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Posts Tagged ‘brand new KDG serial read’

Dragon Ascending Part 10: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone!  Friday means it’s time for another episode of Dragon Ascending. Last week Fury decided to give the salvage ship with the crew who, had  brutalized our mystery woman a little journey they hadn’t anticipated. This week we discover that Fury and his crew are being stalked. 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!

If you missed the previous episode of Dragon Ascending follow the link for a catch-up. If you wish to start from the beginning, of Dragon Ascending. Follow the link.  

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 SNT Ships 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 10: Inheritance Issues

Tenad Fallon was tired of waiting. Oh she could be patient, as patient as she had to be, but under the circumstances, she found it unusually tedious, and it made her very cross that her fucking brother was apparently not as worthless as she assumed him to be, when he was motivated by the loss of a substantial inheritance. Still, she would have assumed by the time any of the inner circle of Fallon brats had managed to get their shit together enough to realize they would have to act like grown-ups, she would have been halfway back from the Outer Rim, happily ensconced in SNT1 Fury and flush with the entirety of the Fallon fortune Fury and her older fucking brother had stolen from her.

But her older fucking brother was not her problem at the moment. Underestimating Jessup, her younger brother was, and it would not happen again. She’d be damned if she’d lead him to Fury, even if the false direction would cost her the only lead she had. Her Jaegers had been following the scant leads concerning SNT1 for three weeks now, and her long range scanners had finally sighted what could have been no other ship but an SNT. Certainly no other ship could have led them on such a merry chase. She had forgotten how much fun it was to have a proper hunt with a worthy opponent. And then, fucking Jessup had joined the party, smart enough to let her do all the work, stupid enough to think she would let him get away with it. She would not see her father’s wealth squandered, and Jessup never could see the big picture. He was not a long-term thinker. Jessup was not a thinker at all as long as he could get the Mist. She would make sure he well and truly paid for what he had cost her once she had SNT1 under her control and had taken back all that it had stolen from her.

But Jessup would get off easy compared to the senior Fallon bastard. She still could not believe how badly they had all underestimated Gerando. He had always been a loose cannon, but for the most part, he was a cruel, sex addled drunk, sobering only long enough to beat someone or destroy an outpost in an angry rage, or fuck a whore or two and then beat them. Gerando Fallon was a disappointment to his father, and a laughing stock to the rest of the Fallon bastards, who figured if they just bided their time, their eldest brother would either get himself killed in some bar brawl or by his own father. She still didn’t have all the facts of what had happened to her father out at Plague 1, but she was sure SNT1 Fury could fill her in on the details once it belonged to her. It must surely be one helluva story. She would have never imagined Gerando would have the backbone not only to defy their father but also to betray him, take control of the Apocalypse, and hand over the entire Fallon fortune to a damned SNT ship, including the power to free all of Abriad Fallon’s indentureds. And now word had gone out all over Authority space and beyond that somehow the SNT virus, engineered to keep indentureds from being tempted to flee their masters, had mutated and was now highly contagious on Plague 1. No one had known for years what was actually happening on the first and oldest of the plague planets because no one went there anymore. It was assumed that everyone there was long dead, though no one cared one way or another.

Still something had interested her father enough that he took the Apocalypse out to that nasty place, and then, whatever it was, enticed him to blow himself out his own airlock, crazed with the mutated virus. Or so the story went. She couldn’t seriously believe Gerando was bright enough to plan and carry out such a complex plot, nor did she think he had the balls to actually kill the old man, though in all honesty, every Fallon brat old enough to have contact with their old man would sing Gerando’s praises for that blessing, even as they all had wet dreams of slitting his throats. Or worse.

She supposed anything could happen, but the story as it was didn’t ring true. And that Gerando could have handed all of the family inheritance over to an SNT just sounded bogus. He was just as much a greedy little shit as the rest of them were. Well, obviously he hadn’t handed over quite all of the fortune. She was not stupid enough to depend entirely on the old man’s unpredictable largesse. She had a fortune in her own right, the beginnings of an empire of her own. She’d had a head for business, no chemical addictions – that was saying something among the younger Fallons — and she didn’t trust any of them. But if she wanted to build her own empire as she envisioned it on those long nights when she could not sleep for the planning of it, then she would need her father’s fortune too. And she would have it.

