It’s Friday, which means it’s Fury time again. Mr Grace and I are enjoying a lovely week of holiday in glorious Cumbria with lots of walking and lots of relaxing in the local pubs. But I haven’t forgotten today’s episode of Fury, which finds Rab and Gerando in a really, really bad place. 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 47: Infected!
Rab woke parched and drenched in his own sweat. He was buckled into a seat in the control room of the Ares and Gerando Fallon was strapped in next to him. He was thrashing about like he was having bad dreams. Well bloody hell, why wouldn’t he be after all the fun and excitement aboard the Apocalypse? Rab was damn glad he couldn’t remember if he dreamed. “Wake up kid.” His throat felt like he’d swallowed a goddamned Cairovian sandstorm. “Hey! Fallon! Hey, you’re dreaming.” It was as he reached across to give the kid a shake that he saw it, the thing of his own nightmares, the small raw patch on the inside of his left forearm, the faint outline of the incision still visible beneath the skin, but as upsetting as that was, it was nothing compared to the beginnings of a blistered rash around the outer edge of the incision.
“Vaticana fucking Christu! Fallon! Goddamn it, Gerando, wake up! We’re in deep shit.” In the kid’s thrashings about, the infected incision on his arm became visible too. “I hate that goddamned fuck of an old man of yours,” Rab roared as the memories of their last audience with Abriad Fallon came rushing back. His throat didn’t like that one bit.
The kid woke with a violent jerk, and Rab could already see the fever in his eyes. Jesu! How long had they been unconscious? “Your fucking father shackled us and infected us.”
Before Gerando could do more than stare at his own arm in horror, the ship’s console came to life with an incoming message from the old shite gob. His image filling the screen added to Rab’s sudden urge to puke. The goddamned sonovabitch wore a smug smile plastered across his face that Rab would have loved to melt off with a mol-pistol, or better yet, tear it off with his bare hands. “Good. I am so glad to see the two of you are awake.”
“What have you done? What the fuck have you done?” The kid roared, shoving his way out of the belt and leaning forward over the console frantically searching for their location.
“Oh don’t bother, boy.” Fallon said with a wave of his hand. “I’m more than happy to tell you where you are. You’re onboard the Ares, as I’m sure you figured out already, and you’re on your way to Plague 1, or as they call it these days, Pandora Base.”
“What the –”
He raised a hand and the kid shut up as though he’d been gagged. “I told you that you both had a key role to play in this mission. But I’m not so stupid that I was not aware of your – shall we say – lack of enthusiasm. Now, Gerando, I know that you’ve always been half in love with Diana McAllister, and you didn’t much like it that I did with her whatever I wanted and you couldn’t.” The kid’s face went crimson and, and Rab felt for him.
“And you, Leo Rab, well you’ve worked with the woman for, how many years now aboard the Dubrovnik? A soft life you had there, I’d say, compared to the triax mine I pulled you out of. Oh, I know that everyone onboard the Dubrovnik respected McAllister, and some more than others. How do I know that she didn’t endear you to her like she did Harker and the rest of the crew? How do I know that you didn’t just get soft and spineless aboard the Dubrovnik? You see,” he said, pacing in front of them in the same library he had slipped them the mickey in. “How can I possibly be sure either of you are up to the task without a little incentive.” He nodded to their arms and smiled beneficently.
He waved a dismissive hand. “Oh I really don’t need you – either of you. With the firepower the Apocalypse carries, I could simply go in guns blazing, mol-tran out McAllister, take the Fury by force and blow the whole base off the planet. But in this case, I opted for finesse rather than brute force. You see, there’s technology on Pandora Base that I want. That being the case, the two of you are useful. I know that bleeding heart, Keen. And I know he won’t turn away infected indentureds, no matter who they are, and they sure won’t expect a cloaked orca class gun ship coming in right behind the Ares while the shields are down.” He looked down at his antique chronometer and smiled. “Oh I’ve timed it all just perfectly, my lads. I know the top speed at which the Ares can arrive at Plague 1, and I know just how long you two have been infected. There’s no real rush, you’re far past the point at which I can administer the antidote. If you want to live, and if you want to recover from the virus, then you go and beg help from Plague 1. If you don’t succeed, you die. If you do succeed, well, you might just stand a chance of recovery before I take over the base and take back what’s mine. After that,” He shrugged. “Well after that I don’t give a shit what the two of you get up to together out in the big wide galaxy.” He rubbed his hands together. “Oh I love a good challenge, don’t you?” The screen went blank. The com went dead.