me.
Gerando had the good sense not to respond to his father’s bating. “We have your property,” was all he said.
For a moment there was silence, and I thought perhaps we’d lost the link. “Is she all right?” he asked at last.
“She’s fine just a little groggy from the knock-out drugs,” he said, and I went limp in the chair in response. He glanced back at me and pulled up the viewing screen. “See for yourself.” It was just as well that I was faking unconsciousness. I didn’t want to see the bastard’s face, at least not just yet, not until I could do something, do anything to make him suffer.
“Good. Then I’ll ‘tran the three of you over as soon as the Apocalypse is in range. ETA 2 minutes.”
We all sat stiff backed and dead silent in our seats while we waited. I clung desperately to the warmth of Fury’s lock. But nothing was certain. We all knew that. Finally I managed a shaky breath, fighting the urge to vomit, and spoke. “Don’t you let him take me alive. Do you understand? If it comes to it, I don’t care, slit my throat, de-mole me, blow me out the fucking airlock, just don’t let him take me back. Promise me!”
Gerando’s jaw tightened and the muscles along his jaw tensed. “I promise.” His voice was barely audible. “I know I don’t have the right to ask, but if you would return the favor. I’d appreciate it.”
“Promise,” I said.
“Oh for fuck sake,” Rab cursed. “How about we blow that mother fucking ball-licking sonovabitch out the airlock instead. I’m good with that. I’m real good with that.”
“Me too,” I said with half a hysterical laugh just before we were mol-tranned onboard Apocalypse and I had barely enough time to flip open the top of the vial Stanislavsky had given me.