 

 

Apparently the old fucker’s will was legit, at least that’s what the lawyers told her. It would seem that SNT1 Fury truly was Abriad Fallon’s eldest child. Fury had achieved full consciousness long before it had left space doc, and it had been instrumental in the design and creation of all of the fifteen ships that came after and were launched before SNT1 was actually fully operational. Oh it didn’t surprise her that her father’s sperm had been used in the fertilization of the egg that would grow into SNT1, calling itself Fury now. Her loving father had been a fucking panspermia in his own right. His one and only hobby seemed to be making bastards, setting them against each other and watching while they squabbled. It was a spectator sport for him. She’d heard the man had even taken bets on which one would come out on top. She didn’t doubt it for a minute. The smart women he’d knocked up got as far from the Fallon snake pit as they could and kept the parentage of their bastards secret. All of the Fallon bastards had reason to hate him, probably no one more than Gerando, but dear old dad had made sure to spread that warm Fallon family feeling all around. The last time she had seen him he’d told her she was the one most like him. Vaticana Jesu, she hoped that wasn’t true. That she was not a nice person she knew only too well. It was knowledge she could live with. She had cultivated what she considered her stronger qualities, the ones that would assure her place at the top of the bastard heap when the squabbling ended. But she had not tried to emulate Abriad Fallon. His only redeeming quality was that he was dead. It was just like him to leave all of their inheritance to a goddamned SNT ship just because his spunk was a contributing factor.

“Well, SNT1 Fury,” she said out loud, “if the old man wanted to leave his shit to the most impressive of his bastards, you’re definitely that. The question is do you have the balls to hold onto it. If the SNTs had not been weak to begin with, they would be ruling the galaxy now.”

She had not left her chambers since they’d led her brother on a merry chase and then pulled in nice and quiet-like into the nebular dust beyond Vodni Outpost, if one could even call the place an outpost. There, they waited with an necessary visit to the damned outpost to look forward to once they came out of hiding. The dump was barely big enough to be a station, it had somehow managed to survive halfway between Authority Space and the Outer Rim. No doubt the place’s connections had connections amid the smugglers on both sides. Surely that would be essential to survive out here in the fucking beyond.

Kresho Ivanovic ran the station with an iron fist, or so she had been told. She would find out soon enough how much iron was in that fist, since his station would have the privilege of resupplying the Virago. God, she hated to resupply at insignificant outposts. They were boring for one thing. There was little entertainment for her people, and what supplies were available were often substandard and inadequate to her needs. While she didn’t mind if she ate space rations for months on end, and she didn’t drink, so the bars didn’t interest her, experience had taught her that keeping her crew satisfied meant they would not question, nor falter, when her orders were less than copasetic. Whenever she could use the carrot rather than the stick, the Virago ran more smoothly. Not that she wasn’t very, very good at using the stick, and she supposed that probably aided in the fact that her bespoke Jaeger ran like a well oiled machine. What she found inadequate was the supply of ammo and weapons. And the supply of triax was most often completely inadequate. She would have to see what she could wring out of Ivanovic, and even then she would be forced to resupply again sooner than she really wanted to.

There was a soft ping at her door and it slid open without her consent. It was only her personal med-bot. It needed no consent to enter. It was programmed to her vital signs. Its only task was to monitor her wellbeing and safeguard her health. The bot stopped as the door slid silently shut behind it and paused, confused for a moment. And then Tenad remembered the man in her bed. He had not moved for nearly an hour now. But as she discarded the bloodied white robe and stepped out of it, turning her lacerated back and buttocks to the bot, it moved into action. She would not allow herself the comfort of lying down, not when her injuries had been consensual, in fact commanded. “No pain killers,” she said quietly, though the bot was already programmed to that fact. This night, she wanted to feel every bit of the pain. She leaned forward and rested raised arms against the wall, feeling fresh blood trickle down her lats.

 

 

Dragon Ascending Part 9: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone!  Friday means it’s time for another episode of Dragon Ascending. Last week Mac, Manning and Fury interrogated the crew of the rescued ship concerning the fate of the mysterious woman. This week, as the crew reveals the facts about our missing woman, Fury decides to give the ship and crew a little journey they hadn’t anticipated. 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!

If you missed the previous episode of Dragon Ascending, follow the link for a catch-up. If you wish to start from the beginning, of Dragon Ascending. Follow the link.  

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

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 9: An Extended Journey

“Did you kill her?” Manning asked.

“No! No, we didn’t, we wouldn’t,” he whined. “We put her down exactly where she asked us to. She was roughed up a bit, but,” he tried to chuckle, “some women like it rough.”

“Lie to me, and I will absolutely see that you get the shackle,” Mac growled. “There was way too much blood for her to have only been a little bit roughed up.”

