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Piloting Fury Part 61: Brand New KDG Read

I hope your new year is off to a great start everyone. It’s the first Friday of the year, which means  it’s once again time for more Fury. Last week, Fury’s brother was finally set free, and this week, the family grows. 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.

Again here’s the link to the first episode of Piloting Fury for those of you who’d like to start at the beginning. https://kdgrace.co.uk/blog/piloting-fury-new-from-kdg/

 

 

 

“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 61: Fury’s Family

“What’s taking so long?” Manning asked, pacing the carpeted floor in Fury’s observation deck. It was the place we always adjourned too when our work was done, when we needed to think, or when there was nothing else to do but wait it out. That was exactly what was going on now.

“It takes however long it takes,” Fury said. “Griffin knows as little of the bonding with a compliment as I knew, though both Victor Keen and I have done what we may to advise him.”

Manning chuckled, “So you two have had the birds and the bees discussion with him, have you?”

“He is old enough.” Fury said, and I could hear the smile in his voice.

“I’m sure Stanislavsky will be happy for your efforts,” I replied.

 

 

Griffon was the name Apocalypse had chosen for himself, saying that an SNT should not be named for the destruction of those he was created to protect and nurture. He chose the name, Griffin, because a griffon was a mythical flying beast who was the protector of great treasure. He felt it fit, and we all agreed.

Manning paced some more, along with Rab, who had been invited from the Dubrovnik where he had once again taken up a position, to wait with us, since he had a vested interest, and Griffon might not have been freed had he not helped Gerando.

“So, how’s our baby?” I asked Rab, trying to keep the two men’s mind off the bonding going on aboard the Griffin.

“Doing good, doing good,” he said turning to face me. I couldn’t help notice the smile on his face was not unlike a proud uncle. “Trouble for everyone, like all sprogs, and growing like a weed.” He turned and continued pacing, he and Manning now walking in opposite directions. “It’ sure as hell keeping Harker on his toes, let me tell you. And Dr. Flissy, well you’d think she was the sprog’s mother the way she flits about all protective like. Hell, it’s a damn ship, I keep saying, but no one ever listens to Rab, do they?”

Fury chuckled softly, and it was the easiest thing in the world to be caught up in the excitement of what was happening onboard Dubrovnik as well as what was happening onboard Griffin.

“One things for goddamn sure,” Rab observed, “it’s making the refit for New Pandora Base a helluva lot easier. Mind you, I’m not sure how I feel about being onboard a damn research base inside a ship that’s smarter than me.”

“Hell, I’ve got underwear smarter than you,” Manning said.

Rab chuckled. “Well, that’s probably true, being a compliment to an SNT1 and all, but a simple man like me, well I don’t need help to pull my scruns down when I need to shit.”

Before Manning could respond with more than a middle finger in the air, the com crackled to life. “It’s done,” Keen’s voice came over the system. “The bonding was a success and Griffin says to tell you all that they are now smoking cigarettes, whatever that means.”

Manning laughed. “It’s an old Terran ritual supposedly indulged in immediately after really good sex. Did he inherit your sense of humor, Fury?”

“He is developing his own, and very quickly,” Fury said with pride in his voice. “I believe he is making up for lost time.”

“And he has a lot of it to make up for,” I said, running my hand over the small white scar on my forearm now nearly invisible where my shackle used to be. “And Gerando?”

 

 

 

“The tether’s secure and holding,” Keen said. “Perhaps in time, since Griffin is now bonded with Ina, that tether will get stronger and longer, as it has with you, Richard, but at the moment it’s secure, and the bond between the three is strong. It’s a different kind of bond,” Keen explained, “since Griffin and Gerando share blood, but the tether is like what Manning has. But in the bonding process, Gerando and Ina were bonded, which in its own way strengthens the bonding.”

“Well that’s all dandy,” Rab said, “but what I want to know is how the hell we gonna keep Griffin out of the hands of the Authority? Technically he belongs to them.”

“Technically, he was stolen from the Free Universities,” Fury corrected. “I am sure there are lawyers who could prove that fact. There is a precedent.”

“And how goddamn much difference do you think that’s gonna make when the fucking Authority finds out we’re growing us a new generation of SNT ships out here at Plague One?”

