WARNING: This book is an Erotic Sci-fi Romance with multiple explicit sex scenes and some mentions of rape. While it contains erotic sex scenes, it is not erotica. It also contains incidents of graphic violence. If these are triggers for you, please do not buy or read this book.
Blaze Savage stood on the observation deck looking at the blue and white ball, in the distance, Earth home. He hadn’t been back since his awakening over nine decades before. Barely a second passed and the burly cyborg accessed his central processor to recall the specific amount of time. He’d left Earth 97 years, 5 months, 18 days, 10 hours, 40 minutes, 25.7 seconds ago.
He had two reasons for coming back to Earth. After several years decompressing on Phantom, the cyborg planet, after the war, he wanted to put his talents to better use in Vyken Dark’s new Cyborg Ranger project. The other reason was to find his genetic mate.
Blaze was returning to Earth with five other cyborgs, who had volunteered for the program. Even though the genetic mating project only about one in ten cyborgs had found the mates that were promised at the end of their service in the war. That was partly because only females in Enclave territories got tested.
Of millions of cyborgs on Phantom, few had mates. Only a small percentage of the population were female. Most of them were mated female cyborgs.
When Commander Dark contacted him with plans to restore order west of the enclave territories, it sounded like Blaze’s kind of job. Blaze and the other five were Cyborg Rangers who went on some of the most dangerous missions in the war. Dark thought this team would be better suited to the challenges of restoring civilization to the territories south and west of the Enclave and its Annex.
The Mesaarkans bombed the major cities on every continent, most of the towns and rural areas were untouched. Some were autonomous, while others were ruled by gangs and overlords. Those ruled by the overlords held their ordinary residents hostage in their own communities with gangers enforcing their whims. Farringay was off limits, but the west was open for restoration.
The Enclave decided to pull as much of that territory as possible into the fold. Vyken Dark could have sent any number of virtually trained, newly Awakened cyborgs. But their training was AI generated while they were in stasis. The Cyborg Rangers were real time, experienced combat specialists. They would do the recon before Vyken sent in the newbie protectors for the rangers to supervise. The territory would be divided among the six rangers.
Also, on the transport bringing them to Earth were a couple of lucky cyborgs who were genetically matched to women in the Enclave databank. All the cyborgs produced both at the Enclave and the Peruvian facility were maintained there. No additions to the civilian genetic databank had been added since the war.
The Rangers would add to that databank in their travels while newbie Dagger Jack was collecting data in the current Enclave territories. Somewhere in between, Blaze hoped he could find his mate. Meanwhile, he would have plenty to keep him busy.
Blaze watched Earth grow in his line of vision as they got closer to orbit. It was almost time for him to board the shuttle to New Chicago the only city restored in the territory. His duffle lay on the floor at his feet.
He picked it up and slung it over his shoulder as the order to go to the shuttle came through the internal cyborg network. Fifteen minutes later Blaze and his cohorts Shadow Hawk, Max Steel, Darken Wolf, Stalker Knight, and Falcon Rader were debarking from the shuttle and striding to the transport to the Enclave south of the city.
New Chicago was smaller than the original, reflecting the reduction in population of the entire world by the Mesaarkans’ sneak attack just over a century before. The new city was ultra-modern comprised of gleaming sky scrapers and assorted smaller buildings with multiple green spaces.
The cyborgs had their own base near the underground facility which had been converted to residences and a small hospital. It was just a ten-minute flit from the space shuttle port in the low flying hover craft.
The six brawny cyborgs all over six feet tall made an impressive sight as they strode purposely toward the cyborg base with their duffels slung over their shoulders. They were all dressed in identical in the black cargo pants and snug fitting khaki t-shirts. A few women working on the grounds paused to gaze at them, but the cyborg males barely noticed them.
It didn’t matter how attractive the females were, they weren’t mates for any of the cyborgs. The enhance Cyborg Rangers were focused on their mission briefing with Commander Dark.
“Welcome back to Earth gentlemen. I know it wasn’t what we were promised, but those who made those promises no longer exist,” Vyken said when they were all seated around the table in the conference room. “We’re the only ones left to clean up the remnants of civilization left after the initial attack by the Mesaarkans. We’ve done multiple fly overs for recon but we didn’t want to send newbies to deal with frustrated naturals. You have the uploads of the maps we compiled of the most significant populated areas.
