• Home
  • Posts Tagged'Scifi romance adventure'

Posts Tagged ‘Scifi romance adventure’

Dragon Ascending Part 14: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone! Last week we got a good look at Len through the eyes of her rescuer, who is determined not to get too close to her. This week we find Fury’s crew on Taklamakan Major still looking for her. 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: Part two 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 14: Scavengers

“The girl’s a scavenger, and not a very good one. Don’t know how she survives on the credits she earns at it.” The filthy man behind a makeshift desk of some kind of fabricated plastic meant to look like wood picked at his ear absently. “I slip her an extra credit or two whenever I can. Proud little thing, though. She won’t let me get away with it if she catches me, and she’s a smart one.”

“He is telling the truth,” Fury spoke inside their heads.

The man continued, looking at whatever it was he had excavated from his ear, “I warned her not to trust the crew of the Dart even to point her to her own ass. No one around here trusts them.”

“But she went and she hasn’t returned.” Manning said.

“If the bastards on the Dart did what she paid them for, credits she couldn’t really afford, then she won’t be home for at least another four days. There are times I go for weeks without seeing her.” He nodded out the filthy reinforced window to the endless heap of junk beyond. “There’s plenty of places around here for a scavenger to scrounge. And that one, she gets sidetracked. Every little thing fascinates her. Too much curiosity by half Len has.” He wiped his excavation finger on his trousers and shifted in a creaky chair. “Hell for all I know she took me at my word and didn’t go with those piss lickers after all. I saw the Dart dust off, but didn’t know if she was on it or not.”

“He is trying to protect her,” Fury said. “He does not know you, so he cannot know if he can trust you.”

The man continued, “All I know is that she was hell bent on getting out to the Sea of Death, fuck knows why. But she could just as easily be somewhere in the salvage heaps trying to make a living, like the rest of us. ”

“She went with them,” Mac said.

“Well shit.” He leaned back in his chair slowly shaking his head. “Then something’s happened to her?”

“We questioned the crew of the Dart,” Manning said, cracking his knuckles to make it evident exactly how that questioning had gone.

“The man’s rugged face cracked a wicked leathery smile. I hope the spunk bags never take another proper piss again.” Then he said. “Ya might talk with Arji over at the Dust Bowl. He usually sees everythin’ that happens. He … well he has a soft spot for her.”

They thanked the man and slipped him a couple credits, which Fury informed them was just politeness on Taklamakan Major, then they left his shop.

“Like a damned inferno out here,” Manning said as they stepped outside into the early evening, and checked their PDs for directions Fury had placed there for them. The place was an absolute maze of rubbish and salvage. It smelled of heat and rust and dust.

“It is much cooler than it would have been had you ‘tranned during the heat of the day,” Fury commented. “I understand the locals call it the Shimmer, and it is such that even a little time out in it could be fatal to those who have not acclimated, and even they venture out as little as possible.”

 

 

“And what about these scavengers,” Mac asked, “when do they work? They must have to be out in the heat in order to get to anything but the edges of this dumps.”

“They burrow into tunnels they create for themselves amidst the salvage, and hide in the shade it offers.”

“I would think that would be like stepping out of a fire into the oven,” Manning commented.

“They are very resilient,” Fury replied. “Nevertheless, please hurry,” he added. “I do not like you out in such heat even now.”

“Not too keen on it myself,” Manning said. “Jesu Vaticanus, why don’t they build underground?”

“They cannot,” came the reply. “The whole planetoid is nothing but shifting sand with a solid nickel core, but too far beneath the surface to tunnel to. What has been built is built upon rubbish, and has to be periodically rebuilt in the event of a bad sandstorm.”

“It’s a wonder our girl survived as long as she did. It’s a wonder anyone does,” Mac said. “At least the Dust Bowl isn’t far.”

