Max Rage: Intergalactic Badass!, страница 1
Copyright 2018 by Jake Bible
A Note From The Author
A few things need to be said about this novel.
First, for all my long-time fans, this novel is not part of the Galactic Fleet Universe. This is set in a whole other reality from Roak and Salvage Merc One. Don’t try to make connections. They aren’t there.
Second, this novel is intended to be nothing but fun, over the top escapism. It’s an homage to the macho action movies and tough guy flicks of the 1980s, not to mention the great video games like Duke Nukem. While not specifically designed as satire, this novel holds its tongue firmly in cheek.
Third, and this is for those that have strict views on how science fiction should be—get over it. This novel has gratuitous violence, sex, foul language, and a lot of bad jokes. It’s fun. Have fun. Don’t overthink it. Just enjoy yourself. Or try, at least. Trying is half the battle, right?
Fourth, if anyone is offended by anything in this novel, then please re-read the previous points above.
“ARE YOU READY TO KILL SOME BUGS?”
“Yes, Master Chief Sergeant Major!”
“I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”
“YES, MASTER CHIEF SERGEANT MAJOR!”
Master Chief Sergeant Major Max Rage growled low and nodded at his squad of elite Earth Corp soldiers.
Built like someone had carved the man straight from a hunk of granite, Rage stood over six feet tall with muscles upon his muscles. Genetically engineered to be a superior physical specimen above and beyond normal space-faring humans, Rage’s physique was barely contained within his heavy-grav combat armor. The armor could easily take a direct hit from a sleek missile, but it was bulging at the seams around Rage.
He lifted his dual plasma, laser-guided hot rocket launching, never empty Axis combat rifle and stared hard at his men and women.
“HOW BAD DO YOU WANT THIS?” he roared over the sound of the drop ship’s engines.
“BAD AS HELL, MASTER CHIEF SERGEANT MAJOR!” the soldiers replied.
“AND WHO DO YOU WANT THIS FOR?” Rage bellowed.
“CORPORATION AND PLANET, MASTER CHIEF SERGEANT MAJOR!”
“EARTH, MASTER CHIEF SERGEANT MAJOR!”
“EARTH, MASTER CHIEF SERGEANT MAJOR!”
“WE AIN’T GONNA LET THESE BUGS DISRESPECT OUR EARTH, ARE WE?”
“NO FUCKING WAY, MASTER CHIEF SERGEANT MAJOR!”
“WE AIN’T GONNA LET THESE BUGS USE OUR DIVE BARS, ARE WE?”
“NO FUCKING WAY, MASTER CHIEF SERGEANT MAJOR!”
“GODDAMN RIGHT! LOCK AND LOAD, PEOPLE! FIFTEEN SECONDS TO IMPACT!”
“GODDAMN RIGHT! OORAH!”
The soldiers were armed to the teeth. Some even had sharpened their teeth in case their dual plasma, laser-guided hot rocket launching, never empty Axis combat rifles malfunctioned or were stripped from their gloved hands. There was something appealing about going hand to hand with alien scum knowing you could rip their crunchy throats out with your teeth.
The soldiers jumped to their feet, checked the levels on their rifles, then turned as one and faced the drop ship’s quickly opening rear ramp. Ten seconds later, the ship hit the ground hard and the ramp fell even harder.
Out the ramp the soldiers raced, rifles barking plasma at the swarming alien creatures that had come to the battlefield to kill them some Earthlings. Rage was in the lead of his people and he had no intention of falling to a bunch of eight-legged, six-armed, twelve-foot-tall roaches. Not on his goddamn watch!
Rage’s rifle fired continuously as he charged the aliens, plasma tearing through their chitinous armor. The abominations screeched as they fell, ochre-colored blood and guts spewing out onto the soft, black dirt of the aliens’ nest planet.
“You want this? You do? Yeah, you get it! You get it all, you sons of bitches!” Rage roared as he decimated the front ranks of the roach army. Alien after alien fell as Rage charged them, a grin plastered across his face.
