It’s Friday, which means it’s Fury time again. Today’s episode finds Rab and Gerando invited to a dangerous celebration by Gerando’s old man. 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 43: A Dangerous Celebration
“You making any headway?” Rab said. He was pacing, just pacing. Fucking hell, what else could he do while the kid was trying to make contact with the damn ship?
Gerando shook his head without looking up. “Just the rudimentary niceties. The old man’s got lots of blocks and firewalls and gags in place to keep Apocalypse from talking. Fuck! Apocalypse! What kind of name is that for an SNT?”
“I doubt your old man cares much the ship’s feelings.”
They’d both had a shower and changed clothes. Rab figured Fallon senior might be suspicious at what the kid had been up to if he couldn’t be arsed to wash off the blood. Besides that, he didn’t care to see junior get the shit beat out of him again.
“You sure he’s even in there? Your … brother, I mean?”
“Oh he’s there all right. I can feel him. He’s just unable to communicate, other than through experiences that cause him great pain, and in that case, I really don’t know how the old man can’t feel it too. But then I’ve thought for a long time that he isn’t really humanoid.”
Rab couldn’t say he disagreed.
“Abriad Fallon wishes to see you in his study again,” Apocalypse’s computer said.
Before either of them could question, Gerando made a mad rush to the can and Rab cringed at the sound of the poor kid puking again. “Your brother has got to find a better way to communicate with you.”
When Gerando immerged from the bathroom still a little green around the gills, they both stopped in their tracks at the sight of a glass of something just replicated. “To make you feel better, Bro.”
They both froze. “It’s not good, is it, what he wants from us?” Rab asked.
“Drink,” the computer commanded. “You will need to feel better.”
The kid obeyed, nearly gagging with his first effort to drink the stuff.
“Need to feel better,” Rab managed. “Jesu and all the angels, I think we’re about to be fucked.”
“You must go now, Bro.”
“Thank you, Bro.” The kid placed a hand on the console and they stepped out into the silent company of the Berserkers.
This time when the door slid open for them to enter, they were surprised to see a small table laden with so much food, Rab wondered if the old fart had invited the whole damned crew for a fucking la-di-da cocktail party. Fallon greeted them with a smile too bright for that bastard’s face. “Come in, come it! Do have a seat.” He nodded to the table. “Something to eat? To drink? Honestly, where have my manners been? It was rude of me not to offer something before. I’m usually a better host than that.”
Rab doubted that very much, and after the things he had experienced so far onboard the Apocalypse, he wasn’t sure he would have trusted the food even if he was hungry, and he’d lost his appetite when the old man shanghaied them aboard.
But Fallon seemed oblivious to their lack of appetite and nibbled with on some foreign hoity toity gourmet shit Rab hand never seen, but he reckoned it probably cost more than he got paid in a whole year.
“Actually, I’ve laid this feast because we have yet more cause to celebrate.”
They didn’t ask, but the fucker told them anyway. “Acting science officer, Markov died a few minutes ago, but not without divulging some astounding and wonderful things.”
The kid went all green again, and hell Rab was feeling like he might puke himself. They both just stood there, like their feet were glued to the floor, but the old man didn’t seem to care.
“This,” he said, pulling a small silver vial out of the pocket of his jacket raising it so that it caught the firelight and sparkled like a New Luxorian diamond, “This is what the Svalbard, what Plague 1 is hiding.”
“Plague 1?” The words were out before Rab could stop them as he broke out in that nasty clammy sweat you always get before you heave your goddamned innards.
Fallon glanced at Rab and the boy like he’d forgot they were even there. “That was the Svalbard’s destination, believe it or not. And that’s not even the most astonishing part, gentlemen, oh no. Here’s the real reason to celebrate. You see Plague 1is where the Fury, along with Richard Manning and Diana McAllister all are even as we speak. And isn’t it wonderfully convenient that we are aboard the fastest, most advanced ship in the galaxy – other than the Fury, of course,” he said with a little shrug. “That means we can all be there to join the party in no time at all.” He leaned forward across the table his eyes bright like some goddamned wild animal. “Apparently, the good citizens of Plague 1 have developed an antidote for the SNT virus.” He shook the vile at them. “This antidote is not just for the early stages, but for any stage of the disease. Can you imagine?”
