Piloting Fury Part 54: Brand New KGD Read

Yesterday was Friday, which means Fury is a day late this week, and I do apologize, but hacking happened yesterday and major plumbing issues happened through Wednesday, so it’s been a wild ride this week. All sorted now at Grace Manor, so I did finally manage another episode of Piloting Fury. If you remember, in the last instalment, Mac got a loud and clear reminder that she is very much a part of Fury’s family. This week Mac has to come to grips with the fact that some members of the family are not among her favorite people. 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 54: Uncomfortable Allies

This time when I returned to Fury, it wasn’t Manning who greeted me. It was Fury, and his greeting was cautious, anxious.

“I’m sorry.” We both spoke at the same time, and I would have laughed if I could have managed it, but the embrace I felt was a tight bear hug.

“Diana Mac, I need you. I’ve always needed you. I need you now and I will need you in the future, if there is one.

“I didn’t understand, Fury. There’s so much about being your compliment that I don’t understand, and then when I saw Gerando, when you ‘tranned him onboard, all I could do was remember what he did to me. I couldn’t think beyond that. I’m so sorry. Even Apocalypse knows that my place is with you.”

“You are 1 Not Bro 1.” I could almost hear the smile in Fury’s voice. “I could not imagine that one who is so used in such abominable ways, one barely allowed the tiniest bit of consciousness would be so empathetic.”

“Stanislavsky tapped me into your sub processor. Fury if you could tap into mine it would have been saying the same thing. I need you, Fury. I need you and I’m sorry.”

“If we were bonded we would not need anyone’s help for such a simple thing. But you must know, Diana Mac, that I also do not know how to behave with you. While I have learned to be with Richard Manning and grown to love him, he was not, has never been a substitute for you. Ina Stanislavsky has offered herself to me as compliment, and she would be a wonderful compliment, but just not for me. You are for me, Diana Mac. Only you, and I would fervently ask that we could be bonded as soon as possible.”

“I want that, Fury. I want that very much. If you had told me earlier, if I had known, we would have already bonded, in so many ways, I feel we already are.”

“Then do it already,” came Manning’s voice over the com. “You two are not the only ones involved in this little dance.”

“Glad you approve,” I said, fighting back giddiness that came from being close to my two men where I belonged.

“I am sorry, Diana Mac, but Richard Manning is with Gerando Fallon and Leo Rab.”

“It’s all right,” I said, and I really meant it. “How are they?”

“Leo Rab is recovering nicely, but Gerando Fallon is not. I do not know why.”

Fix Bro 2! Came the message on the screen. Plz fix bro 2. Bro 2 new need be. Plz fix.

“Apocalypse senses Fallon’s condition?” I asked.

“Just as I do, Diana Mac.” I sensed the need in his voice, the need for me to understand.

“Then what can we do? What can I do?”

“Perhaps you could talk to him.”

When I didn’t respond immediately. The message came immediately on the screen.

1 Not Bro 1 plz fix Bro 2!

A knot tightened in my chest and suddenly there didn’t seem to be enough oxygen in the cabin.

“Diana Mac, I will not compel you to do what you feel you cannot.”

“I can,” I managed around the tightness in my chest, “if you and Manning will help me.”

“You know that we will.”

I took the lift down to the cargo bay and the room that had been set aside for humanoid cargo sensing Fury close to me, possessive and protective. “I will be as close as your own breath,” he said.

The door slid open before I could press the button and Manning, who had been sitting on a chair next to Gerando’s bed came to me and folded me close. “I’m glad you’re here.” Then he kissed me as possessively as I felt Fury’s presence. “Back where you belong.” Then he glanced over at the bed.

I’m not sure I would have recognized Gerando if I hadn’t known it was him, so ravaged was he by the virus. He lay on his back with his eyes closed, his breathing wheezed in and out of his lungs with tremendous effort. It was clear he was not sleeping, only struggling to cope with the pain, pain I remembered only too well.

I approached the bed having my own struggles to breathe. “Your brothers have asked me to help you. I don’t know what I can do. You’ve been given the antidote. It seems to me that the rest is up to you.”

