It’s Friday, which means it’s Fury time again. In which, Mac confronts Manning and 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.
“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 50: The Confrontation
“About damn time!” Manning all but scooped me into his arms, and Fury crowded in with his own embrace. Both released me when I tensed.
“Where the hell have you been? You had us worried stiff.”
“I’ve been walking,” I said, struggling to speak around my desire to fall back into their embraces and let them welcome me home the way I had envisioned when I left only hours ago with Stanislavski. Plus the physical sense of their worry was so thick in the control room that it was difficult to breathe.
“Diana Mac, what is troubling you?” Fury asked.
“What’s troubling me,” I said stepping back and squaring my shoulders, determined to get through this, “is why you two have not been honest with me.”
I had the sense of two guys giving each other a surreptitious ‘what do we do now’ glance, and I folded my arms across my chest, holding Manning in my gaze and sensing Fury all around me, knowing that in my mind’s eye, with his intuition, he felt that gaze as clearly as Manning did.
When neither spoke, I lost it. “I’m your fucking intended, Fury. That’s what I was born to be, that’s what I’ve spent my life not knowing, being alone, wondering why I felt it so intensely and you didn’t think I needed to know that ASAP!”
“Mac, listen to me –”
“And you,” I cut Manning off. “What the hell did you think, that I would feel differently about you when I found out that you had died, that your life is dependent on Fury? Well I would have, but not because I would have thought less of you or because I found you any less attractive or any less the person I wanted to spend time with. I’d have looked at you differently because I would have known you better. Hell, we all do that, don’t we?”
Before Manning could respond I turned back to the ship. “Fury, do you not want me to be your compliment now? I mean I know you have Manning. I know the two of you’ve been together a long time. What is it, when you finally had me onboard, did I not live up to your expectations? In all fairness I’ve not had the opportunity to train and prepare.”
“Diana Mac, how could you even think such a thing? You have been my heart since I first saw you sobbing in my escape pod. Have you not thought that perhaps I was concerned that you would not want me? Perhaps because of what I have done to Richard Manning, what I have had to become, what we have had to become that we might fear you would not want us?”
“I’m going to kill Stanislavski,” Manning growled.
“She didn’t tell me, oh she did let it slip that I was meant to be Fury’s compliment, but I was too damn dense to figure it out. It was Keen who told me everything.”
“Then we shall kill Keen together,” Fury said.
“For what? For telling me the truth neither of you had the balls to do yourselves?”
“It was ours to tell,” Manning said.
“But you didn’t,” I said, pacing the tight space on the deck. “You fucking didn’t, and I had to get the details from Stanislavski and Keen. Do you have any idea how that made me feel? It made me feel like I really was nothing more than your indentured, like everything in my life was still on a need to know basis, and that from two people I trusted, two people I …” I sucked a deep breath and fought back tears. I would not cry in front of them. I absolutely would not cry in front of them.
“Jesu Vaticanus, Mac!” Manning grabbed my arm and pulled me around to face him, holding me in his anguished gaze. “How the hell can you even think such a thing? What the fuck, do you think I’ve been following you around like a goddamn puppy dog for the past two years because I really just needed a pilot?”
“And that is only the time since you have officially known Richard Manning,” Fury chimed in. “I have known about you, known about your location, sought to know that you were safe every second since I first saw you, or at least as much as I could, taking into account that I was a fugitive, whose destruction upon sight was all but written into Authority law. That I could not get you away from Abriad Fallon broke my heart every nanosecond of my existance. Our hearts soared with relief when we knew that you were safe aboard the Dubrovnik in Captain Harker’s kind hands. And when we discovered that Abriad Fallon would take you back, we could stand it no longer, so we acted.”
“Goddamn it, Mac, do you think you’re the only one who’s unsure of yourself, who doesn’t trust her own heart. I’m a fucking dead man! I know that every day of my life, my life, which is only mine thanks to Fury. And yet, I’ve wanted you, longed for you every second of that new life. But don’t you dare ever think that either of us kept these things from you because we didn’t want you, didn’t need you to be a part of us. You’ve got to know that’s the absolute truth. Dream with us, and I promise I won’t keep anything from you, Mac.”
“As for our bonding, Diana Mac. I am frightened that what I did to Richard Manning I will also do to you and I couldn’t bear it. I could not bear damaging you a I did him.”
“What you did was give me back my life, Fury. No, what you did was give me back a life, better than any I’ve ever known. Keen reassured you that a short tether wouldn’t happen with Mac because Mac’s not dying, like I was. Plus he’ll be here to help if you need it, and you won’t. We won’t. And frankly we can’t be mated with Mac soon enough to suit me.” He reached for me again, and I pulled back. The pain in his eyes nearly killing me, and yet I had to tell them how I felt, what I needed.
“The thing is, you didn’t trust me to tell me these things, vital things, things I might have been able to help with. You have no idea — ”
The words suddenly flashed in huge letters across the screen and then multiplied until the entire space was filled with the words.
“What the fuck?” Manning took the position in the captain chair. “The message is coming from a small ship just coming into high orbit. It’s … It’s on a secure channel to Fury.”