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Literature / Strength & Justice

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Strength & Justice is a Young Adult Science Fiction story self-published by two authors going by the pseudonym Adrem Kay. It is elaborated over three books; the first and the second are titled "Side: Strength" and "Side: Justice" respectively. The third book, yet to be published, remains unknown.

In a distant future in a city called Geminate, where people have superpowers known as "dynas", 15-year-old Jeremy Itsubishi, a high school student who must juggle school life, socialising and working as a cadet for a law enforcement organisation called DANDY in the distant future. He is faced with missions concerning a strange illness that have been affecting the population's magical powers simply known as the "repulsion illness". At first, he doesn't think much of it and tries to focus on his school life first and foremost. But as time passes, people close to him become infected with the illness and lose their magical powers, until he finally decides to go and seek the truth for himself - the truth behind the illness and, most likely, behind the very organisation he works for.

There will be hungry unmarked spoilers below. Proceed with caution.

The two books provide examples of:

  • Action Mom: Yoshiko Itsubishi, who also happens to be a Yamato Nadeshiko Martial Pacifist. Do not underestimate her.
  • Adults Are Useless: Zigzagged at times. Henry Gabor pulls his weight often, but teachers have a tendency to be lost quite often.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Gets discussed between Jeremy and Livi after a movie.
  • All There in the Manual: The website sheds a little more information on the setting and the four characters who get the most screentime.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • It is not possible for anyone to move their lips to naturally form a V-shaped smile.
    • Principal Sowers' chuckle is described to sound like "a fish gasping for air". Fish do gasp for air, but they don't make any sound doing it.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Jeremy, whose special power is being able to control the trajectory of any bullet and use any gun, should be able to have some idea of gun safety. He doesn't always demonstrate so, especially considering he doesn't compensate for any bullet being reflected after the initial planning.
    • Averted when Jeremy doesn't think highly of a gun shop owner loading a gun meant to be for sale before handing it over to the customer.
  • Artistic License – Physics: An electromagnetic field pins Teremy to the ground during a fight. Teremy has no metal fixtures on him for this to happen; electromagnetic fields should not affect him apart from attracting anything made of magnetic material.
  • As You Know: Aunt Jocelyn uses this term verbatim when explaining her past to Teremy about the reason why anyone could possess a dyna in Geminate.
  • Author Appeal: Japanese culture. Justified as well; both Jeremy and Teremy are half-Japanese and their respective families practise typical Japanese habits such as saying "itadakimasu" before starting on a meal.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: Jeremy can control a bullet's trajectory by imagining it in his mind first. When he's fighting this means bullets can fly harmlessly past and then curve back around to make a surprise hit in the back. Ties in with Improbable Aiming Skills.
  • Blunt "Yes": Teremy has the social graces of a brick, which led to this gem:
    "I can stay with you...right?" she asked.
    This was the moment where I had to make a dramatic speech about love, commitment, devoting my eternal love to Livi and all that jazz. In the back of my mind, I heard my voice uttering romantic phrases, such as always loving her forever, how she snuck her way into my untrudting heart - mushy stuff to make her heart melt and blah, blah, crap. Taking a deep breath, I opened my mouth.
  • Break Them by Talking: Haywires tend to do this to anyone attempting to stop them. The trick is to ignore them even if it's your loved ones. It gets a bit over-the-top after a while.
  • Bumbling Dad: George Itsubishi. Henry Gabor averts this.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Apart from a couple of instances, DANDY arrives at a scene late every single time.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Jeremy is forced to shoot multiple targets throughout the course of the story.
  • Child Soldiers: The minimum age requirement for joining DANDY is 10.
  • Colon Cancer: The full titles of each book is Strength & Justice: Side: Strength and Strength & Justice: Side: Justice.
  • The Dandy: Edward Loveless, a history teacher who comes to work dressed in fancy shirts and clothes and behaves quite camp. Jeremy doesn't buy his act one bit.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Oh, Teremy.