He opened his eyes and, with an effort turned his head enough to look up at me. “You know what it feels like.”

My gut clenched and I swallowed bile. “I know.”

“You want me to die? That’s what you should want,” he added.

“You don’t get to tell me what I should and shouldn’t want, not here, not on my own ship.” I felt Fury’s response to those words like a caress.

For a moment that seemed like an eternity he studied me with fevered eyes. I didn’t look away, but he did. Then he made a pained effort to swallow.

“I hated you because of him,” he forced the words through his swollen throat.

“Because of your father? Well then the feeling was mutual. I didn’t like either of you very much.”

“Not because of my father. Because of Fury. You were born for him I was born for no one.”

“So you hurt me.”

He licked cracked lips and nodded.

“I hurt you and I wanted you at the same time.” I felt both of my men bristle at his words, and their protective presence became still stronger, as though they were building a wall around me.

I took the glass of water from the bedside table, then eased him up enough that he could sip. And when he was finished, I sat the glass aside and settled him back into the bed.

 

 

“Because of Fury, I won’t hate you. If he believes you’re worth saving, if both your brothers believe you’re worth saving, then I’ll trust their judgment. You need to do the same because Apocalypse will need all of us, if he’s going to be able to defy your father’s wishes, and at the moment, you know him better than anyone.”

To my surprise, he raised himself on one elbow. “There are restraints on him, restraints that can be loosened by blood connections.

I moved to plump his pillows so he could be a little more upright.

“How do you know this,” Fury asked.

Before he could answer, he broke into a coughing fit that racked his whole body. When he was finished, all he could do was lie back and catch his breath. It was Rab who spoke.

“The kid suspected. His DNA matches Apocalypse’s. Dumb bastard had to get the shit beat out of him by his old man to test his theory. Turns out he was spot-on.”

“We couldn’t have imagined that Apocalypse could communicate with us.” Fallon managed, struggling for breath. “I figure he’s cloned from Fury because the only one who knew the in vitro method that was used to create Fury and you, McAllister, was Dr. Keen. I knew about Fury’s birth, and I hacked the old man’s system a long time ago. That’s how I learned his sperm was used for Fury.” He had another bout of coughing.

“Kid knows his SNTs,” Rab said. The concern in his eyes for Fallon surprised me.

“Here,” I said, helping Fallon to sit again and giving him a drink the color of dirty water. “This helped me when I was infected and coughing my lungs out.”

He drank it, never taking his eyes off me.

“Ina Stanislavsky is approaching,” Fury said

1 Not Bro 3 fix Bro 2, came Apocalypse’ response on the screen in the make-shift sick bay.

Stanislavsky let herself in and looked up at the message on the screen, and without greeting anyone, she typed. 1 Not Bro 3 maybe Fix Bro 3

We all watched as the message came back immediately No Fix Bro 3, Bro 3 ½ Broke.

Bro 3 not ½ Broke. Bro 3 not finished, Stanislavsky typed. Then she turned to us, moving to take Fallon’s wrist in her hand to take his pulse the old fashioned way. “Actually the same thing that will help you, Gerando, will help Apocalypse as well, at least that’s what Vic thinks, and I agree.”

“And what exactly might that be,” Manning asked.

“Material from Fury’s biological core.” She released Gerando’s wrist and turned her attention to the medical bag belted around her hip. “That mix of technology and biology might just do the trick.”

“It makes sense,” Fury said. “Certainly we are all compatible.”

“Vic took samples from your biological core earlier today, Fury, as he always does when you’re at Pandora Base and he’s got time to check you out.” She pulled out a syringe full of a shiny liquid that looked almost like quick silver. She turned her full attention to Gerando, arranging his arm so that she had access to the veins on the inside near his elbow. “If you weren’t compatible, the biological soup from an SNT would kill you without days and weeks of treatments so that your body wouldn’t reject it. Every candidate for an SNT compliment has to do just that in order to assure the compatibility, except for Fury and McAllister.”

“I know,” he said. “I’ve undergone the treatments. I was training to be a compliment when … everything happened.”

