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Starbearer - ROCK FORSBERG
Starbearer - ROCK FORSBERG
Starbearer - ROCK FORSBERG



There's no front-line. There's nowhere to hide. How do you fight that?

Jill Faith has given away her superhuman powers for freedom on a paradise beach.

But when thousands of mysterious black spots appear all over the inhabited galaxy, foreboding a dark invasion, Jill realises her mistake. To get back her powers, she has to face her old enemies.

Meanwhile, the ancient evil has grown more powerful than ever, and when the dark universe bleeds over, it happens everywhere. There's no front-line. There's nowhere to hide. 

With the Dawn Alliance Navy crippled, the fate of humanity rests on people like Jill and her motley crew of allies.

Starbearer is the epic conclusion of the exhilarating Shades Space Opera series.

If you like glorious heroines, alien encounters, and paranormal powers, then you'll love this action-packed novel.

Buy Starbearer to join the fight for the universe now!

Print length: 474 pages

Chapter One

Harsh wind blew the sands on the plains of Fearanor as Evie Yeoh stared into the distance, where a lonely tower stood against the storms. 

‘Why did we deploy here if it’s that far?’

‘You’re unable to get any closer without them catching you.’ This was Daler Tait, the man who had built the compound they were planning to infiltrate. ‘That said, it’s been years—Marc might have changed things.’

He talked about Marc Puissance, a powerful man with a grudge against him, but more importantly, the mastermind behind the cyborg clones and the man who had captured Evie’s mentor, Gus.

‘Engaging stealth. Let’s move,’ said Fernando de Los Angeles—or Naido, Daler’s right-hand man—and he started walking. Evie followed.

It was just the three of them. Daler had said that the best way was to sneak in unnoticed, and he needed Evie because of her connection to Gus. Evie just wanted to get Gus out, but Daler’s motives were more sinister: he was carrying plasma bombs on his back. 

They walked across the desert plains towards the spiked tower that glimmered under the rays of Reuna. The tower was misleading; the extent of the compound was underground, and, according to Daler, it was massive. 

A fly buzzed beside Evie’s ear. She swatted it away, and in a moment, Naido took a swing at it. ‘How do the flies live in this heat?’

Daler stopped. ‘They don’t. Get down!’

Evie dived onto the ground, coughing from the sand dust in her throat. ‘What is it?’

‘They’re on to us. That fly’s theirs. Break it if you can.’

Evie shook off the sand from her cuff and looked around. ‘It’s gone.’

‘Blast it! That’s it for the stealth. We must move fast,’ Naido said, and tapped the side of his helmet. ‘I’ve marked the possible entry point on our HUDs.’

It was by a rock formation about fifty metres from them. Following Daler and Naido, Evie got to her feet and, shaking the sand off, ran towards the waypoint marker. 

She caught up with Naido, who ran like his heavy build would indicate, but Daler was going as if he were in a sped-up video. When they had attached his decapitated head to a new body, they had obviously gone with something out of the ordinary. Naido pressed his cowboy hat down and followed on against the wind.

About twenty metres in front of them, still far from the waypoint, Daler suddenly stopped. 

From beneath the sand rose multiple cyborgs—at least a dozen—sand trickling down their shiny armour.

‘It’s Marc’s forces!’ Daler shouted. ‘Find cover and shoot!’

But there was no cover to be found. They were in the middle of a sandpit, and as Naido dived down, Evie did the same. 

Through the flying sand, she could barely see Daler, who was now retreating towards them, shooting blue plasma bolts at the cyborgs. She flicked her rifle onto maximum energy and aimed at the cyborg closest to Daler. Naido’s fire hit the cyborg before Evie had a chance to pull the trigger, but it only made the cyborg slow a little. Evie fired at it too, and it stopped.

The cyborg turned to Evie and trained its heavy blaster on her. 

She looked around, but there was nowhere to hide. She was lying on the sand without cover.

But the cyborg failed to fire. Daler shot a concentration burst at its chest, making it explode and fall backwards onto the sand.

