Introduction for New Readers

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A/N: Welcome, readers! This is the sequel to "City of Slaves" (which won an Ooorah for Best SF Novel 2017, ooorah!).  If you skip the first book and start reading this one, no worries. You can probably figure out what's going on.

Here's a super-short synopsis of the first book, to get you started.

The Majority always get what they want. Trillions of minds are networked together; powerful rulers of the galaxy who'll vote to kill anyone who challenges their whims. They never expected the disabled mutant Thomas to undermine their utopian, slave-fueled civilization.

Armed with allies, Thomas seizes a chance to succeed where all other renegades and rebellions have failed. His friends from Earth will do anything to destroy their slave masters. Thomas can't walk, but he's about to become the biggest threat the Torth Empire has ever faced.

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Here's a condensed excerpt from the end of Book 1. This is where the story left off.

Thomas sat at the control panel, not touching anything. He looked from one horizon to the other.

Alex felt as patient as the desert. "We'll die if we go back," he said. "But if we go the other way ..." He gazed towards the dark horizon, beyond which were all the possibilities in the universe. "We'll have a chance." He nodded towards Thomas. "Including you."

Thomas gestured at his own withered body. "Can't you see I'm dying? My medical supply won't last another month, and you can't protect us from Torth armies. They have drones and missiles and slaves and endless armies!"

"Then let's not go to the Torth," Alex said in a reasonable tone.

"There's nothing else!" Thomas flung his arm out towards the desert. "Just canyons and slave farms, all of which are owned by Torth! They own everything. Don't you get it?" He glared at Alex. "I'm doomed, and there's nothing you can do about it. So you'd better take back your promise to protect me. I didn't save you just so you can die like an idiot!"

Alex tried not to sound too curious. "Then why did you save me?"

Thomas appeared at a loss for words. His hand hovered over the control panel, and he glanced towards the glowing city on the horizon, with painful regret and yearning on his face.

Then their platform lurched into motion. They raced at what felt like top speed, bounding over dark hills, away from the city.

"You'll regret that stupid promise," Thomas told him with crisp finality. "I'm always one step away from death."

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