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Never the Heroes: Developing the Plot

The following is from my personal files as I use John Truby's The Anatomy of Story to develop the story of Never the Heroes.

The following is pre-writing for Never the Heroes: a new Starbreaker novel that will reboot the saga by retelling the central story of Without Bloodshed in a more disciplined and accessible manner.

2 Plot Development

2.1 Hero

Morgan Armitage

2.2 Weaknesses

Morgan is not human, but insists on having a human life, and has placed himself in a position where the easiest way to keep his secret is to kill people when they find out the truth.

2.3 Psychological Need

Morgan must learn to accept his true nature as a biological android and find a way to be both man and machine.

2.4 Moral Need

Morgan must find a way to live up to his ideals instead of betraying them; it was never acceptable for Morgan to kill.

2.5 Problem

Morgan stands accused as the UN Human Rights Defense Corps' hitman, the man who murders the UN's critics, by the newly elected mayor of Boston: Alexander Liebenthal, a man the UN has identified as an arms trafficker.

2.6 Desire

Morgan wants to clear his name, even though he knows he's guilty as sin, rather than have the UN throw him under a bus in a show trial to generate pro-UN propaganda.

2.7 Opponent

Morgan's first opponent is a former colleague, Munakata Tetsuo. Their duel sets the stage for the story, and he returns from the dead as a bodyguard to Morgan's second opponent, Alexander Liebenthal. Liebenthal is Morgan's accuser, but behind both Munakata and Liebenthal the real enemy. Morgan's third opponent is Isaac Magnin, who has been using people like Munakata and Liebenthal to test Morgan and other asura emulators to determine whether they are "suitable for their true purpose".

2.8 Plan

Morgan's first plan is to attack Alexander Liebenthal directly and take him into custody before his supporters can get in Morgan's way. Morgan's second plan is to let Munakata Tetsuo defeat him and bring him into Liebenthal's presence so that he get Liebenthal to explain himself. Morgan's third plan is to go after Isaac Magnin based on what he learned from Alexander Liebenthal, but understands that joining Liebenthal's rebellion in Boston will only bring the UN down on the city. Instead, Morgan's final plan is to force Isaac Magnin to reveal his true self by taking Liebenthal and Munakata as prisoners and bringing them to the UN headquarters in NYC for trial.

2.9 Battle

Despite all of the obstacles Isaac Magnin throws in Morgan's way as he seeks to transport his prisoners to Manhattan, he manages to bring them to the UN HQ alive and un-harmed. He finds Isaac Magnin waiting for him with a militia regiment armed with the gauss rifles Liebenthal had been selling on Magnin's behalf. Morgan refuses Magnin's command to kill Liebenthal and Munakata. Magnin orders the militia to open fire. With no other viable option for protecting not only his own prisoners but his friends and the bystanders nearby, Morgan accepts his shadow and calls upon the abilities he had suppressed all of his life.

2.10 Psychological Self-Revelation

Morgan realizes that all he had to do to keep his secret was put away his sword. He already had a human life as a musician in Crowley's Thoth, as Christabel Crowley's lover, as a friend to Naomi Bradleigh, etc. – and the only one to blame for putting that life at risk by bringing Morgan's abilities into the open was Morgan himself by working for the UN HRDC.

2.11 Moral Self-Realization

Upon learning about the ways Isaac Magnin uses people and disposes of them to accomplish his own ends, Morgan recognizes that he has treated others in similar fashion while being used in turn. The only way he can reject Magnin and prove he isn't like that is to reject Magnin's methods. This leads to Morgan refusing to sacrifice any more lives to preserve his secret.

2.12 New Equilibrium

Liebenthal and Munakata are in custody and standing trial for their crimes. Morgan has given testimony against Isaac Magnin, been stripped of his position in the UN HRDC, and has been stripped of just about everything he owns to provide restitution to the families of the people he killed. He'd be homeless, but the brownstone he lives in is actually owned by its resident AI daemon, Astarte. Christabel Crowley has dumped him, and both Morgan and Naomi will leave Crowley's Thoth at the end of the current tour.