The Americans: Apex Trilogy, Book 2, страница 1
Published by Samannah Media
Copyright 2011 Jake Bible
All Rights Reserved
This book is a work of fiction. All characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Cover design by ED
Edited by Jennifer Melzer
I have tons and tons of people to thank for making The Americans possible. Hopefully, I have already thanked them all. Most of all I need to thank my wife, Marti. Without her support none of this crazy crap would get put down on paper and released.
Love ya, babe!
Well, Book Two in the Apex Trilogy is here! And it isn’t a direct sequel to DEAD MECH, but a sidequel.
“What the hell is a sidequel?” you ask?
Simple, The Americans takes place during the exact same time period as DEAD MECH, but with different characters in a whole other part of the world. It happens side by side with DEAD MECH.
“Jake, you crazy!” you say?
Well, yes, that may be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that a sidequel was a better idea than a direct sequel. You see, sequels start behind from the moment they are released. They are instantly compared to the first book and usually are more a bridge between book one and book three. Many a sequel is just a throwaway.
I didn’t want that to happen. I wanted a story that could stand on its own, with new characters and more world building. I couldn’t continue the saga in DEAD MECH without expanding the view to encompass the entire world.
And when the third book comes out it will bring DEAD MECH and The Americans together into one nice Apex. Hence, Apex Trilogy!
Also, The Americans is not a Drabble Novel (see DEAD MECH for what a Drabble Novel is). I probably won’t write a Drabble Novel again for some time. It’s a lot of hard work. Plus, the way the narrative goes in The Americans, I actually have several sections that are less than 100 words! Bing, bang, boom, people!
Now, the true beauty of The Americans is that you can read this novel without having read DEAD MECH. Will you miss a little? Maybe, but not really. Just go read DEAD MECH and you’ll understand all. At least all that I have revealed.
So, I hope y’all like The Americans as much as so many of you have liked DEAD MECH. It’s different, it’s new, but it has all the kick-ass violence, gore, language and inventive tech and world building as DEAD MECH.
I can’t wait to bring them together and really make the world scream!
Apex Trilogy, Book Two
The members of the League of Monarchs were not pleased with the director and their holographic images showed it plainly.
“As I have said, Your Highnesses, the Three have assured me that everything will be in place soon,” Mr. Gein placated. A small, middle-aged man, pudgy about the waist and neck and director of the League of Monarchies Security Division (LOMSD), Mr. Gein stood before the holo-projections of all the reigning monarchs of Europe, trying not to sweat through his suit coat.
“But, you have been saying that for weeks,” Emperor Renaldo Giraldi of the Holy Roman Empire insisted. “We are tired of the delays!”
“Yes, Mr. Gein,” Empress Natalya Tartorov added. “When you first approached us with the Three’s proposal to remove the Americans from power and free the LOM and all of Europe from their oversight and martial authority, you promised us it would be a speedy process with little to no effort on our part.”
Mr. Gein held up his hands. “I understand your frustration, but this is happening quite fast despite the enormity of the task,” he responded. “It must be done correctly or we will not get a second chance, and the LOM will be left open for American takeover under the Articles of Sanctuary.” The monarchs grumbled and complained, but none offered any other solutions or withdrew their support. “Please, my Lords and Ladies, it will not be long before everything is set in motion. You can expect results within the week.”
“We had better,” growled Queen Constancia De Rivera of Spain. “Remember, Señor Gein, it is your neck on the chopping block, not the Three’s if this all falls through.”
The bureaucrat gulped and tried to smile, but it just made him look pain-stricken. “I understand, Your Highness, and I have always taken that into account. Thank you.”
The monarchs conferred with each other briefly and one by one signed off, their holographic images fading from the conference room.
When he was finally alone, Mr. Gein stepped to the sideboard and poured himself a generous amount of gin. He downed the drink and quickly refilled.
He activated his com. “Get me Mr. Continental right now!” He didn’t wait for a response, downing and refilling his tumbler yet again. He took a seat at the conference table and loosened his tie. “This had better work or the Americans will own us all…”
“It’ll work, Gein,” a woman said from the shadows.
The director jumped, spilling some of his gin. “Jesus, Isley! How long have you been lurking there?”
The woman laughed. “Since before your holo meeting began. You really should look in the corners when you enter a room.”
“Yes, well, I was never very good at field work. I leave the security to folks like you.”
“Folks like me? Mr. Gein, we’ve known each other for a very long time and you still don’t trust me?”
“On the contrary, dear,” Mr. Gein answered, fixing Ms. Isely a gin also. “I trust you completely. You just scare the shit out of me, is all.”
Ms. Isely took the offered glass and nodded her thanks. “Scare the shit out of you? I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“Please do.” Mr. Gein raised his glass. “To a brave, new world!”