“Your primary job is to investigate and intervene where civilians are in danger from gangs or forced into human trafficking.” Dark continued. “Once you’ve established the state of their communities, the Enclave will send representatives to invite them into the Enclave. We couldn’t do anything about Farringay and Alexander Berke’s holdings, but the Federation is giving us free rein on the western territories. Any questions?”
“Did your recon show any troublesome activity?” Blaze asked.
“The largest cities in your territory are in ruins and run by overlords with ganger enforcers. You won’t be able to take them back on your own, so don’t even try. The best thing we can do is evacuate the innocents that you find. Report back to us and we will send in teams and transport to move them to safe locations.” Commander Dark replied. “Anyone else?” He paused for a few seconds then said, “Your hovercycles are waiting for you in the transport garage. While they are about as old as we are, they have all been refurbished with crystal drives and their nanite technology allows you to shift them into personal flyers. They are synchronized with your internal processor so no one else can operate them. Ping me any time if you need anything. You are all dismissed.”
With that, all the cyborgs stood and headed out of the building to claim their assigned vehicles. Each cycle was numbered and they already knew which was theirs from the infodump they received when they volunteered for this assignment.
The sky cycles were strictly two person vehicles, that resembled old style water jet skis more than motorcycles, but longer. Behind the riders’ seats was a compartment to carry their small duffels and spare weapons. There was also a sling on the right side for an ion rifle, and each cycle was loaded with one.
Blaze pulled his weapons belt from his duffle and strapped it on over his lean hips. It contained a blaster, half a dozen throwing knives and a large combat knife. He added a smaller laser pistol to his boot holster, then pulled on a black, synthetic leather jacket. While it looked, felt and smelled like real leather, it was man made.
Lastly, he pulled on his replica of an Australian bush hat that they had adopted as part of their Ranger regalia. The only indications of their authority were the Cyborg Ranger patches on the fronts of their jackets.
Blaze climbed on his sky cycle, started the motor and connected with the onboard AI to extend the wings and form the cockpit. He pulled slowly out of the garage and raised the craft vertically into the sky. When he reached the desired height then set off like a jet southward to his territory, formerly know and Texas.
The sun was shining in a cloudless blue sky. Below the Earth was verdant and green, and he found joy in racing across the sky in this fully refurbished multipurpose craft. Blaze hadn’t been back to Earth since he shipped out to war barely a week after he was taken out of stasis.
He’d blamed the world for everything that happened to him in the war. The ninety-seven days in a Mesaarkan prison, the loss of his team. He’d been tortured repeatedly, injected with drugs, beaten, tormented with shock sticks to give them intel on the Federation. The irony was that Blaze didn’t have the information to give. They wouldn’t accept that he couldn’t lie.
Vyken Dark and his team had gotten Blaze out of that prison and took out that whole Mesaarkan stronghold. He got three months to recover before they put him back out into the war. He fought one campaign after another on dozens of planets for the next sixty-five years.
They treated cyborgs like they were machines, granted, their emotions were dampened through programing and conditioning. Despite his enhancements Blaze was more human than machine. When Vyken Dark contacted him with this new job offer, he didn’t hesitate.
Commander Dark pointed out that the people who made them and sent them to war were gone. Now was the time cyborgs could get the lives they were promised after the war, a mate and a chance for a family. His life had new purpose
Phoebe Brooks was hoeing out rows in her vegetable garden when she saw four men on horses galloping toward her homestead. Martin Stone’s men. He called himself the mayor of Grafton, but he was a gangster overlord who wanted her.
She dropped the hoe handle and pulled the ancient Glock from its holster to double check that it was fully loaded. She put it back in the holster and ran to her house where her shotgun was standing in the corner by the back door.
The riders hadn’t reached her yard before she yanked open the back door and lunged inside. She didn’t need to check the that the long gun was loaded as she reloaded it every time, she shot it.
She took it up and marched out onto the back porch, pointed the gun at the four horsemen that pulled their horses to the stop in her back yard. Phoebe didn’t know all their names, but she recognized them as Martin Stone’s thugs. Clade Joseph was the leader of this pack.