“We left her by the big salvage yard in the Sea of Death, just like she asked, and she walked away under her own power. I swear it. Give me truth drug, hell give us all truth drug, just please don’t shackle us.”

“What did she want there?” Fury asked, and all three men looked around again to see who spoke.

“We don’t know,” the engineer said. “All we know is that she was systematically searching the salvage yards on this rock. She said something about archeology or anthropology, something like that, but she didn’t look much like any science type I ever saw. Scrawny thing. Dirty. But then hell everyone is out here where water’s worth more than Triax.”

“She never told us much about whatever it was she was studying,” the captain spoke again, holding his broken nose as it bled into his hand. “She paid us in trade when she hitched the ride. She got her hand on some pretty good shit from scavenging through the salvage yards. Gave us a lot better deal than any of the traders would have.” The med-bot came back in to treat his nose, and he gave a sharp curse as it was set.

“We planned to follow her and see what it was she was looking for this time around, but then the yard in the Sea of Death has a de-mole shield. Why the hell would there be a de-mole shield around a damn salvage yard in the middle of the Sea of Death, I can’t imagine. Whatever’s in there must be worth a fortune.”

Fury and his crew knew exactly why there might be a de-mole shield around the perimeter. Mac returned her attention to what the man was saying.

 

 

“We didn’t fancy going up against it,” said the engineer.” Ain’t nothing worth risking demolecularization over. And we reckoned she’d just sit around on her ass and wait for us to come back.”

“But you thought she’d be just fine waiting it out for three days in a dangerous place like that,” Manning said.

“Well she managed last time she was there, so there must have been a cave or something.” He shrugged, “Or she lied about being there before. Maybe the de-mole perimeter wasn’t there then, hell I don’t know. Alls I know is that she said pick her up in three days.”

“And would you?” Mac shoved into the man’s personal space almost nose to nose, the smell nearly making her eyes water. “Would you have come back for her after what you did to her?”

“Of course we would,” the captain said as the med-bot backed off finished with its work. The man did his best to looked shocked at her insinuations, but Mac didn’t need Fury to tell her that their plan was iffy at best. “Ain’t no one could survive that deep in the Taklaman to walk to the nearest outpost. We had the coordinates. Check our computer. The flight was already programmed in. Then we figured, if she did find a way in, we’d get her to share that information with us.” A blush rose to his cheeks and then the color vanished as he realized what he had just said. Then he shrugged. “Not like she had a choice but to come back with us.”

“Look lady,” the engineer huffed out a frustrated breath, “I mean agent, we got a little drunk, that’s all. And we got rowdier than we intended with her. We never meant to hurt her.”

“‘Tran them aboard their ship and get them out of my sight,” Mac said. “I don’t care where the fuck you send them, just make it a long way from me.” She barely heard the eruption of their protests before they vanished back onto their own ship and it vanished nearly as fast, with a little help from Fury. She made it into the elevator and then she collapsed onto the floor, dropping her head between her knees shaking like she would fall apart. Manning settled next to her on the floor, not touching her at first, knowing that she felt like she might puke her guts. Saying what she’d said had cost her, had brought back memories of being shackled. She knew it had for him as well, and that he was more than likely as nauseated as she was. She felt Fury’s concerned support on the other side. She was not an indentured anymore, and neither was Manning. They were family, Fury’s family, and she knew they had work, important work to do. She took a deep breath and blinked back tears, then soaked in the comfort and empathy of her two men until the shakes and the nausea eased.

Then, with their help, she gained her feet and they got off on the flight deck where they settled her in her chair just as the screen revealed the last view of the vanishing ship from long-range scanners. It was only then that she was calm enough to ask what no one had said, recalling vividly Griffin, in his infancy, ‘tranning Abriad Fallon into space for all that he had done to his son, to her, to so many people. “Fury, what did you do to them?” She finally asked.

“They are back on their ship, just as you requested. I have reprogrammed its computer with new coordinates for their very long journey. They will find themselves going much faster than they’d planned. Oh they shall not starve. I have seen to their basic needs but only just barely.”

“Beyond the Rift,” Manning said with a little shiver.

They both got the sense that Fury was nodding. “As for their desire to abuse those weaker than they are, well, I have given them my own version of the shackle in their rations. They will not have much interest in sex and certainly not such abuse for a very long time, not unless they take a great deal of pleasure in violent vomiting fits.”

This time they both shivered, and Fury simply said. “Now we must see if we may locate this woman. I have taken the liberty of ‘tranning her pack onboard, but there is little in it that if of assistance, I am afraid. Nevertheless, I fear our woman’s situation must surely be urgent. Then perhaps once we have seen to her immediate needs we shall discover what is so important about the Sea of Death.”

