Authors: Mat Nastos
Tags: #cyberpunk, #Science Fiction, #action, #Adventure
Dust-Off:Medical evacuation by helicopter. For example, "Dust-off inbound" means that a MEDEVAC helicopter is on the way.
The M2 .50 caliber machine gun.
Forward Operating Base. Bigger than a COP (combat outpost), smaller than a
. A FOB can be austere and dangerous, but is more commonly provisioned with hot, varied meals, hot water for showers and laundry as well as recreational facilities.
Derogatory term for soldiers who do not patrol outside the FOB.
Fucked-up Beyond All Recognition. The situation has gone bad.
In southern Afghanistan, refers to the lush, densely vegetated areas following rivers which Taliban fighters defend vigorously. As opposed to the Brown Zone, which refers to the more barren mountains.
From the Bill Murray movie, the phrase is used to describe deployments where every day proceeds the same way, no matter how the individual tries to change it.
A derogatory term for Iraqis, used widely during the Iraq War. A Hajii Shop was an Iraqi-run shop on the base, often selling pirated DVDs, or Hajii Discs. Rarely used to describe Afghans.
a branch of
operating in Syria and Lebanon.
Derogatory term for the cyborg members of Project Hardwired. Shortened from ‘Pinocchio.’ Toy-boys who aren’t real.
) Person Other than Grunt. Derogatory term for a soldier lacking combat experience.
A combination of rumor and intelligence. Gossip, scuttlebutt.
: Hostile targets.
THE WEIR CODEX
BY MAT NASTOS
The Cestus Concern
The Cestus Concern
, Mat Nastos crafts his most daring and imaginative work to date. Thrilling and action-packed,
moves at a breakneck pace. Nastos continues to show why he is the next great voice in sci-fi.
Deadpool, Cable, Youngblood
, and founder of
, Nastos reinvents the classic motifs, creating something truly exciting.”
—Adam Lance Garcia,
Green Lama: Unbound
“Nastos has crafted a novel that is crying out for a comic book or movie adaptation. Just when you thought you'd seen everything cyborgs had to offer - from Robocop to Wolverine - Nastos plants one firmly on your jaw with this!”
—Express News & Reviews
The Cestus Concern
is intense, adrenaline powered action that never slows down from the first to the last page.”
The Cestus Contract
“Mat Nastos is one of the most exciting writers working in the field of adventure fiction today. Every page is an adrenaline rush and by the end of the story, you're left breathlessly anticipating the next. If you're not reading Nastos, you're truly missing out.”
Award-winning author of
The Rook, Lazarus Gray
“It was the best 80’s action movie I’ve read in a long time.”
New-Pulp author of
Four Bullets for Dillon
The Adventures of Fortune McCall
"Nastos has done it again! Cestus Contract is simply science fiction gold. Nastos’ passion and enthusiasm for the genre shines through on every page. If you’re looking for a thrilling and shocking action adventure, search no further. You’ll be hard pressed to put this saga down."
Comic book writer of BubbleGun and Broken Pieces
"Like a man shot out of cannon, Malcolm Weir finds himself in a never-ending tornado of mystery, intrigue, and violence, as he struggles to find out the truth about who he is and what he has become. With the follow-up novel, Mat Nastos doesn't mess around, cranking the action and mayhem to eleven right out of the gate and never lets up. It's a rip-roaring, mega-palooza of adrenelin."
Writer of Jirni, Soulfire, Captain Atom, Mindfield, and The Lost Spark
BY MAT NASTOS
Man With The Iron Heart
"It's rare when a book takes both the front line experience as well as the supernatural elements so readily associated with World War II and the Nazi party and turns them into something seamless and intriguing. "Man with the Iron Heart" does that exceedingly well and the characters live, scream, fight, and die right off the page, not content with just leaping."
- Tommy Hancock,
Award-winning author and publisher of
Pro Se Press
“The Man With the Iron Heart's tight and snappy prose takes grounded supernatural mysticism, a charming cast of very human characters and then hurls it all into an adventure that revels in the unapologetic grandiosity of classic action movies!”
- David A. Rodriguez,
and Lead Writer for
Skylanders: SWAP Force
Read on for a preview of the first book in the exciting adventures of Malcolm Weir,
The Cestus Concern: Weir Codex Book 1
Available NOW from Nifty Entertainment
It has been said being born is one of the most painful and traumatic events in a person’s life. For Malcolm Weir, being reborn was far worse.
The first thing Mal noticed as the warm, floating feeling only an especially heavy dose of morphine can give started to fade was the telltale itch in all ten of his toes and the balls of his feet.
Strangely enough, the itch didn’t reach his hands. From the middle of his pecs, into his shoulders and down through both arms, there was an odd buzzing feeling, almost as if the Army Ranger was holding a faulty power cord in his hand—not quite the pain of electrocution, but an uneasy feeling that lay just below the surface and culminated in a pinprick discomfort in each of his fingers.
As consciousness returned, a number of other tidbits of information began to register in Mal’s brain, the most troublesome being that his head felt as if a thick railroad spike had been inserted into it just below the base of his skull, and whatever caused the ache seemed to steal away his ability to move his head freely.
His mouth was dry; so dry, it felt as if Mal had been sucking on cotton balls and Brillo pads for days, his tongue cracked and devoid of even the slightest hint of moisture. Mal couldn’t remember the last time he’d had anything to drink.
Panic and worry struck with the force of a hammer between his eyes as the man realized he couldn’t remember anything at all. Mal had no idea where he was or how he got there. The worry quickly turned to fear as the soldier found himself unable to open his eyes.
Where am I, thought Mal, as his darkness seemed to suddenly swirl with chaos and terror? What happened? Why can’t I see?