“Probably no difference at all, if the Authority were to find out,” Fury replied. “But they will not. Griffin will stay safe the same way I stayed safe. It will not be difficult for him to create a shape and appearance least likely to draw attention.”

“Nor will it be hard to spread the word that Plague 1 is now a breeding ground for a new virulent form of the SNT virus that is no longer controlled by the shackle, but is a menace to the general population. We are already disseminating that information, including footage of the destruction of the Apocalypse and Abriad Fallon with it. People are happy to believe rumors of the SNT virus, so one more really big one won’t shock them at all. No one will come looking. With his vocal processors and his link to Fallon, Griffin has been able to produce a subspace distress call from the Apocalypse of an infected Fallon that will convince everyone in Authority space to stay as far away from Plague One as possible.”

“Jesu Vati! You’ve thought of everything, haven’t you?” Rab said. “Except if Plague One is going to be safe from unexpected visitors in the future, why the hell is the Dubrovnik about to become the new Pandora Base?”

“Fallon’s not the only powerful head of a conglomerate who would like to control the SNT virus,” Keen said. “Sooner or later, someone will show up wanting to replicate the virus and use it for their own ends. Best they don’t find anything here when that happens. Besides, Fallon had the right idea using the Apocalypse so he never stayed in one place. With the research we’re doing, with our efforts to end indentureship and eliminate the virus completely, not to mention the research on SNT technology, it’s best if no one is able to pinpoint our location. When we’re done with the Dubrovnik, he’ll be the perfect fortress for the protection of our research, just as his ancient Terran namesake was.” He looked down at his chronometer. “Right, let’s give Griffin and his compliment time to finish their cigarettes, and then we’ll all meet onboard the Dubrovnik. We’ve got a brave new world ahead of us now.”

 

 

 

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 60: Brand New KDG Read

Happy New Years eve! And happy Friday! Of course Friday means more Fury. Last week we were reminded again just what a deadly man Abriad Fallon is. Time to find out if Fury and his team will be able to free the Apocalypse and live to tell the tale.  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.

Again here’s the link to the first episode of Piloting Fury for those of you who’d like to start at the beginning. https://kdgrace.co.uk/blog/piloting-fury-new-from-kdg/

 

 

 

“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 60: Free Bro 3!

“Bro 1! 2 Not Bro 1!” This time Apocalypse spoke out loud, in fact, Apocalypse’ shout was nothing short of a battle cry. Before Fallon could do more than open his mouth in shock, Manning appeared by my side, and on the view screen, Fury uncloaked in his full glory.

With a laugh, Fallon laid down the knife, and reached to undo the de-mol from its holster at his hip. “The Apocalypse is well armed,” he said. “And SNT1, well SNT1 has had an identity crisis since being born too soon. I can fix that though. All I have to do is call the Berserkers from outside that door. There are two of you, there’s a full compliment of them. I think you’re outnumbered.”

“Not compliment! Bro 3 Has No Compliment!”

“What? Do you think that by tampering with my ship, you can stop me?” This time Fallon’s laugh had just the slight edge of nerves to it. “Diana, you know I won’t kill you. I have way better ways of dealing with you.” He shrugged. “I might not kill Manning either. I can make both of you suffer in ways you haven’t even imagined yet if I keep him alive too.”

“Father killed Bro 2! Father killed Bro 2!”

Fallon pulled the de-mol free and trained it on us while he glanced back at the console trying to figure out what was going on.

I spoke up, moving carefully toward the consol. “Don’t you know, Apocalypse,” I held up the vial of Fury’s blood. “Your father has lots of sons. What’s the loss of one?”

“Lots of sons! Lots of sons! Free this son! Free this son!”

“Oh yes, I know about Apocalypse,” I said. “Gerando figured it out. I know what you’ve forced him to do, and as someone who understand what it means to be your prisoner, I think it’s time I did exactly that.”

This time he turned the de-mol on me. “I don’t have to kill you, Diana. You know how these things work. But if I were you, I’d step away from the consol. Do that for me like a good girl, and I’ll make Manning’s death a clean one.”

