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The Last Crow

AragmarJun 3, 2018, 10:39:36 PM

A lone human dismounted his strangely designed bike and stretched his long, muscular limbs. Compared to an average middle-aged human man he was very buff. All that mass though, it didn't strike those who studied him as artificial, nor the man seem to have any cybernetics. When those who fought off the fear of his rough outlook and went out to ask him how he got that big, he'd answer with one word – training. If the buggers persisted and actually went on his good side, like buying the man a beer or better yet feeding him meat, he would tell them the annoyingly dull secret of his buffness. Five mile run a day, every day, five hundred push-ups, five dozen pull-ups, a hundred squats for good measure just so that your ass-cheeks won't flap behind when you push hard the accelerator pedal on your bike. Bending the old megasteel bar was just the cherry on top, but that was a secret the man always kept to himself, no matter how well they fed him or how many beers he was treated to.

Fuck you shitblood!

His eyeglasses were oddly shaped but reflected well the powerful sunlight Carrola's two suns were trying to bake everything alive with. Short reddish hair and bushy, unkempt beard kept the rest of his head safe from the unforgiving suns. He looked towards the ruined Terran colony and spat on the ground angrily – there were supposed to be people here! The man needed food and fuel for his ship's FTL module. Now, he was stranded here on that planet, and John Mackenzie didn't like this one bit! After landing here, the lone biker soon found out that the colonists were all killed. That, or dragged away on board some slave ship, kicking and screaming. Had his ship's sensor array not been damaged in his last scuffle with some pirates, he'd be able to detect all that crap from orbit.

He looked at the back of his bike; tied up there was an alien helmet he'd found earlier dangling off a tree branch. The more he looked at it and inspected the jagged alien runes it was inscribed with, the angrier Mack got. Filthy taz'arans! These slimy failures were leaving trails of dirty footprints everywhere he'd usually traveled. Fringe space was a large expanse, but he and they had clashed on multiple occasions already. Every time when Mack actually found some place to lay his head down, there soon enough the holes-for-ears popped up, patrol ships in tow and chased him away.

The biker mounted his machine and revved its highly modified Tesla engine. Produced in a small factory back on Earth, that engine was the pride and joy of a company called Harley Davidson. Native to his own nation-state of America, the boys, and girls who engineered those new Tesla engines were aiming high. Reliability, power and high-quality materials used in its construction made the engine block a must have for any space biker. Loud whistling sounds boomed over the empty farm fields and his machine leaped forward. Behind him, the bikes' wide rear tire made of solid megasteel, left a huge trail in the dirt. Now again on the move, Mack was no longer feeling like a baked potato, while his face and neck were red and hurting from sunburn the speed he moved with made things bearable. Along the way, he'd passed through a watermelon field that had been expertly planted and maintained, but sadly, the local critters had helped themselves to any fruits left after the colonists vanished. Mack did find one good hand scanner and a laser pistol though. The gun was oddly small and at first, he'd thought it belonged to a kid. Then realized it was probably the handgun of a bunny or hamster farmer.

He liked the small buggers. He used to give rides on his bike to their kids, and whenever he traveled to “Murphy's Landing” Mack sneakily brought them beer and other stuff, like alien candy. Kids here called him Uncle Mackie as they ran laughing and giggling, happily climbing all over his bike and him. The duties of a Patron were perhaps wasted on a space biker, as some might say, but Mack chose to disagree. He did what he had to – yes he was a criminal in the eyes of the Law, all his brothers and sisters were, yet he was a Patron too. The very thought of somebody hitting those kids or worse yet, dragging them into the hold of a slave ship made him grit his teeth.

Last time when he was here, he'd visited his old mentor – Alberto. That ancient fossil was like a father to him, back from the days when he was but a runt.

His childhood wasn't happy, but it was relatively safe compared to what other kids had to endure. The unfortunate ones who were grabbed by the slavers during the 69's pirate invasion. Exactly when he was born. His own mother he never knew because she gave birth to him in the ruins of Sheridan Wyoming. Alone. Mack was later told that her legs were crushed and after he was born, crawled a good mile over the debris-covered road towards the local clinic. Died along the way she did. Baby Mack was picked up by that same Alberto, a soldier then, and part of the local national guard infantry unit. Rifleman 1st class Alberto was more of a sniper than an ordinary soldier. Using an anti-tank rifle, alone, he killed one whole section of aliens before his unit was wiped out. He then roamed the ruins in search of survivors and found baby Mack by chance alone. During these days the nation-state of America had enough money and resources to restore all of the damage, that the invader had inflicted upon its infrastructure and cities.

