Captured by the very Mordena he'd been tasked to destroy, Officer of the Hydell Order Max Coilin finds himself facing none other than their blasphemous leader, Grand Navarch Shane Lawrence himself. Max finds comfort in the friendly evening conversations with his deceased warden, Chief Cal Barthik, one of the Mordena pilots recently killed by Max's squadron.
But the Faith demands only those Ordained by the Ascended Conclave are worthy of Resurrection, and even more than Cal's existence, the Mordena themselves are nothing like he's been taught. As his foundations are shaken, will Max be able to navigate his own budding friendship with a Resurrected while negotiating the safety of the tattered remains of his squadron?
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The beginnings of Max Coilin's unlikely friendship with the deceased Cal Barthik as he navigates the attentions of Shane Lawrence can be read in Faith and Loyalty, a free novelette.
"What are you afraid of, Officer Coilin?"
"You." Max eyed the Grand Navarch warily, but the necromancer only laughed.
"Misplaced." Shane shook his head as he spread his hands, palms up. "I'm not here to hurt you, I'm trying to help. What are you really afraid of?"
"So you can have me face that next?" Max snorted. "Nice try."
"You don't know, then. Except... I think you do. I think you know exactly what you're afraid of, but you can't admit it because that makes it real."
Crossing his arms as he leaned back in his seat, Max glared at Shane with more bravado than he felt. "Alright then. Since you know me so well, what am I afraid of?"
The Grand Navarch shifted to return both feet to the floor, hands folding in his lap once more as he leaned forward with a sneer. "What if everything you were raised to believe is a lie?"