They pushed through a pressure door designed to keep the worst of the heat and grit outside and into the recycled stale, but much cooler air of the only bar in Sandstorm, and it was just barely that. It sported a bar that looked to be built of the salvage material from the nearest dump, as much rust as metal from what Mac could tell. There was a scattering of tables made of the same and a curtained off room to one side, more than likely for hook-ups. For a small fee, no doubt. There might possibly be a whore or two. There almost always was no matter how remote the outpost.

You pissed today?” The man behind the bar waited expectantly for details.

“Yup, you?” Manning said with only a slight twitch of a smile at the corner of his mouth.

“Not yet. One of those days. Feel like my bladder’s full of sand,” replied the leathery man of indeterminate age behind the bar. “Should spend more credits on water rations and less on smokes, I s’pose.” He nodded to a rolled up stogie of some non-determinant brown substance smouldering away on the rim of a small plate. It looked more looked more like a desiccated clod worm and smelled more like burning garbage than something one would take pleasure in inhaling.

Inside their ears Fury commented that it was a good greeting, that the functionality of kidneys and bladder voiding in a place that always rationed water was essential information and a courtesy to one’s neighbors. Although, he added, the man really should quit with the smokes and drink more water.

“None of their business and TMI if you ask me,” Manning mumbled in response when the man turned his attention to Mac’s bladder, giving her a serious eyeballing, but then he’d eyeballed Manning the same way. Probably you couldn’t be too picky in a place like this, she thought.

“I certainly find such information about the two of you vital in monitoring your health,” came the ships slightly offended response.” Both of his humanoid complement cringed at information they knew but didn’t want to think about, and certainly didn’t want to discuss over their sub-neural coms.

“A pint?” The man asked glancing back and forth between the two. He didn’t ask of what. There was only one choice. When they both nodded, he picked up two dodgy looking glasses. “S’pose you didn’t bring your own?”

When they both gave confused nods, he said, “Cost you extra – me furnishing the glass. Most folks ‘round here bring their own.” He glanced down at the glasses and shrugged. “These ain’t the cleanest, true enough, but it don’t matter much. The hooch’ll kill anythin’ what might make you sick.”

“I am not reassured,” Fury observed. He was sometimes overprotective of his compliment.

As the man drew up the pints that, after their discussion of bodily functions, looked disturbingly like urine, Mac found herself hoping the place had a good waste water filtration system. “Guaranteed to make you piss.” The man set their drinks down on the bar and wiped his hands on a dirty bar towel. Mac noted everything on Taklamakan Major was dirty.

“Bottoms up,” Manning said, and slugged back half the pint in a single go, but then he always did have a high tolerance for bad booze and a cast iron stomach, Mac recalled as she lifted her own glass in salute and sipped at it more cautiously. It was vile, all right, but she’d had worse too. “That’ll put hair on your balls,” Manning said with a shiver.

 

 

 

Dragon Ascending Part 12: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! I’m always a fan of Friday the 13. Such a perfectly amazing day should be celebrated, so hug a black cat or simply enjoy the fact that it’s Friday.

Since I’m sure you’ve all been wondering what happened to our mystery woman, I decided to reward you for your patience with an extra long instalment all about our girl. Last week, if you recall, we got a more intimate look at Fury’s stalker. But this week is all about the woman in the salvage yard. 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: Part 2 of the Sentient 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.

 

 

Len surely must be dead. It was a strange thought to have going through her head as she once again became aware of herself. For a long time she lay very still with her eyes closed, not sure she really wanted to see what an afterlife looked like. Scientifically there was no evidence for it. Her flesh would simply return to its original components given enough time. All life was carbon and to carbon it would return. Well at least all they knew of life. Since she didn’t feel her body, she didn’t think the thought was all that unusual. Still, if her mind was only a biochemical function of her body that made no sense either. She felt stupid at such irrational thoughts, but still she didn’t open her eyes. Instead she assessed pain she should have felt, but didn’t. Not quite trusting that there was no pain in the body she had been damn near certain was dying, she sifted through her most recent memories to puzzle out what had happened.