They both knew exactly what Fury believed was so important down there. And if one of his missing siblings was in hiding way out here, then whichever one it was, they had most definitely lost their way.

 

Dragon Ascending Part 8: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope that as you head into the long weekend, you have a good read picked out and a sunny spot to read it in. If it rains, then a nice dry place to enjoy a cuppa and a good read while you watch it rain.  Friday means it’s time for another episode of Dragon Ascending. Last week Fury and his crew come to the rescue of a ship only to discover that its crew had been up to something sinister. This week Mac, Manning and Fury interrogate the crew of the rescued ship concerning the fate of the mysterious woman. 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!

If you missed the previous episode of Dragon Ascending, follow the link for a catch-up. If you wish to start from the beginning, of Dragon Ascending. Follow the link.  

Dragon Ascending

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 8: They Reek of Fear and Violence

“They reek of fear and violence,” Fury commented, as Mac and Manning approached the holding cell. They were monitoring their guest’s abusive demands to be released. Their behavior was not that of the innocent. “I have fixed their ship,” Fury added. “Perhaps I will program it to take them on a one way tour of the system’s sun. A warm vacation might be just what they need to relieve the stress under which they’re about find themselves.”

The injections to combat radiation poisoning had been administered by a med-bot, and the three men had been decontaminated before Fury would permit Mac and Manning to enter the cell. “According to the med-bot’s data stream, there were other injuries,” Fury informed them as the lift descended. “The data stream confirms that all three have recently had sex and it was not masturbatory.” Mac shivered and knot tightened in her stomach. Fury was sometimes the king of TMI. He continued with his assessment “One has a broken nose, recently and badly set. The ship’s med-bot is not functioning. One has bites to his tongue and on both lips some self-inflicted, some not, and there are scratches and bite marks on his face, which were of course, not self inflicted. There are also contusions and cuts on the captain’s knuckles conducive to hitting someone, and he has a cracked rib. The woman fought back. However, I cannot say whether she survived for she was not onboard.”

“Fuck,” Manning said. “Whatever happened it wasn’t a friendly party. If she’s dead,” he added.

“Then so are they.” Fury finished for him. Mac didn’t argue. The lift opened, and they stood in front of the pressure door that separated the main cargo hold from what was now being used as the brig. Mac stopped and took a deep breath.

“You sure you want to do this?” Manning placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “You know you don’t have to.” She gave a single nod and just her willing it to do so opened the door.

The men had been sitting on the floor against the wall. They were given no comfort. They all sprang to the feet, and the captain took an aggressive step forward. “Who the hell are you? You have no right to hold us prisoner, bitch.”

“The bitch is the one who saved your worthless carcasses, and she just happens to be an Authority agent, asshole,” Manning said stepping in by her side and shoving the man back with a flat palm hard enough to expel the oxygen from his lungs, “and she doesn’t take kindly to abuse.” That shut them all up, and Mac too for a moment.

“Just go with it,” Fury said inside her head. “Richard Manning can be quite the actor when he chooses, and we both know you can con anyone.”

The three men stood before her, pale and smelling of nerves and guilt. She and Manning both had enhance senses thanks to their bonding with Fury, and at the moment, in the tight quarters, that was not a nice thing. She paced in front of the three letting the depth of the shit they were in sink in a little bit, then she spoke. “Before you bother denying anything, remember, we have ways to get the answers we want, ways none of you is strong enough to withstand.” Vaticana Jesu, she would have rolled her eyes at that corny remark, and Manning would have laughed his ass off, but there was nothing humorous about the situation. And the three men didn’t seem to find it humorous in the least. “You’re ship’s registered in the New Kingston sector. What business do you have in the Taklamakan?”

“Salvage. Why the fuck else would anyone be out here in this shit hole?” The captain replied. He didn’t like being questioned by a woman.

“Delivering or buying?”

 

“Brought in a load of spent solar cells. We had some bad luck on the way so we set down for repairs.”

“From the looks of it you need a few more repairs,” she observed. “What happened?”

“Apparently we missed a small rupture in the fuel tank,” the man said, then he added with an ingratiating smile. “It’s an old ship.”

“He’s lying,” came Fury’s voice inside her head. “There was no rupture. The ship was targeted from the planetoid. Though he doesn’t know that. It all happened too fast. There is no such capability in the whole system.”