Naido loaded his concentrated shot beside Evie and nodded for her to do the same. She started the process, but then something hit Daler, and he was thrown a dozen metres backwards.


A cyborg stomped towards them. Naido shot his concentration blast, but it anticipated the shot and jumped in a massive arc, landing right beside Evie.

It kicked Evie’s gun hard, sending a spike of pain from her fingers up to her elbow, causing her to drop the gun. 

She rolled over for cover, sand flying around her. But the cyborg wasn’t after her. Instead, it jumped up and landed on Naido, its heavy metal crushing his neck into the sand.

Evie let out a squeal and grabbed her rifle. She clenched her jaw against the pain—My finger’s broken!—and initiated the energy concentration mode. 

The cyborg towered over her. The rifle was too slow to load. 

Before Evie was ready to fire, the cyborg kicked her rifle again, this time straight up, so that the heavy piece of metal hit the centre of her face and sent her down onto the sand.

The pain crackled throughout her skull, and her vision went blurry. Wiping her eyes, she got her hands bloody. Then the cyborg’s face appeared. 

‘You’ll never get him,’ it growled, as it sat on top of her. She tried to hit it, but to no avail, as it grabbed both of her wrists so hard that she screamed.

When she quieted, panting, the cyborg let go. 

She tried to rise, but its large metal hand grabbed her by the throat. She gasped for air. The cyborg stood up, lifting Evie in the air with one hand. She tried to pry it open, but it was holding on too tight. Gasping for air, she saw a dozen or more cyborgs gathered around her. 

A red light flashed in the cyborg’s eyes before it squeezed her throat. Evie cried in agony, but no sound came.

Everything faded to black.

* * *

She came back to her senses in a grey room. A continuous matrix pattern ran across the floor, the ceiling, and the walls of the turned-off virtual reality space, commonly called a presence room. The simulation was over.

Daler stared at her with an intrusive gaze that, if Evie hadn’t known him, she would have found intimidating. He and Naido shared a shady background, but compared to Naido, Daler’s eyes burned with passion as if he were possessed. 

He said, ‘We have done this simulation twenty-one times now. We have failed twenty-one times.’

They had run the approach simulation over and over again with the computer adding in permutations of what it considered potential defences. Many involved overpowered cyborgs, but also traps, missiles, poison, tanks, and even winged creatures with cat-like paws.

‘The system is too tough,’ Naido said.

‘It’s hard by design,’ Daler said. ‘I’d rather train against too difficult an enemy than too easy.’

‘How many times do we have to do this?’ Evie said. ‘I’m exhausted.’

‘As many as we need to. He took everything from me, and I’m not resting before I get back what’s mine.’ Daler’s intense eyes mirrored the sentiment. He had once run an intergalactic empire, lost it in a feud with Marc Puissance, and ended up with his head in a box in Spit City. Now, his head fixed atop a robotic body, he fixed his gaze on Evie. ‘You want to find your mentor?’

Evie nodded. Her training had been cut short when she was kidnapped from Spit City. But then Gus had disappeared too, and Naido’s intelligence revealed he was taken to Runcor by Marc Puissance’s cyborgs. 

Naido was looking at something on his handheld terminal. ‘This is something you need to see—I’ll project.’

A floating image appeared before them.

‘…seem to be popping up all over the galaxy with multiple sightings in Spit City, Shin-Chuong, and even in the farthest reaches of Neptena station across the Poorelline Nebula,’ said a slim blue Baar reporter with long black-and-white hair. ‘We go live to Shin-Chuong speedway.’ 

‘It’s some weird black discs,’ Naido said, grabbing Evie’s attention.

The image on the screen changed to a bustling open area before a massive bridge-like structure that seemed to turn vertical; apparently the guardrails of a racetrack. A stocky reporter with a beard-accentuated square jawline and a fancy suit appeared. ‘This is Brock Roome, Newscast One. Before me is one of the six black spots that emerged overnight in the vicinity of one of the historic speedways in Shin-Chuong, along with hundreds of mysterious spots all over the dawn space.’ The camera followed as he walked around an upright disk that was so devoid of any reflection that it seemed computer-generated. 