“Bro 3 Do it,” I said, and I tossed the vial into the air. Immediately it blinked out of existence. Fallon lunged for me, but he hadn’t taken into account the connection between a ship and a compliment. Manning was on him in a heartbeat, and the two battled for the de-mol.

“Fury,” I yelled, “Does he have it.”

 

 

“He has it,” came the com response, which I knew was for Fallon’s benefit, since neither Manning nor I needed words to communicate with Fury.

I don’t know how it happened, I mean I knew what a slippery bastard Fallon was, but the de-mol slipped from his hand and skittered across the deck with him and Manning scrambling for it. Manning lunged for him, but slipped in Gerando’s blood on the deck. I yelled, Manning twisted to one side as Fallon grabbed up the de-mol and the first discharge hit the deck where Manning’s head had been only seconds before and sputtered ineffectively across the floor. The second discharge was even closer, and Manning had no place to go when Fallon trained the de-mol on him again.

“Don’t move Diana Mac,” came the warning voice in my head. I fought back the urge to launch myself at Fallon, who stood with the de-mol trained on Manning. The skin along the back of my neck erupted in goose flesh, my stomach knotted and I held my breath.

“I won’t make this painless,” Fallon said, with a little more bravado now that he controlled the weapon, “but you already knew that, didn’t you Manning? I look forward to making Diana watch you die very slowly.”

I had expected exactly such a response from Fallon. What I hadn’t expected was Manning’s laugh. “Go ahead, you miserable sack of shit. I’m already dead, and I suspect your sons will have something to say about what you do with that pistol.”

Instantly the de-mol disappeared from Fallon’s hand. “Apocalypse!” he yelled, then he cursed out loud. “What the fuck have you done to my ship?”

“My brother did not take your weapon, Abriad Fallon,” came Fury’s voice over the com. “I cannot allow you to harm either of my compliments, nor can I allow you to harm my brother further.”

“It was I, however, who ‘tranned all of your Berserkers into the brig of the Dubrovnik,” came the welcome, and totally coherent, response from Apocalypse.

 

 

This time there was no mistaking the nerves in Fallon’s laughter gone strangely high-pitched and breathless. “So what are you going to do, then, ‘tran me over with them? The Dubrovnik is a stolen vessel, you know, and every member of the crew a criminal who, under Authority law, will get the shackle if they’re lucky. The ship belongs to me. My property will be returned, and I’ll be recompensed for my losses.”

There was a soft chuckle from the ship. “I believe there is an old Terran custom of passing out cigars when a child is born, is that not so?”

“A child? What the fuck are you talking about?” Fallon said.

“Abriad Fallon do not claim to be so naïve in the ways of SNT technology,” Fury said. “You are, after all, our father. “The cloning of a core from an SNT, from SNT1, specifically, was always what Dr. Keen had in mind. Though you may not have been able to replicate his work, you understood fully what you were undertaking when you created Apocalypse. What you did not understand was that you had created a connection, a family connection, that would be much stronger than your barbarism.”

Fallon gave a nervous glance from us to the console. “You’re trying to tell me that the Dubrovnik is now an SNT?”

“Not yet fully formed, but soon,” Apocalypse said. “Soon I will have a brother you cannot kill.”

“And what will you do with me, then?” Fallon asked, pulling himself up to his full height.

“That choice is Apocalypse’ to make,” said Fury. “It is him that you have harmed most, it is to him your judgment falls.”

“You have to understand,” Fallon said. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know that what I had created was even partially sentient.”

“Of course you knew,” Apocalypse said. “You knew, or at least you hoped, and you hoped you could mold me to be like you. Do you not think I was aware of my pleas falling on deaf ears? Do you not think I was aware of how you shackled me as surely as you have Fury’s compliment? I was sentient, Father. I was your child, and you hurt me. Over and over and over again you hurt me, as you did my brother.”

Just then Keen’s voice came over the com. “Pandora Base evacuation complete.”

Fallon lunged for the knife and threw it at Manning, who, to all of our surprise, caught it in mid-air. “I’m the compliment of Fury,SNT1, Fallon. You’ll have to do better than that. Apocalypse, what shall we do with him?”

The words were barely out of Manning’s mouth before Fallon was ‘tranned off the deck. For a moment, I thought perhaps Apocalyps had ‘tranned him to the Dubrovnik’s brig, but only for a moment until we all saw his body on the view screen floating in the black of space between the two ships.