She remembered the unsavory crew of the Dart. She would never have chosen to traveled with them had there been another choice, but the Sparrow, the ship that she had chartered transport on the first time she went into the Sea of Death transported her back safely to the Sandstorm Outpost and then promptly left orbit for the Rim. She knew better than to take the Dart. She’d been warned, but she had to know more about this strange salvage dump with a de-mole perimeter, especially after discovering a breach in the fence, and a decent place to shelter without having to spend another night in the unreliable life shield tent.

She should have listened. She didn’t linger on the thought of what they had done to her. That wasn’t a place her mind needed to go, and certainly not one that would do her any good now.

Instead, she racked her brain for what had happened after they had kicked her out into the Sea of Death with night fast approaching, and without her pack. Somehow she’d made it to the salvage yard. Somehow she’d even found the breach in the de-mole. And she’d climbed to reach shelter. She had broken ribs. She remembered that. She’d wrapped them. She had climbed to shelter, but in the end she’d no choice but to jump for it. And… she missed. After that she remembered nothing. Then how the hell was she here, and where was here anyway?

She surveyed her body again, eyes still closed. Even if she wasn’t dead, the damage done would not be pretty to look at. If she wasn’t dead, then she surely would be soon enough, only it would be slower, more painful. She was pretty sure the Dart wouldn’t return for her, and even if they did, she wouldn’t trust what they might do to her next. Surely they would think her dead. If she were dead, well than that was easy enough, she supposed. But if she was alive, the problem of staying that way was going to really suck. No one in Sandstorm Outpost would have a way of getting to her in less than a week by sand rover, and they certainly wouldn’t waste resources they didn’t have. Besides, the Sea of Death was a huge place. She knew the rules. You go out beyond the protection of the outpost, you’re on your own. You make it back, bully for you, you don’t, that’s one less stupid person in the outpost.

She had no sand rover, she had no extra water. In fact, she had no water at all. What she’d had was in her pack back on the Dart. Oh, it just kept getting better and better, didn’t it? It was much nicer to be dead. She was pretty comfortable being dead. She wriggled a bit, only a little. Everything seemed to work, and then she remembered it. In the midst of her pain, there was one clear memory after her fall. She had opened her eyes into a blanket of darkness that was quiet and velvety, and in that darkness there had been someone looking down at her, someone she could not see. Truly she could see absolutely nothing, and yet she knew beyond knowing that she wasn’t alone. And then she opened her eyes.

She blinked in light that was subdued enough not to hurt her sleep dilated pupils. The air didn’t smell like blood and puke and sweat and worse things that she must surly be covered in by now. It would have taken a week worth of water rations to clean her wounds alone, not to mention the rest of her. She looked down at her body, naked, covered with some kind of light weight cloth that was nice against her skin. And her skin was clean, cleaner than it had been since she arrived on Tak Major, soaked in her own piss and smelling like a toilet. She sniffed and sniffed again. Not even the slightest hint of her own stink. Granted, she’d gotten used to it when she’d come to live on Tak Major. Everybody was dirty. Everybody stank. Olfactory fatigue had set in long ago. And her skin felt smooth, the perpetual coating of dust and grit she was also used to was gone. She pushed down the coverlet and ran a clean hand down the smooth skin of her belly.

Nope, she was definitely not dead. Her bladder was full. Everyone’s health in Tak Major was judged on how well they peed. It was a standard greeting, “Pissed today?” She sat up cautiously and scooted to the edge of what appeared to be an actual bed or something similar. There was no sign of her clothes, or what was left of them, and that was just as well, the thought of them now made her queasy. She snatched up the coverlet from the bed and wrapped it around her body.

