Darkness falls as I’m making my way home from one of those steakhouses way out in the middle of nowhere. I’m humming along to an iPhone full of girl-rock (come on, it’s the best; you know it and I know it) when I hear a thump come from the roof of my car. I’m debating whether to pull over when a head pokes down over my windshield, obscuring the road in front of me. I restrain the urge to do a double-take as I find myself staring at the innocent face of a tweenage girl. “WHOA!” I yell, conscious not to slow down too fast and buck her onto the road. “HANG ON!” I’m easing up on the gas, when she smiles and says, “Hashtag Bieber.” What the hell? Then she hammer-fists the windshield, causing a small web of cracks to appear on its surface. “HEY!” I yell, “DON’T—” another hammer-fist, and this time, the cracks rocket across the glass, covering half its expanse and causing it to shudder inward. She smiles, revealing a mouthful of bloody fangs. Only now do I notice that both her eyes are completely black. OH JEBUS! I scream and step on the gas, punching us forward. As I pass under an overhang of trees, I hear two more thumps and see a pair of Beliebers riding my trunk, grinning into my rearview. I start swerving, trying to buck all three of em off, screaming, “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME???” The one grinning at me from the windshield cocks her head and says, “We want your wallet and your phone.” I’m about to shout at her fine, yes, take it all, but then she adds: “And your spleen.” A fresh jolt of horror runs through me and I fumble open my eReader to Echo. Magic flash. A flaming piece of robotics crashes down from the sky, taking up the entire road. I brake hard to avoid crashing into it. An eye-catching array of clean-burn energies run across its circuitry-riddled torso as a twenty-foot tall fighting mech raises itself off its knee. I’m trying to process the sight, my disbelieving eyes wide and gaping, while the Beliebers are spitting and hissing at it from Gollum-like crouches. A gleam of light runs across its optics as it says: “BELIEBERS. SURRENDER NOW OR FACE THE FULL MIGHT OF INTERGALACTIC JUSTICE.” Instead of answering the Beliebers charge at the thing, galloping forward on all fours, darting between shoulder-fired beam ordnance that shoot up geysers of spark-threaded dirt as rounds slip between them and chew up the street. The Beliebers launch themselves forward, but before they can reach their mark the mech tenses, dipping down into a slight crouch, then—using chest-mounted thrusters that glow with brilliant, vent-lined light—rockets fifty yards backward. At the same time, orbital fire rains down from the sky, enveloping the Beliebers in a shower of lethal brilliance. For a moment, I dare to hope they’re vanquished as their hideous forms are backlit by a torrent of energy, but when the barrage ceases, they’re still charging forward, their human skin now stripped off and revealing scaly, insect-like carapaces. The mech crosses its arms into an ‘X,’ then shoots its hands down to its sides. Two wicked-looking curves of bladed alloy spring out from its forearms. I hear the robot bellow: “COME AND GET YOU SOME.” It charges forward, and I can’t help but smile in sheer joy. It’s not every day that you get to see a weaponized battle-mech save your bacon from a trio of murderous Beliebers.
Science states that 3.8% of all drivers on country roads will be attacked by demonically enhanced Beliebers. How do we combat this growing menace? By calling upon the battle-mech to end all battle-mechs. Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle