Happy Friday everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending. I’m in Glastonbury for a couple of days before I will once again make my way to the fabulous Northmoor House for a writing retreat sponsored by Imagine Creative Writing. The words will be flowing and, since the place is right on the edge of Exmoor, the setting is truly inspirational. I hope you’re enjoying Dragon Ascending, the sequel to Piloting Fury, as much as I’m enjoying sharing it with you. Last week we left our mysterious heroine fighting for her life in the ruins of a ship that cannot access the programs needed to save her. This week our amnesiac ship continues the battles to save her life. As always, I love it when you share my work with your reading friends, so feel free. In the meantime, enjoy!
Dragon Ascending: Book 2 of the Sentient Ship Series
On a desolate junkyard of a planetoid, scavenger Lenore Felik, disturbs something slumbering in a remote salvage dump and uncovers secrets of a tragic past and of the surprising role she must play in the terrifying present she now faces.
Robbed of her inheritance after her tyrannical father’s death, Tenad Fallon is out for revenge on her half-brothers, one who happens to be the sentient ship, Fury. Fury, with his human companions, Richard Manning and Diana McAllister, has his own agenda – finding the lost sentient ships and ending the scourge of indentured servitude in Authority space.
Dragon Ascending Part 5: Core Nanites Needed!
But then she stopped breathing! And suddenly all that mattered was that she breathe again. I would not have her work so hard to get to me only to die. This was not acceptable. I would have given her my breath, but I had none to give. Somewhere from the depths of all I had forgotten I accessed that compressions to her chest could restart her heart. Again, I do not know how I did it, but I formed from the molecules I was able to manipulate a crude compression device. I could not say that what I had created resembled hands, these appendages of mine. But they fit firmly between her breasts against that too thin chest beneath in which her heart should beat, must beat if she were to breathe, if she were to survive.
It seemed to me that I should be able to breathe for her, and the longer she did not, the more desperately I tried to access data that had to be there, abilities that I knew was there, all the while continuing with the compression of her chest. How horribly those compressions would hurt ribs that were already damaged. And what if, due to my efforts, a damaged rib punctured her lung. What if I could not access the information to heal her. All of these humanoid thoughts I did not wish to access were all too easily accessed.
I compressed and compressed while I accessed and accessed. Solar systems’ worth of information, worlds and lifetimes of information. Some of it helpful, some of it trivial, some of it I had never accessed before. And yet that which I needed hid itself behind the fog that was left of my memory. And still she did not breathe. Still her heart did not beat. What was I to do? Were it simply an act of will, a matter of me mentally making it so, I would have done, for I willed it with all of my being.
And just at that moment, just when I had begun to despair, my will moved inside her body, massaged that muscle that was her heart and inflated those lungs too tired of breathing to draw in the oxygen they could not survive without. And I did, in fact breathe for her, cause her heart to beat, as I would have the one I had lost.
It was not magic. It was simply the manipulation of molecules at which I had once been skilled. This I only remembered as my woman’s back arched and with a gasp that sounded like determined agony, she drew her breath anew. Then she rolled onto her side, forced herself up on one elbow and vomited again. Blood! She vomited blood. There was damage I had not seen, her injuries needed more than my puny efforts and ancient Terran first aid could provide.
There was a place, a place that was not this place in front of this airlock. It was there where she needed to be, a place that was specifically designed to treat humanoids when they were injured. And there was a place, deeper inside, a place at my center, a place so deep in the fog of lost memories that it hurt to even attempt access, and yet access it I must. I held her as her strength gave and she vomited again. The scent of blood permeated the airlock. I had been so intent on getting her heart to beat, getting her to breathe, that I had not seen the blood that now covered the wrapping of her ribs or the blood on her thighs. She had to have help from my center, and yet to move her might be fatal.
In a blink that was not a blink, the air lock disappeared and we were at that place where she must be if she were to live. Medico. A place of healing. I accessed file after file, on internal bleeding, on blood loss, on broken bones. All could be treated. All would be treated. All could be healed, and in an instant the computerized surgery began to work on her. Removing the filthy rags of her clothing, revealing how painfully thin she was. It was not difficult to see which ribs were broken, and there were three. What little flesh she carried on her delicate bones was nothing more than muscle beneath skin. The blood between her thighs was the blood of violation, a thing that made me rage for her, for I knew the damage of such injuries went far deeper than flesh and blood. Once again I wished the three who had violated her painfully dead, hoping as I saw her suffering, that I had sent them to just such a death. The auto-doc, my companion had called it, this bed on which my woman now lay, with its myriad robotic arms and devices. It was designed to heal humanoids. Though the one I had lost seldom needed this auto-doc, for she shared in my robust nature as she travelled with me.
But she had needed it, hadn’t she? In the end she had needed it. In the end I brought her here. The fog closed like a heavy nebular cloud tightly enfolding, obscuring that memory, for it was not one I ever wished to access again. And when this one was healed, I told myself, I would send her back home and return to my slumber so that I could be once again removed from those memories, so that it could once again be as though I did not exist.
These kinds of thoughts are never productive, and thus my desire to sleep beyond their reach. They are never productive and they were not then, for I needed to be clear-headed. There was something missing. There was only so much that the auto-doc could do for this one. The message on the auto-doc’s computer flashed bright. Core nanites needed! Core nanites needed!
I understood instantly. A blood transfusion would be necessary, one of my own blood, as it were. The nanites from my own core. That was also not hard for me to access, as the auto-doc prepared the anti-body suppressants that would be required if this one was not to reject my blood, for I always thought of it as my blood, and indeed, I suppose it was. My companion had been prepared by taking small doses of my blood over some time before we came together. This one had not. This one could very easily die without the antibody suppressants.
My blood. My blood! For a moment I hesitated. Surely this one did not deserve my blood. The only one who deserved my blood was no longer here. What great things had this one done? What sacrifices had she made? She was nothing but a skinny sand gypsy with no education, with nothing to recommend herself.
Core nanites needed! Core nanites needed! The message flashed over and over, urgent, demanding, and all the while the woman on the table grew weaker, fought less and less, the determination that had been her true scent when first she approached me, so unknowingly was fading, would soon become the smell of death already waiting to envelope her. Core Nanites neede! Core nanites needed!
Determination. Why? What had she to be determined about? What purpose could it serve in this desolate place? I moved closer to her, studied her in her pain, in her frailty, lost, alone, and still she struggled. Perhaps it was I who was unworthy to offer her my blood, tainted as it was with the loss of the one I could not save. Perhaps I would bring upon her my own contamination, contamination I would never be rid of.
Core nanites needed! Core nanites needed!
And then, as I hesitated, this woman’s life in my hands, she did something I would not have thought possible in her condition. She opened her eyes, her silver grey eyes, and looked right at me, as though she could see me, as though she could look inside and discover all that plagued me, all that I did not want anyone to know, all that I did not want to know myself. And then, she went into cardiac arrest.