Evie swallowed. Immediately upon seeing the black spot, she thought of Remola. She had been through a similar—albeit bigger—one on a ship not that long ago. She hoped she was wrong, but if this was in fact Remola, it meant they were undefeated and on the move.

‘The origin of the discs is unknown. While the top scientists of the Dawn Alliance are researching them, there have been multiple extremist groups, including Newersum, Kisha Clan and Dresnean Glory, claiming they are behind this act, but the navy is yet to release an official statement. Newscast One is receiving information about new appearances as we speak, and we will continue—’

‘Close the screen,’ Daler said, and the video feed disappeared. ‘Something weird is going on in the universe again … There always is, and we’re on a mission, so let’s not get side-tracked.’

‘Apparently there are some in Runcor, too,’ Naido said.

‘Unless they’re between us and our target, we don’t care,’ Daler said. ‘You with me?’

Both Evie and Naido nodded. For Evie, the chance that the Remola might have been back was all the more reason to get Gus out. ‘I just hope Gus is all right.’

‘Hope is not a strategy,’ Daler said, ‘and this is no beach holiday. If you’re exhausted it’s a sign that the training works, and the other side of it is rest, not news media. Now, go and get some real sleep.’

‘Not objecting,’ Evie said, stepping towards the door, but stopping short of opening it. ‘Wonder if there’s a smarter way of doing this?’

Both men turned. Daler said, ‘I’m all ears.’

‘We don’t have an army, so why fight like one?’

‘What are you suggesting?’

‘The robot flies gave me an idea—they’re surveillance, masquerading as harmless creatures. Why wouldn’t we do the same?’

The men turned to each other and exchanged glances. 

Evie smiled, and stepped out.

* * *

An hour later, after freshening up and getting back to the suburbs of Luzasand, Evie walked up to the bunker-like building where her parents lived. Her real parents.

She had grown up with a wealthy Jindalar diplomat and a curator of sacred home-world arts, who, in fact, were more like an abusive substance addict and a neurotic, loveless perfectionist. She had ended up running away with a rock band. Then she had bumped into Shosana, her twin sister, on a navy ship, which changed everything she thought she knew about her lineage. Her real parents had been forced to give her away as a baby, and now, against all odds, they were reunited. Though she had only recently met them, there was an instant bond, unlike any she had felt before. Now their home was becoming her home. 

The door unlocked as she stepped close, and she pulled it open.

‘Evie, is that you?’ Angelina, her mother, called out. There was a tenseness in her voice Evie hadn’t heard before. 

‘Yeah,’ Evie said, as she took off her coat and set it on the hanger.

Angelina hurried to her. It wasn’t only the voice; her face was wrinkled into a deep frown.

‘What’s wrong?’ Evie asked.

‘Who are you?’

‘What?’ Evie said instantly, and only then tried to process what she might have meant. ‘Evie Yeoh is my name, but—’

‘You’re not an artist.’

Indeed. She had invented that as a backstory to ease her mind. A former groupie, running from murder but cleared of all charges, an operative with a private police force, FIST, in Spit City … It had been too much to explain. They still thought Shosana was on holiday on Runcor, but in reality, she could never go back to the navy. 

‘I’m sorry. I am a muse, but there’s also a part of my life I can’t talk about. It’s to do with the military.’

‘Are you a fugitive?’

She had been cleared of the murder charges, but after the stunt they’d pulled aboard the Angel she had probably been slapped with a wanted status again. ‘It’s complicated.’

Angelina shook her head. ‘I don’t know what to do.’

‘It’s all right.’

She pushed her away. ‘No, it’s not all right. The police came by just a few hours ago, looking for Shosana, because she defected. You never told me!’

‘It was her call.’ It was true, even if she still didn’t know why Shosana had done it. ‘Is she home?’

‘No, I don’t know where she is, and I can’t reach her!’ Angelina broke down in tears. 

