The year is 2083 and I’m at the zoo, walking with a pack of tourists. This isn’t just ANY zoo though; this is a zoo for threats the United Earth Government has deemed too hazardous to let wander around the public; the denizens here are either 😄 (extradimensional), or Dirty Arcane (unholy magics) in nature. My primly dressed tour guide stops before a sigil-lined glass enclosure and gestures at it with a manicured hand. “Here we have Tadolf Switler, once known as Taylor Swift. As you can see, she looks just as young as she did in the early half of this century due to a lifetime of using dark magics.” I point at the little monkey-creature by her side, the one whose head she strokes with a long-clawed hand. It’s wearing diapers, occasionally reaching into its crotch so it can scratch its nuts, then sniffing its scratch-fingers. “What’s that?” I ask. The tour guide follows my arm with her gaze and she says, “That’s a ‘Justin Bieber.’ Possibly one of the most dangerous animals known to man, and Tadolf’s little buddy.” The tour guide leans forward and says in a baby-talk voice: “How you doing little buddy? Mwah!” then straightens up and looks at us with all seriousness. “We’ve had a few close calls with these two. The last time they escaped from their enclosure, they assaulted two guards. The damage was mostly psychic, but the two personnel in question were bleeding from their eyes, ears, and brain when it was all said and done. It took six months of synaptic therapy in order to get them back to a functional state of health.” As she finishes talking, Bieber shuffles forward on all fours, letting out a low series of hoots and huffs. We all take a step back as he gets closer, our lips curling in disgust. Bieber stops in front of the cage, glares at us, then—ooh ooh OOOH!—smacks the magic-protected glass with both of his fists. The glass shudders, and the glowing sigils that are drawn on it bounce outward in alarming fashion before resettling into their original positions. A little girl in our group shrieks in fright. The tour guide faces us, putting her back to the cage and spreading her arms in an appeal for calm. “It’s okay folks. Just step back—slowly. Avoid eye contact and—” I hear a rising string of ape-screams erupt from Bieber, then I see him run at the glass and launch himself into the air, tucking himself into a ball as he hurtles forward. CRASH! The enclosure breaks open; glass scatters everywhere. The tour guide widens her eyes for a brief instant before Bieber lands on her back and rips both her arms off. She falls to the ground with a shocked expression as he uses them like clubs, savagely beating her torso with a pair of amputated arm-cudgels. “OOH OOH! AAH AAH AAAH! BELIEBE!” A team of four security personnel immediately form a semi-circle around the broken cage, peppering Bieber with rifle fire. One of their team leaders starts hustling the tour group back. “GET BACK!” he screams, corded veins jumping from his neck. “GET THE FU—” and then his head explodes into a fountain of red gore. Tadolf Switler walks calmly forward, a bitchy smile dancing on her perfectly painted red lips. Her hands are smoking—the result of the eldritch sorcery she just cast at the now headless team leader. More guards are swarming the area and the zoo breaks out in chaos—people are running every which way. I hear panicked chatter from one of the security guys: “XD threat’s loose! We have hostile magics out in the—OH SWEET KRYPTON MY NUTS!” I see Bieber bite down on the dude’s dangly bits while shaking him like a rag doll…shaking him by the NUTS for pete’s sake. Everything suddenly goes slow-mo. I look around and see the legions of dying guards and tourists. All sounds seem like a distant echo. Only one thing left to do. I open my eReader to Echo. Magic flash. Suddenly I hear the heart-lifting scream of electric guitars. I cast my eyes up and see war-pterodactyls flying overhead, each one mounted by a long-haired, skull-festooned, barbarian warrior that’s strumming away on a badass guitar. Apparently, the wail of these mighty warriors’ axes (that’s electric guitar to ye who are uninitiated), stuns Bieber and Tadolf, as I see both of them covering their ears and shouting obscenities. One of the war-pteros snatches me up in its talons, carrying me into the skies. As I fly off, I see barbarian warriors leap off their mounts and hit the ground in smooth, parkour-style rolls. Half of them maintain up their awesome-as-balls auditory assault—keeping Tadolf and Bieber in a state of disorientation—while the other half unsheathe blades or unstrap pikes and charge forward. I hear a deep-throated roar rise from them as they fight/shred their way into perpetual glory. So cool!
After billions of dollars of research and countless man hours, Science has determined that the only way to stop either Bieber or Taylor is by deploying a swarm of Metal-ass barbarians that ride killer pterodactyls. 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