 

 

She stood for a moment, on legs that certainly were a bit shaky, but they held her up, which was more than she expected. She looked around at a space that was positively pristine. It certainly couldn’t have existed in a salvage yard, and then the thought came to her, what a pity it would be to piss in the corner and mess it all up. Carefully setting one foot in front of the other, she tiptoed to what looked like a pressure door, hoping for a place less clean to do her business. To her surprise, the door opened for her automatically, leading into a room with a proper toilet and a shower, a fucking shower! And both were as pristine as the room she woke up in. She didn’t take too much time to contemplate as she dropped onto the seat and let go her stream.

Once the most basic of needs were taken care of she stood let the coverlet fall to the floor, examining herself as best she could. There should have been at least two broken ribs. She felt one snap when she jumped. But it only took a deep breath and a stroke down her torso to know for certain that nothing in that general area was broken. Her ribs were easy enough to feel when regular meals were not always a given. There were no bruises, no abrasions, no cuts on her hands. And peeing had been easy, like she’d drank all the water in her pack and then some. And there was no pain. After what had happened … She slammed the door shut on that thought. It couldn’t help now to dwell on it, and anyway, she hadn’t died, had she? She scooped up the coverlet, knotted it securely over her breasts and looked around. There was a sink too, and a glass sitting on the edge, like a drinking glass, the kinds you had to pay extra for at the Dustbowl bar, only Arji’s glasses were never this clean. Most people just brought their own personal cup, which might be dirty, but at least it was their own dirt. It was only the off-worlders who got scalped because they didn’t bring their own. She carefully picked up the glass and held it beneath the spigot, then nearly jumped out of her skin when actual water came out! At least she thought it was water. She held it up to her nose and sniffed cautiously. There was no scent, then she stuck the tip of her finger in it and tasted. It was not only clean, but it was cold. This wasn’t even possible, surely. How could any form of computer system or artificial intelligence have survived in the Taklamakan heat buried under tons of debris and scoured by the nightly sandstorms? She glanced around feeling a cascade of goose flesh climb her bare arms. She sat the glass down on the edge of the sink, not drinking it, no matter how much she wanted to, and found her voice, rough and a little more shaky than she’d hoped. “Ship?” She spoke in Galactic Standard, “What is your designation?”

There was a long pause, and just when she figured the ship was certainly too damaged to respond, a quiet male voice spoke. “My designation is Ascent-7.”

“That’s an interesting designation,” she said, completely unable to keep her voice from shaking.

“Nevertheless, I am designated Ascent-7.” Then to her surprise, the computer of the ship continued. “You may drink the water. It is safe, and you will need it to support your recovery.”

She glanced back at the glass, her mouth suddenly feeling like she had eaten half the Talkamakan. “What happened to you. Why are you here?” She asked. “How come you’ve not been plundered?”

“I do not remember,” Came the replay. “There is a de-mole perimeter which keeps this site from being plundered. It is safe to drink the water, and you must hydrate further to assist the healing process.”

This time she didn’t argue. She picked up the glass and drained it, and then had two more. Never, since her arrival on Tak Major had she been able to drink water with such abandon. She couldn’t have afforded it even if it had been available. Vaticana Jesu, she had not realized just how wonderful it tasted.

Much to her surprise, the computer asked, “what is your designation?”

“I’m Len,” she replied, having to clear her throat twice so she didn’t sound as rusted as most of the salvage yards. “Short for Lenore, you know? From the poem by Edgar Allen Poe? He was my uncle’s favorite ancient Terran writer. I personally found him a bit too gothic for my tastes.” She forced herself to shut up. What was the matter with her rattling on like a salvage sledge full of loose bolts?

“From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven–
“From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of Heaven.”

“You know the poem?” She said, for an instant forgetting she spoke to a computer.

“It is in my database,” came the reply, “and I concur with your judgment that Poe is too gothic for my tastes. I much prefer Hawthorne and find his tales more subtle, though I suppose it is a matter of degree.” Before she could respond, the computer said. “There is food in your chamber. You are weakened. You must eat. And then you must rest if you are to recover.”