Sheridan's population of roughly fifteen thousand souls had been virtually exterminated. In fact, Mack was probably its one and only resident still left amongst the living. There were other towns and cities who badly needed reconstruction and the minimalistic, but the highly effective government of the USA rightly decided to take action – spending resources where they would actually do some good. Old man Alberto took the kid and basically adopted him. Since he couldn't serve any longer because of nerve damage, Alberto was discharged with honors. He returned back to his home and garage in the small town of Liberty, Texas. A capable mechanic and a biker himself, Alberto taught little Mack everything he knew about everything. He practically grew up in the saddle of a bike. His toys were the tools that were rolling around on the ground and his playground, Alberto's garage itself.

Therein laid the problem for Mack – he fell in love with the bikes, a little too much for his own good, perhaps. There were those kids, orphans like him, who formed clubs dedicated to riding bikes, and each day they would race against each other. For control of territory, for each other's bikes, the roads and many other things. Mack remembered those days fondly. Despite the chaos and mischief he and the rest of those runts were inflicting upon the good citizens of Liberty. With the exception some old assholes who threatened to beat them up, nothing bad had happened. Probably because those same people understood what was like to have nothing and no one to call father or mother. The boys were rowdy, but nobody actually did anything worse than drive fast as hell with his noisy bike at 3 am in the morning. Also, the boys worked all over the town's businesses and besides the biking that was going on all over, no other crime happened. At least not most of the time that is. Everyone was as happy as they could possibly be after the chaos of a major alien invasion, and one decade of planetary reconstruction.

They spent all of their youthful energy building, modifying and racing their bikes. At first, the machines they were using were equipped with the phased down, discarded internal combustion engines. With scrap yards full of parts, it was easy for the tech-savvy kids to each build themselves a ride. His own club, the “Black Crow Brotherhood” was the biggest and the baddest of them all. Mack remembered how he thought of the name. It was because of a small group of crows who nested near Alberto's garage. The birds were smart and stuck together, helping each other with the bits of food they snagged from people. And they remembered! Those who chased them away, or destroyed their nests, they attacked together when they could. Even a single crow would fight to the very end. Mack was intrigued and for a short time devoured everything related to crows he could find in Liberty's public library. They were proper bastards for sure, but always backed each other up in a pinch. Intelligent and vengeful, the birds could make your life literally full of shit if you'd angered them.

The runts around him quickly sewed their new club colors onto the backs of their jackets. It was a large, and obviously very black crow, its eyes red and sharp menacing claws drenched in blood. The beak was open and head turned to the side. Around it, there was a circle in which they wrote their club's motto – “Ride free or Die trying!”

Not surprisingly, none could stand against them, either when racing on the streets or fighting for territory. Unmatched in everything, the Crows soon generated such envy that the rest of their competitors banded together against them. In the racing battle that ensued, young Mack was pitted against his toughest adversary and he was winning. His rival then, in desperation, kicked Mack's ride and tragically lost control of his own. The kid splattered his burning guts all over the nearby wall. Of course, after that stunt people didn't want to have anything to do with the bike clubs. The government sent their goons to remove them from Liberty.

Back then, those local sheriffs were the last thing remaining of the long dead Big Govt. A new organization called Internal Security, or I-sec for short, was being formed entirely by volunteers. Most sheriffs who were decent had, of course, joined I-sec long ago and helped the new group organize, sharing their generations-long, priceless law enforcement experience. But not all lawmen were such as they, and soon there was a big and bloody mess looming on the horizon. The local sheriffs had deputized every one of their lowlife buddies and the yahoos came armed to the teeth.

The old guard was going out of business and hated every bit of it. Most were corrupt pieces of shit, who misused their positions of power and authority – they easily got away with racketeering and all other sorts of abuse, bullying small town populations. In an effort to show that they could still “do the job”, the idiots overdid it. Mercilessly beating everyone they caught, the coppers made a lot of those kids invalids for life. Despite their original orders, those bastards actually used lethal force against the teenage bikers. Instead of an orderly arrest and relocation, the teens were shot at point-blank range, and many of them died. That did it for his guardian Alberto and the people of Liberty and they grabbed their own guns attacking the posse. It was a battle Mack would remember till his last day because it was then when his club gain its notoriety. Instead of leaving the already corralled coppers for the I-sec agents to arrest – they attacked them. Riding on their custom bikes, the “Black Crow Brotherhood” killed all of them and escaped in the desert when the real lawmen arrived. Because of that, the Crows had gained a notorious reputation amongst I-sec agents for years to come.