Evie stayed quiet.

Jonon, her father, stepped out from behind the corner with a murky face. 

‘Both of you should report to the police.’

Evie shook her head. 

‘You have twenty-four hours to do it before they cut you off the network. You can’t leave the planet either.’

A familiar feeling made her grin. It wasn’t the first time, being wanted and all, so even though it was serious and could compromise everything she was striving to do, somehow her brain was saying, been there, done that. 

‘You find this funny?’

Evie pulled a straight face. ‘No, sir.’

‘Do you know where she is?’

‘Shosana? No.’ Evie was telling the truth. Shosana hadn’t been down in the basement when they were training for infiltrating Marc Puissance’s compound. But if she had gone into hiding, she was probably at Daler’s apartment. They had been spending a lot of time together. Obviously, Evie would tell none of this to her parents.

‘I don’t believe you,’ Angelina said. ‘I think you know where she is.’

‘But I don’t,’ Evie said, and shrugged. She walked past Angelina, but Jonon’s outstretched arm stopped her. 

‘You need to go to the police,’ he repeated.

‘No way.’

‘All right then,’ Jonon said, ‘but before you settle this, there’s no place for you here.’

‘Really? I thought I was your daughter.’

‘Our daughters are no criminals.’

‘We aren’t criminals.’ 

‘Then do what’s right,’ Jonon said. ‘Go to the police.’

Evie sighed. ‘All right, I guess you’re right.’

Jonon replied with an accepting nod and Angelina with a subtle upwards motion of the corner of her mouth on her otherwise grave face.

Evie grabbed her coat from the hanger and pulled it on. ‘I am no criminal.’

‘That’s good,’ Jonon said, as Evie stepped out.

She closed the heavy rustic door and stepped down on the yard. Walking the path, she thought, Like hell I’m going to the police, Marc Puissance owns them.


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Rock Forsberg

Rock loves awe-inspiring stories and writes to create epic worlds and stories of his own. He has also written songs, poems, and short stories, both in English and in Finnish. For him, writing is a long game, with a lifetime of learning and dozens of novels to write.

"I hope you will find the same awe in reading this book as I found writing it."


Long Live Editors!

As any quality-conscious independent publisher, I work with several professional editors and proofreaders.

I strive to deliver the best product possible, but it's impossible to be objective about one's own work, so the editorial support is vital.

The quality of my prose wouldn't be what it is without my editors.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
Five Stars

Starbearer is the final instalment of the Shades Space Opera Series. It continues the story of Tredd, Jill, Evie, and other characters introduced in the previous books.

I think this is the most well-written book in the series. Especially, the story is tighter and even more engaging than in the previous books. (Reviewed at

Wu Wei (Maggi Lunde)
Starbearer is a Deliciously Complex and Fast-paced Novel

The first 2 books of the Shades Space Opera were terrific but Starbearer has surpassed them. This space adventure, which take place on and among far-distant planets, is more complex and detailed, and the tension increases as the story progresses. The characters learn more about themselves, and their relationships to each other become more intense. Then the pace of the story picked up until I was turning the pages faster and faster in order to find out what was happening next. Eventually they learn that teamwork is essential for success. Jill discovers even more about herself, and then along with Gus, Evie, Henning, Sofia, Berossus, Tredd, the Shades, and others, they are all locked in battles of good and evil. I cannot tell you the details but I will say that if you like suspense, thrillers, and science fiction, you will love this fast-paced book.

If you have never read the first 2 books, Starcrasher and Stardreamer, it is a great idea to read them in sequence, especially since many of us are living and working at home these days. (Reviewed at

Amazon Customerr
Rollicking sci-fi awesomeness which ties up the series with a bang!

For me this is definitely the best of the Shades Space Opera series. Love all the storylines that come together, the depth of the story and the general on the edge of your seat fun you have while reading it. Kind of sorry it's the last in the series so will be looking forward to the next novel from Rock Forsberg! Definitely recommend getting hold of this novel or even better the whole series! (Reviewed at