That got everyone’s attention. If Gerando noticed, he didn’t say anything just offered up his arm and laid back on the pillow. “If I remember right, this hurts like a sonovabitch.”

We all watched as Stanislavsky emptied the contents of the syringe into Fallon’s arm. It was hard to tell if he were in any more pain when his color was already grey and his body ravaged with pain.

“Someone mind saying how the hell we’re going to get the nanites onboard the Apocalypse,” Rab spoke up.

As Stanislavsky placed a pad over the wound, Gerando spoke between barely parted lips. “Inside me.”

“Fucking hell, you can’t even stand up,” Rab said.

“Oh he will be able to,” Fury said. “If my nanites could heal Richard Manning, they can certainly finish the job the antidote has begun on Gerando Fallon, especially since he already contains the necessary antigens.”

“Then there’s the problem of getting him onboard.” I said.

Gerando forced his way up onto on elbow and turned his gaze on me. “That won’t be a problem if you’ll come with me, McAllister.”

“As the bate.” Even as I said it my knees went weak, and it became hard to breathe. “I’m what Fallon’s wanted all along.”

 

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 53: Brand New KDG Read

It’s Friday, which means it’s time again for Piloting Fury. If you remember, in the last episode Mac figures that if  family is the problem, it might also  just be the answer, and this week Mac gets a loud and clear reminder that she is a part of that family. 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 53: 1 Not Bro 123 Go!

Bro 123? Bro 123? I typed.

We waited and nothing happened. Keen was called away on more urgent business and I kept trying, getting more and more frustrated.

To my surprise it was Stanislovsky who came to me, her face drawn with grief from the loss of the Svalbard. But it wasn’t that she wanted to talk about. “So what now? Are you just going to let him suffer?”

I stiffened, shoulders that were already tight feeling like granite. “Not that it’s any of your business, but I’ve been right here the whole time trying to help, trying to be useful. Surely he could get in touch with me just as easily as I can with him.”

“He’s a fucking man! Seriously, McAllister, can you be that naïve?”

I ground my teeth. “As a matter of fact, I can. In case you’ve forgotten I’m not exactly experienced in the world of relationships and consensual sex. Now, if you’ve just come to make me feel worse than I already do, then there’s the door.” I nodded toward it.

“Yeah, well, welcome to the club.” Her face darkened and I felt like the asshole she probably thought me to be.

Of course she knew exactly what I’d been through. She’d been through it herself, and if that wasn’t bad enough, she’d just lost her entire ship and its crew.

“Look, I’m sorry.” I scrubbed a hand over my face and fought my own urge to mourn. “It’s just … I don’t know how to handle this. Have you been with him?”

“Of course I have. I’m a doctor. I was called to treat Fallon and Rab, and I’m pretty sure the infected are a lot less miserable than ship and crew. Manning’s like a Hibernian bear and Fury, well he’s gone none verbal. I mean he’s always been a bit brooding, but I’ve never seen him like this. I had to communicate with him on the fucking console, and even then all he would say when I asked what happened is that you left and you were very upset.”

“Of course I was upset! He ‘tranned Gerando Fallon onboard.”

“I understand that, and so does he, but you left without letting him explain why he did what he did.” Before I could respond, she nodded to the screen. “Vic told me you thought you might be able to make contact with Apocalypse because you were born to be Fury’s compliment. I thought I might be able to help since I was trained to be a compliment. I probably understand a little better the protocols and connections between a compliment and an SNT.

I nodded to the monitor and my efforts to communicate with Apocalypse. “Well, I’m certainly not having any luck. Any help would be appreciated.”

I barely got the words out of my mouth when the screen went blank and then flashed in big letters: bro1 needs bro1 needs, and then the words repeated until the screen was full of the words over and over again.

Bro1 needs what? I type. It took me several times, my hands were shaking so badly, but this time the answer was immediate.

needs go go! bro1 needs go!

go where?

Go BRO 1!!! 

 

 

This time the words were huge and they flashed red.

“It’s not a where,” Stanislavsky said leaning over my shoulder. “It’s a who, McAllister, and the who is you. I think he wants you to go to Fury.” She elbowed me aside and typed

1 not bro go bro1?

