Piloting Fury Part 31: Brand New KDG Read
Happy Friday my Lovelies, and time for another chapter of Fury. If you’re enjoying Fury, please spread the word and pass the link to a friend. I love to share my stories with as many people as possible. I’m offering a new episode of Fury every Friday. Remember this is a work in progress, so please be gentle with me. We left Gerando and Rab in a right proper mess. This week we meet Gerando’s father and it’s not a happy reunion for anyone.
“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 31: Abriad Fallon
The rest of the tow into the bowels of the Apocalypse was made in silence, and when the hatch opened inside the shuttle bay of the big ship, there were four uniformed berserkers waiting to escort them to the bridge. Rab thought that was definitely fucking overkill, but then maybe daddy was taking Junior’s throw-away statement to heart. Or maybe Junior was dead serious. He reminded himself again that this was the same little prick that killed hookers on a regular basis, killed a respected notary, and damn near killed him. Fucking hell! How did he get mixed up in this mess anyway? Back at the beginning, just being free of the shackle seemed worth any price. Now, he wasn’t so goddamned sure.
The only orca class starship he’d ever been on was the Dubrovnik, and it was an early version, though the Fire Star Conglomerate kept it state of the art due to the fact that the Dubrovnik was by far the most profitable ship of the conglomerate’s freighters. Hell, Rab had been proud to work on the Dubrovnik. But the Apocalypse was a goddamn floating fortress. The Apocalypse was a crazy mix of military and up your ass, hoity-toity luxury, exactly what he’d expect from Fallon. He’d heard that the man was one paranoid fucker, that he never stayed in one place more than one night at a time – easy to do when one of your homes was a goddamn orca class starship. The man was one twisted sonovabitch. Explained a lot where Junior was concerned. But hell, being brought right to the heart of the beast’s lair was damn near enough to make a man shit himself. All Rab had signed on for was observing Diana McAllister and Captain Harker. That was what got his shackle removed, and back then he couldn’t see beyond his freedom. But he was beginning to think he was as much of a prisoner as he was when he had the shackle shoved in his arm. Hell, right now he was pretty sure shit was even worse. No good thinking about it now. The die had been cast, and damned if he knew how he’d get out of this game alive. That stopped being a sure bet when they lost McAllister.
It was only as the lift opened onto the bridge with its huge view screen that Rab realized the Ares wasn’t the only ship held captive by the Apocalypse. The ship being on screen was a raven class freighter, severely damaged. As they approached the console a lone man tall and lean stood looking out. He was dressed in the uniform of an admiral onboard a military ship, though Rab couldn’t recall that Fallon had ever served. He spoke without looking at them.
“You remember the Svalbard, don’t you, Rab? Or perhaps you don’t. The message about the Svalbard was, after all only one of the mindless, meaningless drone of subspace transmissions you sent me from the Dubrovnik over the years.” Before he could respond, the man turned, and Rab found himself face to face with Abriad fucking Fallon, icy eyes gluing him to the goddamn floor, eyebrows raised, clearly expecting an answer.
“I remember it. Yes. It was a distress call. A radiation leak. The Dubrovnik answered, as per ship’s protocol.”
The bastard offered a cold smile that never reached his eyes. “And you thought it strange that members of the Dubrovnik’s crew went onboard a ship with a radiation leak rather than dealing with it remotely.”
“It was strange.” The longer Rab was the center of the man’s attention the more he felt like he was being slowly strangled. “But Harker said there was extenuating circumstances and the ships doctor explained, details that meant nothing to me. I’m sorry.”
“No need to be,” Fallon raised a hand like he was some goddamn New Vaticana priest passing out absolution or some shit. “You did your job. You sent the transmission, and it has troubled me all these years, Leo Rab. It has troubled me, that strange encounter between the Dubrovnik and the Svalbard. Yes, it has troubled me until this very day. Until now.” With that he turned back to the view screen, and Rab was relieved not to be in the man’s evil eye. But the relief was short lived when the view changed to the bridge of the Svalbard, which looked like a war zone a goddamned war zone. It was deserted except for one battered looking man barely able to sit upright in the captain’s chair. “Captain Bryar,” Fallon said, “you may as well tell me what I want to know about the Fury and its crew, because I will find the answer. That is a promise.”
To Rab’s surprised it was the kid who cursed in a strangled breath. “You bloody fucking bastard.”
How the hell was it even possible for Abriad Fallon to make a smile look fatal? “I believe it is you who are the bastard, Gerando, and of a whore as lacking in brains as she was beauty, though certainly not in willingness to spread her legs.” He turned that awful smile on Rab, like they were talking politely over fucking afternoon tea. “You see all of my children are bastards, Rab. I quite enjoy the uncertainty of that battle over my legacy. And of course the genetic soup can be so very intriguing.” Then he strolled leisurely to stand in front of his son and straightened the lapels of his jacket. Credit to the kid. He didn’t so much as flinch as his father addressed him almost nose to nose. “And if you make another unwarranted comment on my ship, on my bridge, while I am meeting with the good captain Bryar, then I shall have to punish you, boy.”
Rab wasn’t sure he could have spoken if he’d wanted to, and while Gerardo said nothing else, he fidgeted as though he had New Texan fire ants in his pants. Fuck, it was like the kid was asking for trouble!
Fallon sauntered back to the console and offered poor Bryar a beneficent smile. “Forgive the interruption, captain. Children are so disrespectful these days. One has to keep a tight rein on them. Now as I was saying, the way I see it you have nothing to gain by keeping silent and possibly a chance to live if you speak. I know the Fury is an SNT, and I know its destination is Plague 1. All I need to know from you is why on earth would anyone want to go there?”
“I’ll tell you nothing, Fallon. You may destroy the Svalbard and her fine crew. You may go after her allies, but there will be an answering. That I promise you. There will be an answering.”
Vaticana jesu! What the hell was the kid up to? The fucker couldn’t stand still, he was all but convulsing with nerves. The little shit was going to get them both killed, Rab thought, as he struggled to pay attention to what Fallon was saying while trying to calm the kid. He was beginning to wonder if he was about to have some kind of goddamned fit. Wouldn’t that just be the cherry on top? The thought was barely out of Rab’s head when Fallon did something on the console, and the Svalbard exploded, momentarily blinding them all as it flashed then vanished into nothing more than a after image in empty space. There wasn’t even a sign of debris to show that the Svalbard had ever been there.
Gerardo doubled over and puked. His father made a disgusted sound. “If you’ve not the sac for the task at hand, boy, then perhaps I should send you back to Terra Nova Prime to see if the scientists at the Fire Star Institute might clone you some balls.” He turned to Rab. “Get him off my bridge. The berserkers will show you to your quarters. I’ll send for you both in an hour. Get him sorted.” He nodded to Gerando, who now stood wiping his mouth on the back of his hand, eyeing his old man like he wanted to pull the sonovabitch’s liver out and stomp on it.