Except for an SNT in hiding, Mac thought. To the captain, she said, “sounds like you should fire your engineer.”

The man growled something under his breath about uppity cunts, then shut up right fast when Manning growled back and cracked his knuckles.

“No offence, but you’re a long way from Authority space out here,” the captain said. “And I’m not so dumb that I don’t know what an Authority Jaeger looks like, and this ain’t it.”

“I’d say you’re pretty dumb, not knowing when to keep your mouth shut,” she said. “You had a passenger. What happened to her?”

The three men went silent. There was a lot of subtle eye-sliding between them. Nothing Fury or any of his crew would miss. “We dropped her off at a big salvage Dump out in the Sea of Death, just like she asked.”

“Hitching a ride, was she?” Mac asked. “I hear the Sea of Death isn’t exactly a vacation paradise. What? You were just planning to leave her there?”

There was some more half whispered curses, and the captain said. “We were in high orbit, lady. She paid us to pick her up again in three galactic days. I don’t know why the fuck she went there.”

“But you weren’t planning to come back for her, were you?” All three men went pale.

“Course we were. We told her all bets were off though if we got in trouble, like with our ship or anything. We told her – ”

“Did she pay you to beat her and violate her as well? Did she pay you to kick her out in the Sea of Death without her pack?” To Mac’s surprise it was Fury who spoke. The tightening in Manning’s shoulders told her he was surprised too, but Mac was sure if Fury hadn’t said something, Manning might have bashed in the man’s face for him.

“Hold on now,” the man raised both hand and backed away, “the bitch was willing enough to party, she was asking for it. Me and the boys, we – ”

Mac cut him off with a backhand that knocked him off his feet, cursing as he went down. He raised his hand to another broken nose to add to the list of crew injuries and a grunted nasal comment about a ball-busting bitch.

“The ball busting bitch has the authority to shackle your sorry ass and send you back to the nearest Triax mine.” The words were out of her mouth before Mac could be appalled, and she felt the shock run through the rest of her crew, but neither Fury nor Manning said anything. Suddenly the room was deathly silent. Feeling slightly queasy even at the thought of shackling anyone, she took a deep breath, forced a lazy smile and said. “They’re always looking for more help in the Triax mines. If we turn the three of you over, well, there’d be a nice bonus for me and my crew.”

“Please, lady,” the engineer spoke up, glancing nervously at his captain on the floor. “We haven’t done anything deserving the shackle. We’ll tell you anything you want to know. Anything.”

“Did you kill her?” Manning asked.

“No! No, we didn’t, we wouldn’t,” he whined. “We put her down exactly where she asked us to. She was roughed up a bit, but,” he tried to chuckle, “some women like it rough.”

“Lie to me, and I will absolutely see that you get the shackle,” Mac growled. “There was way too much blood for her to have only been a little bit roughed up.”

“We left her by the big salvage yard in the Sea of Death, just like she asked, and she walked away under her own power. I swear it. Give me truth drug, hell give us all truth drug, just please don’t shackle us.”

 

 

Dragon Ascending Part 7: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone!  I  hope last weeks reading highlights for March gave you some great ideas for fabulous reads. As always I’d love to hear from you if you find a great read and you want to share. This week, however, it’s time for another episode of Dragon Ascending. In our last longer bonus instalment we had a reunion with Fury, Mac and Manning. This week Fury and his crew come to the rescue of a ship and discover the crew has been up to something sinister. 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!

If you missed the previous episode of Dragon Ascending, follow the link for a catch-up. If you wish to start from the beginning, of Dragon Ascending. Follow the link. 

Dragon Ascending

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 7: Damages and Consequences

“There’s a ship coming in fast.”

“Shit!” Manning said. “Another Jaeger?”

“It is not,” came the reply. “And it is alone. It is sending a distress signal.” He put the other ship and it’s message on screen, but Fury and his compliment were cloaked and invisible to anything but another SNT.

The ship was tiny, an older starling class, battered and clearly not well cared for. “No doubt smugglers,” Manning observed. “Probably down on their luck come to Taklamakan Major to steal from the salvage dumps.”

The pilot was a scruffy man, who looked like he could use a bath. Mac wrinkled her nose at the thought. He was speaking the common tongue. She glanced at the telemetry. “They’re venting oxygen, and there’s a radiation leak. Ship’s in worse shape than some of the junk in the yards.”

“It will crash onto the planetoid if I do not tractor it,” Fury said.