Frantically, Mal reached up with his left hand to touch his eyes, barely noticing the feel of metallic and leather arm restraints tearing apart from his movement. His outstretched finger struck his face with more force than he intended. The tip felt numb, almost as if his hands were wrapped in a wet sock. A shaking hand traced the outline of the tape cover his eyelids as the sounds around him returned all at once as if someone had switched them on like a radio.
A woman’s voice near his right shoulder caused him to jump and to rip out half of his eyelashes along with the sticky substance that robbed him of sight.
“Oh, my God! He’s awake!” came the startled throaty voice of the woman. Mal guessed she was middle-aged. He could also tell from the way her words echoed out across the room that he was in a fairly large area with tall ceilings.
“He should have been out for at least another four hours while the upgrade was being processed.” The voice sounded annoyed more than concerned. Directly into his ear, and louder than Mal would have liked, he heard, “Designate Cestus, please return to diagnostic mode. Medical override five-two-six-alpha-nine.”
For a split-second, the strange words took control of Mal’s befuddled mind and he dropped back down to the position he awoke in, flat on his back, with arms calmly to his side. The urge to obey was quickly dispelled by an increased electric-shock sensation flowing from the back of his head into his chest and down into Mal’s hands.
He had no clue why her command affected him so and didn’t want her to try it again. Mal flapped his arm in an effort to shoo the woman away from him.
“Let me up,” he whispered.
“Shit…he’s ignoring the override.” The annoyance transitioned into audible and obvious worry. “Monitors show the AI has been corrupted. We’re going to need to restrain him!”
“I’m on it!” snapped another, much deeper male voice, this time from somewhere down near Mal’s left foot.
Mal’s eye finally came unstuck, but the lights in the room were too harsh, too bright for him to be able to see properly. Everything was a painful white blur. A shadow fell across his face, blocking some of the light, for which Mal was most thankful. Two large hands began pressing down on his eerily numb shoulders, trying to stop him from rising. In spite of the reduced sensation his back and arms were experiencing, Mal could tell he was lying on a hard bed or table of some sort. The cold touch of metal along his spine suggested it was probably the latter.
“Hold him down!” screeched the woman. Mal decided she sounded like his Aunt Nancy, an even more disquieting fact than waking up on an operating table, blind and numb. God, he hated his Aunt Nancy.
“Damn it, I’m trying!” yelled the Southerner with increasing agitation. The man pushed harder, trying to keep Mal on the table. “Hit him with a shot of Midazolam, quick!”
Mal fought against the power of the man attempting to hold him down. With a quick twitch, his right arm came free and started to push his body into an upright position. As the motion caused his head to tilt out of its supine position, a new pain exploded in the back of Mal’s skull, threatening to split it in half.
“Got it,” the woman shouted from across the room!
Not wanting to wait around and find out what exactly “Midazolam” was, Mal shot his left hand out in an effort to get his male captor away from his body. From Mal’s perspective, it was only a half-hearted backhanded slap. However, a grunt from the man and a loud crash a long distance away revealed it to be something more.
The woman screamed as she observed whatever Mal was unable to see, “Bradley!”
Mal ignored the sounds of the woman’s footfalls heading for the body of “Bradley,” and reached up with now-freed right hand to figure out what was holding the back of his head down to the table. Groping blindly, the confused man felt wires leading into a solid casing of some kind. It was hard and warm to the touch, and pulsed with the same shock of electricity Mal felt in his arms.
Most disturbing of all, however, was that the whole thing seemed to be attached to a metallic plate mounted on the back of his head. Mal screamed in horror and pain as his hand gripped the slightly vibrating rod and yanked it from his head. He could feel the tip of it sliding out through the rear of his skull and his entire body jerked upright as he nearly retched from the experience.
“What have you done?” Mal howled.
The sounds of electronic equipment overloading and shorting out filled the room, along with the acrid smell of burning plastic and wiring.
Cupping the back of his head and its newly exposed hole with one hand, Mal reached up with the other to remove the remaining tape from his right eye. In the background his ears picked up the woman—a nurse?—as her shoes slapped against the hard floor of the room. Mal was finally blinking his way back to the land of the sighted when the sound of cracking glass and a shrill alarm filled the room.
The woman’s voice, filled with worry and anger, fired off, presumably into an intercom somewhere behind the table Mal sat on. “Emergency! Send Gee-Em-Ars to surgical suite eight! We have a rogue unit! I repeat: we have a rogue unit!”
Mal’s bare feet were dropping down to the cold floor of the operating room as a reply came over the speakers hidden somewhere in the ceiling, “GMRs in route. Stand by for assistance.”
Spinning to face the nurse, as well as locate an exit, Mal’s still squinting eyes were finally able to take in the room itself.
The pale cream room was just as Mal had feared: an operating suite about forty feet long by twenty-five or so wide. While the room itself was well lit, the area where he had been lying on a slightly inclined hydraulic surgical table was flooded by a series of four high-powered operating lights, mounted on a frame directly overhead.
A giant robotic arm, decorated in the same off-white color of the walls, reached out and engulfed the bottom quarter of the table, looking as much like a giant mechanical crab claw as the scanning device it probably was, with twin sensors above and below. A bank of blue glowing flat-screen monitors extended down from the ceiling and was linked to Mal by a mismatched multicolored series of cables and tubes which pierced his body at a number of locations.
Dominating the immediate area, though, was an evil looking rack of computers that was now smoking, sparking and seemingly on the verge of exploding. Mal’s eyes lingered for a moment on the large bundle of cables that terminated with the large, glistening spike he had just removed from his skull. His hand started up to touch the hole left behind from the extraction when movement over the confused man’s left shoulder caught his attention.