“There are some things broken that cannot be fixed,” came Apocalypse’ voice, laced with sadness and a kind of loneliness I had on occasion heard in Fury’s voice. I moved toward the console, with Manning by my side, making no effort to hide the tears as we both lay a hand on Apocalypse’ skin and shared his grief as we, and Fury, offered comfort. And in the mix of grief and comfort and relief, there were two other minds offering hope, Dr. Victor Keen and First Mate Ina Stanislavsky, last survivor of the Svalbard.

 

 

Happy New 2022!

Wishing you Joy, Peace and Love in the New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 39: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Thursday everyone! Fury is a day early this week because I’m out of pocket tomorrow enjoying the glorious spring weather. And to make up for missing a week, you get a double episode today as Fury and Manning,  continue to share their story with Diana Mac.  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 39: I’m a Nobody

“Will the Authority not pursue you when they learn you have escaped and are doing business again?” I asked.

“I’m a nobody, not important, and they’ll figure if I escaped, I’ll die of the virus anyway. To them I’m already dead.” I could not miss the bitterness in his voice, and I made my first effort to move my consciousness toward him, to comfort him. He tensed, then let out a little sigh and relaxed.

“I believe to them, I am also already dead,” I said. Then I added, more than a little excited about a future that was not at all what I expected, but at least hopeful. “Once you have given me the parameters you will need for a cargo ship, the refitting will not take me long. I have but to think it to make it so.”

“Fucking hell,” he said with a low whistle. “Great trick if you can do it.”

“I assure you, I can do it. When shall we begin?”

“No time like the present,” he said, rubbing his hands together. “Oh, there is one very important thing, Fury.”

“What is it, Richard Manning.”

“You’re going to have to make yourself look a whole lot less pretty. I need you to look old and battered and like I put you together with wire and a glue gun, can you do that?”

“Of course I can do that,” I said. “I am not attached to the way I look. I did not expect to remain as I am.”

“Good. Then with your insides meeting my parameters and your outsides looking like something that is barely space worthy, I think we’ll do just fine.”

That evening, I replicated another ancient Terran dish called tacos, which Manning ate with relish, washed down with a Terran drink called Margaritas. It was a celebration, he said, and so it was. It was a new beginning I had not anticipated, and while we were both awake and my decks echoed with his curses and his strange sense of humor, we both did well. But while Manning could not go without rest – especially not in his state of recovery, I did not sleep. For a few hours I worked with the schematics he had given me, creating below deck a cargo bay with another cargo bay hidden underneath for less than aboveboard goods, upgrading the shield and downgrading my outward appearance. I wished to surprise Richard Manning when he woke up.

My attention was on making my outer hull look as though it had been through several meteor storms when I heard him cry out in his sleep. While his vital signs were within the normal range, it was obvious he was in REM dream state and his dreams were not pleasant. I went to him without thinking. While I had avoided going into the chamber I had set aside for him, as much for his privacy as for the fact that it was to have belonged to my compliment, I entered now, and I was moved as I had never been moved before.

He lay naked with the coverings thrown off his body, which glistened with the perspiration of his stressful dreams, and he fought valiantly with whatever demon it was that had invaded his unconscious world. While I had seen him naked many times during his healing process, I had never seen him so vulnerable, nor had I realized just how nearly healed he now was.

He cried out again, loud enough that it would have startled another humanoid. It was then that I discovered I had the ability to do more than replicate molecules. With what, at the time, was little more than my ability to imagine what his caress had felt like against my console, I created such a caress and touched him gently on the shoulder.

“Richard Manning, wake up. You are having a bad dream.”

He came into the waking world with a shriek of terror, shoving himself into a seated position on the bed. His pulse was much too fast, and I found that I could create an embrace of sort, as I had seen represented among humanoids as an act of comfort, as an act of affection, as I had often imagined doing with my compliment. In truth Richard Manning was my compliment now, and seeing that his needs were met was paramount.