Then the grin began to fade as the aliens slowed their attack and split off into four different groups. It wasn’t the fact they were trying to flank Rage’s team that bothered him. It was that the roaches were making room for something much, much bigger than even the largest of them.
Thirty feet tall, at least, the new creatures raced toward Rage and his team.
“Hot rockets! NOW!” Rage ordered as he skidded to a stop and took a knee, flipping his rifle around and up to his shoulder as the weapon transformed into a launcher.
The rest of his team copied his move perfectly and they took aim at the dozen massive bugs that were coming for them. Rage fired and his team followed, sending rocket after rocket up at the giant bugs.
The projectiles exploded against the huge bugs’ armor.
Not one of the creatures slowed or fell.
“What the fuck…?” Rage grunted as he prepped a second rocket and fired without missing a beat.
Same results. Nothing.
Then the smaller bugs pressed in on the team from all sides.
“BACK TO BACK!” Rage yelled as he got to his feet and flipped his rifle back around to rip some roaches open with more plasma.
Three ranks deep, the bugs fell. But the massive ones were still coming.
Rage counted maybe ten seconds until the huge things were on top of him and his team.
“Command! This is Rage! We have unknown bogies coming at us! Request air support now!” Rage yelled over the comms. “Contact in three seconds! Assistance needed now!”
“Negative, Master Chief Sergeant Major Rage,” a calm voice replied over the comms. “Your team is only authorized for ground combat. Air support was not budgeted for.”
“Take it out of my pay, goddamn it!” Rage screamed. “We’re about to get torn to shreds!”
The smaller bugs fell over and over as Rage’s team kept their barrage of plasma blasts going full throttle. Then the aliens stopped coming and quickly retreated. The giants had reached Rage’s team and nothing wanted to be in those behemoths’ way.
“Negative, Master Chief Sergeant Major Rage,” the calm voice stated. “Air support must be requisitioned three business days prior to launch of an operation. You did not provide the proper forms for air support to be authorized.”
“Field override!” Rage shouted as he looked up at Hell on legs. Three dozen hexagonal eyes stared back at him.
“Field override pre-denied,” the voice replied. “Command has determined the benefit does not warrant the cost. Your team is on its own, Master Chief Sergeant Major Rage. Good luck, and remember that we are all equal in Earth Corp’s eyes. Oh, and don’t forget, Thursdays are half price draft beers in the commissary.”
The comms went silent as the giant roach that loomed over Rage reached down with one of its many claws and plucked him up off the ground as if he was a twig.
“Motherfucker!” Rage roared as the thing’s quadruple mandibles opened wide to chomp him in half.
Rage felt ribs crack despite the strength of his combat armor. He screamed in pain and anger as the giant roach’s mouth grew closer and closer.
“NO ONE TAKES RAGE ALIVE!” Rage bellowed as he set his rifle to overload and chucked it down the massive bug’s gullet.
The thing’s mandibles clicked shut. It swallowed hard, coughed a little, then shook its head over and over. Deep inside the creature, there was a massive explosion a
Rage hit the ground hard and pressed his finger to his ear.
“OVERLOAD YOUR RIFLES!” he ordered as he got to his feet, his ribs already healing, and looked about for a stray rifle he could jigger and use.
That’s when he saw the horror and carnage the battlefield had become. He ignored the dozens and dozens of shredded and mutilated roaches. He only had eyes for his fallen, or still falling, team. Bodies were everywhere. Limbs, heads, torsos were strewn across the ground like so much flesh confetti. Those still alive were twenty feet up in the air, being chomped to bits by the giant roaches.
Blood fell like sticky rain. Skin and bits of armor came down like nightmare hail. Rage shook with a fury he’d never experienced before. Mainly because he’d never come close to defeat in his spotless career as one of Earth Corp’s best and brightest killing machines.
