Hiding from his violent history as a revered Void necromancer within the Sparnell Confederation, single father Shane Lawrence has finally built a quiet life. On the freehold planet of Baden he can pour his energy into the only thing that now matters: the safety and upbringing of his precocious son, Jake.
All too soon, the Confederation targets Baden for annexation, confronting Shane once more with his treasonous past. Worse, the invading force is led by none other than Shane's manipulative former mentor, Admiral Kydell.
Shane's every instinct screams to run, to hide Jake even further from Sparnell – but Baden is home. This time he could choose to make a stand and defend the entire planet, not just his son. But that means turning to the very skills he swore he'd leave behind…
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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."