Hiding from his violent history as a revered Void Necromancer within the jingoistic Sparnell Confederation, single father Shane Lawrence has finally built a quiet life on the freehold planet of Baden. His humble work as a janitor allows him to pour his energy into the only thing that now matters: the safety and upbringing of his precocious son, Jake.
Unfortunately, it's not long before Shane is confronted with his treasonous past. Baden is targeted for annexation by the Confederation, and the invading force is led by none other than the famed psychomorphic mage Admiral Kydell, who as Shane's once-superior officer still owns large pieces of his mind. His every instinct screams to run, flee the planet and hide Jake far from Sparnell. But Baden is home. The attack will kill thousands and level the planet, and he's left enough innocent people dead in his wake.
Armed with the ability to bend the Afterlife to his whim, he could choose to make a stand. This time, he could choose to defend not just his son, but also their home and the life they built together, by turning to the very skills he swore he'd leave behind...
But can he hope to succeed against his former mentor's armada?
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"Dad! What's wrong?" Jake made his way to his feet, clearly worried.
"We have to go. Now. It was a diversion. SAF lured all Baden's defenses into the open." Shane was pacing, his normally impassive face a conflict of emotions. "There's a whole armada up there now. We don't have much time."
Razick's stomach sank. If the janitor's words were true, Baden had no chance at remaining independent. The shelter vault had its own defenses but these were largely nonviolent measures and eventually they, too, would be breached. If the Confederation didn't starve them out first.
Razick watched as Jake's face hardened. "I don't want to run anymore, Dad. I finally have a chance at something good here. Better classes, actual friends, no more bullies..." His eyes turned pleading. "I know you can fix this. Please don't make me start all over again."
Shane stopped pacing, looking at his son as if seeing him for the first time. "A whole armada, Jake."
"I want to stay."
To Razick's surprise, after studying his son for a moment Shane sank to the floor in thought, still seemingly oblivious to her presence. "Okay."