Time for a new scene in Shattered Guardian. Naomi has just learned that somebody she loved and thought dead is in fact alive.

Now I’m cutting to twenty-four-hours ago and showing the immediate aftermath of his post-resurrection awakening, and introducing a character I had only mentioned in Without Bloodshed: Josefine Malmgren.

Restoring the dead to life is easier when you can restore from backup, but unlike in Altered Carbon this scifi resurrection tech isn’t universally available.

AsgarTech Spire - Josefine Malmgren - 24 hours ago

He’s finally awake. Though it meant that Josefine Malmgren’s efforts had proved successful, the thought brought no flush of pride. Instead of the triumphant sense of accomplishment that Isaac Magnin and John Desdinova had promised her, there was only the fear of having made a terrible mistake churning in the pit of her stomach and the taste of acid creeping up the back of her throat. Though the man beyond the door looming before Josefine had been friendly to her, she could not help but suspect that he would be less kindly toward her once he learned that her work had been instrumental in returning him from the dead.

The door swung open at Josefine’s touch as if it weighed nothing, revealing a dark man with a lithe build and long black hair lying in a hospital bed. “Excuse me, Adversary,” said Josefine after clearing her throat.

He opened his eyes, and appraised her at a glance that reminded Josefine of a cat sizing up possible prey. “Good evening, doctor—”

Malmgren, Josefine Malmgren.” Josefine cringed at how easily the formulaic introduction slipped off her tongue. “We’ve met before, though you might not remember.”

Morgan nodded. “Are you my attending physician, Dr. Malmgren?”

I’m not that kind of doctor,” said Josefine, her tone as firm as she could manage. “Do you know where you are?”

Rather than answer immediately, Morgan got out of bed. Before she could protest, he turned his back on her and indulged in a spine-crackling stretch that rendered every muscle in his back, bottom, and legs in sharp relief. “Would you mind telling me where I am, and what sort of doctor you are if not a physician? When was I injured, and how long was I out?”

Here we go. Josefine braced herself as if she expected to have to take a punch, and drew in a deep breath. “You’re in the AsgarTech Spire, in the Asura Emulator Project’s R&D Lab. My doctorate is in biomechanical engineering, though I’ve considerable background in artificial psychology.”

Morgan glanced at Josefine over his shoulder. “It seems you know what I am.”

Here’s a delicate situation if ever there was one. If Josefine’s friend Claire had been here, she would have warned Josefine to phrase her response with exacting care lest she upset Morgan and risk permanently alienating him. Instead, Magnin and Desdinova had made a point of advising her to handle Morgan’s ego gently. However, Morgan had not been the first asura emulator for whom Josefine had had to play Whisperer. But Polaris had been more volatile. At least I know what Morgan wants to hear.

Forcing herself to wear just the right sort of smile, Josefine answered Morgan. “I know exactly what you are. You’re a man, though human by choice rather than by origin.”