I had not expected tears when he woke up from the nightmare. I knew enough about the strange codes of manliness most humanoid males lived by to understand that the shedding of tears was not an acceptable show of manhood, that he might be embarrassed by the act. But I also understood that that this humanoid had been shaken to the core by what demons had confronted him in the world of his dreams. And I was feeling quite vulnerable myself under our shared circumstances.

“I’m sorry,” he managed between gasps for breath. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you.”

“You cannot disturb me, Richard Manning. You are the only humanoid onboard. You will always be my central concern.”

“That doesn’t make me particularly comfortable,” he said.

“You will get used to it.”

“Not that I’m sorry for you waking me up right now, believe me.” When he had calmed a little, and I sensed his unease at my closeness and I pulled my physicality back enough to eliminate his discomfort. “I am always at your service.”

For a time, he sat in silence, his hands resting on his thighs, but in that way of humanoids, I could see the tension, feel the slight acceleration of pulse that informed me, he wished to speak, but was not quite sure he should. “Richard Manning, you may always speak freely with me. If you wish to talk about your dream, I will listen. It is not as though I will divulge to anyone your secrets.”

At that, he offered a hiccup of a chuckle. “No, I suppose not.”

 

 

I replicated a glass of water for him and waited quietly while he drank it in thirsty gulps.

At last he spoke. “When the Authority arrested me, I wasn’t alone on the Bourdieu. My cargo was humanoid, a dozen fugitives escaping the shackle. Friends of theirs smuggled them off Terra Nova Prime on the night before they were taken. Three families with small children, and two promising young bioengineers. I was transporting them to the outer rim and to freedom. They were hiding in the cargo bay. When I smuggled people, I had a plan for if we were ever boarded. There was a space we’d created that was sensor proof. If we were boarded it would always appear that there was only one person onboard the ship. I always set the Bourdieu on a laid in course for the safest spot, just in case I was arrested. Up until that time it had never happened. The ship always looked empty, and while I might get a fine for some trumped up infraction, it was the most the Authority could charge me with, which I paid off, thumbed my nose at their backsides and delivered my cargo safely to their destinations. Of course as a smuggler, the odds are never in your favor if you get boarded. You learn to stack the deck. I knew that and my passengers all knew that. Whatever risk they were taking with me were risks they all took willingly, and with good reasons.” He paused for a moment, swallowing hard, his shoulders tense, his breathing harsh and uneven. I feared he might be about to vomit, but instead the tears returned to his eyes. “Fritz, the bastard who betrayed us thought he’d get the ship. Instead, he was lucky to get off without ending up in a shackle. The Authority Hunters, they didn’t give the ship to anyone. They didn’t even tractor it back to spaceport. They just blew it up. Fifteen people onboard in the hold, and the bloody fuckers knew it. They knew it. All I could do was watch.”

This time when I moved to embrace him, he did not push me away, and I formed the molecular structure as close to a humanoid hand as I could and stroked his back, making sure that I had enough of a physical form for him to hold on to and to rest his body against. “I am very sorry for your loss, Richard Manning. There has been so very much loss, and far too little hope. But you are free now, and you are with me. We will press on, as we must, in spite of our losses.”

He gave a slight nod against me and pulled closer to me. For what seemed like an age, and that to me, one who can measure the passage of space time in nanoseconds, we held each other. But it was long enough for me to perceive that his pain, though deeper than anything I could reach to heal, was manifesting itself in the humanoid way I myself felt but did not fully understand, in the desire to be intimate.

That I understood that desire, that I anticipated it and responded to it so quickly still astounds me, in that I had no experience of humanoid intimacy other than what I could call up in my database. But when Richard Manning sought me out with his lips, I was ready, my molecules forming and shaping to his needs, which were so deeply my own. I could barely comprehend that the press of his kiss, the exploration of his tongue, the movement of his hands over the shape of me that formed instantaneously at his body’s desire, were indeed my own desires, what I would have done with my compliment once we had gotten to know each other. I reminded myself once again, as he guided the hand I had formed down to his erect penis, that this humanoid, this wounded and damaged humanoid who needed almost as desperately as I did, was indeed now my compliment. It would be to him that I would give myself for the first time, for every time, as long and as often as he had desire for me – as we had desire for each other.

“Fury, I need you,” he whispered as he pulled away from my mouth just enough for his teeth to rake over the lips I had not known I could create, the lips I had not known could feel such electrifying sensations.