Fringe space colonists knew better.

After the Liberty massacre, he, the rest of the Crows, and whomever wished to join left Earth, and traveled towards the newly colonized Minarchy space. They then reformed themselves into a space motorcycle club or SMC for short.

Places like Applecrate, Murphy's Landing, and many others became their club's territory. People paid them protection money whenever some band of alien gangster wannabes tried to push them around. Also, he and his boys could always raid the pirates, druggers and other alien fucktards lurking around. Those were the days! Mack quickly gained a huge price on his head. As a matter of fact, most, if not all, of his boys were wanted by some Fringe space criminal syndicate, pirate clan, or alien law enforcement group. They could never get them though. Every time when the Crows had trouble, the colonists helped them.

His club had hiding places everywhere. Yes, some of his brothers were rowdy and rough around the edges, but that was occupational. The Crows were free. Nothing else interested them but being able to do what they desired, when they wanted, and ride where they wished. They lived away from central colonies and could effing do close to anything without any serious consequences or obstructions from the Law. Or at least that was what he and his brothers had thought.

A month after one of their particularly vicious raids deep inside Taz'aran Imperial space, the club was assaulted full force. Somehow the slimy, insidious taz'arans managed to find all of their hiding places, orbital installations, and starships. In a devastating multi-pronged assault, the aliens overwhelmed and slaughtered all of his brothers.

All except him.

Mack was then visiting a lady friend. Avern'a seer called Lena'la had called him to discuss some important issue and since she was his club's space witch Mack had to personally pay her a visit. He took his modified GAV that was, in fact, a custom built grav-attack vehicle capable of orbital flight. His guys had fashioned for him an FTL “crutch” – a module with Gate-drive and space engines that he docked his “Blood Crow” with. The GAV itself had little cargo space, and instead of a troop-carrying module, he had his chopper personal guns and ammunition secured there. With no place for a bunk bed, Mack usually slept in the cockpit. Otherwise, the GAV, like all vehicles of that class was ridiculously overpowered and bristling with weapons. Similar in concept to the combat helicopters of old, the GAV utilized cutting-edge grav tech. It allowed crazy maneuverability, good armor protection, and when controlled by a capable pilot one could easily wreck an entire armored squadron. His own had a twin 20mm auto-railgun turret on the nose, two pulse lasers on the wings, loads and loads of missiles, mag-rail launched bombs and even an effin' mazer. The Blood Crow and his bike were now the last two vehicles left from his SMC's small arsenal.

Mack reached Lena'la's small asteroid cabin only to find her long-dead body. Apparently, she'd died of old age in her sleep and being a space witch and all had left him a holo-note. Probably the old prune foresaw at least some small part of what was about to happen and decided to save his hairy ass. Inside the teary holo-note, Lena'la explained how sorry she was for everything that was about to happen. Gifted him her black ring too, which he immediately put on his finger. Every single effin' time when he went there that shitty ring was, like calling him, or whatever. Though this time, when he put it on his middle finger, the thing suddenly looked like a proper old piece of metal. Probably the old cunt was bullshitting him with her witches ways like she always did. What he was positively aware of though, the old prune had placed some sort of a blessing on his beard or something, that protected him from annoying telepaths. It was because he and his boys had saved her in a bar on some colony somewhere. Oddly enough Mack was never able to recollect when or where exactly this had happened. But he knew that it happened... somehow. Whatever her motives were, that Avern'a hag had nice stuff, but a little too much for him to simply pick it up and fly away with. Boxes, containers of oddly shaped items, clothes and probably old people's things that he actually had no desire to look at. The ring though was nice, real nice. Long black metal band, simple, with two red tiny stones encrusted into it. Looked almost like little angry red eyes, that always looked at ya' no matter where you were or did.

Deep in an asteroid field, he received the call for help long after all of his brothers were dead. Traveling back to each different battleground was pointless – the bastards fought to the last with everything they had. Just like the crows their club was named after, they used every sneaky and reckless tactic, all of the weapons in their arsenal. The taz'aran shitheads had paid a heavy price for their victory, but that gave Mack little respite. He would find all of them, those who were responsible for his brothers' deaths, shove plasma grenades deep inside their asses and watch them burn!

