It’s Friday, which means it’s Fury time again. Today’s episode finds Mac confronting Professor Keen about the truth Fury and Manning have kept from her. 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.
“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 45: Confrontations and Secrets Revealed
Just then Professor Keen walked through the door, and I thought Stanislavski was going to pass out from relief. She pulled away from my less than gentle grip and all but ran to the professor. I, on the other hand, was not about to pass out, not about to be budged until I knew what the fuck was going on.
Keen glanced at Stanislavski and then me, and the look on his face darkened. He offered Stanislavski a buss on the cheek and she said her good-byes, knowing goddamn good and well that the only reason she was escaping was because I figured Keen had more answers than she did, and he wasn’t getting away until he gave it up. But before she left, she glanced at me and then turned her attention to the Keen. “They haven’t bonded,” she said.
“Yes, I know,” Keen replied.
Then she offered me a worried little look that made my stomach clench, and she left. “Is she always that much of a snitch?” I asked, feeling even less magnanimous toward the woman at the moment that I usually did.
“She has reason to be, in this case,” he said, offering me a sympathetic smile, and my insides knotted still tighter.
“Reason to be? What reason? You wanna tell me what the fuck is going on?” I barely managed to wait until the woman was out the door. “What the hell is Stanislovski talking about, me being bonded? I’m a fucking pilot. Nothing more.”
This time when the waiter approached cautiously as though he feared I might use my laser beam stare on him, Keen politely ordered two cappuccinos and offered the poor man an apologetic smile. Before I could launch back into what the fuck mode, he asked, “Diana, how much do you know about your birth?”
“I know that my father was widowed when I was barely more than an infant. I lived onboard a ship with him from, well for all my life until the Merlin, except for time spent with an aunt.”
“And he never talked about your mother, did he?”
“No,” I replied, realizing that this was the first time I had ever even thought about the mother I never knew. “I … he never mentioned her.”
“Don’t you think that’s rather strange?”
I could manage nothing but a shrug of my shoulders. For some reason, I felt as though I’d just been shoved out an airlock into empty space.
“Diana, you were born to be Fury’s compliment.”
And now I was sure I was in free fall, but before I could do more than open my mouth, he continued. “As Fury told you most of the early SNT experiments with fertilized humanoid eggs failed in the early weeks after fertilization. His was the only viable fetus that took to the nano technology and thrived in the hybridization that followed. There was, however, one other that survived, a humanoid female of your father’s sperm and an unknown doner. When it became clear that you weren’t suited to become an SNT, your fetal material was slated for termination, but your father wouldn’t allow it. I helped him make sure you were safe and hidden away until your birth.”
For a moment the world spun around me and shifted in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I wanted to run. I wanted to wake up safe and loved aboard Fury. I wanted to believe that at least some part of my mess of a life had been normal, and now that had been taken away from me. “So you’re telling me I’m a failed SNT experiment?” I managed, barely finding the breath for the words.
“Of course that’s not what I’m telling you. What you became is no less astonishing and marvelous than what Fury became. What you became is so much more than just a pilot. What you were born to be was the perfect compliment for Fury. Even your father knew this in his heart of hearts, which is why he raised you and spent so much time with you onboard starships. However, he also wanted the choice you made to be your own. Sadly, due to the circumstances, you never got that opportunity and neither did Fury.”
I felt as though I’d been gut punched and then had my heart ripped out. “Then why hasn’t Fury told me? Why hasn’t he come clean? Does he not want me?” I felt stupid the second I said it. I sounded childish and ridiculous. It had never mattered to me before if anyone had ever wanted me. Hell, I’d kept every man who’d looked at me with interest at arm’s length, including Manning, whom I had always been attracted to, and now I was upset because Fury hadn’t been honest with me about my past.
“Don’t be daft! Of course he wants you.” Keen took my hand in his rather calloused one, a strong grip that cracked knuckles. “He’s lived for you, and so has Manning from the moment Fury told him about you. They both want you. They both need you and, in fact, the ship I created Fury to be won’t be complete until you’re a part of that matrix. Manning was never your replacement. Manning was Fury’s salvation in his loneliness, and from that their bond has grown.”
I found myself painfully close to tears, as I listened.
The waiter brought two cappuccinos and we sat quietly until he’d left.
Keen picked up the spoon and toyed with the foam, then he took a deep breath and spoke. “One thing you must understand about Fury, he’s not programmed. His heart is his own in a way that was not the case with the other SNTs. Fury has a deep capacity to connect, to relate and to love, and with that, the capacity for guilt and jealousy and all of the other emotions that humanoids deal with on a daily basis. Fury is as much humanoid as he is technological.
“Once his commitment was made to Manning, once they were bonded, that bond could never be broken except in death. However, your place remained empty. It might have been less of a trauma for Fury over the years had he not partially bonded with you when he rescued you from the Merlin. It was the first time he saw you, and that the bonding would be so strong and so instantaneous on his part, I had not foreseen. I mean everyone has heard of love at first sight, but it really doesn’t happen very often. Quite literally, Diana, Fury has loved you since he first saw you. You were never meant to be just a pilot. You were meant to be an SNT Pilot, more specifically the pilot for SNT1, you were created especially as his compliment. You were created for him and he has felt the need for you and the absence of you every day since he was raised to consciousness.”
“If that’s the case, then why didn’t he tell me? We’ve had time. We’ve been together for almost a month now and we’ve been … together, the three of us.”
“You know Fury’s heart. He’s laid as much bare to you as he had the courage to. Fury’s afraid of rejection, just like you are, just like we all are. But it’s more than that.” He pushed the tepid coffee aside and leaned over the table toward me. “You see when he bonded with Richard, things didn’t quite go according to planned. Fury was so young, and so inexperienced and so totally alone. There were complications. Fury fears he’ll not be able to bond with you without such complications. I’ve reassured him that won’t be the case, and if the two of you bond here, I’ll be here, if for no other reason, so that he feels more secure.”
“But those complications. They were due to Manning’s condition, weren’t they? And the fact that Manning wasn’t Fury’s intended compliment. I mean from what Fury told me, it was nothing short of a miracle that they were able to make a bond when Manning was neither his intended nor was he trained to it. Stanislavski said something about a short tether. I don’t know what that means, and neither Manning nor Fury mentioned it to me.”
For a moment Keen studied me as though I were a problem to be solved until I squirmed under his scrutiny. “Richard has not broached this subject with you, what happened the last time you were here?”
“No. No he hasn’t.” I felt a blush climbing my neck. I don’t know why. For the past couple of hours I’d been in the presence of people who knew both Manning and Fury better that I did, and I couldn’t help it, I was more than a little defensive that everyone seemed so surprised by my ignorance. “He doesn’t seem to want to talk about it, and I didn’t push.”
“Well then, he won’t be happy with me, but you need to know. You need to know about both of your boys if we’re going to get through this situation intact.”