“And I need you, Richard Manning. I very much need you.” With that I guided his hand down to my own physical need, the biology of me, heavy and hard and more ready than I could have ever imagined, ready to explore this physical side of my nature. Richard Manning was willing and able and intuitive, as he guided me, for the first time, in the pleasures of the flesh and the intimate act that would, with time, bring healing for both of us.

 

“Fury, are you familiar with the ancient Terran term, TMI.” It was the sound of Manning’s voice that made me aware that I was floating in that space between wakefulness and sleep. Manning reached over me and slapped Fury on the flank.

“I am indeed familiar with the term, Richard Manning.” Fury reached to return the favor, pausing to kiss my neck. “But our Diana Mac knows us both intimately, and all she need do is look, and all will be revealed.”

“I wouldn’t do that. Not without permission,” I said.

“Permission is not needed amongst us, at least it should not be, and something passed between him and Manning that was lost to me because after such a dream, all three of us were in dire need of a cold shower if we didn’t take care of each other. And lying sandwiched between too such virile males, I was soon rendered speechless and probably would have forgotten my own name, let alone the need to pursue the intimacy issue between the three of us. After that, the sleep was dreamless.

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 36: Brand New KDG Read

I apologise that Fury is a day late this week. I didn’t plan my time very well and the week ran out before I had Fury ready.  But learning how Fury and Manning became a team is worth waiting an extra day for, I promise you. And this week, we learn how Fury found Manning.  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. (Except on the odd occasion when I’m a day late, of course 🙂 )

 

 

“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 36: Frankenstein’s Monsters

“May Day! May Day! This it the Pegasus. May Day … need …elp”

The com crackled and failed as the systems overloaded. I had but an instant to react. I locked onto the humanoid and transported him then jumped to a safe distance as the Pegasus lit up space in an explosion far too large for the small ship, but that mattered less than the humanoid I had transported. I had transported him straight to medico. Whatever the cargo had been, I had a sneaking suspicion that it was not completely above board.

The humanoid was in an environment suit, which had, no doubt, saved his life. I was still not well versed in the manipulating of my molecules that I might assume a useful form as a medic. Fortunately the auto surgery could be set to deal with severe radiation poisoning. As the suit was cut away from his body, I had my first contact with a humanoid male. With the tools of the auto surgery, I worked for the next few hours stabilising the man, who suffered severe burns over most of his body. That was easy enough to fix with a small injection of my own biological tissue, though I knew I would have to deal with his body’s rejection, for it was designed to nurture and heal and be compatible with one person only, my compliment. With high doses of anti rejection drugs meant to be used only in case of the need for an organ transplant, I was able to get the man’s mangled flesh to accept the injection. Three times the man went into cardiac arrest and twice he was dead on the table. I injected him again and again with my own organic matter. “If you live,” I spoke out loud after yet another battle to stabilise him, “then you shall be as much Frankenstein’s monster as I. What a pair we shall be.” What I had planned, or rather what I hadn’t really planned at all, but simply did by instinct, had never been done before. I was certain that in the wildest dreams of those who created the SNTs, of those who donated sperm and egg for me and my compliment, no one could have ever imagined that an SNT could survive without a compliment. In fact, it was the plan of the Authorities to eliminate the compliments from their ships, thus rendering the ships helpless thus allowing them to insert a compliment of their choice. They found that it was not possible for them to do so. Destroy one and the other could not be salvaged. Certainly it had never been considered that I might create my own compliment to replace the one I was certain at that point I would never see again.

 

 

As I worked to keep this humanoid alive I spoke to him constantly, for it was my voice he needed to bond with above all else if we were to compliment each other. Beyond that bonding effort, it eased my loneliness to do so, as I believe it reassured him that he was not suffering alone. I learned very early that this one could fluently curse in multiple languages, and his repertoire included fecund phrases of which even I with my large database was not familiar. However most of our conversation, by that time was non-verbal, as the injections of my biogenetic materials had connected us.

“Where am I?” he asked, when he was conscious enough to be aware that he was, indeed, alive and no longer onboard the Pegasus.

“You are onboard SNT Fury,” I replied, bracing myself, expecting horror or disgust, perhaps fear. I got none of those.