In his thoughts, Mack entertained the possibility that they were betrayed. Somehow the whole scope of the taz'aran operation, the fact that they had managed so masterfully to organize themselves and strike precisely and simultaneously at all of the “Black Crow Brotherhood” sites, was eerie, to say the least. The fucktards were not that good from what he had seen during the many years while The Crows were pillaging, ambushing and overall curb-stomping their smelly green invading asses into space paste. Either they'd suddenly git good, or something else happened. It was an annoyingly angering thought but still, he was alive and spitting, his hands itching to break some necks.


And so Mack decided to go and check up on how was his old man doing, traveled to Carrola system he did. Alberto was a farmer now, he'd gifted his old grav-bike to two bunnies – brother and sister whom he knew well. He drove an old friggin' tractor, plowing his fields, moving and replanting the Mumpa trees around. Peculiar trees they were; Mack always got a strange feeling when near the forest – as if the trees were watching him.

Turning the bike towards the nearest colony house, Mack cursed loudly and pressed the mag-brakes. Alberto's house wasn't where it was supposed to be – in its place stood a deep crater! Mack quickly jumped from his bike and grabbed that scanner he found, flipping the ON switch. The green holo-screen blipped above the small device and he descended nervously into the crater, stepping over the melted pieces of mega-concrete. He angrily waved the device around, pointing its scanning beams at every large debris. Mack found no DNA except that of a bunny, who was heavily wounded and moved towards Alberto's garage.

The friggin' tractor was gone too and Mack detected faint traces of taz'aran DNA. Somebody had driven the old piece of junk and killed two of them shitters with it! Mack smiled – evidently, it was that bunny again. He ran, following the trails that tractor's threads south and found a small battlefield where its melted wreck lied. More traces of taz'aran DNA, all of them dead. The scrooges had, of course, gathered all of their corpses, not for burial but to salvage the equipment.

Reaching the forest, Mack's scanner found some craters and trees charred by particle beam fire. That was it. No more traces from that bunny.

He whistled on his PDA's mic and soon the bike rode itself, stopping beside him. Mack jumped on the saddle and drove towards the other end of Murphy's Landing. Slowly, because of the grisly obstructions laying everywhere on his bike's path.

The colonists' mummified corpses lay everywhere, resting where they were shot and killed. Carrola's two suns had then dried up their flesh, turning all of them into wrinkled husks. Towards the other end of the colony, Mack finally found Alberto's body. His old man was shot from the back, one of his arms chopped by a vibro-blade, and his other still clutching a shovel. Mack was a proper bastard, but that was the man who raised him, wiped the shit off his scrawny little ass and put food on the table. Mack sat beside the corpse and opened his last two beers – good Bulgarian pale ale, “Bear's tear” was the name and one of his old man's favorites. He slowly drank both, first his and then the one he opened for Alberto. Grabbed the shovel carefully inspected it. An old relic from the 50's American south, its blade made from good quality megasteel that was well sharpened. Most probably Alberto purchased it back in Liberty and then brought it with him when he'd settled here. Mack finally saw the AMES logo and raised an eyebrow – that shovel was probably one of the first ever made from the newly developed then megasteel alloy. Oh, he was keeping it!

Mack carried Alberto's body to the side of the road. He spent the rest of the day digging graves for the colonists, but the hardest of all was burying the bunnies. Mack felt as if he was digging children's graves – worse, all of their small mummified bodies had such sorrowful faces stuck in the agony of their death, that even a hardened bastard like him had to take a break. He needed to get some sleep, desperately. For the first time in ages, Mack had a dream. It was a field of fire and blood that he was walking through, where he saw bodies wearing his SMC's colors littering the ground. Faces started floating up from the depths of his memory. The faces of his brothers, voices not forgotten, their dead eyes full of scorn and sadness watching him. Their bikes, cars, and other machines – everything was burning. Before him, at the center of that field, Mack saw a tall figure which at first glance looked like an alien. Wearing an armored robe, the tall person raised both hands pointing and waving them at him. Mack raised a shovel. It was the same one he'd found before falling asleep, and the AMES logo stamped on its megasteel blade glistened reassuringly in the darkness. The robed alien person waved its hands at him again. Yet this time the very motion looked hurried and confused, almost panicky. Mack stepped closer and curiously tried looking under the hood. For a moment he thought that he saw something... but it was only for a second. The figure tried clawing him and Mack shovel-smacked it center face. Somehow all of this looked too weird, and that robed fucker way too ominous. When in doubt, face-fist first, ask questions later. After that, the dream ended abruptly and Mack slept like a baby for the rest of the night.