!!!!bro 1 need 1not bro!!!! gogogogo!!!!

“Wait a second.” She did something to the com system and with a few touches of the key reception switched to an obscure subspace channel, and I nearly jumped out of my skin. For an instant a sensation not unlike electricity coursed through my body. I thought I was having some sort of seizure. And then Fury’s voice filled my head.

“Diana Mac I need you. I need you. I need you. Diana Mac I need you. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Nothing came up on the screen – no words, no symbols, which was just as well, since I couldn’t have seen them when my eyes were misted. There was no other sound in the room except my ragged breathing. Then I realized that Stanislavsky couldn’t hear it.

“Bloody hell! I didn’t know! How do I …?” I struggled to find a way to communicate on the channel.

“You don’t. You can’t. I took a chance that you might be able to hear. It’s amazing that it worked at all, but then you were born for him. You’re connected already in ways no one else could ever be. I took a chance that you might be able to hear it on his private sub channel. It’s sort of like train of thought for an SNT. It’s very private and no one taps into it unless there are problems. No one would ever have to in the case of a properly bonded SNT. I think Manning can hear it, but I’ve never asked, and I know that Vic has never felt the need to check out Fury’s sub-processor routine.” She nodded to the screen, I’m guessing that because Apocalypse is only a partially conscious SNT, a hybrid, that sub processor is what Gerando Fallon tapped into. How he managed it, how he even suspected it was possible is beyond me. Definitely a question that needs to be asked when he’s recovered enough to be questioned.”

1 not bro gogogo! flashed continually across entire screen, a symbolic effort to scream at me ,if that’s what it took to get my attention.

With trembling hands I responded 1 not bro go now!

“Go.” Stanislavsky shooed me out the door. “I’ll try to keep him talking and see if I can find out more.”

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 52: Brand New KDG Read

FURY IS BACK! After a two-week hiatus, the Friday episodes of Piloting Fury are up and operational again. If you remember, in the last episode Gerando and Rab showed up at Pandora Base with bad news all around. This week Mac figures that if  family is the problem, it might also  just be the answer. 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 52: Family the problem, Family the Solution

I went to the control center to see if there was anything I could do to help. I needed to be busy, and I needed not to think about the fact that I hadn’t felt this much pain since the last time Fallon had hurt me. The communications officer was putting out a subspace on a channel that no one else used but Pandora and the folks helping escaped indentureds make it to Pandora, and now with the Svalbard gone, there was one less. So far, they’d contacted two small freighters only marginally larger that Fury, and a science vessel that was even smaller still.

I was scanning frequencies for any help we might be able to find when Keen came in. “Diana, if you please.” He nodded for me to follow him, and once we were outside the control room and headed down the corridor toward his lab and office, he spoke. “You’re wasting your time. Even if there were enough ships, and there aren’t, none of them are close enough to help us. We’d need an orca class big enough to evacuate the whole base, surely Ina told you that. Our only option is to hope that Gerando Fallon is right about the Apocalypse.”

“I need to do something. Anything.”

He turned on me so fast that I nearly ran into him. “What you need to do is go back to Fury and get about the damn business of bonding.”

“Don’t fucking tell me what I should do,” I exploded. “He kept the truth from me, and what the hell kind of bonding would it be when he makes a unilateral decision against my will. Knowing that … I mean Christu Vaticanus, he has to know what that monster did to me, what his son did to me, and yet there he is convalescing aboard my …”

“Aboard what? Your ship? The one you love?”

“Fuck you!” I turned on my heels and headed back for the control room, but he grabbed me in a powerful grip of an arm made stronger still by doing the work of two and pulled me back.