“Do it,” Manning ordered. “And ‘tran the crew into the cargo bay.” There was no real need to tell Fury any of this, but there was a routine they had fallen into, and it comforted them all when they were together for the long haul, without seeing another being for endless stretches of time. Not that they were ever bored, nor did they ever have cabin fever, not with Fury, but for each of them to fulfill a role, was the maintaining of a structure on which their lives were now built. Manning was the captain, Mac was the pilot and Fury contained them, maintained them and cared for all three of them.

“I have them in the tractor beam,” Fury said.

To which the captain of the smaller vessel responded, “what the fuck?”

“You’re being ‘tranned into our cargo bay for radiation treatment until we access and repair your ship,” Fury responded.

“Wait a minute, ‘tranned? Are you fucking crazy? No ‘tranning! There’s been -” The crew of three were ‘tranned mid-rant.

 

 

“They sound charming,” Mac said. “Though I suppose considering that molecular transport is illegal and not nearly sophisticated enough for human transport, you can’t really blame them.”

“There is little choice,” Fury said. “Their ship is not safe for humanoids and I cannot fix it with them on board, nor will I risk any of my compliment to treat them under such dangerous circumstances.”

“Can you fix it?” Manning asked.

“I can. It should not take long. The repairs necessary are not complex, only the ship’s crew cannot manage the task on their own, and they have not properly cared for the vessel.” The sharp edge is Fury’s voice at the poor maintenance of a ship made his disapproval clear, but then with Fury’s mix of tech and biology, he could not keep from being sensitive to what he viewed as mistreatment. “I already do not like these men,” he commented. Both Manning and Mac nodded agreement.

“Let’s get them treated and sorted and out of here ASAP,” Manning said.

A sudden sense of static ran over both their skin and they shivered. “What is it, Fury?” Manning asked. “What’s wrong?”

“There is the scent of sex on all three of these men, one woman, and there is the scent of her blood. It was not consensual.”

“Fucking hell,” Mac cursed. “And she’s not onboard.”

“She is not.” The static of Fury’s anger rose.

“Then blow the bastards out the airlock,” Manning said.

“No wait.” Mac laid a hand on Manning’s arm, and the other against Fury’s consol. “If she’s still alive, she may need help.”

Manning blew out a sharp breath and nodded. Fury cursed, something he seldom did.

“Then we shall question them severely. I will do it myself.”

“Let me do it,” Mac said.

“No!” Both of her men said at the same time.

“What? You don’t think the two of you can rescue me if three men with radiation poisoning in our tight little cargo cabin get stroppy,” she used the term cargo cabin loosely. Where the men were was the place maintained to isolate certain types of humanoids from the rest of Fury’s compliment and from seeing what was not meant for them to see. In essence it was a jail when need be.

“Of course we could easily rescue you from these wastrels, dear Mac. It was our concern that this task shall be difficult for you, Mac, after what has been done to you.”

“But it will make me a helluva lot scarier than either of you could ever be.”

Manning rubbed his chin and nodded. “I’ve seen you scary, Mac.” She could feel Fury giving the SNT equivalent of a nod.

“Then I shall keep a lock on you at all times.”

“I’d expect nothing less,” she replied.

“And I’m coming with,” Manning added.

“Fair enough. I’ve seen you scary too, Manning,” she said.

“And if the two of you are not scary enough, I reserve the right to be terrifying.”

“We reserve the right to let you,” Mac said. She knew of nothing that frightened her more that the lengths to which an SNT would go to protect his compliment.

 

 

Dragon Ascending Part6: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone!  Today’s episode of Dragon Ascending is a longer bonus read to reintroduce you to some old friends and make a few connections. Last week we left our derelict ship trying to safe the life of the mysterious desert woman. This week, in his efforts to outrun authority hunter ships, Fury senses something on Taklamakan Major very much out of place. 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!

If you missed the previous episode of Dragon Ascending, follow the link for a catch-up. If you wish to start from the beginning, of Dragon Ascending. Follow the link. 

 

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 6: Something that Should Not be There

Diana Mac sensed Fury’s drop in speed more than felt it, and so did Manning, who struggled up from sleep next to her. Both felt the lack of Fury’s immediate warmth. Being an SNT ship, he was quite literally everywhere, and yet he usually shared their bed with a presence as nearly physical to them as their own, and both of his humanoid complements felt his absence when he withdrew. That was a part of the bond they shared.

As they felt his absence he felt their wakefulness, and they sensed something more than a random fluctuation in his normal functioning around them. It could only be defined in human terms as excitement laced liberally with tension.

“There is something in this sector.” He said before they could ask. “Something that should not be here.”