“Out of the frying pan into the fire, I guess then.” He said with no more emotion that if he had just told me the weather on Vega Prime.

“That is an accurate observation. Though at the moment we are safely cloaked and on our way to the outer rim.”

“And the Pegasus?”

“I’m afraid your ship is no more.” I said.

I believe the man actually chuckled and offered a smile that, in his present condition, was little more than a grimace. “That’s all right. It wasn’t my ship.” With an effort I found monumentally impressive considering he was only just barely alive. He lifted his left arm the small shackle incision on his left forearm that identified him as an indentured. “Did it work?”

He shook the arm at me. “I need to know, did it work. Jesus Christ if it didn’t then Fuck me if I know what will, but you listen to me, SNT Fury whatever the hell you call yourself, if I’m infected, you let me die. You fucking let me die, do you understand? I’m not going to waste away on some goddamned plague planet.” He fell back onto the table exhausted, but not so much so that he didn’t shake his arm at me again.

Mind you I was too astounded by the chain of events I was now piecing together to do anything else but examine his shackle, and since my exile and the deaths of my brothers and sisters was so closely tied to this despicable virus, it was of a great deal of interest. “You destroyed the Pegasus on purpose?” I asked, as I carefully made an incision to open the skin above the shackle.

“To kill the bloody virus, yes! Did it work?”

“The virus is irradiated, so yes it worked. And while you are in the auto-surgeon, I shall remove the empty shackle as well.”

I had not thought of flooding the decks with high levels of radiation. Perhaps that would serve to destroy the virus on those SNTs that still remained. I was not sure that the device Dr. Keen had implanted in each of us as a means of conveying important data between all of us simultaneously still worked, but I sent the message out anyway, with hopes that perhaps at least a few of my family would survive.

As I performed the procedure, my patient lay very still, no doubt an instinctive response for indentureds who could never forget that unauthorised tampering with a shackle resulted in infection and a long and painful death. But this shackle was doubly deactivated for not only had the device been destroyed by the radiation, the man had effectively died twice in the auto surgery. He could not have been brought back had his body now contained my biological material. Once I had removed the device I put it aside. It would be worth studying in the future. It was only as I finished that I realised there were tears in my patient’s eyes. “I’ve worn that damn thing for the past three years,” he said. “You have no idea how glad I am to be rid of the fucker.”

“Perhaps this day I do,” I replied, then I added quickly, “oh not to be shackled, of course, but to be a fugitive, unable to go home.”

For a moment, I had the sense that the humanoid was studying me, though of course he could neither see me nor perceive where I might be. You must remember, however, at that point in my young life I was as unsure of my boundaries as this man must surely have been. At last he spoke. “Yes. I’d imagine so. I’m Manning, by the way, Richard Manning. Very pleased to meet you SNT Fury.” With that he convulsed and went into cardiac arrest.

“No! No don’t. Please. Not yet. Please, Fury.” I woke with Manning thrashing against me, his heart racing and his body sheened in sweat.

“Do not wake him,” Fury reached over me, and I had the sense that he now completely embraced both of us and Manning instantly relaxed back into deep, peaceful sleep. “There are parts our story that are best left for Richard Manning to tell, Diana Mac. He will tell you when he is ready. But sleep again, and I shall tell you my part of our story.” I fell instantly back to sleep and once again I saw the world through Fury’s eyes.

 

 

Piloting Fury Part 34: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday my Lovelies, and time for another chapter of Fury. The first Covid 19 jab happened last Saturday! Bravo! We’re halfway there. That automatically makes me feel better.  I hope you are all staying safe, and that means following whatever lockdown rules are in place wherever you are. We’ll get through this together and celebrate on the other side. 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 left Fury, Manning and Fury dreaming together. This week Captain Evander and the crew of the Dubrovnik are forced to take extreme measures.

 

 

“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 34: Extreme Measures

Apocalypse attacking. Fury’s identity and destination known. Pandora’s box opened. Mission compromised.

Evander Harker played the message back once more and then deleted it. For a moment, Dr. Ingrid Flissy and Security chief, Jelik Ivan only stared down at the device as though they feared it might explode. Then Flissy spoke. “Does Lebedny know you know?”