“Perhaps your father didn’t educate you fully in the roles of a ship and a compliment, so let me enlighten you. When a ship makes a unilateral decision, the compliment stands by him because there are some things a ship understands better than a humanoid does.” He nodded back to the control room. “That message. That message is the only contact Fury’s had with an SNT since the destruction of the Merlin. Do you have any idea what that means to him? Fury would die a thousand deaths for you, Diana, but that Gerando Fallon has some connection with Apocalypse and that the SNT, this civilized part of the Apocalypse has found something in a monster like Fallon’s spawn worth trusting, can’t you see why Fury did what he did, why he had to do what he did? You above all people should understand his loneliness. And that an SNT has been forced into the service of Fallon makes it all the more important for Fury to learn what he can so that he can free Apocalypse – not just because he wants to know his brother, but because another SNT, especially one living as an orca class ship, would give Pandora Base a fighting chance. If we can just –”

“Wait a minute,” I said. And it hit me like a smack in the face. “Why Gerando Fallon? Why did Apocalypse trust Gerando Fallon of all people?”

“I don’t know, but clearly the kid has turned against his father and with damn good reason, I’d say.”

“I know that. There never was much love between the two to begin with, but it’s not just the matter of trust, it’s a matter of how the hell did he connect with Gerando in the first place if Apocalypse is only partially SNT and he’s controlled by Fallon, how could he connect unless …”

“Unless there’s a blood bond.” Keen said, scratching his chin.

“But I thought you were the donor for Fury?” I said, suddenly feeling as though the floor were tilting beneath me.

“No. I never donated. I figured it would make me connected in ways that wouldn’t be helpful, and it might bias me in my work, work that I couldn’t afford to be biased in. I thought of all of the SNTs as my children, and I loved them all equally, or I tried to. But Fury had my heart anyway, it didn’t matter that he wasn’t my child physically.

“Manning had always referred to me as Fury’s father, and in a way I am, as I am to all of the SNTS. But mine was not the sperm that gave Fury life.”

I felt as my heart would explode from my chest. “It’s Fallon then, isn’t it? Fallon was the donor. And Apocalypse is also from his sperm.”

“It’s more likely that Apocalypse is cloned from Fury. It’s not impossible that Fallon could have bribed someone for a sample of Fury’s genetic material before Fury was born. It’s always easy enough to trump up charges and threaten someone or someone’s family with indenture. That would explain why Gerando could communicate with the Apocalypse. Technically, they’re brothers, just like Gerando and Fury are.”

 

 

As we moved into Keen’s lab, I dropped into the nearest chair, my mind racing. “And Fury knows this.”

“Of course Fury knows this, though he didn’t before Gerando and the message from Apocalypse. It wasn’t difficult to figure out.”

“And yet I missed it. I fucking missed it,” I said, scrubbing a hand over my face.

“Of course you missed it. You were face to face with a man who had tortured you and made your life a living hell. That’s the reason SNTs can override their compliments when the situation demands it.” He laid his hand on my shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “But most of the time, most of the time, the compliment has the last word because it’s the humanity of the SNTs that makes them so powerful, and that humanity can only be fully accessed through the compliment.” He heaved a sigh. “I guess it’s the same as any mated couple. The two are always more themselves, stronger, better when they’re one. It’s not simple mathematics in a humanoid bonding. One and one is always way more than two. But that’s ten times more the case with a SNT bonding.” He chuckled softly and his lips curved into that inward smile I’d seen on people’s faces when they took a little private walk down memory lane. “I used to lay awake at night dreaming about what Fury would be like when he was bonded. I saw astounding results in all of the SNT pairings – every one unique, every one opening up possibilities that I would have never even thought of before the bondings. And Fury, well Fury was so much more than we could have ever imagined just by the nature of his creation. That you were created the same way, that you were so much his compliment that it was like you were already one even before he left space dock. I’ve ached for him and his emptiness so often. I tried to get him to bond with Ina, because the pairing would have worked, and because I didn’t think you would ever be free, I didn’t think you would even live to meet Fury.” He settled into a chair next to me, and held my gaze. “You see, Fury and Manning didn’t let me in on their little plan to rescue you from the Dubrovnik – not that I had contact with them all that often. They also didn’t tell me that they’d been keeping a close watch on you for a long time before that.”

