Happy Friday everyone! Time for another episode of Dragon Ascending. Wow! We’re down to the last three episodes in book 2 of the Sentient Ship Series! What a wild ride it’s been. I hope you’ve had as much fun with it as I have. In this week’s instalment, Gerando Fallon deals with a family problem. As I mentioned, I am now attempting to post episodes at lengths that will be better suited for the flow of the story and enhance your reading pleasure. Some will be slightly shorter, some will be longer. This is especially true as we draw nearer the end of the novel. I hope you’re enjoying Dragon Ascending, the sequel to Piloting Fury, as much as I’m enjoying sharing it with you. As always, I love it when you share my work with your reading friends, so feel free. In the meantime, enjoy!
For those of you who would like to read the complete novel, Piloting Fury, book one of the Sentient Ships series, follow the link to the first instalment.
Dragon Ascending: Book 2 of the Sentient Ship Series
On a desolate junkyard of a planetoid, scavenger Lenore Felish, 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 78: Refuge for a Fallon
Food was served in the big dining room and, from somewhere on the station, Gerd had actually come up with a small band that played upbeat, danceable music. Who knew she was so good at party planning?
“This room is amazing,” Keen said as he watched Rab spin Flissy around the floor.
Kresho felt a surge of Ori’s pride, pride in him. He could feel her construct sitting close to him, hand resting on his thigh. “We wanted a place where all SNTs could come and bring their constructs to interact with their brothers and sisters and their compliments. I don’t think either of us imagined that we would be dealing with SNTs taking multiple compliments, but that makes the space even more essential, I think. When it’s not being used as a dining room and gathering space, it can be subdivided into smaller spaces where small groups of the family can get together and chat over a meal or wine or just nothing more than simply be with family.”
“I doubt there is anything we SNTs have missed more than family, more than being with others,” Ori said.
“And everyone onboard Vodni Station knows about you?” Fury asked.
“They do, yes,” Ori said. “The survivors of the battle with the Authority simply think of me as their home. They teach their children about the battle and about how the station became sentient. I am aware of everyone who lives here. When new people come in, they find out before long. Most stopped thinking of me as an SNT a long time ago.”
“Besides,” Kresho added, laying his hand over hers, “we’re all a bunch of rebels and smugglers here, trying to make a living as far away from the Authority as possible. There’s not one person on Vodni who wouldn’t fight beside the SNTs to bring down the Authority.”
“And no one ever betrays you, Ouroboros?” Gerando asked?
“They don’t live very long if they do,” Kresho replied. And then he waved a dismissive hand. The people sort that out. Other than my governing the place… ish, the local government, law and order, punishment for crimes, that’s all in their hands, and the one thing they don’t tolerate is betrayal of home or family.”
“Was it station justice where Tenad and Jessup were concerned?” Gerando asked.”
“It was I who ‘tranned Jessup into space,” Dragon said. “He was going to violate my beloved.”
Gerando’s hand flinched slightly around Stanislavski’s and she shot him a sympathetic glance. “I only ever met Jessup once. He was a mist head even back then. Tenad, I knew a little better. Tenad scared the shit out of me.”
To everyone’s surprise it was Griffin who responded. “Perhaps too much of our father’s blood in them.” Then he added matter of factly, “I did the same to him for killing my brother and threatening my eldest brother’s beloveds.”
“Nary a fucking shit stain deserved it more than Abriad Fallon,” Rab commented.
Gerando slid his arm around Stanislavski, drawing her closer, only nodding at Rab’s remark. After a sip of Andavinian coffee he cleared his throat and said, barely opening his mouth. “My sister?”
“I gave her what she demanded,” Fury replied.
Stanislavsky nearly came out of her chair. “Was the woman crazy? Didn’t she understand the risk she was taking, that it would kill her?”
“Of course she did. I explained everything.”
“She couldn’t have undergone the series of necessary treatments in such a short time,” Gerando said. “It took me nearly a year and I handled the side effects better than most.”
“She was very ill,” Fury replied, “but she insisted hurrying along the process and when dear Camille, the woman was then her indentured – you shall meet her later — escaped with knowledge of her plan, she wished to bond with me immediately believing that she could then command me.”
For a long moment there was chilled silence as they all thought about the implications. Finally Keen heaved a sigh and said, “at the risk of sounding like a calloused bastard, I would like to autopsy the body, if that’s okay,” he glanced over at Gerando. “Perhaps what I learn can help us to ease transitions for future compliments.”
“Oh Tenad Fallon is not dead,” Fury replied. “She is just not functioning at present time.”
There was a collective gasp around the room and a low rumble of comments. Then Fury continued. “We have done what we could to make her comfortable in her catatonic state. As you know all bondings are different and they often involve more looking inward than looking at ones future partner.”
Gerando gave a shudder. “She’s a Fallon and I have yet to meet a Fallon who could relish looking inward. That part of the bonding nearly killed me, probably would have if it hadn’t been for my brothers.”
“I would request a place for her onboard Dubrovnik where she might receive the best care science may give her,” Fury said.
“Is she dangerous?” Harker asked. “I have too many vulnerable people onboard to risk a Fallon running a mock.”
“Captain Harker, I do not believe she will ever be the same if she does recover, and I do not know if there is any hope to hold out for such a recovery since nothing like this has ever happened to any of us before.
“All the same, she’s a Fallon. No insult to you intended, Gerando,” Harker said.
“I agree with Harker,” Gerando said. “I wouldn’t have her on Griffin.”
“I would override your choice if you did want her onboard,” the ship replied.
“She can stay here,” both Ori and Kresho said at the same time. And Kresho felt the reassuring squeeze of Ori’s hand.
“I’m not Keen, I know,” Kresho said, “but I’ve probably had more hands-on experience with an SNT than anyone here, and Ori can speak to how hard she fought in the beginning to keep me alive. My scientists have made some huge breakthroughs with Ori’s help, and we have space for her.”
“And what about your people,” Keen asked. “You’re not afraid for their safety.”
“My people have handled worse,” Ori replied. “They have no reason to fear her.”
“As I have said, I do not believe she will ever be a danger to anyone again.”
Fury commented. “Though of course none of us can ever be sure.”
“None of us has ever been sure, Ori said. “Of anything.”