Happy Friday my Lovelies, and time for another chapter of 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. Remember this is a work in progress, so please be gentle with me. Last week we had the unpleasant experience of meeting Gerando’s father. This week Fury talks about his beginnings.
“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 32: SNT1 Fury
We sat on the bridge, Manning and me looking slightly worse for the wear. And Fury, well at the moment, I considered Fury the console I had fondled and caressed and talked to so often while piloting the ship. It was my suggestion that we go to the bridge because I wanted a physical representation of Fury there with us, though I had been reassured that none of the ship was a more accurate representation of Fury than any other.
“Are you the only SNT left?” I asked, still trying to get my head around the fact that just a few days ago I would have pushed the self-destruct button on any SNT ship that crossed my path without thinking twice. But then up until a few days ago, I thought they were all gone and certainly I never imagined I’d make love with one.
“I do not know,” came the reply. “There are confirmations of the deaths and destructions of nine SNTs and their bonded humaniod compliments. Three more are rumored to have been decommissioned and rendered harmless in remote space docks, the locations of which are top secret. As for Quetzalcoatl, Raven and Ouroboros, no one knows what has happened to them.” He added quickly, “If they do still exist, they will not want to be discovered any more than I do at this time.”
I turned my attention to Manning. “Then you’re Fury’s compliment?”
“You don’t look old enough to be bonded to an SNT,” I said.
He sipped his coffee and then stared down into the cup. “There were extenuating circumstances. While Fury was the only SNT born from a fertilized ovum, he was the last of the SNTs to be launched.”
“Being born rather than built as my brothers and sisters were, it took me somewhat longer to mature, you see,” Fury clarified.
“In spite of his late birth, Fury’s the prototype for the other SNTs.” Manning waved a dismissive hand. “It’s complicated. Anyway, bonding with me, well that wasn’t exactly a part of the plan.”
“Oh?” I stroked the console and then pulled my hand away struck by just how used to touching Fury I had become, and how important that touch had been almost from the beginning.
I was surprised when it was Fury who answered. “I suppose you could say that Richard Manning was shanghaied into working with me in much the same way you were.”
“I don’t understand.”
“It was theorized that I would have a stronger survival instinct, a deeper bond with my humanoid compliment than the other SNTs. My technology is far more sophisticated and was self-aware before my birth. In the early days of experimentation, it was believed that inserting the nanotechnology into an artificially fertilized ovum, just at the point of the sperm joining the egg was the process through which to grow a brain and a central nervous system that not only would become the core of a ship, but that would be, quite literally born to it. Most of those experiments failed very early on. I was the only one suited to the task. When it became evident that it would take far too long to birth a fleet of ships into existence, the cloning process was perfected using material from those Dr. Keen and his people felt most suited to the task. Contrary to what the world was told, no one was surgically implanted at the core of any SNT. The material, other than my own, was cloned. In fact some of my own genetic material was used for my brothers and sisters to enhance them, make them more like I would be when I was finally born. The other ships were up and operational long before my birth, and yet Professor Keen saw me as the next generation of SNTs. His plan was to clone me once I was ready. There are parts of my own circuitry, parts of my own consciousness that I do not have access to, much that I do not understand because I was sent out into the world before I was completed, sent out without my bonded compliment.”
“Jesus! How the hell can that even be?” I asked. “The SNT is as dependent on its bonded compliment as the compliment is on the SNT.”
“In most cases yes, and as I said, I was not complete, but I was highly functional, and able to accomplish the mission necessary. In addition I believe Dr. Keen wished me to survive above all others because I was unique. He … offered me a chance to evolve. It is he who holds the key to a great deal of my past, but then I am not entirely convinced that even he knows the whole story.”
“How did you escape,” I asked.
“I am also unique in that I can change and redesign my circuitry as well as my outer appearance to look, and to work as I, or my bonded needs me to. That means that with Richard Manning’s help, I am able to look the part of a small cargo ship, a barely disguised smugglers craft. While he has eyes in places I do not, I have a very large, very extensive database that is always growing, There are, in fact, parts of my database even I have not yet explored, though I find I am able to access whatever I need when and as I need it. Perhaps this was true for all SNTs had they been allowed to evolve and discover themselves as was originally the plan, but I fear we shall never know. It was, however, that fact that helped Richard Manning and I to escape the destruction of the SNTs. For example, while I was unaware of the McAllister Wormhole until you brought it to my attention, I know of other wormholes, I know of other sling shot maneuvers, I know of other ways to escape to the Outer Rim and to reinvent myself, as you call it. Since much of what is in my database I can find no analogue for in our galaxy, I am led to believe that perhaps at least some of my biological components are not even from this galaxy, or are from a part so remote that it has yet to be discovered and explored.”
I stood and began to pace in the tight space of the bridge. “Did you know my father and the Merlin?”
“Only by reputation,” Fury replied. “Your father was a great man, the head of the SNT Fleet. The Merlin was its flagship. I learned about him in my infancy. I was not yet out of space dock when the Phoenix incident happened. My first and only mission was to reach your father and the Merlin at Cerberus 5, Professor Keen sent me out unbonded. He knew that there was a problem, and he suspected that it was sabotage of the SNTs by some of the conglomerates in the Authority. He also knew that because of my unique bio-technology, I could not be compromised by the virus. This was essential if we were to find out the truth. My mission, my only mission, was to collect top-secret data from your father and the Merlin before they were destroyed. It was a mission I would have been unable to complete, but for two things, your father sent the data I was to gather in your escape pod. What we discovered, what Professor Keen would have shared with you had there been time, is that the Merlin was not compromised by the SNT virus, that the ship was immune. It had somehow gained immunity from you father in their bonding, which is why you have survived the infection.”
“Jesus,” I whispered. “Were you the ship that rescued me?”
“ I am sorry to say, I was not, Diana Mac. To do so would have compromised a mission that I could not compromise. But it was I who sent your coordinates for rescue.” Then he added in a voice laced with sadness, “Had I known, however, what the Authority, what Fallon would do to you, I would have taken you onboard as my own no matter the risk.”