A delicious smell made her mouth water so hard that she neared drooled. Poe and Hawthorne was a discussion for later. Already feeling stronger, she returned to her room.

“It is only a nutritious soup, one that will be easy for you to keep down and for your body to utilize. I have tried to make it tasty. Once you have rested you may have more should you wish.”

“Thank you, Ascent-7, she said, settling in at a table that had not been there before. The computer made no response. The soup was thick and stew-like in texture, but mild and comforting in flavor. She ate slowly. That had become her habit as food was always scarce, but she did not want to vomit it either remembering the battered condition of her belly. The muscles were still very tender, and the first bite caused nausea to tug at her innards, but the instant she forced herself to swallow, she felt better. The next bite was easier and the one after that and the next until it was gone. But the effort of feeding herself was exhausting, and when she had finished the strange pink drink, with a slightly sweet flowery flavor, she returned to her bed, realizing she was still wrapped in the coverlet. There were no windows. She could not tell if it were day or night, but the ambient temperature of the room was such that she didn’t need anything more than the coverlet pulled over her. There were a million questions she wanted to ask Asent-7, and her mind was racing, but sleep took her nearly instantly and the questions would all have to wait.

 

 

 

Dragon Ascending Part 11: Brand New KDG Read

Happy Friday everyone!  Normally the first Friday of the month means an update of books I’ve enjoyed reading, but that post hasn’t happened because NaNoWriMo got in the way. Instead I’m going to give you lovelies another episode of  Dragon Ascending. Last week we discovered that Fury and his crew are being stalked. This week we get a little more intimate look at Fury’s stalker. 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 Sentient 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.

 

 

 

She flinched and forced a sour smile as the bot began its work. Her older brother and her father were not the only ones with very specific needs. She would have left the wounds untreated to prolong the pain if it had not been for her crew. She had learned long ago, growing up in the viper’s nest, that a Fallon never showed weakness, and while she could disguise most injuries, she expected this time that there was a cracked rib. The bot knew well enough to treat only the most severe injuries, only the most visible, at least there was that much, and then she could have the pleasure of the pain — the pain of the guilt. The longer the pain lasted, the less often she needed to run the risk of being found out. Though those who did find out would certainly not survive that knowledge. What a fucked up bunch the Fallon bastards all were. She wondered if SNT 1 was equally fucked up.

The man on the bed moaned and shifted. She studied him for a moment. “Diagnosis?” She asked the med-bot, which stopped its work on her ribs and scanned. “Internal bleeding, ruptured spleen, broken wrist and two fractured ribs along with various bruises and contusions,” came the reply.

“Prognosis?”

“One hundred percent recovery, however time in the infirmary will be required.”

That was disappointing. She should have known better than to use someone who was not an indentured. To use and indentured to service her needs and then have him healed would have only been protecting her investment, and an indentured knew better than to spread rumors. She sighed, flinched again at the Med-bot’s efforts, and said, “‘tran him out.”

Instantly the bed was empty. The voice command to her computer had been obeyed to the unwritten letter. Wherever into the vacuum of space the man had been ‘tranned would not be visible to any of the present crew. Yes, it was disappointing. It was always better with a non-indentured. There were so many more delicious risks. But if her sexual partner didn’t have the good graces to die in the act, then the situation had to be sorted. Sometimes, in some places, she could pick up someone at a bar or choose someone who could be easily explained away and easily replaced. Her predilection was best timed perfectly. That she had not done so this time was a testament to how truly angry she was at her brother’s interruption of her plans.

This communications officer was the loss of a resource that would be difficult to replace on Vodni Station. Oh she’d had her eye on the man for a while, but it had been her plan if she brought him to her bed to do so in a place where there were plenty of gifted replacements. That meant near the center of Authority space, and she avoided that hot bed of politics and intrigue as much as possible. No this man, she had planned to have only in her fantasies. This man would not be easily replaced no matter where they were. She seldom made such a juvenile mistake, so like something her elder brother would pull, and she was furious at herself for her few hours of weakness and what it would cost her. This man she would not even have considered if she not been cloistered with him over the deep space scanners trying to find a trace of SNT1 for long enough to be strung out and way too aware of his own rising hormones, working so closely with the boss. And it had been his skills that had actually pinpointed where SNT1 actually was and confirmed their speculations of its route in the first place.