Phoebe thought maybe she should be honored that Stone thought enough of her to send his number one to relay whatever reason they’d ridden all the way from town to see her.
“Now, Phoebe, no need to shoot the messenger,” Clade said. “Mr. Stone would like you to be his guest for dinner on Saturday. He asked me to deliver this note.”
“It took four of you to deliver one note?” Phoebe blurted in a snarky tone. Her rifle aimed at Clade’s chest.
Clade shrugged. “It’s a long ride. One can’t be too careful.”
“Well, you can tell Stone I’m not going anywhere. It’s planting season and I’ve got too much work to do to run around socializing. And who is going to watch the place so scavengers won’t steal everything I’ve got?”
“He could send someone out to watch your place with the escort he sends to fetch you. You wouldn’t need to do any of this if you’d just accept his proposal and come live in town.” Clade reminded.
“Don’t even start with that again. Just leave the note, and get off my land.”
Clade urged his horse forward.
“Don’t come any closer.” Phoebe motioned with her shotgun. “Just drop it, and I will pick it up after you leave.”
“I need an answer before I leave.”
“You got my answer. I’m not coming to dinner. I don’t want to see Stone, and I don’t want to marry him.”
“I don’t know what all he said in his note. But maybe if you read it, you’d change your mind.” Clade held it up.
“Fine, drop it on the ground and I will pick it up after you leave. You already have my answer. I’m not going to dinner Saturday or any other time,” she repeated.
“Well, ma’am, Mr. Stone can be just as stubborn as you. If you won’t come to him, he will come to you.”
“And he won’t be any more welcome than you. The answer is no. I just want to be left alone.”
Clade sailed the paper note through the air toward Phoebe, then turned his horse around and rode back the way he’d come with his three sidekicks. Only when they were tiny on the horizon did she lower her shotgun and go to pick up the piece of paper from the grass.
Holding her shotgun under her arm, pointed at the ground, she unfolded it and read the neatly hand printed message:
I know we’ve had our differences, but it has never changed the way I feel about you. It worries me greatly to think of you alone out on your ranch so far from town. I want to take care of you and protect you.
Won’t you please grant me the honor of your company for dinner on Saturday so that we can discuss our future.”
Phoebe closed her eyes and shook her head. “Give it up, Martin. You don’t want a wife you want an obedient submissive to play your sadistic sex games.”
She crumpled the letter and stalked back into her house with it squeezed in a ball. After she, returned the shotgun to the corner by the door, she opened the door of her wood cookstove and tossed the wadded note into the embers and closed the door. Even as it caught fire, she knew this wouldn’t be the end of it. When sweet sincerity didn’t work, he would use force.
Clade and company would be back to grab her for Martin. Then she would be his prisoner. She hated to leave the home that had been in her family since before the Mesaarkan War. Its remote location is what saved it and the town of Graffton, population 6343. Not a high enough body count to rate one of their bombs left the town unscathed.
Phoebe couldn’t see any other way out; she had to get away. She blinked as tears welled in her eyes. She’d made a good life for herself here with her goats and chickens, her garden and her big fluffy dog Brandi. Her dog would come with her, but she had no choice but to leave the other animals to fend for themselves. Her horse Sherry was the only transportation she had. That would limit what she could carry.
She would have to live off the land for the most part, but that didn’t worry her. Leaving her homestead unguarded was risking to lose it. When Martin learned she was gone, he would probably destroy it. He didn’t take rejection well, especially since she had fallen for his charming facade once. He didn’t love her; he just wanted to own her and use her to satisfy his perversions.
Phoebe was open minded about sex, but Martin took dominance and submission to a torturous level. He had a secret room full of devices he used for sexual torture to punish her when she displeased him. The last time was the worst. She finally escaped. Ever since, she had been wary of anyone who approached her isolated homestead.
The few that stopped in passing were harmless. But she no longer trusted anyone. She met them all at gunpoint. Martin had a whole gang of thugs, and she knew she couldn’t fight them all with a shotgun and a Glock. They could even come back today, once they told Martin how she’d greeted them.
What if they didn’t go all the way back to town? Maybe they just rode away to make her drop her guard, and they would be back to take her by force. She couldn’t rule that out. It was almost midday and she didn’t have much time. She went to the linen closet and pulled out two of her sturdiest pillow cases and She packed three changes of clothes, soap, a small face cloth, and towel.
