"Intrepid reporters end up dead." That's what Claire Kennedy's boss told her. Claire doesn't care. She's willing to risk her life to land an interview with her city's superhero. The mysterious vigilante is a demolition force against the criminal empire operating inside Colberton. He won't identify himself to the public, so Claire will assign him a name herself. She's willing to create other "facts" as necessary, anything to get a promotion at Data to Information News. The hero, Votary, cares not for her goals. Nor does Votary worry about the actions of the police or criminals. The city must be protected from itself and outside threats. Votary is the only person capable of this, though the methods used will lead to death and trauma for many citizens of Colberton. Most will debate the methods of this crusader. Some support Votary, others fear the vigilante, but none will know the person beneath the armor, despite trying.
BYSTANDERS II: TROPHY HUNTERS
Colberton barely survived the actions of Yuri Osaka. Some, like Keith Douglas-Sanders, must deal with the trauma of what they witnessed. One hero is clearly not enough to protect the city, much less the world from the Other Threat that encroaches. Abel informs Votary that he must begin recruiting additional warriors to his cause. Votary enlists a man who uses a mastery over water to aid him in his crusade against crime and injustice. Meanwhile, the residents of Colberton must deal with the threat of an unknown saboteur who uses a new explosive that can’t be detected by traditional means. This, in conjunction with the threat of a chemical attack, keeps the planet on edge as superpowered battles take place across the globe. The action spans from India, to Somalia, to Mexico. Is any place safe from the level of violence that the heroes must face?
BYSTANDERS III: SLEEP AND SCOUTS
The world has changed. Augmented people now exist. Many have simple powers, but a minority have exceptional abilities that can easily repel an army. Both the Templars of Olympus and the Malignant Empire scour the planet to find individuals suited to join their side in a war that will determine the fate of Earth. Life goes on for the citizens of Colberton, despite being ground zero for all things augmented. The United States government creates a new department in an attempt to gain control of the rapidly unraveling situation. Whether this new organization can be anything more than a nuisance to the Templars has yet to be determined. One thing is certain; Votary must learn to work with a team that continues to grow. Votary’s anonymity remains an obstacle to true synergy among the Templars. Adding former enemies to the Templar ranks in an effort to delay the invasion of Earth only adds to the frustrations that Seal Pup, Lottery, and Compel face.
BYSTANDERS IV: OUR CONTEST
Mother has arrived. Fortunately, Abel managed to convince her that the rules of Our Contest required a cease in hostilities for six weeks. One week has already passed. The Templars of Olympus have superior augmentations, but the Malignant fleet has dozens of ships filled with thousands of warriors for each of Votary’s allies. Thankfully, eight new Templars were recruited after they were rescued in the battle that captured a single Malignant corvette. That battle resulted in devastating casualties. How can the Templars possibly survive these new odds? Should they fail, what will happen to the residents of Colberton and the rest of the planet? Especially since panic has already overtaken most of them. Few people do more than cower with their loved ones. The dedicated civil servants in Colberton who still report to work are exhausted and terrified. Grave mistakes will be made, leading to more despair on the eve of the end of the world.
Prophecy. Fate. Destiny. Augury.
Words that promise a chosen one will rise to protect the downtrodden . . . or avenge them.
Many cultures believe in their champions; heroes are desperately needed now. The oppressive, technologically advanced Corlain Empire ravages the weak people of Glostaimia; the "acceptable" cultures are forced to assimilate. Two powerful, and utterly disparate, crusaders emerge to oppose Corla.
Two Dogs has trained his entire life in protector magic. Circumstances suggest he's the hero of legend, but Two Dogs is the master of his own actions. With a tomahawk in one hand and a knife in the other, he'll prove why it was wrong to start a fight with the Lacreechee tribe.
Princess Murid has more reason to hate the Corlains than most. She's been groomed since childhood on her duties as the chosen one, but not even her royal status can convince those who adopted her that the Corlains will soon come to claim their land and resources as well.
Can native magic and barbarian ingenuity combine to overcome a superior foe when both sides hold onto their dogmatic views about fate? Who's the real chosen one?
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THE SOLDIERS' PERSPECTIVE
War doesn’t have good guys.
War doesn’t have bad guys.
A slight shift in perspective changes everything.
The planet Gemma is under attack.
For the people of Gemma, this is an unprovoked and murderous raid by bandits unwilling to earn their way. The defenders will protect their culture with their lives.
For the attackers, the wealth of Gemma represents the source of their collective anguish. Desperate humans, aliens, and cyborgs unite to fight a system they perceive as callous and corrupt. An invasion is the only way to survive.
Soldiers from each army will meet on the battlefield. T'azure leads Shadow Squad, a motley crew comprising elite human, cyborg, and reptilian fighters. They’ll spearhead the invasion. Sare Importa and his wife Neera will defend their home, enhanced by state-of-the-art equipment which turns both into a near unstoppable force.
Good and evil are labels history applies. What will be said of this war today?