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Pilltar 3 is the third and final installment of the Pilltar Adventures volume in the Gerosha Legends super-pack of The Gerosha Chronicles in Dozerfleet Comics. Unlike its predecessors, which are also canon to Comprehensive Gerosha, Pilltar 3 is specific to Cataclysmic Gerosha in its continuity. It helps bridge the Legends continuity timeline into the Sodality series timeline, showing how characters not directly related to Ciem mythos are also affected by a collapsing American sovereignty in wake of political turmoil and two simultaneous invasions.
The story is also a completion of the Legends-era myth arc for Pilltar's origins, ending the original story's recurring theme of a rivalry between Seth Lambrelli and Scott Morrisson. It's theme of a road trip is very similar to the one that would have been central to the original plot of Path of the Ming-Cho.
With Seth Lambrelli dead, Stephanie Barrin must teach her father Ron Barrin how to replace him as the primary pilot of Pilltar. However, they run into trouble when Seth's old enemy, Scott Morrisson, resurfaces. The cannibal cult invades one of the last remaining Lambrelli Labs-owned facilities in Iowa. They steal enough parts from a Pilltar storage warehouse to build a small army of their own Pilltars. Most of them are killed when the company fights back, especially when Pilltar and Strawberry get involved. However, Scott and his few remaining followers get away with what they came for. Scott sets to work quickly to reverse-engineer his own Pilltar, modifying it to become the terrifying Stagtar. Stephanie alerts her boyfriend Josh Wade that the situation is falling apart quickly, and that they need to leave Iowa forever. Josh decides that with his parents having already left, he will go with the Barrins.
The raid results in Ron and Stephanie on high alert on whether they should leave for Oklahoma right away, or stay and finish off Morrisson. However, Morrisson attacks their house while they're at Seth's old house. Theresa Barrin, Ron's wife and Stephanie's mother, is all alone. While Theresa initially holds her own, Morrisson proves too effective a fighter. Theresa pages for help, and Pilltar arrives in an effort to save her. However, he gets there a few seconds too late, and Morrisson manages to murder Theresa. He also proves too experienced a fighter to be easily shot by Ron's futile efforts to shoot him. Stephanie arrives, but Morrisson pulls out a miniature EMP blast generator to throw the robots off. Theresa, in her dying breath, tells her husband and daughter to seek justice.
The Barrins and Josh arrange for the last of Lambrelli Labs to hit the road and complete the transfer down to Oklahoma. However, Morrisson and his new Stagtar begin stalking them the whole way down. Several battles ensue, as the Barrins try to make their way to Oklahoma and get the Toklisanan army to back them up in taking out Stagtar. Ron and Stephanie take turns driving their truck and manning Pilltars. However, they end up burning through their Pilltars quickly. After Ron distracts Stagtar long enough to make him lose the trio's trail, Josh decides that they should make a stop in Missouri to rendezvous with his sister. However, they arrive to discover that his sister has become a music director at an Episcopal church. Stephanie states that Josh has some explaining to do. He reminds her that she has never bothered to put him on the spot for details before, due to respecting how shy he is. However, they meet up at the church only to get in an argument about DOMA.
When Stephanie's arguments about the Heavenly Governance vs. the Earthly Governance and that DOMA was a good law rub Christina Wade the wrong way, she immediately spews a heat ray from her mouth in Stephanie's direction. Stephanie dodges the attack, only to witness that the microwave energy emitted from Christina's mouth melts a plastic bowl in the church kitchen. A terrified Josh timidly confronts his sister about her violence, buying Stephanie time to escape while an enraged Christina melts Josh into a puddle. Christina immediately resumes pursuit of Stephanie, who uses objects in the sanctuary to deflect Christina's attacks while Ron prepares a Pilltar unit to come to Stephanie's rescue. Ron realizes that deadly force is needed, so he makes sure to use a Pilltar armed with grenades and with long blades. The blows injure her some, but she is too quick to take the worst of it. Pilltar is able to cause the large Jesus statue to fall on top of her, crushing her legs and securing their escape. Ron comments with "Whomever this stone falls on, will be utterly crushed."
However, the two escape without ensuring Christina is entirely dead. Stephanie tells Ron that she intends to put off dating until after she gets to college. Ron states he doesn't blame her. Christina, in her dying breaths, alerts Scott that she has fought Pilltar. He thanks her for keeping her ties with his cannibal cult a secret from the Episcopal church she works at, then drives a knife through her heart so that no one can say she died by Pilltar's hand. He reactivates Stagtar, and continues his hot pursuit of the Barrins. Right as Scott leaves, a band of Muslim Brotherhood arrive to burn the church down. However, they discover that the cross on top of its steeple is already long-gone.
The two end up in a final showdown, with only a few Pilltar and Strawberry units left before Stagtar is finally defeated. A furious Scott Morrisson runs at a demonic pace towards the exhausted heroes, seeking to battle them in person. However, they continue to fight. Scott knocks over an already-damaged Pilltar and then damages the Strawberry controller that Stephanie is operating, rendering her damaged Strawberry useless. Stephanie panics, pulling out a pistol and firing at Scott. The bullets slow him down, but don't kill him. Scott continues to battle, threatening to tear Stephanie limb from limb as she is powerless to get away from him. However, Ron seizes the moment of distraction to reactivate his damaged Pilltar. He uses it to get Morrisson off of Stephanie, then flies both Pilltar and Morrisson high in the air. They descend at double gravity due to Pilltar's propulsion, and Ron orders the Pilltar to self-destruct right before impact. Ron ejects from the controller not a moment too soon, and watches the grandiose explosion. Even that doesn't kill Morrisson immediately, as he reaches toward the heroes and gasps for air one last time before succumbing to his injuries. Ron calls the trailing-behind remainder of Lambrelli Labs to let them know that he and Stephanie will need a lift.