She found an old sleeping bag rolled up on a shelf in the back of her bedroom closet. Taking up the sleeping bag and pillow cases, she raced to the kitchen pantry and packed as much dried vegetables, dry beans and fruit as she could carry. Rummaging in the kitchen cupboards, she found an old mess kit for cooking and a canteen for water.
Phoebe didn’t stop to check if everything was contained within. She couldn’t shake the urgency to get away before Stone’s men came back. At the back door, she added a small fishing kit, her hunting knife and all her spare ammo for her guns were the last things she added.
Tying the two pillow cases together to serve as saddle bags. Everything seemed to take so long, and she berated herself for not preparing in case she had to run. Martin had left her alone for the whole winter. Phoebe had begun to relax, thinking he’d accepted the fact that she didn’t want to be with him.
It wasn’t like he couldn’t find someone else. Martin was handsome and powerful. He could be very charming when he was trying to get laid. He lost his charm when he showed his other side in his secret room.
Phoebe shuddered involuntarily at the memory. She had never screamed so much in her life, and it wasn’t from pleasure. She vowed never to let him touch her again. She didn’t want to see him or even think about him.
She managed to grab her jacket and shotgun, carrying everything to the barn in one trip. Her mare Sherry came into the barn expecting her grain ration. Phoebe poured a scoop into the bucket hanging on the side of the stall. Sherry stood contentedly munching on the grain while Phoebe put on her saddle blanket, smoothed it out and added the saddle followed by her supplies and her shotgun.
Phoebe never went anywhere unarmed, even before the threat of Martin trying to charm his way back into her life. No amount of charm would make her forget that horrendous three days he had punished her for merely speaking to one of his men.
Sherry had finished her grain by the time she was ready to take off the halter and bridle the horse. Finally, ready, Phoebe led the horse from the barn. She was about to mount, when she remembered the goats and the chickens. She ran to the pasture, opened the gate and then to the chicken pen.
They would probably all be gone if she ever came back but she couldn’t let Martin or his men catch her. She couldn’t worry about them; she had to get away.
Phoebe mounted the horse and urged her into a canter headed east, away from Grafton and away from Martin.
Blaze spent the first few days flying over old Texas, exploring the territory. The cities were in ruin as he’d expected, with smaller communities, farms, and ranches scattered in between the cities. There was activity around the farms and ranches but greatly reduced compared to the pre-war archives.
With the loss of the power grid, farm machinery couldn’t be recharged. Not everyone had wind and solar generators. Those were clearly marked with disabled farm machinery sitting idle in the middle of fields with tall grass and weeds around them. Without the use of their automated systems, farms and ranches were forced to used methods such as those used in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Horses were again used as a mode of transportation. In just the few days he’d been patrolling his territory, Blaze had seen many horses used for travel. He’d been fully briefed on the state of the old USA. It would surely take more than a few cyborg rangers to bring order back in the territories between the pockets of civilization.
He was flying over east Texas heading for the Dallas ruins when he saw a lone horse and rider being chased down a rural road by a group of riders.
Blaze slowed his hover cycle and retracted the wing as he took the craft just above ground level and flew the cycle near enough to the loan rider to see she was female. He brought the cycle to a halt and pivoted in midair to face the five male riders chasing her.
Pulling out his ion rifle he raised the butt to his shoulder and aimed it at the male riders approaching. “Stop right there, gentlemen.”
The men pulled up their horses about fifty feet from where Blaze hovered his cycle.
“Who the hell are you?” demanded the apparent leader.
“Captain Blaze Savage, Federation Cyborg Rangers. What did the female do to make the five of you race after her?”
“Well, I don’t think that’s any of your business,” said the man who seemed to be in charge. He was the best dressed and sat on a superior horse.”
“If she has committed a crime, it is my business. If you are harassing her and attempting to deprive her of her freedom, that is also my business.”
“My name is Martin Stone. I am the Mayor of Grafton. The woman is Phoebe Brooks, my girlfriend. We had a misunderstanding, and I am trying to catch up to her so we can work it out,” he said smoothly.
But his accelerated heart rate told Blaze he was lying about something. “The fact that she was running makes me think she doesn’t want to see you.” With his enhanced vision, he could see that the horse was running full out. Whatever happened between her and the man in front of him was more than a misunderstanding. It looked more like she was running for her life.