“Cheers,” Ms. Isely responded, clinking her glass against his before downing the gin. “Let us hope the Three know what they are doing.
“While the surface records were very authentic, upon further investigation it appears there is no true record of your existence, Ms…Kramer?” the warden said, his eyes focused on Heather Walton. “I’m guessing Kramer isn’t your real name?”
Heather looked about the room. Not a bit of biochrome in sight. She reached out, trying to feel any she may not have seen, but her body wasn’t responding, at least not to any external stimulation.
They know, she thought. Time to go to work.
“You did an excellent job of getting yourself thrown in here without attracting too much attention.” The warden’s fist was strong and swift and Heather’s head rocked back. “But we’re used to dealing with people like you. We’ve had the training.”
Yep, they know.
“You’ll find there isn’t a scrap of BC on this entire level. Even your shackles are made of good, old fashioned iron. Struggle as you like, you are in that chair until I say different.” The warden grinned, his tea-stained teeth barely visible in the gloomy light of the cell.
Heather spit blood onto the floor and smiled, matching the warden.
“Something funny?” the warden asked, looking back at the four guards standing behind him, all extremely muscular and only wearing a basic uniform, unadorned with any BC. They were prepared for Heather’s biochrome manipulative skills. “They aren’t laughing, so I guess not.”
“As far as you know, Ghosts don’t exist,” Heather laughed. “You know that, right? And you’ve never had one in th
“I thought you just said Ghosts don’t exist?” the warden smirked. “How can you know we’ve never had one here if they don’t exist?”
“Because you’re still alive,” Heather glared. “You really need to scan better.”
“Scan better? I believe our security is more than adequate.” The warden shook his head and motioned for a guard to step forward. The large man closed in on Heather, his eyes glinting with violence. Before he could throw the first punch, Heather started to retch, her torso convulsing as if she would suddenly vomit.
The guard stepped back and looked to the warden. “I didn’t touch her.”
“I can see that!” the warden shouted. “Is she choking? Check her!”
The guard stepped forward again and grabbed Heather by the jaw, twisting her head back and forth. “What you got in there? Spit it out!”
Heather’s retching stopped immediately, obvious she had thrown something up into her mouth.
The guard reached out and started to pry Heather’s mouth apart.
“No! Wait!” the warden ordered, but it was too late.
A thin microfilament of biochrome shot from between Heather’s lips, piercing the guard’s left eye, shooting out the back of his head. A second microfilament worked its way down her face, shoulder, arm and began to work at the shackle on her right wrist.
“Kill her now!” the warden yelled to the remaining guards and they lunged for Heather.
The microfilament in the dead guard’s skull retracted and Heather turned her attention to the other muscled men. She spat quickly and the lead guard fell, his chest pierced by BC. Heather retracted again and repeated the motion on the next guard. The last guard was on her before she could spit again, but the shackle on her wrist clicked free and she had him about the throat, crushing his windpipe instantly.
The warden lunged for the cell door, his hand reaching for the simple alarm switch in the tech-free cell, but was tripped up by the line of biochrome now held in Heather’s right hand.
“No. Please stay. We have work to do,” Heather snarled as the shackles on her other wrist and ankles fell away.
Two fists to the warden’s face and he was stunned quickly. Heather patted the man down and smiled when she felt the comforting presence of BC. “Hip replacement? Did you think I wouldn’t notice that?”
The warden’s screams never made it passed his throat as Heather slammed her elbow down onto his Adam’s apple. His eyes filled with terror and pain as she formed the BC microfilament into a scalpel and began slicing.
The teenagers filed into the classroom, their voices raised in heated discussions about the latest music, holos and weekend social events.
“Settle down, all of you!” Ms. Tinsdale barked from her desk. “You may chat after class.”
The boys and girls frowned and their voices gradually lessened to whispers as they took their seats.
Ms. Tinsdale stood up and began making notations on the data board once everyone was seated. The class waited patiently for her to finish, none of them pleased with the words that lit up on the board.
Heather tossed the warden’s severed hand and plucked eyeballs aside, no longer needing them to bypass the security, and ducked under the oncoming guard’s swing. She brought her fist up and BC shot out, wrapping about the man’s neck as she rolled her shoulder, tossing him over her back and onto the corridor’s floor. The guard’s neck snapped easily, the sound echoing off the corridor’s walls. Heather had the dead man’s biochrome baton in her hand and swinging before the second guard registered what was happening. His face caved in from the impact and Heather instinctively ducked, letting most of the blood spray over her shoulder. Heather didn’t like blood.
Grabbing the second guard’s baton as well, Heather shoved through the corridor’s security door before it could close, the biometric alarms locking things down as soon as the guards’ pulses no longer registered in that level’s security system.