Rage waded through the offal of his dead comrades and picked up every rifle he could get his hands on. Loaded down with more weaponry than one man could think to wield, Rage spread his stance, placed his hands on his hips, and shouted, “WHO’S FIRST, ASSHOLES?”
Most of the giant creatures stopped in mid-chew, giving each other side glances that ranged from confusion to amusement to annoyance.
“YOU!” Rage roared, pointing at the closest giant roach.
The thing glanced over its huge shoulder then looked down at the human.
“YEAH! YOU!” Rage continued. “COME AND GET ME!”
The huge creature looked to its fellow giant roaches. A few shrugged while the rest went back to chewing up and swallowing what was left of Rage’s team.
“WHAT’S WRONG? YOU SOME CHICKENSHIT? THAT IT?” Rage shouted. “JUST LIKE A BUG TO BE A CHICKEN!”
The massive alien finished swallowing the man it’d been eating, rolled its dozens of eyes, and reached down to pluck Rage from the ground. Rage let himself be lifted up until he was mandible level. Then he overloaded a rifle and threw it inside the open maw of the giant roach.
“TASTE THE RAGE, FUCKER!”
The alien grumbled some protest or other then began to choke and cough.
Before Rage could be dropped, he wriggled free from the alien’s grip and jumped to the shoulder of the closest giant roach.
“BETTER LISTEN UP, BITCH!” Rage shouted as he overloaded another file and jammed it deep inside the roach’s earhole.
Then he leapt from that roach and onto the back of another. An overloaded rifle went between the cracks in the thing’s spinal ridges. Rage didn’t wait for results, he continued leaping and jumping from giant roach to giant roach until he was out of rifles to overload and massive bugs to kill.
Then, with one final leap, Rage tumbled through the air and landed in the black dirt with a heavy thud and a determined sneer.
“The bigger they are…” he muttered to himself as he stood up and turned to face his handiwork.
Giant roach after giant roach fell as the rifles blew their guts out, tore open their spines, and obliterated their bug heads.
Rage never blinked once as he was coated in ochre blood and steaming hot bug guts. Eyes wide open, he watched the death and destruction unfold. Then he quickly backpedaled as the giant roaches fell to the ground. Rage stood there, covered in alien intestines and blood, and shouted, “NO ONE SURVIVES RAGE!”
His words echoed across the bloody battlefield. The air was thick with death and humid from an oncoming thunderstorm. Rage wiped at his face, flicking goo from his gloves, as he surveyed his work.
Then the dirt below his boots shook and Rage frowned. He’d assumed what he was staring at across the horizon was a thunderstorm. It wasn’t.
“Well, shit me sideways and call me Martha,” Rage said as he watched three roaches the size of skyscrapers trundle across the landscape toward him. “Rage knows when to call it a day.”
Without another word, Rage turned and sprinted back to the drop ship. He raced up the ramp, hit the big red button that closed the ramp, and didn’t pause as he sprinted through the troop hold and into the main cockpit.
A bored-looking pilot and equally bored-looking co-pilot sat in their seats. They glanced at Rage.
“Didn’t go as planned,” the pilot said. “Bummer for you.”
He held up a yellow piece of paper. Rage took it, read it, waded it up, and threw it back in the pilot’s face.
“Get us out of here,” Rage ordered.
“You read the gram, man,” the pilot said. “You’ve been fired for gross incompetence. I can’t fly you—”
The pilot’s head exploded as Rage slammed his fists on either side of the man’s skull. Blood and brain splattered across the control console, the windshield, and the co-pilot.
“You got something to say, punk?” Rage snarled at the co-pilot.
“Uh, no,” the co-pilot said. “Strap in.”
Without waiting for Rage to even sit down, the co-pilot engaged full thrusters and lifted the drop ship into the air faster than the machine was meant to ever take off.
Rage stumbled to the side, regained his balance, then yanked the pilot’s corpse onto the floor, taking the dead man’s seat as his own.
“They’ll, uh, they’ll court-martial you for this,” the co-pilot said.