“I just want to talk to her,” Stone insisted.
That didn’t ring true either. “I don’t think she wants to hear you right now. It shouldn’t take five men to get a lone woman to stop and listen. I think I need to hear her side of this story.” Blaze hadn’t lowered his rifle as he spoke to them. “Until I do, I am ordering you to stand down and go back to your town.”
“As you pointed out there are five of us, and one of you,” Stone said in a thinly veiled threat. As if on cue, the four men flanking him pulled out semi-automatic pistols and pointed them at Blaze.
He almost laughed. One sweep of his ion rifle and they would all be dead. He didn’t even need the rifle. The bullets from their guns would hurt, even make him bleed but his nanites would quickly repair the damage. He had faced far worse in the war… And lived to file report on it.
“You do know that I’m a cyborg? I can drop you all with this ion rifle before you can fire a shot. You look doubtful. Do you want to try me?”
“Fuck this!” Martin Stone growled. “Let’s go.” He turned his horse back the way they had come, and holstering their guns his men turned their horses and followed him.
When Blaze was satisfied, they would keep going, he returned his ion rifle to its holder and turned his hover cycle around to follow Phoebe Brooks. He hovered over the crumbling pavement at the modest speed of 85mph.
He caught up to her within a few minutes, though she had gotten farther than he expected. Slowing his cycle well before he reached her, he glided along beside her. Although his vehicle was almost silent running at that slow speed, the horse shied and reared.
Phoebe tried valiantly to maintain her seat, but gravity was stronger.
Blaze stopped the cycle and leapt to catch her before she hit the ground. He couldn’t get his balance in time to grasp her and remain standing. He could only cushion her fall as she landed on top of him.
They lay together on the highway stunned for a minute. Blaze was even more stunned as he inhaled her heady, delightful scent, and his cock twitched. It took him several seconds to make himself form words, while his mind filled with one single word: Mine.
“Are—are you, all right?” he asked.
“Thanks to you, but your machine made my horse shy and throw me in the first place.”
“I know, I didn’t expect that.” Blaze sat up with Phoebe on his lap and gazed at her with such intensity that she averted her eyes. Then she struggled to get up, and he gripped her waist to help and rose to his feet as well.”
“What made you follow me?” she asked, gazing up at him.
Well over six feet, the top of her head was almost even with his shoulder. Blaze had no trouble understanding why Martin Stone wanted her. She was exquisite with expressive brown eyes and long dark hair tied back at the nape of her neck. Her curvy figure was just shy of voluptuous. Her mouth was full and looked soft and kissable.
He was so taken by her beauty that he didn’t answer right away. “Those men following you. I stopped them to see why they were chasing you. The man Martin Stone claimed it was a misunderstanding.”
“Oh, that bastard! There is no misunderstanding. He can’t take no for an answer. I’ll kill him if he comes near me,” she vowed. “But, why did you get in the middle of this?”
“I’m a Federation Cyborg Ranger, assigned to uphold the laws that once governed this territory. The name is Blaze Savage.”
“What’s a cyborg?”
“A genetically enhanced human with an onboard computer interface in my brain. We were created to fight the war,” he explained, not taking his eyes from her face.
“You mean like a superhero?”
“More like a super soldier… stronger, faster, more resilient than natural born humans,” he said. “But, tell me more about the circumstances with Stone.”
“He’s an abusive, sadistic pervert. He held me prisoner in his own personal torture chamber. I got away, but not before he put me through three days of pure hell.”
Blaze’s eyes flashed a look of murderous rage. “He hurt you?” He’s a dead man walking.
Phoebe nodded solemnly. “That was last fall. He stayed away all winter, then he sent his men with a charming little invitation for dinner to discuss our future a week ago. I packed up and abandoned my home as soon as they were out of sight. They almost caught me… If you hadn’t stopped them…”
She shuddered with the nightmare memories of her last encounter with Martin Stone. She would have said more, but her throat tightened as angry tears threatened.
Blaze finally gave in to the temptation, stepping close and wrapping her in his arms. Holding her was the most wonderful thing he’d ever felt. The wave of emotion that engulfed him was almost overwhelming.
End of Preview
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