Once in Oklahoma, Ron and Stephanie perfect their Mark II Pilltar and Strawberry designs. However, Stephanie only goes on five missions in Oklahoma as Strawberry to test the unit's functionality. She then lets Ron know that she wants time off from being Strawberry, so she can focus on completing her education. Ron accepts, putting most of his Pilltars in storage so that he will have time to help her out. He leaves one at home with him, just in case of an emergency.
The following is a list of characters currently known to play a role. Others may be added to the list later when more information is available:
- Ron Barrin / Pilltar: A former US Army Ranger now working for Lambrelli Labs. He has little idea how to run the company, and is learning new things on the fly based on what he inherited from Seth.
- Stephanie Barrin / Strawberry: A teenager who has taken an unusual direction in how to further her education. She longs to get back to school and fix things, eventually gaining a college degree. However, she has also come to accept her role in Lambrelli Labs. She realizes that getting the company to safety in Oklahoma has become a major priority. She must also train her father Ron on how to be Seth's replacement as Pilltar's operator. This is a difficult task, as Ron must overcome his own confidence issues. There is little time for them to sit down and take baby steps, however; as one of their most dangerous enemies has returned.
- Scott Morrisson / Stagtar: A demon-possessed, cannibal cult leader. Scott has guardian devils that make it very hard to kill him but easy for him to escape a scene. He is also very intelligent, reverse-engineering Seth's design for the Mark I Pilltar and creating his own evil knock-off in the resemblance of a stag beetle. He has vowed to murder the Barrins for their role in helping Seth defeat him in a prior confrontation. He also likes to taunt Stephanie, giving graphic threats to rape and eat her. He is cunning, ruthless, cruel, and entirely devoid of mercy. He leaves everyone in his wake terrified of him, and gives Pilltar and Strawberry the biggest fight they've had to endure to date.
- Theresa Barrin: Ron's wife and Stephanie's mother. She has finally come to terms with their roles as the pilots of Pilltar and Strawberry, but still doesn't entirely approve of the idea. She has also come to terms with the fact that she will have to share enemies with them, and learn to defend herself. Alas, she is no match for one of the late Seth Lambrelli's most ruthless adversaries.
- Josh Wade: Stephanie's timid, soft-spoken boyfriend. He doesn't like to take sides in matters, but is willing to do what it takes to defend Stephanie.
- Christina Wade / Microwave Mouth: Josh's demon-possessed sister. She is also a Marlquaanite that can fire microwave energy beams from her mouth. She is an avid supporter of LGBT causes and a strong opponent of DOMA. She is also sympathetic to Scott Morrisson and his cannibal cult, all while posing as a music director at an Episcopal church. She claims to be about "tolerance," but her truly violent and evil spirit brews just beneath the surface, waiting for the right catalyst to set it off.
The concept for Pilltar 3 came about around November 30th of 2012. When the series pitch for Sodality was still operating under the working title of Cataclysmic Horizons, it was seen that there was a major gap in-between Seth and Stephanie's mission to save Des Moines in Pilltar 2 and their arrival in season 4 of Sodality to aid the Sodality of Gerosha in recovering the Gray Champion, Mapacha, and Extirpon from Judge Terry Beliah and the Phaletori's Marlquaanite prison container warehouses. One major unanswered question was where they were when "the Wall" was being erected along the border of Netheel and Ameristan.
It was decided that Ron and Stephanie would have survived long enough to have made it out in 2018; when Marina, Matt, and Andy Baret would have also fled Ameristan. Even with Pilltar and Strawberry, getting Ron and Stephanie past the Wall with rabid, armed-to-the-teeth Ameristani guard everywhere would have been an enormous challenge. On top of that, there was the issue of Lambrelli Labs being left without a lot of its resources. Therefore, having Pilltar and Ciem work together in the Exodus Agenda at the end of season 1 of Sodality would have been unworkable.
The issue then arose of the fact that Scott Morrisson and his cannibal cult were defeated but not destroyed. Scott seemed to be too colorful a villain character to merely drop his plot after only one story. Therefore, his myth arc with Seth Lambrelli was allowed to continue. Making him the pilot of Stagtar meant that Ron would finally have to pilot his Pilltar going up against someone who had more incentive than himself to want to learn how to use a Pilltar; thus pitting the Pilltar technology against itself epically. Instead of merely trying to work all of that into flashbacks for several episodes of season 4 of Sodality, it was decided that it would make more sense to compile those flashbacks and rework them into a story of their own. Pilltar 3 was then proposed in late November and early December of 2012 as a way to achieve that very objective.
On January 31st of 2013, Stagtar's artwork was defined for the first time. Such artwork inched Pilltar 3 one step closer to being ready for actual writing. However, it would remain shelved with other Gerosha Legends works pending the completion of Sorbet and Blood Over Water: The Novel. On July 10th of 2013, the subplot about Christina Wade was added inspired by a real-life Episcopal church music director in Chicago engaging in open apostasy. The subplot about her is meant as a commentary on him.
- ↑ Matthew 21:44B
- Pilltar (story)
- Pilltar 2
- Pilltar (character)
- Stephanie Barrin
- Ron Barrin
- The Gerosha Chronicles
- Sodality (series)