Bros have taken over the world.
Horrifying, right? Who the hell wants to see another popped collar, or some scientifically butchered workout protocol that yes, may bestow a man with large biceps, but also curses them with a giant beer gut, consequently negating the option of going shirtless and rendering a baggy tank-top as the only acceptable form of upper body beach-wear?
They must be stopped.
As soon as they took over, they announced a series of tyrannical decrees: any man with an IQ above 64 was hunted down and targeted for summary execution. I barely escaped with my life after they fooled me into drinking a roofied protein shake. Say what you want about their laughable intelligence, but Bros have proven themselves frighteningly adept at the strategic employment of barbiturates and narcotics. I was lucky; I got away. You know who didn’t?
The motherfucking Lorax.
He’s with me now. During the early days, he reached a hand out to the Bros, trying to strike peace between their idiot ways and his love of the forest. He was sent to a Bro internment camp, where they waterboarded him with cheap beer and stuck beer pong balls into his bung.
And now he’s out for revenge.
We’re both perched on a thick tree branch. I’m packing basic stuff: sidearm, a couple knives, mags, and Galil assault rifle. Lorax has gone full-on forest commando/R-rated Katniss: compound bow and a quiverful of arrows. He’s got all kinds—incendiaries, high explosive, grapnels, and ones with a fragmenting tip that eject a high-velocity cloud of fuck-you-up micro-pellets. Dark stripes of cammo render his normally cheerful face and mustache into a dark portrait of forest-borne fury.
He’s not loaded for bear; he’s loaded for Bro.
I raise my binoculars and glass the annual Campfire Gathering, where the douchiest Bros in the whole goddamn world gather together and sing shitty songs with their stupid guitars. When it gets extra maudlin, they take their backwards baseball caps off and let their hair fall across their eyes; for a Bro, this gesture is the height of their ability to be romantic and dashing.
“There’s fucking hundreds of them,” I whisper. “We need to herd them into a contained space, or support our attack with IEDs.” I lower the binoculars from my face. “We’re not equipped for either option. We’ll need a few extra nights to—”
“Fuck that.” The Lorax stares at me, the glow of the Bros’ campfire reflecting dimly off his cammo-surrounded eyes. “They die tonight.” He nocks an arrow, and stands up on the branch.
“Wait, no DON’T—”
TWANG! His arrow goes whistling into the distance, trailing a graphene line behind it. He anchors the line to the tree-trunk, and before I can stop him, he ziplines out, screaming, “LEEEERROOOOOYYYYY JENKINS!!!!”
I see him land and flow into a shoulder roll, firing off arrows in rapid succession. Bros’ heads begin pitching back, impaled on quavering shafts of carbon-fiber justice. He lets loose with an explosive arrow, and tank-topped Bros go flying into the air, backlit by arcs of flaming debris.
I shoulder my rifle and start taking well-aimed shots. I’m not as good or angry as the Lorax, but shit—I gotta do what I can. My eyes flick a few degrees left and I see one of the Leader Bros rally up a few of his minions behind cover. He’s yelling and pointing at them, and they’re nodding back. They scatter off and run to their cars.
Dammit! It’s not gonna be long before they gun my friend down. They’ve probably just sent a priority alert to the Backward Hats: their elite squad of hunter/killer Bros.
Down below, the Lorax has slipped behind a tree. Rounds are chewing up his cover, and his cartoon eyes widen with unbridled fury.
“YOU’LL PAY FOR YOUR CRIMES, ASSHOLES!” And then in a Jon Bernthal/Punisher-worthy roar: “I FUCKING SPEAK FOR THE TREES!!!!”
He’s about to get pinned. No options left. I open my eReader to Echo, activating its reality distortion powers. Magic flash.
Out of nowhere, kickass metal riffs begin ringing through the air, and blazing light slices across the Lorax’s body. Cybernetic armor begins clacking over his limbs, lighting up with bright diodes and weaponized energies. In a matter of seconds, the Lorax has been enveloped by a highly advanced, robotic war-suit. He’s not completely covered; the suit is more like an exo-skeleton that shows off his yoked-up quads and biceps which are all vascular and huge because he’s been throwing in some SERIOUS hate-sessions at the gym.
The last thing that clanks into place is a combat neural interface. It’s cool-ass visor shines sickly green across his eyes, making him look like a badass version of that weak-sauce fool Cyclops (before he became all militant).
My hyperstimulated brain decelerates his attack into a slow-motion run, just like the one from 300. He breaks from cover and starts sprinting toward the Bros, firing a miniature Vulcan cannon attached to his right wrist, slicing apart Bros at 100 rounds per second. Shell casings fly through the air and pile on the ground, reflecting lurid glimmers of campfire as his short little legs piston against the earth. Above his left wrist is a gatling laser, which fills the air with a storm of pew-pew-pew-pew-pew!
Bodies disintegrate, and cars and guitars burst into flames. The little orange man keeps going, slaughtering Bros to his heart’s content. A few of them establish a firing line and start shooting at him, but he crosses his arms into an X in front of his chest and flings them outwards—SNICK—unsheathing a pair of wicked-looking forearm blades. Horrified wails fill the air as the Lorax cuts through doughy beer bellies like a vengeance-crazed Wolverine.
My jaw drops open as I bear witness to a two-foot tall, cybernetically enhanced engine of death. Do NOT mess with the Lorax.
He fucking speaks for the trees.
Is your forest-dwelling buddy intent on going full-on Punisher and needs your help so he doesn’t perish in a blaze of glory? Never fear! 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 #kindle #kindleunlimited #sciencefiction #scifi #books #novel #book