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Authors: Mark Wayne McGinnis

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Lone Star Renegades

BOOK: Lone Star Renegades
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Preface

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Acknowledgments

Other Books

Copyright

 

 

 

 

Lone Star Renegades

 

By

 

Mark Wayne McGinnis

 

 

Preface

 

 

Relatively close, at least in terms of distance from Earth … there are two highly unique dual galaxies. Actual satellites of the Milky Way galaxy, they’re called the Magellanic Clouds.

With a fundamentally different structure and lower mass form, life differs in this region of space … again, compared to life found on Earth and within the confines of the Milky Way galaxy. The two dwarf galaxies are gas-rich and a higher fraction of their mass is both hydrogen- and helium-based. They are also deficient in even the most common metals found within the Milky Way.

The smaller of the two galaxies, dubbed the Mini Magellanic, is teeming with planets sporting a wide variety of advanced life forms. One particular world, Corpus 956, is the most technologically advanced civilization in the entire sector. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of years ahead of Earth in virtually all aspects pertaining to technology and the sciences, the Notares, inhabitants of Corpus 956, are feverously hungry for metals such as aluminum, iron, magnesium, and titanium—to name just a few—all necessary to support their ever-expanding presence in outer space. But metals that are already processed hold the highest interest to the Notares. For thousands of years, magnificent transport vessels called sim-rovers have been traversing the dual Magellanic galaxies to meet the Notares’ ever-growing dependence on metal. Only now, to obtain more of the metals their society requires, they have been forced to explore worlds outside their own dual galaxies.

With the exception of a handful of Notares technicians, along with a small command crew, a highly automated sim-rover has crossed into the nearest regions of the Milky Way. The vessel has two directives—first, to explore all the planets within the region and those that maintain civilizations advanced enough to have adequate quantities of processed metal. Second … to extricate and return with those processed metals.

Now, venturing well into the Milky Way, sim-rover ship 1229, detecting vast quantities of processed metal, slowly moves into a high orbit above Earth.

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Collin Frost sat in silence as John Bubba Washington repeatedly punched his upper left arm. Apparently, this was the price Collin would have to pay for taking the only remaining open seat on the Middleton High School Athletic Association’s bus back to school.

To say Bubba was a bully was a ridiculous understatement. Collin wasn’t alone with his opinion that Bubba was a raging psychopath in the making—he liked to hurt people, got off on it. With that said, the degenerate would still be allowed to finish up his senior year. He was too important. At two hundred and sixty-five pounds, nineteen and a half years old, the starting defensive tackle was not only the baddest son of a bitch on the bus that evening, he was a college athletic recruiter’s dream come true. Easily the most sought after high school senior in the entire great state of Texas.

Collin continued to stare straight ahead, looking at his teammate’s Lone Stars jersey: white with blue numbers. He kept his expression neutral—as neutral as possible, considering his arm was being socked over and over by a fist nearly the size of Collin’s own head.

“I told you, Sticks, don’t fucking sit here.”

Collin braced for the inevitable, thunderous, jaw-wrenching next punch to the exact same location on his fairly unsubstantial upper right arm. When it came, Collin was physically transported up and out of his seat into the narrow aisle. As he sat on the mud-crusted linoleum, between grass-stained football pants and bloodied knees, a cleated foot, from God knew where, kicked into Collin’s middle back.

Sticks was a nickname Collin had picked up three years before, as a freshman. Where Bubba was two hundred and sixty-five pounds of hardened muscle and brawn, Collin was a tall, lanky, skinny kid who barely tipped the scales at one hundred and sixty pounds.

“Stay down, fuckface,” Bubba spat. “Don’t make me hurt you.”

“Yeah, stay down, Sticks,” came the annoying voice from the seat directly behind Bubba’s. Collin glanced back at the smaller, white version of Bubba, Mike Humphrey. Humphrey was Bubba’s best friend. His hair typically looked unwashed and always seemed to hang in his face. When not playing football he exclusively wore his father’s old army jacket. Bubba and Humphrey had always hung together—an obnoxious duo, they cut a swath of misery wherever they went, and toward anyone who crossed their path. Unfortunately for Collin, today was his turn. “Hey, Sticks … tell me how you could miss a field goal from fifteen yards out. That must be some kind of high school record, don’t you think?”

Collin didn’t answer. Truth was, he wasn’t completely sure how he’d missed it.

The fact that Collin was considered an egghead, smart, only increased the level of torment he’d endured since he’d first tried out for the football team. But what had amazed more than a few coaches that early fall afternoon when he’d tried out for the team was that he had a pretty good kicking leg on him. Collin suspected he’d have a fair chance as a kicker; he’d played soccer as a little kid and knew for a fact he wasn’t all that bad.

Still on the floor, Collin debated the perils of sharing a seat with Bubba again. He could see the bus driver was already looking back at him from the overhead mirror. Scowling, the driver yelled over the loud chattering of the other kids, “Back on your seat, now!”

Toward the front of the bus Collin heard the distinctive higher-pitched voices of the female cheerleaders. They were singing—actually, they were rapping along to a song Collin was somewhat familiar with … Club goin’ up, on a Tuesday

Got your girl in the cut and she choosay …

Club goin’ up, on a Tuesday

Got your girl in the cut and she choosay.