I shook my head, fighting back emotions that if I lived, if any of us lived, I would one day have to deal with. “I wondered why I always felt close to Manning when we’d meet in ports, and we both laughed at the coincidence, which was no coincidence at all. And the first time I boarded Fury, it was like coming home.” I swallowed back the tightness in my throat. “He … he fit me, both he and Manning.” I forced a laugh, “I actually remember thinking once that we were like an old mated couple, like I was his wife, intuiting his needs and what he could do for me, and wanting to find ways to thank him, to please him. All right, I know that pilots are a superstitious, sometimes a bit loopy, but with Fury it was different from the beginning, like I’d found the other part of me.”

Keen touched my hand where it rested on the desktop. “Because you had found the other part of you. Listen to me, Diana, the one thing we don’t have is time, and we need a fully bonded SNT if we have any chance of surviving when clearly we can’t evacuate. As much as it will break my heart to do it, if you don’t bond with Fury, I’ll have to force the issue and bond him with Ina.”

The thought made my heart clench so hard, I thought it would stop beating, but before I could speak, Keen continued. “It won’t be right. It’ll break his heart and hers, and certainly Richard’s, and he won’t be nearly as powerful as he would be if he were properly bonded to his intended, the one born to him, but if I have to, if you force me to I will. There’s too much at stake.”

“I was born for him,” I grabbed his hand and squeezed it so hard that knuckles pop. “Keen, don’t you see, I was born for him. If I was created for Fury and Apocalypse is cloned from Fury, then surely Apocalypse will sense me and reach out to me in the same way, maybe even more so than he did with Gerando and Fury, if it’s true what you say and an SNT isn’t complete without his compliment then perhaps I can connect, communicate with him.

Keen’s forehead wrinkled in thought, then he opened a channel. “Well it’s worth a try.”

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 51: Brand New KDG Read

It’s Friday, which means it’s Fury time again. This week Gerando and Rab show up at Pandora Base with bad news all around. 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 51: Bad News From Brothers

 

Blood Bros! Blood Bros! Blood Bros 123!

“Wait a minute. I recognize that ship’s signature, but it can’t be.” My stomach clenched so hard I thought I would vomit. “It’s … It’s the Ares.”

“You’re fucking kidding me? I should have killed that little shit when I had the chance!” Manning said. “What do you say, Fury? Time to blow that bastard bastard out of the sky?”

BloodBrosBloodBrosBloodbros plz! Plz! PLZ!

“That message, while it emanates from the Ares, it is not from the Ares. It is

for me.”

I didn’t know if it were possible for me to feel Fury’s tension, but I was sure I did. “For you? I don’t understand.”

“Nor do I,” he said, “but I believe it comes from another ship, it is a message the Ares is piggybacking. Open a channel.”

Manning didn’t argue, and for a second, I didn’t recognize the face that flashed on the screen, it was so ravaged by the SNT virus, “This is an urgent message for Fury and for Pandora Base.”

“Jesu Vaticanus!” I came out of my seat and leaned forward over the console. “Gerando? What the hell happened?”

“You bloody well deserve it, whatever the hell it was,” Manning interjected.

“They have been infected with the SNT virus,” Fury said, and that made Manning shut up fast.

Gerando didn’t wait for an invitation to speak, an act, which was clearly painful for him. “Pandora Base has been compromised. Listen to me!” He said when Manning opened his mouth to respond. “We don’t have much time. The Svalbard has been destroyed along with its crew. Before they were destroyed, they sent a subspace transmission, which my father intercepted. He doesn’t know that anyone else knows. But the Apocalypse leaked the message to the Ares while the ship was being prepped.”

“So let me get this straight,” Manning said. “First the Apocalypse blows the Svalbard out of the sky and then leaks you the message to give to us? You can’t seriously expect us to believe that any of you are working for the good guys, and –”

“Shut up! The Apocalypse has no more choice than we do,” Gerando managed and, with the effort he dissolved into a fit of deep chested coughing.

“Fucking Fallon tortured the Svalbard’s science officer, Markov, used truth drugs on him.” For the first time we became aware that Leo Rab was onboard, and not looking much better than Gerando. He took over while Gerando coughed like he would hack up his insides. “There was nothing the poor man could do. He told the bastard everything before he died. Fallon knows about what’s going on at Pandora Base. He knows about the cure for the SNT virus, why the fuck do you think he infected us? He also knows that you’re here, McAllister, and he knows the Fury’s SNT1.”

