Chapter 35 - The Prides

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Recap: i know its been awhile. Some of you know why. For the rest of you, writing while on painkillers is quite fun, but disastrous to the story arc... so... as request by @Saximusprime

THE ROAD SO FAR:

Terris, Dawn, Silas, Andrew John, Ghost, Marcus, One, Dex, Demos and the Duke are aboard Dawnhammer. Ghost has just confronted her own subconscious mind that has taken control of Archangel. Patricia and the Owls are stranded in the training system. Archangel is unconscious, but Ghost is back.

ARCHANGEL AND DAWNHAMMER are encased by asteroids, but the Prides (slavers that had possession of Ghost) have used the time the standoff between Guardian ships provided in order to surround them... Ghost did just wipe out alot of them...

Andrew John knelt down and gently lifted the young woman. Terris turned to leave Archangel's command deck.

The massive pirate was visibly shaking as he left the holosphere. Every inch of viewable area on the command deck was painted with holographic horror. Ghost, at varying ages and physical conditions, moved through the memories, shouted and railed against the injustice of her life. He had watched her age from childhood to womanhood in minutes. How Ghost continued forward with so much strength was beyond him. That level of resilience should not have been possible.

Resilience was the wrong word. No, the name of her ship had not been a mere word painted on a hull for appearance or from arrogance or pride.

Ghost was the living embodiment of defiance. She had been fighting impossible odds since day one.

He kept his eyes locked on the collar of Terris' white uniform, but her memories stayed with him. He looked down at the fair skinned woman in his arms and tried to calm the firestorm of anger within.

Archangel had received a lifetime of pain, shock, and rage in a matter of minutes. Haden said that Ghost's memories had taken on a life of their own. As a mental defense mechanism within Archangel's mind she recognized the impending danger and established a safe haven in the link between herself and Ghost before the majority of her mental processes were forcefully compromised by the spectre.

Ghost confronted that nightmare image of herself and, through sheer power of will, brought it to heel. Archangel was still processing the event, but an ordeal like that would certainly leave wounds.

John looked back up at Terris. The young pilot moved with grace, traversing the debris that littered the path with ease. Despite their journey leading them in, basically, a straight line, fully half an hour passed before the gleaming bulk of Dawnhammer came into view, her angular, predatory mass crouching in the shadows as if she were some prehistoric nightmare lying in wait for worthy prey.

Not for the first time, the pirate considered the fact that he and the others referred to the ship as a 'she', knowing full well that she was Haden. The AI didnt seem to take note of that discrepancy. Val had summed it up nicely, though. Everyone thought of the ship and the AI as separate. She was the great shadow of death, while he was, in essence, translating commands to her. Technically, neither embodied a gender. Haden said he could choose an avatar of either sex, but the 'Guardian Consensus', whatever the hell that was, had mated Dawn with the most compatible version.

Andrew John shook his head. A few days ago he was playing pirate with his oldest friend and lieutenant. Since then, he had seen astounding technologies, alien races, one of which would soon try to end the entire human race because of an accident no one could remember, and was being offered the chance to join a mythical legion of warriors to stop it all. The Wolf in him wanted to take on the mantle, to take command of a ship in league with Dawnhammer and let loose the monster inside of him. The cause was just, but for him, it was only an excuse to unchain his demons. The battle with the Alphas had served to give that beast a taste. But it wanted more. It would always want more.

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