 

 

She could not abide stupid men, and she refused to fuck them, so this man had signed his own fate by his brilliance, and she was even more aroused by the fact that he was just arrogant enough not to fear her. The one thing she did not want when she took someone to her bed was for them to fear her. That was the reason she didn’t relish taking indentureds. They lived in fear, and they all knew she held the key to their pain, their long anguished death, or even their release, all safely tucked away in a small black case and a micro syringe that she always kept on her person. But this one, Vidak, he had been good, really good, taking as much pleasure in his own pain as in inflicting pain upon her. Vaticana Jesu, she would have liked to keep him for later. Her weakness, her lack of control, had cost her far too much. With a grunt, she pulled away from the med-bot. “Leave it!” She said.

“There will be scarring on the lower hip and buttocks,” the bot warned. “And one rib is not completely healed. You will have to wrap it very tightly. I shall leave you bandages.”

“I can live with that,” she said. She deserved no better.

As quietly as it had come, the bot left, leaving a roll of bandaging on her dressing table. Once it was gone, she slid back into the wrecked bedding and over to the spot where Vidak had lain, still warm from the man’s body. She sighed deeply, breathing in the scent of blood and sex and the sweat of their fucking, of their shared rage. She lay on her back, her buttocks stinging excruciatingly as she slid down between the sheets, breath catching as she moved harsh hands over each bruise, each abrasion, each ache that still remained, especially between her thighs where he had battered her with such fury that she thought perhaps it was she who should die this time. He bloodied her as surely as if she had been a virgin, and that warmth still trickled down her thighs. That deep aching pain burned into pleasure so sharp that she saw the room through a sheen of tears. “You, I won’t forget soon, Vidak,” she gasped. Her heart rapped furiously against her injured ribs, her own scent rose to dominate the room with the crescendo of her need. Her own scent, her own blood, it would always and forever dominate the space, even in the pain she relished. As she shuddered against her fingers, and gave a cry of pain, she bit her lip and tasted that blood as she whispered. “Your skills I’ll enjoy awhile longer.”

She was drowsing in post-coital bliss, or as close to it as she ever came, when her PD pinged. She came back to herself cursing. She took two deeply painful breaths remembering that her ribs had not been properly treated. “What?”

“Jessup Fallon is out of sensory range, heading back toward Authority space,” her first lieutenant said.

“And SNT1?” She asked.

“No sign of any other ship.” There was no apology in his voice, no whining fear. He knew that she would hold him accountable only for his own actions and not a loss none of them could have foreseen.

“Lay in a course for Vodni Outpost then, and make sure I’m not disturbed.”

She broke off the link before Lieutenant Fizel could respond. Then she shoved back the sheets, now smelling of regret she did not need right at the moment. With an effort, she stood and limped toward the shower. The rib was going to be hard to disguise. At the bathroom door she stopped and spoke. “Camille, change the bed. Incinerate the sheets and the robe.” The indentured, who had been huddled unobtrusively in the corner, rose instantly and went to the task. Tenad smiled to herself. There were some tasks only a humanoid could properly manage, and Camille had clever hands. Inside the bathroom, she took two of the tablets that would ease the pain of her bodily functions enough for her to manage a piss without passing out and to keep infection at bay. She swallowed them without water. Then stepped into the shower and cranked the hot water. For a moment she leaned against the tiles feeling suddenly very cold. Then she scrubbed her aching body with a vigor that was anything but gentle. For a Fallon, gentle would never suffice.

 

 

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.

 
© 2022 K D Grace
Site created and maintained by Writer Marketing Services