“They go to all the trouble of having a BC-free level and then screw it all up by letting monkeys carry BC batons up here,” she muttered to herself. Seven more guards rushed towards her from down the hall, covering the ten meters between them and her quickly, their batons ready. “Bureaucratic amateurs.”
On either side inmates cheered, not caring who won the fight, just glad for anything to break up the monotony of incarceration. Heather bounced from wall to floor to wall, her feet springing off and propelling her quickly back and forth, confusing the guards.
The batons Heather held in each hand began to melt and meld with the rest, the BC changing at her will, each baton taking the form of a Berretta M9.
Without hesitation she lifted the pistols and fired. The guards whose chests weren’t ripped open by the armor piercing slugs dropped to the floor, screaming into their coms for backup. They were able to sound the alarms and warn the other guards for only two seconds, the time it took Heather to close the distance and end their lives brutally.
Without losing stride, she snatched up more batons, incorporating their mass with the Berettas, the BC melting instantly then reassembling in the shape of two TG12 sawed-off auto-shotguns.
She hit the corner and dropped, sliding across the floor to the far wall, aiming one shotgun left and one right, firing three rounds each. More guards fell.
Back on her feet, she went over the map of the facility she had memorized and tried to place where she was and where she needed to go. In milliseconds she had her destination and set off full speed towards her goal.
Ms. Tinsdale stood up from her desk and crossed to the data board. The fifteen students seated before her watched as she pointed to the words, “League Day: Origins and Explanations”. There was an audible groan from the class.
“Now, now, settle down,” Ms. Tinsdale said, waving away the complaints. “You knew this was coming. We all have to be ready for the celebration in three days. Loudon Secondary will be and we have lost to them the past six League Days. Headmistress Ellis has expressed that she shall be quite disappointed if it becomes seven years in a row and Gramercy Secondary is the laughing stock of all the London preparatory schools once again.” She turned from the data board and surveyed the class, settling her eyes on a seventeen-year-old boy busily chatting with the seventeen-year-old girl seated next to him at the back of the classroom. “Russell? Can you tell the class why we celebrate League Day?”
Russell winked at the girl and twisted in his seat, bringing his attention to bear on Ms. Tinsdale. He flashed his already legendary smile and brushed a lock of blond hair out of his eyes. “Well, Ms. Tinsdale,” Russell began. “So we can sell fireworks and cook big steaks over flames, of course. Other than that there really isn’t any point, is there? Except to make the Americans feel like they are welcome.” Many in the class snickered at the last comment.
Mr. Stone, an average man, of average build, the type passed by everyday and thought nothing of, held the teaspoon over the gas burner, watching the metal turn from perfectly polished to soot black to red hot. Stone walked from the gas range, stepping over a man’s brutally beaten corpse and stood directly in front of a woman and her three teenage children, two boys and a girl, bound to kitchen chairs and all just as brutalized as the dead man, but lucky enough to still be breathing. The permanence of that luck none of them had illusions about.
Mr. Stone paced back and forth for a bit then stopped in front of one of the teenagers, a boy sporting a nasty gash to his left cheek, his hair sticking to his sweaty, damp forehead.
“Now, you,” Mr. Stone said, pointing the still glowing spoon at the boy. “You are a registered Tech also, like your father is…well, was. Correct?”
“Say nothing, Allan,” the woman croaked through split lips and broken teeth. “We are all dead anyway.”
“Allan, I’d advise against listening to your mum,” Mr. Stone said. “I don’t want
The young girl, maybe fourteen, let her head drop to her chest and choked back sobs.
“Ah, a volunteer,” Stone smiled, grabbing the girl by the back of her head and straddling her lap. The girl jerked her head, but didn’t have the strength to resist Stone. “Must have been such a pretty face before Reginald did this to you.”
“What? Whatcha need?” a high pitched man’s voice called from the living room. “You need me, Stone?”
Stone smiled and rolled his eyes comically, making a show of it for his captive audience. “No, Reggie, just making a point.”
“The point, Mr. Shaye,” Ms. Tinsdale said, “is so we always remember how quickly civilization fell apart and was nearly lost before the League of Monarchies was formed and the Americans were tasked with keeping the peace.”
“Fucking Jacks,” a student muttered. Nervous laughter followed, but stopped as Ms. Tinsdale’s gaze hunted for the culprit.
“I have said it before that I will have none of that bigotry in my classroom,” Ms. Tinsdale scolded. “Regardless of your political or religious beliefs, the Americans have kept the peace in Europe for over three hundred years, despite not having a home of their own. They deserve our respect and our gratitude. How would you feel if while you were away at classes your home was destroyed, burned from the Earth? It would not feel so good, would it? Well, the Americans have no home except for what they are allowed in the Articles of Sanctuary and we should pity them for that.”