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Part Two of Starbreaker
Having learned that he had spent his life betraying his own ideals by serving as the Phoenix Society’s avenging sword, Morgan sees no option but to investigate the organization he once believed beyond reproach. The truth won’t set him free; it will only bind him to the purpose for which he was originally designed.

This draft is available under a Creative Commons license.

Inspiration

The title comes from a classic Judas Priest anthem: “Dissident Aggressor“, Sin After Sin (1977)

New Characters

I’m adding some new characters to the mix because the cast wasn’t big enough last time around. If you thought the cast of Without Bloodshed was too big, I’ve got two words for you: “cry more”.

Josefine Malmgren

A scientist working for the AsgarTech Corporation, Josefine Malmgren was involved in the new Asura Emulator Project, publicly known as Project Aesir, and designed the operating system for 200 Series asura emulators like Polaris.

Polaris

A 200 Series asura emulator who knows that they are not human, and feels no real need to pretend to humanity. They do not stick to a specific gender, shape, or coloration for long. A foil of sorts for Morgan Stormrider, who is heavily invested in his human identity.

Olivia Tate

Olivia is a failed Adversary candidate, washed out of ACS after training, facing the Milgram Battery, and displaying a high M-factor indicating a highly submissive attitude toward authority. She joined the Congregation of the Repentant in Christ seeing Abram Mellech denounce the Phoenix Society in Boston.

As one of the Repentant, Olivia is responsible for creating and operating the Mastema worm, which exposed Adversaries’ violent methods and abuses of power to the general public.

Mastema

An artificial intelligence trained by Olivia Tate and her allies inside the Congregation of the Repentant in Christ to crack Phoenix Society records and expose wrongdoing by Adversaries to public view.

Plot

Think I’ll actually manage to stick to any of this? Let’s see!

Chapter 1: Demon Speeding

On their way back to Morgan’s home in Manhattan, Morgan and Naomi are attacked by a flash mob calling them fascists and demanding they stand trial for aiding the Phoenix Society’s tyranny. Trapped and unable to get away by normal means, Morgan resorts to demon speeding to get him and Naomi away from their attackers.

Chapter 2

Once home and assured of their safety by the household daemon, Astarte, Morgan and Naomi contact Claire and ask her to see if there’s been anything on the network that would explain the flash mob that sprang up around them. Claire is already on the case, and warns them that there’s a new software available for implants called “Mastema” that promises to show the user other people’s dirty little secrets.

Chapter 3: Leper Messiah

While Sid Schneider is out with his family in Central Park, he hears Abram Mellech ascend a podium and begin preaching. Though it sounds innocuous at first as Mellech talks up the virtues of the Congregation of the Repentant in Christ, people heading to hear Mellech speak start looking askance at Sid and his family as they try to get out of Central Park. Seeing this, Sid tells his wife to take the children and go before sending Morgan a call for help and turning back toward Mellech.

Chapter 4: Afraid to Shoot Strangers

Olivia Tate looks on as Sid Schneider approaches the podium while wearing his Adversary’s pins. Though Mastema hasn’t shown any dirt on him, the increasingly restive crowd recognizes him and is close to erupting into violence. She wants to tell Mellech and ask him to turn his rhetoric back toward the Gospel, but she can’t get to him in time and the fun begins.

Chapter 5

Josefine Malmgren needs Polaris’ help to get through the crowd of protesters gathered outside the AsgarTech Building. The protesters demand that AsgarTech come clean about its involvement with the Phoenix Society, which prompts Josefine to ask her patron and boss Isaac Magnin some questions. Naturally, Magnin isn’t forthcoming.

Chapter 6

Munakata Tetsuo has taken to helping Sarah Kohlrynn with her rehabilitation because it’s ultimately his fault that Alexander Liebenthal shot Sarah instead of Naomi Bradleigh during the events of Without Bloodshed. While bringing her back to Claire’s place from physical therapy, they run into Vincent Rubicante, who had challenged Munakata to a duel. Tetsuo asks Vincent for a postponement to keep Sarah from getting involved, but Vincent refuses and says she’ll do as a second.

Chapter 7

Annelise Copeland finishes with the last of her clients in her Brooklyn custom fashion boutique. She’s happy with her new life, and the memories of her previous life are fading. But after she’s closed up her shop and was about to head upstairs for the night, somebody throws a brick through her shop window. Attached is a note accusing her of being an “Adversary’s whore”.

Chapter 8

Olivia Tate is having second thoughts about Mastema based on what she saw at Central Park. She had thought that capitalizing on latent anti-Phoenix Society sentiment and provoking public protests by exposing violent enforcement methods and abuses of power by Adversaries using Mastema woud help curb violence, but instead people are mobbing Adversaries—and some Adversaries are fighting back. She takes her concerns to Abram Mellech, who trots out the “through a mirror darkly” bullshit.

Chapter 9: Vulgar Display of Power

Saul Rosenbaum finds Morgan, Naomi, and Sid sharing a NYPD holding cell and wishes he hadn’t volunteered to come bail them out so they could be briefed on Mastema and enlisted into the search for its origin. He makes the mistake of asking why they’re in a holding cell, and to the chagrin of everybody present Morgan explains that it was either surrender or kill a whole bunch of cops and militia volunteers, because blocking a fusillade of gunfire in midair wasn’t enough to intimidate people any longer.

Dedication

For Catherine, purr usual. It certainly took me long enough to get this one going, didn’t it?

Disclaimer

The following is a work of fiction and contains content that may be offensive, triggering, or inappropriate for certain readers. Any views or opinions expressed by the characters in this novel are strictly their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the author or the publisher.

Any resemblance or similarities between the characters depicted within to living or dead persons in this world or any parallel world within the known multiverse are either a coincidence; an allusion to real, alternate, invented, or secret history; or a parody.

The stunts in this work were performed by trained professionals; attempting them at home can result in property damage, civil or criminal liability, personal injury, and premature death.

If you find any allegory or applicability in the following novel, please consult a qualified professional for psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

Last updated: 06 June 2018