Rab gave a low whistle, and the kid swayed on his feet. Jesu Vaticanus, he looked like hell. The ship was really doing a number on him. Too goddamn bad it wasn’t doing the same to his motherfucking old man.
“My interrogators have learned from the Svalbard’s unfortunate acting science officer that we won’t even recognize Plague 1. It’s apparently been transformed to a mecca for runaway indentureds. Stunning, isn’t it?” He waved a hand wildly, “like one of those Edwardian spas in Old Terran England, you know where the people went to take the water.” How the hell would Rab know that? “It would appear that the Svaldbard’s intrepid crew were also in the business of transporting runaway indentureds. Shocking, isn’t it? Goodness, the captain and crew of that ship would have been in so much trouble if the Authority ever found out. Never mind. It seems that any indentured, no matter how badly infected, has but to show up on Plague 1, take the cure and begin a new life on a planet we all thought was dead. Why I was completely beside myself with excitement.”
Rab just fucking bet he was. He knew goddamned well the danger Plague 1 was in and the rest of the galaxy too now that this information was in the hands of Abriad Fallon. With a start, Rab found himself wondering when his sympathies had shifted so completely when his freedom and his fucking life were in the hands of this shit stain of a humanoid. He reckoned the kid was likely having the same thoughts, that and trying to figure out how the hell he was going to get through the rest of their audience without puking on the old man’s shoes.
“You’re sure Diana McAllister is there?” The kid asked.
“Mmm. And the Fury. And of all people, Professor Victor Keen. Why I bet the old rascal was instrumental in both the antidote and the new Plague 1 Spa and Resort. Who knew he would end up being so useful to me.” Fallon took the vial from his pocket again and twirled it between his fingers, eyeballing it like it was a bloody New Luxorian diamond. “Who knows, perhaps it is her blood they’ve used on Plague 1 to formulate the antidote.” When they both just gauped at him, he chuckled all smug-like. “I didn’t just infect dear Diana with the virus purely for the pleasure of it, boy.” He glared at the kid. “Though I wager she would have preferred my … experiments to being given to you as a place to dip your cock.”
The kid’s blushed bright red and fuck, Rab was embarrassed for him. But they both kept their gobs shut. “If you’d been interested in anything other than your cock or becoming a goddamn pilot, you might have noticed that each time I waited a little longer to administer the antidote, and each time I gave her a higher and higher dose of the virus.”
“She nearly died every fucking time you did it!” The kid burst out.
“But you see, that was it. She didn’t. She didn’t die. After the third time I infected her, I never gave her the antidote. I gave her a placebo, and her body fought off the virus on its own. Extraordinary, don’t you think? But then she is the Fury’s compliment, isn’t she?”
That little tidbit of information was an eyeball popper to Rab.
“ And now,” Fallon looked lovingly down at the vial, “now I’ll be able to control all the sources of the antidote.”
There was a knock on the door and a man in an engineering uniform slipped into the room. “Sir, the Ares is prepped and ready.”
“Good, then we can begin.” He made a shooing motion with his hand and the man slipped out.
“Drink, I insist,” he poured each of them a glass of Outer Dalmatian fire wine from a crystal decanter and raised his glass in salute. They both managed little more than a sip and the kid asked. “I’m assuming you have a plan then, one that involves the Ares.”
“Oh yes. Your help will be essential in my plan. In fact I’ll be relying on you to make first contact with both Diana McAllister and the Fury. I think it won’t be nearly as difficult as we all feared it might.”
It was when Rab realized he couldn’t understand what Fallon was saying that he figured they were fucked. When the kid all but fell onto the sofa behind him, he was certain of it. From a long way off, Fallon was talking, and as he dropped into the nearest chair, the wineglass tumbling from his hand and shattering on the floor in a pool that looked like blood. He had just enough wits left to realize Fallon was no longer talking to them, but to two men who now stood over them in the Authority uniforms of the sick bay. He tried to protest, when they came to him and gave him a injection on the inside of his arm, but he was unable to move. He thought he heard Fallon order, “shackle them. Shackle them both.” After that he remembered nothing else.