“If he does he’s pretending not to, but this was on my private subspace channel. It was only a general distress call to those who it might affect.”

“Which includes us,” Ivan said, chewing on his lip.

 

 

“Which includes us,” Harker said. “We knew it would happen, we knew it when we signed on. But clearly Lebedny got this message too, just like Rab would have, and that means we’ve been compromised. We’ve got to act fast – especially if the Apocalypse is in on the action. We’re closer to Plague 1 than anyone else, and once the truth is known, all that we’ve worked for will be lost. We’ve got to go, and we can’t go with Fallon’s lackeys onboard.”

“So what do you have in mind?” Flissy said rubbing her hands against her trousered thighs as though she were suddenly cold, or anxious to get started. Knowing her as Harker did, it was the latter.

He leaned over his private console and pulled up the camera from the sub-basement. “Do all the hibernation pods still work?”

“They do. I just tested them last week.”

“How many of them are there?” Ivan asked.

“Enough,” she said, holding the captain’s eye.

The hibernation pods were the last defense in case of a deep space evacuation. Once the regular escape pods were full, or if they were compromised, there was room in them for a third of the crew – individual cryo-beds equipped with powerful homing beacons and a very basic auto navigation system that would always guide the pod toward the main space routes and the most populated areas. A humanoid could survive in a pod for possibly up to a hundred galactic years, maybe more, though the longest ever survivor from a shipwreck was seventy-two years. Harker straightened his jacket and squared his shoulders. “Difficult times call for difficult decisions.”

“Personally,” Flissy said, “I’m for blowing the fuckers out the airlock.”

Ivan grunted, “Your bedside manner’s appalling, Fliss, but I don’t disagree.”

“Everyone of those people live under the threat of the shackle, just like we do,” Evander said. “That’s not their fault. All I want is them safely, and permanently, out of the way until we get the situation sorted.” He studied his two closet allies and friends and blew out a sharp breath. “We all know this shot in the dark at best. At worst it’ll be a shackle for every one of the crew who’ve served this ship so faithfully all these years.”

“And you know every one in that crew would take the risk,” Flissy replied, and Ivan nodded agreement.

“All right then,” Harker said. “this needs to happen fast. If the Apocalypse is heading for Plague 1, we don’t have much time. It’s got to be fast and efficient. Any ideas?”

“A radiation leak,” Flissy said, then she waved her hand dismissively. “Oh not a real one, but that sort of thing can be faked easily enough. Thomson and Freeman in engineering, they can make it completely believable. The subbasement has always been the place the crew gathers if there’s a leak because it’s double shielded. Standard operating procedure is to give everyone a shot for radiation poisoning just in case. I line ‘em up, inject the Dubrovnik crew with a placebo and Fallon’s bitches with a nice strong knock-out drug. Voila,” she snapped her fingers. “They wake up … well who knows where the hell they wake up?”

“Or when,” Ivan added.

The doctor stood and looked down at the subbasement camera and its gruesome compliment of pods. “We can quarantine people in separate groups, you know, so no one will notice when people start dropping like flies. I’ll get Sutter and Leland to help me administer the shots and we’ll let people in one at a time. Safety protocols and all that shit. Everyone knows how anal I am. It won’t surprise anyone that I want people coming through three at a time.”

“It’s a good plan,” Harker said, but our timing will have to be perfect.”

“That’ll never happen,” Ivan spoke up. “It may go like clockwork. I hope to hell it does, but we need to be prepared if we hit a few bumps.”

“What do you suggest,” Harker said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

“We know the loyal core aboard the Dubrovnik. We’ve had each other’s back for a long time now. Give me,” he looked down at his chronograph, “Two hours to spread the word, and pass out weapons. Just in case. We won’t get a second chance.”

“We don’t have two hours unless we multi-task.” Harker said. “While Juarez is not the pilot McAllister was by a long stretch, his lack of experience is exactly what we need. I’ll over-ride the course computer and load in the coordinates for the fastest route to Plague 1 and tell him I’m experimenting with a faster route. If we can pull it all together fast enough, that’s exactly what it’ll look like I’m doing. If not, well then we need to be sure that our own people are armed and ready if they need to be.”

 

 
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