“Something like what?” Manning asked slipping into his trousers and heading for the deck, with Mac not far behind him. Being connected as they all were, they could have simply accessed his thoughts. But Fury had stressed to them early in their relationship the importance of compliments and their ship maintaining boundaries for the sake of sanity. He had said it so matter of factly, as though sanity were something that came and went like body odor or bad breath. Mac smiled at the thought. Perhaps that was the case with sentient ships. The data was still out she supposed, and if it were true, then they could be heading into either a wild goose chase or a shit storm.

On the deck, they looked out to find pretty much empty space, minus the dust. There was a fuck ton of dust in this sector for some reason. The only thing not completely obscured by the dust was a medium sized yellow star, and even it looked pale and anemic through the haze.

“I am certain I felt someone.”

“What someone?” Manning rubbed sleep from his eyes and squinted at the view screen. “You mean like an SNT? Out here?”

“I experienced a flash of power, of anguish, like nothing I have felt since the time of my own painful birth. It happened so quickly, even by SNT standards, and then it vanished.”

Mac was already checking the sensor logs. “I don’t see anything here.” She said.

“You would not.” Fury observed. “It was over too quickly. Nevertheless, I am certain.”

“So what you felt was an SNT in distress?” Manning turned and headed up to the map room and Mac followed. The three had only been together as a triad for a few months, but they were fully bonded and they worked as one unit. “Let’s see what we have in this area.” He pulled up the 3D map, “other than a whole lot of nothing.”

Mac squinted at the image until she saw nothing but spots. There were dozens of medium sized asteroids orbiting the star they had seen from the view screen. For some reason the perfect star for the evolution of rocky planets and human life had never managed more than two planetoids and a sporadic lacing of asteroids orbiting around it creating a series of thin rings of dust and ice for several astronomical units.

“Both planetoids are habitable, though just barely,” Manning observed. Taklamakan Minor is little more than a block of ice. The only permanent structure is a science station. The data says it was automated after the last attendant died. It’s operated now by a loose organization of scientist from the Outer Rim Alliance. At the moment, it’s visited once every galactic year-ish.”

“Taklamakan Major, on the other hand is a desert. According to data, it’s only real use is as one giant salvage yard. There are three small outposts on it. Fuck knows why. “Sunward, Windward and Sandstorm, all placed strategically on the edges of the most frequented salvage yards. Except for Sandstorm, it’s right smack dab in the middle of the biggest salvage dump. It’s called Sandstorm because it shifts periodically. Well every night, actually. Something in the gravitation and the prevailing winds results in hellacious sandstorms every night It’s the most isolated of the three outposts, in the opposite hemisphere from the other two.

“The only reason ships come here is to sell salvage or because they’re caught out on a long haul and need replacement parts. The whole place belongs to the Outer Rim Alliance. A bastard stepchild kind of place. Almost no association with the Authority.”

“That makes it a holiday destination in my book,” Mac said, as she scrolled down through the database.”

“Sounds delightful,” Manning commented with a chuckle.

“I will pack our bags immediately.” Fury said. “We are long overdue for a vacation.” Fury claimed to need work on his sense of humor, but Mac often thought on the long hauls when they saw no one but each other, it was his sense of humor that kept the enormity of the task set before them in perspective. The responsibility had fallen on them to follow what slim leads they could find on the whereabouts of SNTs that might or might not still exist, while remaining as unobtrusive as possible. That task was made all the more difficult when said SNTs definitely would not want to be found if they did still exist. They understood only too well that you did your best not to be discovered when the Authority would hunt you down and destroy you if they knew you existed.

 

 

When Mac was shanghaied onto Fury, she had not known that he was an SNT, SNT1, in fact, the pinnacle of sentient ship technology, and as far as they all knew, the last survivor of the sixteen sentient ships that had been bonded to humanoid compliments and sent out to make life better for all species everywhere. They had been funded by the Free Universities, who refused any involvement of the Authority. They were ultimately designed to put an end to the Authority scourge of indentured servitude.

Their mistake was in assuming that the Authority and the Conglomerates wanted to do away with indentured servitude. People were now born into the debts of their families and even some areas of the Authority were breeding indentureds. The wealth of the Authority and its conglomerates was built on the backs of indentured workers, and it was not ready to give that up.