“I still don’t understand why he infected you and sent you here.” Keen joined the party. Up until now, Pandora Base had maintained radio silence.

“He’s convinced you’ll let the shields down to take the Ares inside,” Gerando took back over. “He doesn’t think you’ll let us die, then he can take what he wants without destroying any of the valuable research. He can also take Fury and you, MacAllister.”

Manning grabbed my hand and held it tight as Keen spoke again. “He’ll destroy us either way. He’s got to know Pandora Base can’t stand against him.”

“But if he’s forced to destroy the shields he’ll destroy what’s inside too, and he doesn’t want that.”

 

 

“In other words either way, bend over and kiss our asses good-bye,” Manning said.

“How long do we have?” Keen asked.

“Not long enough,” came Rab’s reply. “Maybe nine hours. The Apocalypse gave us a little speed boost or Fallon woulda been riding the Ares’ ass right on in. But it’s still only enough for a warning, maybe for the chance to maybe evacuate.”

“And how the hell do you suggest we do that?” I said. “The only ship we have is Fury, and he can’t defend the base and evacuate it at the same time all alone.”

“I don’t believe that I shall have to,” Fury broke into the conversation. “Is that not correct, Gerando Fallon?”

“That’s right. You won’t,” Gerando replied.

“Care to explain,” Manning asked.

“The message from the Apocalypse,” Fury said. “While cryptic, he was counting on the comprehension of another SNT.”

“Another SNT? What the fuck? Has Fallon managed to commandeer one of the missing ships?” Manning said.

“No. The Apocalypse is a hybrid, only half formed, only half SNT. That’s why he struggles to communicate, and it’s why he could not override Fallon’s command to destroy the Svalbard.”

“And the bro 123? What’s that all about,” I asked.

 

“It means, Fury, you’re not an only child, son.” This time it was Rab who spoke up.

“What the hell does that mean,” Manning asked.

“It means whoever’s seed fathered me, has fathered others as well, but that is not unusual. Our seed, those of us who were seeded via sperm and egg, rather than cloned, was donor sperm, after all. Be that as it may, Pandora Base is still at risk, and we have very little time. I must ask what you need of me, Professor Keen?”

“Is there any way we can find out just how much help we can get from the Apocalypse,” Keen asked,” because no matter how pure his heart is, if Fallon controls the weapons, then it won’t be enough.”

“And what about them,” Manning asked.

“There’s nothing you can do for us.” I was surprised when it was Gerando Fallon who spoke. “My old man might have been counting on you lowering the shields to get us inside the base, but he wouldn’t have left it to chance. He had to suspect we would find a way to get a message to you in advance. He had to expect after what he’d done to us we might happily betray him. I don’t believe for one moment that he wouldn’t consider booby-trapping us, and we were both unconscious for several hours. We have no way of knowing what he did while we were unconscious. So there’s nothing you can do.”

“If you could blow us out of the sky before it gets too bad, that would be a kindness,” Rab said, “probably one we don’t deserve, but it would be appreciated.”

“The space dock is outside the shields,” Fury said. “I’m ‘tranning them onboard.”

“What?” Both Manning and I said in unison.

“I don’t want them on this ship.” The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them, and I wouldn’t have if I could have. I knew what Gerando Fallon was capable of. I bore scars from what he was capable of, but before I could say anything else, Fury spoke in a voice suddenly gone cold.

“That choice is not yours to make.”

I felt those words like a killing punch to my heart and, for a moment, I couldn’t breathe. “You’re right. It’s not.” Even as I managed the words I knew he’d already done it.

“They can be safely contained in the hold and Fury will be able to see if they are booby trapped.” Manning’s voice was apologetic, but it no longer mattered. “It’s the best place for them.”

“The best place for them is out the airlock,” I managed around the weight on my chest and the knot in my stomach. And then I left.

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 50: Brand New KDG Read

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 — ”

Bro 123!

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.”

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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