It’s Friday, which means it’s Fury time again. This week Gerando and Rab show up at Pandora Base with bad news all around. If you’re enjoying Fury, please spread the word and pass the link to a friend. I love to share my stories with as many people as possible. I’m offering a new episode of Fury every Friday.
“Win the bet and Fury’s yours. Lose the bet and your ass is mine.” It seemed like a no-brainer — Rick Manning’s slightly inebriated offer. If he’d been sober, he’d have remembered indentured pilot, Diana “Mac” McAllister never lost a bet. All her life she’s dreamed of buying back her freedom and owning her own starship, and when Fury’s ne’er-do-well, irritating as hell captain all but hands Fury to her on a silver platter she figures she can’t lose. She figured wrong. That’s how the best pilot in the galaxy finds herself the indentured 1st mate of a crew that, thanks to her, has doubled in size. Too late, she finds out Fury is way more than a cargo ship. Fury is a ship with a history – a dangerous history, and one that Mac’s been a part of for a lot longer than she thinks. And Rick Manning is not above cheating at poker to get her right at the center of it all, exactly where he needs her to be.
Piloting Fury Part 51: Bad News From Brothers
Blood Bros! Blood Bros! Blood Bros 123!
“Wait a minute. I recognize that ship’s signature, but it can’t be.” My stomach clenched so hard I thought I would vomit. “It’s … It’s the Ares.”
“You’re fucking kidding me? I should have killed that little shit when I had the chance!” Manning said. “What do you say, Fury? Time to blow that bastard bastard out of the sky?”
BloodBrosBloodBrosBloodbros plz! Plz! PLZ!
“That message, while it emanates from the Ares, it is not from the Ares. It is
I didn’t know if it were possible for me to feel Fury’s tension, but I was sure I did. “For you? I don’t understand.”
“Nor do I,” he said, “but I believe it comes from another ship, it is a message the Ares is piggybacking. Open a channel.”
Manning didn’t argue, and for a second, I didn’t recognize the face that flashed on the screen, it was so ravaged by the SNT virus, “This is an urgent message for Fury and for Pandora Base.”
“Jesu Vaticanus!” I came out of my seat and leaned forward over the console. “Gerando? What the hell happened?”
“You bloody well deserve it, whatever the hell it was,” Manning interjected.
“They have been infected with the SNT virus,” Fury said, and that made Manning shut up fast.
Gerando didn’t wait for an invitation to speak, an act, which was clearly painful for him. “Pandora Base has been compromised. Listen to me!” He said when Manning opened his mouth to respond. “We don’t have much time. The Svalbard has been destroyed along with its crew. Before they were destroyed, they sent a subspace transmission, which my father intercepted. He doesn’t know that anyone else knows. But the Apocalypse leaked the message to the Ares while the ship was being prepped.”
“So let me get this straight,” Manning said. “First the Apocalypse blows the Svalbard out of the sky and then leaks you the message to give to us? You can’t seriously expect us to believe that any of you are working for the good guys, and –”
“Shut up! The Apocalypse has no more choice than we do,” Gerando managed and, with the effort he dissolved into a fit of deep chested coughing.
“Fucking Fallon tortured the Svalbard’s science officer, Markov, used truth drugs on him.” For the first time we became aware that Leo Rab was onboard, and not looking much better than Gerando. He took over while Gerando coughed like he would hack up his insides. “There was nothing the poor man could do. He told the bastard everything before he died. Fallon knows about what’s going on at Pandora Base. He knows about the cure for the SNT virus, why the fuck do you think he infected us? He also knows that you’re here, McAllister, and he knows the Fury’s SNT1.”
“I still don’t understand why he infected you and sent you here.” Keen joined the party. Up until now, Pandora Base had maintained radio silence.
“He’s convinced you’ll let the shields down to take the Ares inside,” Gerando took back over. “He doesn’t think you’ll let us die, then he can take what he wants without destroying any of the valuable research. He can also take Fury and you, MacAllister.”
Manning grabbed my hand and held it tight as Keen spoke again. “He’ll destroy us either way. He’s got to know Pandora Base can’t stand against him.”
“But if he’s forced to destroy the shields he’ll destroy what’s inside too, and he doesn’t want that.”
“In other words either way, bend over and kiss our asses good-bye,” Manning said.
“How long do we have?” Keen asked.
“Not long enough,” came Rab’s reply. “Maybe nine hours. The Apocalypse gave us a little speed boost or Fallon woulda been riding the Ares’ ass right on in. But it’s still only enough for a warning, maybe for the chance to maybe evacuate.”
“And how the hell do you suggest we do that?” I said. “The only ship we have is Fury, and he can’t defend the base and evacuate it at the same time all alone.”
“I don’t believe that I shall have to,” Fury broke into the conversation. “Is that not correct, Gerando Fallon?”
“That’s right. You won’t,” Gerando replied.
“Care to explain,” Manning asked.
“The message from the Apocalypse,” Fury said. “While cryptic, he was counting on the comprehension of another SNT.”
“Another SNT? What the fuck? Has Fallon managed to commandeer one of the missing ships?” Manning said.
“No. The Apocalypse is a hybrid, only half formed, only half SNT. That’s why he struggles to communicate, and it’s why he could not override Fallon’s command to destroy the Svalbard.”
“And the bro 123? What’s that all about,” I asked.
“It means, Fury, you’re not an only child, son.” This time it was Rab who spoke up.
“What the hell does that mean,” Manning asked.
“It means whoever’s seed fathered me, has fathered others as well, but that is not unusual. Our seed, those of us who were seeded via sperm and egg, rather than cloned, was donor sperm, after all. Be that as it may, Pandora Base is still at risk, and we have very little time. I must ask what you need of me, Professor Keen?”
“Is there any way we can find out just how much help we can get from the Apocalypse,” Keen asked,” because no matter how pure his heart is, if Fallon controls the weapons, then it won’t be enough.”
“And what about them,” Manning asked.
“There’s nothing you can do for us.” I was surprised when it was Gerando Fallon who spoke. “My old man might have been counting on you lowering the shields to get us inside the base, but he wouldn’t have left it to chance. He had to suspect we would find a way to get a message to you in advance. He had to expect after what he’d done to us we might happily betray him. I don’t believe for one moment that he wouldn’t consider booby-trapping us, and we were both unconscious for several hours. We have no way of knowing what he did while we were unconscious. So there’s nothing you can do.”
“If you could blow us out of the sky before it gets too bad, that would be a kindness,” Rab said, “probably one we don’t deserve, but it would be appreciated.”
“The space dock is outside the shields,” Fury said. “I’m ‘tranning them onboard.”
“What?” Both Manning and I said in unison.
“I don’t want them on this ship.” The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them, and I wouldn’t have if I could have. I knew what Gerando Fallon was capable of. I bore scars from what he was capable of, but before I could say anything else, Fury spoke in a voice suddenly gone cold.
“That choice is not yours to make.”
I felt those words like a killing punch to my heart and, for a moment, I couldn’t breathe. “You’re right. It’s not.” Even as I managed the words I knew he’d already done it.
“They can be safely contained in the hold and Fury will be able to see if they are booby trapped.” Manning’s voice was apologetic, but it no longer mattered. “It’s the best place for them.”
“The best place for them is out the airlock,” I managed around the weight on my chest and the knot in my stomach. And then I left.