“I’d fucking like to see them try,” Rage sneered as he took every thought and feeling about his dead team and locked it deep inside his psyche. He’d get around to unpacking the catastrophe, but not today.
No, today he had some corporate assholes to murder.
“Rage! My brother!” a purple stickman shouted as he cut to the front of the line, three of his five arms pointed at Rage as if they were long lost pals. “Long time, no see, man! Who’s playing tonight?”
“Back of the line, Grup,” Rage snapped, crossing his massive arms over his massive chest, nearly tearing his black T-shirt’s sleeves as he flexed his enhanced biceps. “No cutting.”
Grup was a Clickelack, a race of stick-like aliens from halfway across the galaxy. They found Earth back in 2353 and took such a liking that they systematically moved half their species to the planet within a century, making Clickelacks close to humans in population.
“Ah, come on, Rage,” Grup said, tapping two of his three feet in irritation. “I did ya that solid last week when I got ya those burritos at 3am, remember? You got a burrito debt, Rage. No one lasts long with a burrito debt hanging over their head.”
“That so?” Rage asked, one eyebrow slowly rising. “How about you suck my burrito and we’ll call it even?”
Grup blinked a few times. “I don’t know what that means.”
“It means get the hell out of here,” Rage said. “Next!”
The line of humans and aliens stretched down the block, everyone waiting their turn to get into the hottest dive bar in Greenville, South Carolina.
Greenville, South Carolina.
After the Great Flattening of 2271, when an alien race that no one could describe suddenly laid waste to every major city on Earth then just as suddenly left without even saying why they came or sorry for the mess, the smaller bergs grew in importance and influence.
Suddenly on the intergalactic radar, Earth was swarmed by curious alien races. Only a couple of races were antagonistic, but the other aliens kept the troublemakers in check. For one reason: Earth had a knack for creating dive bars that both attracted and repulsed their customers. Apparently, dive bars were a uniquely Earth phenomenon. And the aliens loved them!
Now it was 2501, and Greenville had become the Mecca for those humans and aliens that wanted watered-down well drinks, flat beer made from questionable ingredients (urine, mostly urine), and bowls of peanuts from last century (still in their shells). And of the many dive bars that littered the cityscape, Crater Ray’s Hot Spot and Bar P
“Rage. Brother. Give a guy a—”
Rage lifted Grup up by one of his five arms, whirled him over his head, then flung the skinny alien into the air and across the fifteen lanes of Highway 25. Grup screeched the entire flight as he tumbled stick legs over stick arms through the air, barely avoiding being obliterated by the hover car traffic that sped by. The line of patrons watched in amusement as the alien became a small dot then disappeared behind a billboard on top of Joan’s Carpet Haven and Taxidermy Spa.
“Bastard!” a far-off, tiny voice called.
“I said next!” Rage shouted at the distracted line.
Humans and aliens snapped to and the line began to move slowly again, Rage taking little pleasure in scanning IDs and debiting cover charges from the patrons’ chip implants. He was looking forward, although he would never admit it, to the night’s headliner—Los Tabeleros, a klezmer punk band out of Toledo, Ohio. They were a Greenville favorite when they came through town and Rage had them on his workout playlist. They were perfect for left leg day.
Then Rage’s hopes of seeing the band were dashed as he spotted the unmarked hover car floating a block down the street, its blue mag lifters glowing bright under the chassis. Local PD, Corporate Feds, or private security, Rage couldn’t tell, but he knew they weren’t there for the show and just waiting until the line got shorter.
“Snoopers,” Rage said over comms. “One block east. Anyone have eyes on them?”
“Anyone have eyes on them? Rage, dude, you’re not an officer anymore!” a young man’s voice replied with an obvious sneer coating every syllable of his response.
“I was never an officer,” Rage responded. “I was a master chief sergeant major. No one called me sir and I worked for a living, moron.”
“Don’t talk to me that way, Rage!” the voice snapped. “My mom owns this place and I can have you—!”