Next morning Mack was awoken by an unmistakable sound. The loud, mind-splitting and unmistakable screech of damaged taz'aran grav-engines. He tapped the side of his glasses and with triple magnification, Mack spotted a taz'aran grav-truck in the distance. It suddenly stalled mid-move and its front end caught fire, long plumes of white smoke surrounding it quickly. There were three taz'aran soldiers who leaped from its back end and one officer from the driving seat. All of them frantically began unloading small cargo crates on the ground, dragging them away from the burning vehicle. One more look and Mack understood why – they were full of explosives.

Mack slowly walked towards them. He produced a whiskey-infused lollipop from his jacket's front pocket and unwrapped it. Unable to see or hear him walking because of all the smoke and fire, the first taz'aran soldier turned around and the last thing he saw was the shovel's blade racing for his face. Didn't even raise hands to defend himself. The shovel slashed his skin, bone, brains, and he fell to the ground, pinkish blood splattering everywhere. Mack smelled the lollipop to chase away the stench. He hated the reek of taz'aran blood. Much preferred was the smell of whiskey and that thing was loaded with it. The equivalent of a small shot. Not enough, but sometimes something was better than nothing.

He raised the gory shovel and whispered in Fringe Speak, his body still wrapped with smoke:

“Hey! Holes-for-ears, your Empress eats shit and likes it!”

Then quietly, Mack stepped to the side and raised the shovel above his head, gripping its handle with both hands. The two other soldiers immediately dropped the crates and fanned out, unsheathing their vibro-blades. Moving closer, one of them lunged with his dagger in the air, aiming at the direction where he had heard Mack's voice. Blade swished stabbing empty air, as the shovel hit him from the side, slicing and crushing his neck. Saint Harley, this shovel was literally a killer! Mack was truly amazed at its effectiveness. After all, AMES blacksmiths were famous for the farming tools they produced and had a legendary reputation but... they weren't in the weapon business. Yet, this sturdy shovel made by them was used by hundreds of settlers, farm workers and now an angry space biker whose entire SMC was wiped out by shit-smelling, taz'aran fucktards!

“Shiteaters!” – shouted Mack and himself lunged forward, stabbing the third soldier's gut with the shovel, splitting his belly open. The taz'aran fell screaming to the ground, trying with both hands to stop his guts from spilling everywhere. Mack left the officer for last. With vision enhanced by his sunglasses, Mack quickly found himself behind the idiot and turned the shovel's blade to the side. He hit the back of the officer's head once with the flat of the farming tool, instantly knocking him unconscious.


The taz'aran officer was a Second Lieutenant of the Pion Supply corps. It never crossed his mind that someday he would be captured, let alone by a Terran. The officer woke up tied to a metal chair, mouth parched and with a splitting headache to boot. Before him and under the shade of one of those local trees, a tall, bulky human was resting. Strangely dressed, he had no armor or a helmet. Instead, he wore exotic looking dark leather clothes laced with interlocking megasteel pieces. The man had his jacket resting on the handlebars of his bike, and so he could examine the colors on its back. It was a stylized dark-feathered bird with long beak in the center, wings spread and blood dripping claws. The circle surrounding it had some words written in a human language he knew nothing of, but the bird! This human was part of that infamous gang – the brotherhood of the dark wings or something. He tried licking his lips and looked down, suddenly realizing that something was very, very wrong with his legs.

The taz'aran screamed – his feet were naked and skin slashed by a blade, blood dripping on the ground. As the puddle of pinkish blood was getting bigger, his vision grew dimmer and breathing harder. The human stood up and slowly walked towards him. He had only a thin shirt to protect his torso from the sun. Old, made of some white cloth, it had a strange yellow circular face with wide open white eyes and a toothy grin. Confused and angry the taz'aran tried to talk but was kicked straight in the face. Spitting blood and teeth the chair he was tied to fell, his head hitting the ground hard.

“Shiteater, you gots' only a couple of minutes left. The crap smelling blood will soon leave your meat sack and I don't have to tell you how good your kinds' death from blood loss feels. Nod if you understand!”