  • Flash Back: Two, manifesting as Jeremy's dreams. One of them reveals the reason why Mandy and Livi are reluctant to stay with their mother, and why she doesn't have a presence in the story.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Defence Against Negative Dynamism, the full name of the law enforcement organisation, and Law Intern Oficer Neo Service, which is "a glorified way to say 'cadet'", according to Jeremy. In the books DANDY LIONS actually describe the members.
  • Green Thumb: This is Mandy's special power. Near the ending of the first book she manages to grow an entire jungle.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Teremy tries to invoke this with his red clip-on earphones, but the gangs in his town have other ideas.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Mandy shouts this while going haywire near the end of the book.
  • Kid Hero: Jeremy Itsubishi himself, being 15 and all.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: DANDY serves as the major law enforcement agency dealing with people abusing their dynas.
  • Lecture as Exposition: Mr Loveless gives an entire Infodump on the history of Geminate City in Chapter 2 to his class for several pages.
  • Large Ham:
    • "It is I! William Narl the Second!"
    • Everyone who goes haywire seems to relish chewing the scenery. In bolded text, no less. Especially Loveless, who was already hammy to begin with.
  • Limited Social Circle: Despite being a school student, Jeremy hangs out with only two people whom he considers his friends, one of them being his girlfriend and the other her sister. He justifies this as being so busy with work that he's become somewhat alienated from non-DANDY people who aren't his family.
  • Made of Iron: Having a dyna probably gives this as a secondary power or something. It takes quite a while to knock people out short of killing them, and Jeremy himself doesn't exhibit any critical injuries despite being hurled around quite a bit in his fights.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Dynas are superpowers explicitly said to be magic (there are even mentions of "magic circles" in the second book).
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The story is said to be set in "the distant future", but then at one point Bluetooth is mentioned.
  • The Nicknamer: Alex and Teremy have names for everyone in Side: Justice.
  • One Person, One Power: One dyna per person, sorry.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Gunshot wounds don't seem to make a difference to people going haywire. Justified that they don't feel pain while going haywire, although no explanation regarding the body's physical capabilities is included.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Jeremy doesn't tell Mandy of his gradual suspicions about their employer. Unfortunately this results in her thinking that he's cheating on her. His attempts to try and smooth it out don't go down well.
  • Said Bookism: A bit too prevalent throughout the writing to the point that it feels very heavy-handed and overused.
  • Separated at Birth: Jeremy and Teremy were separated at birth because Teremy's dyna was far too powerful for their parents to deal with. Jeremy meets up with Teremy at the end of the first book; this event is seen from Teremy's viewpoint at the end of the second.
  • Superpower Lottery: In a city where anyone and everyone can have a superpower, known as a "dyna", it's the kids that have the powerful destructive dynas while the adults are landed with protection and passive abilities. Only one adult is the exception.
  • Super-Power Meltdown: What "going haywire" entails. The person just becomes so destructive that the only effective way to deal with the problem is to exhaust and distract them before they damage the city and endanger the inhabitants.
  • Super-Reflexes: Applies to both Jeremy and his mother Yoshiko. In Jeremy's case his is Required Secondary Powers to deal with having to handle his guns; in Yoshiko's case it's because her dyna is perfect body control.
  • Taking You with Me: Loveless attempts to do this with Livi. It doesn't work out too well for him.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: A rather one-sided relationship between Livi and Loveless. One-sided because the teacher in this relationship was just "humouring her" for extra angst points.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Jeremy and Teremy. Yes, really.
  • This Cannot Be!: Said by Jeremy's mother when his grandfather shows off a dyna that was once his younger daughter's.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The single symptom of the repulsion illness. Turns even the gentlest person into an unstoppable machine of destruction and enhances any and their dyna to maximum power. In the books this is called "going haywire".
  • Weirdness Magnet: In the later half of the first book, Jeremy starts to get weirded out by how everything bad seems to keep happening whenever he's in the vicinity. Lampshaded by Mandy.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Jeremy, Mandy and Livi have one thing in common: a father who is so busy with work they rarely come home, if ever.