That’s when Collin saw Lydia casually glance back at him over her shoulder while she pulled her long dark hair away from her face—their eyes momentarily locked. Was that a smile on her lips as she sang along? … “Club goin’ up, on a Tuesday
Got your girl in the cut and she choosay …”

There was a lot Collin could put up with at that moment: a detention slip from the bus driver, whatever … fine; more pummeling from Bubba, okay, sure … But Lydia seeing him looking like an ass wipe, wedged down in the aisle? No flippin’ way.

Collin pulled himself back up onto the bench seat and looked over to a surprised Bubba. “Hey Bubba, I heard Humph talking about you in the locker room.”

Out of his peripheral vision, Collin saw Humphrey’s snarly face jerk angrily in his direction. “You gunna die, Sticks,” Humphrey said.

Collin continued: “He was telling Clifford Bosh you’ve got the tiniest baloney pony he’d ever seen. That must be like … really embarrassing, Bubba. But hey, forget it. Why’s Humph watching you in the shower anyway? I guess that’s a whole other issue.”

Collin saw and heard Lydia laugh out loud. But whatever redemption Collin hoped to earn was short-lived. She’d turned around in her seat in time to see both Bubba and Humphrey’s fists make solid connections—one to the side of Collin’s head and the next to the back.

Collin was back down in the aisle again and seeing stars. He was barely conscious of the fact the bus was coming to a stop. His head throbbed and he felt like he might throw up. The
ding ding ding
of a railroad crossing put them at Mills Country Road. Shit, they were only halfway home. As the train drew closer, Collin heard its whistle scream in three long bursts and then the
ticketty clack ticketty clack ticketty clack
of metal wheels rolling by on metal rails.

While debating if he should move back to his seat, Collin was aware of another sound. Actually, it was the lack of sound. Had the two punches affected his hearing? Collin rubbed at his ears and heard his fingers moving back and forth in stereo …
hearing’s okay
. Collin looked to his right and saw Bubba looking out the window. Hell, everyone was looking out the windows. Next came voices of trepidation—of fear.

“Do you see that?”

“Oh my God!”

“Help them!”

“I need to get off … God … let me off!”

Then the screams started. Boys and girls and, in Bubba’s case, a full-grown man, screamed out with terrified voices.

A green light had replaced the darkness outside. “What is it?” Collin asked, frustrated, still trying to get his feet underneath him. “What do you see?”

No one paid any attention to his questions.

The former swish of the passing train was replaced by the wrenching-twisting sounds of metal … and now, other distant screams. As Collin finally made it to his knees and was able to peer out the left side of the bus, he saw firsthand what had everyone in such a frenzy.

Collin blinked three times in rapid succession, hoping to clear his vision from what must be, he figured, an illusion. But it wasn’t an illusion. It was a horrific scene that had no place in his logical, highly intelligent brain. Before them was the train’s engine, still attached to six railroad cars, which dangled beneath it, at an elevation of one hundred feet above the ground. People had started to jump from passenger car windows to what would surely be an inevitable death onto the flat farmland far below. Several autos and a pickup truck, on the far side of the track, were suddenly lifted into the air simultaneously. Slowly at first, then picking up speed, the cars, the pickup truck, and the train—engine and dangling passenger cars—moved higher and higher up into the air.

But Collin’s eyes were no longer on any of those things. What grabbed his attention, as well as everyone else’s on the bus, was the gargantuan, egg-shaped space ship. Bigger than anything Collin had ever seen—bigger than the Sears Tower he’d visited two years ago in Chicago or AT&T Stadium, where he and his dad watched the Dallas Cowboys defeat the Bengals. For a brief moment, Collin saw the cars and pickup truck lowering back down to the street. But that wasn’t really what was happening. No … the bus, too—their bus—was now also rising into the air. Students were scrambling to open up windows, only to find they were already too far off the ground to jump out. Shrieks and screams filled the cramped space.

Collin was on his feet and, like the other kids, looking for a way out. Bubba, still crouched on his seat, had been reduced to a blubbering child—his eyes wide and frantic. Toward the front of the bus, Collin saw Lydia standing and staring out the window, both hands covering her mouth. It was then Collin felt the pull—like the G-forces he recalled feeling on a Six Flags roller-coaster—only this force was pulling him, and everything else, straight up toward an open orifice at the bottom of the ship.

 

Chapter 2

 

 

Collin watched as the mayhem around him continued to elevate. He sat back down next to Bubba. Was Collin scared shitless? Of course, but the logic-deducing part of Collin’s brain had already come to terms with the simple fact there was zero he could do about any of it … things did not look promising for a long and healthy life. On the other hand, the experience was beyond amazing.

“We’re going to die … we’re going to die … we’re going to die …” said Bubba, the words coming out in a rapid, murmuring succession. Even taking up three quarters of the seat, Bubba somehow seemed smaller. His tough-guy bravado was replaced by a vulnerability Collin never guessed was there.

“You want to know something, big guy?” Collin asked, in a tone that betrayed none of his own fears.

Bubba, looking momentarily awed by Collin’s seeming nonchalance, stopped his blathering. “Wha … What?”

“If … and I’ll give you it’s a big if … but
if
we live through this, you might want to try to pull yourself together … some. You never know what’s going to happen.”

BOOK: Lone Star Renegades
5.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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