He got another boot to the head before finally complying. The Terran effortlessly picked him up from the ground with one hand and leveled his ugly face with his own.

“And now ass-face, you will effin' tell me, why were you here and what happened to the rest of those colonists!”

“I... I don't know anything, you hear me! Stupid hu...” – he instantly got another boot to the face. More of his broken, bloodied teeth rolled on the ground.

“Listen, you crap-eater, I'll have to spend precious and not-so-nice minutes of my time, cleaning me' boots from the shit running in your veins that you call blood – the smell is always a killjoy. Start talking and I might let you use this.” – and the human, produced one med-spray from his pants front pocket.

“Ugh... you filthy scum! Even if I tell you what you need to know, what could you possibly do all alone?! You have no friends because we've killed all of them! Ahahahahah!”

He got kicked in the gut and choked for air, then vomited what was left in his belly all over his feet.

“Hmmm, vomiting all over those slashed feet of yours. In this climate and heat, I imagine that infection will soon be spreading in your shitstream,” – he dangled the med-spray before his face – “You still have time to reconsider!”

“Good!” – the officer coughed again, spitting more of his blood on the ground – “I will tell you what you want to know and only because it will get you killed, you stupid human! Yes, some colonists were taken alive and loaded on one of our cargo ships. All that I know is – they were supposed to make a stop at Pion base. Only some thirty-two light years away from this scorched hell hole! Why were we here you ask? For the glory of the Taz'aran Empire of course! Capturing this place and turning it into a military outpost deep inside of your own territory – is that enough for you human filth?!”

The human smiled, walked over to his bike and put his jacket on slowly. He looked at the med-spray still in his hand and then at him, sighing heavily.

“You know what crapblood, a promise is a promise! I told you that I'll let you use this if you answered me questions and I am a man of my word” – the human reluctantly dropped the med-spray on the ground and walked away mounting his bike. The life-saving spray was a good thirty feet away from him and he was still tied to a chair!

“Filthy human! Once I get myself free and back to base, all of your stupid colonies will BURN!!!” – he screamed enraged and tried moving his chair closer to the med-spray – “Your genetically deficient clients will all die together with you, dumb humans! We will make toys for our children from the bones of yours!” – The chair's legs tripped on a tree root strangely sticking out of the earth, and he suddenly lost balance and fell to the ground. The puddle of blood was getting larger, and he furiously strained his limbs to the max while trying to break the chair or at least rip the ropes. Both were incredibly sturdy and he failed. That human calmly turned on the engine of his bike and revved it a couple of times.

“Ya' know what? All that kicking and straining just shortened what's left of your time. See that puddle? – It is getting bigger.” – he smiled and continued – “I forgot to mention something else. Farmers here had to deal with some invasive species of rat-like creatures for years now. They say them buggers love eating the roots of those tall trees, vegetables, and... can smell blood from miles away.”

The officer's eyes widened because he knew exactly what that human was talking about. Wozzies were native to Taz'ara, considered a pest and Imperial agents deployed considerably sized populations of them on Terran frontier colonies. The idea was to undermine and disrupt their farming, ideally starving the Terrans to death. He saw a group of six wozzies closing.

Their heads were up, noses sniffing the air, and they looked very hungry...


Mack drove away slowly while listening to the desperate, dying screams of the taz'aran officer. He, of course, had recorded everything on his PDA, and not only to be used as evidence – any Terran morale officer would pay good creds for that holo-file. It was always strange to hear the lower enlisted taz'arans, or even the junior officers rave and scream about how they would destroy the Minarchy. After all, they have been plunking at it for a good two decades now, with little or no success. Boasting greatness and overwhelming superiority, while at the same time having your smelly ass handed to ya' by ragtag colonist militiamen, women and little kids was not at all intimidating.

Seriously, Sirius!