Somehow Abriad Fallon and his cronies managed to engineer a virus derived from the one that was contained in its inactive form in every indentured’s shackle to reassure they could never escape without dying a long and horrific death. They then sabotaged the sentient ships with reengineered virus designed to infected the brains of the SNTs. Two went berserk and killed millions before the rest of the fleet discovered what had been done. Of the fifteen, nine were destroyed, literally disintegrated. Three gave themselves up and were decommissioned, their compliments either killed or indentured and sent away to hard labor in the triaxium mines. Those ships were hidden away in remote Authority space docks. The fate of three others was unknown. Some were believed to have escaped beyond the Outer Rim.

Fury was not among these fifteen. His birth was far more complicated and much more advanced scientifically. He was to be the flagship of the next generation of SNTs until the world fell apart. Then he barely escaped as a fugitive, the only one who knew the truth.

Fury was no longer alone, though. Due to circumstances Mac could have never imagined, he now had three brothers, though one was Gerando Fallon, Abriad’s eldest son. Mac still battled to get her head around those details. He was the only humanoid among Fury’s siblings and was now bonded in a strange sort of way to Griffon and Commander Ina Stanislavsky. With help from Fury’s core material, the third ship in his new family, The renegade Dubrovnik, had been reborn as an SNT ship as well. Yes, Fury had three brothers and they were all fugitives at the moment. Though Fury was a damn rich one, thanks to quick thinking on Gerando’s part that meant Fury inherited a huge fortune from their monster of a father, Abriad Fallon, which he managed to liquidate into accounts beyond the Rim before the rest of Abriad’s monster brood could contest the will and find ways to prevent it’s execution.

Yes, they were all fugitives, but not without their purpose. Finding the SNTs was now the three ships’ mission, well two of them at least. Dubrovnik was a flying fortress born of an orca class freighter the size of a small city. It was home to the scientists, researchers and residents from Plague 1. Plague 1 had been one of the two Plague planets, where those indentureds who were suffering from the virus were sent to live out their miserable lives. It just so happened that it was on Plague 1 that the cure had been discovered for the virus that made every indentured’s subdural shackle a living nightmare. Fury was to seek out the SNT ships from beyond the Outer Rim, and Griffon was to seek out the SNTs that might be hidden away in forgotten space docs in Authority space.

 

 

“Taklamakan Major would be an excellent place for an SNT to hide,” Fury commented. “While it is only loosely claimed as a part of the Rim Alliance, it is too far away to gain the Authority’s attention. And certainly it has nothing of interest for them. It is a very long way from almost anywhere.

From what we can tell, there are two, possibly three, ships that might be hiding out beyond the Rim and three in Authority doc yards we know of. Raven and Quetzalcoatl we know for sure escaped beyond the Rim, though we do not know what happened after their escape. Possibly Ourobos escaped as well. We know nothing of her.” Fury always listed the ships as if Mac and Manning didn’t already know, as if they hadn’t gone over that list a hundred times. And yet each time he did, it was as though they listened to the reading of a sacred family tree because to Fury, that was exactly what they were, and both Mac and Manning knew better than anyone else just how much family meant to Fury.

Fury continued. “Apollo, Aurora, Valkyrie have been decommissioned and are hidden in remote dock yards spread throughout Authority space. Merlin, Phoenix, Orion, Archangel, Calypso, Nautilus, Hebe, Terrebonne and Dragon were destroyed.”

They all knew the assumed fates of all the SNT ships in the aftermath of the virus outbreak onboard, but none knew better than Mac, except for Fury. For Fury repeating all of their names and their fates was a naming of his dead and of those missing in action. They were his family, family lost to him before any of them had a chance to fulfill the bright destiny for which they had been created, and Fury mourned their loss, just as Mac still mourned the loss of her father and his SNT, Merlin. To speak those names out loud was to honor their memory, was to promise every effort of reunion with those who survived.

“There should be no SNT ships hiding on Taklamakan Major,” Manning said.

“While we are beyond Authority space, in a sector that no one would have much reason to visit, this is far from where any of my family disappeared,” Fury said.

The truth was they were now fairly well off their own course for traveling to the areas of the Outer Rim where it was most likely that Quetzalcoatl, Raven and Ouroboros had gone into hiding. As expected the Authority, and especially the worst of the Fallon clan, did not take kindly to Fury’s inheriting the family fortune, nor to the loss of possible SNT tech from right under their noses. Oh, none of them mourned their father’s loss. They were all a bunch of rabid dogs waiting to devour each other at first opportunity. Tenad Fallon, daddy’s eldest daughter, was taking the loss of the Fallon fortune very personally, and it had only been in the last two galactic days that they had shaken her Authority Jaegers. But perhaps this was exactly where they needed to be.

“There’s a ship on long range scanners coming in fast.”

 

 
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