The place was simultaneously attacked by not one but two pirate clans, with the “hidden” assistance of one entire taz'aran infantry division. Mack's hands twitched as he remembered the juicy salvage haul his SMC dragged from this battlefield. The tazzies dropped down with almost everything they had – power armors, tanks, tactical mecha, and elite heavy troops. Even had a total numerical superiority of six to one in their favor and, of course, their officers spouted the same shit. “We is gonna kill ya' all” and “Your little ones be' enslaved and sold”. Even if the colonists hadn't had a morale officer, those statements would've been enough to motivate them plenty. And so they did fight like possessed madmen, with everything that they had. What they lacked, engineers built it from battlefield salvage soon – mecha, tanks, bikes, and armored personnel carriers. The dead enemies provided plenty of it and even though most of their engineers were practically dying on the job, Sirius colonists still got plenty of equipment. After the first month spent in battle against the Terrans, the taz'arans thought Sirius was a trap, since instead of a hapless civilian population they faced stiff armed resistance. Captured comms transmissions revealed their idiotic assumptions – they thought the colony to be a military encampment, a major Terran forward base of sorts.

Shitheads... Just like Earth, Sirius too became a friggin graveyard for them. At least the clanners weren't spouting empty threats and fought like they were supposed to, defiant till' their death.

Mack was not a great lover of neither law nor government but he had to agree, in recent years the latter had grown even smaller than before. Their few organizations were all but self-sustainable now and required little to no assistance from anyone, but the very capable volunteers who ran them. Those insane star marines he greatly respected, them and everybody else, who selflessly joined to protect others. Neither the navy nor army received any government pay, only what the colonists gave them as supplies, weapons, and equipment. Of course, all of the bountiful battle salvage and loot, as it was per Common Minarchy Law, was theirs to do with as they wished.

High above the skies of Sirius prime he and his boys had hit a little bit of a snag. The pirate frigate that they had boarded was full of clan Aleska marines and despite his brothers' brutal strength and skill, those clanners were kicking them out. At this shitty and most unlucky moment, one Imperial Minarchy Navy star marine company, bearing ultra elite markings on their exosuits “casually” boarded the clanner ship. The whole thing looked like an evening stroll in the park, really, and those marines walked through the enemy. Those boys even gave his brothers medical assistance, pulling what damaged craft the Crows had into their destroyer's hangar for repairs. Nobody said anything when an I-sec ship came a couple of days later either. When asked by their agents if they'd seen his boys, the star marines simply answered back – “What bikers? We ain't seen no space bikers here!” – During the whole time, his craft was being serviced in their ship's hangar and wounded treated in the hospital bay by star marine medical personnel. Good times!

A sudden loud pitched boom coming from high up in the air pulled Mack out of his sweet memory lane and back into current reality. His glasses helped him to see that starship moving in the distant sky – it was a heavy shuttle descending through the atmo on a quick vector. Piloted by somebody who was very, very good. And the ship was unmistakably bearing Spacer markings, its hull design to him looked like an effin' frog. Ha! Those spacers always outdid themselves when it came to creating original craft and he had to agree that the Crows' crafty boys and girls were always in a sort of a competition with them. Mack spat and increased his speed – he had something to trade for that fuel and supplies.

Whomever this ship belonged to, they were Terrans and he could peddle info concerning the abducted people easily. Had his crew was still alive and kicking, they would've assaulted that 'Pion base' themselves. Killed everyone who wasn't Terran or a slave. Then looted everything not bolted to the floor-plating, and even cut said plating with plasma torches and dragged it away for scrap too. As angry as Mack was, he was not a bloody idiot. Even though he was somewhat of a lone wolf for the most part of his adult life, he had his brothers to lean on when things got tough. Now he had to work with others and most probably form a temporary, but much-needed arrangement.

Mack only hoped they had no lawmen on board.

He looked at the two Colt model M69 Exterminator railgun pistols resting on his belt. Those spewed 3mm projectiles at lightning speeds, their power packs good for twelve shots before slagging. In a hardpoint on the right side of his bike, and connected via plasma cable with its power core, was Mack's main gun – a highly modified and overpowered anti-tank rifle. The beastly weapon fired undo-steel slugs, an alloy much stronger than the already super tough megasteel and ignored most vehicle armor like it wasn't there at all. He had a whole case of those in his GAV's cargo hold. Mack kept many other weapons there too, but for now, his pistols would be enough. Alberto's bloodied shovel was tied at the back of his chopper – Mack intended to use its blade to butcher all of them taz'aran crapbloods he'd soon meet. The chopper's loud, whistling Tesla engine, echoed in the air while he left the ravaged ruins of Murphy's Landing behind... 

A promo for my second Starshatter book - "Twin suns of Carrola"

If you like this free excerpt you can purchase my books on Amazon.com here: Starshatter Book 1 Twin Suns Of Carrola Treads Of Vengeance