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Dead Evil Mercenary Corps Book 1: New Rules for Firefights


They say violence is never the answer, but for Chill, it is the only answer she knows.


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Chill couldn’t tell if the warning was directed at her given the utter chaos of the brawl. The visit to the cantina had devolved into a no-holds-barred, exuberant exchange of violent mayhem that always had space for a few more combatants. Thankfully, the bar area itself was sealed off with shatterproof glass and if she had to guess, it was probably resistant to almost anything but a handheld coilgun.

It wasn’t like that kind of glass was expensive and as investments went—given the sheer number of fights that happened in and around the bar—saving the booze and keeping their employees safe was probably a no-brainer. Protect the booze and let the patrons fight it out until the local authorities came in and more than likely joined the fun.

The Jindahin—the dominant cultural group among the Dahin—didn’t like to do their own law enforcement. This interesting situation had brought her to Mugh-9 in the first place. The aquatic bastards didn’t mind working when they were underwater, but from what she’d learned about them, being out of the water was something of a strain on their system.

While living on land was something they had adapted to, it meant they weren’t particularly suited to heavy labor. Ironically, that particular challenge had led to some of their most powerful innovations to date, although they were only too happy to pay other species to do the out-of-water work for them. Better still, they didn’t much care that their mercenary police usually caused as many problems as they solved as long as the fighting didn’t reach the underwater cities.

Of course, that worked out well for Chill. She’d never liked having too much oversight and as long as she was alive and ready to head into the thick of it the next morning, a nice brawl was an enjoyable way to keep her reflexes sharp.

She ducked as a chair hurtled over her head and into a nearby wall, then retrieved her hair clip carefully and used it to secure her bright silver hair. Enough people were in the fight for her to have the time to gather herself. She’d hated her hair from the moment she realized how much attention it caught when she didn’t wear a helmet.

It wasn’t bad enough for her to want to shave it to the scalp, though. Instead, she kept it short enough that it could be comfortably restrained and it didn’t make her unnecessarily hot when she wore her helmet. While perhaps not the most popular style, it was a decent look for her and she liked having some hair on her head at least. 

Ready for the next round, she pushed to her feet and stretched her neck to either side as two rollers approached her. She’d seen them before—half-human twins who were over seven feet tall, weighed in at about four hundred pounds each, and were usually loaded with enough firepower that they might as well have been born tanks with anti-grav generators.

The real question was exactly what the hell the other half was. They always insisted they were humans and she’d seen their paperwork. For some reason, however, the something-else she knew was in there hadn’t made the official record. Leaving the truth out meant the other half was something that would probably create issues with getting work so they simply called themselves half-human and half-unknown and shouted that they were human if they could get away with it.

Of course, it helped that they were big enough to discourage anyone from raising any doubts to their face. She still knew better than to even try to spread the news to the rest of the Bugzzappers—the mercs hired to fight the Bugz that infested the planet—in case it got back to them that she was snooping around.

Besides, she’d been hired to work planetside because of her fighting skills. People tended to look down on bumpers so she kept those particular skills on the down-low. It sure as fuck helped with negotiating her rate since she knew what all the other mercs were making.

Still, if they were involved in the fight, it was always better to back away slowly. She could probably win against them if she used her weapons, but the moment someone broke out a knife or a caster, everyone would and it would turn the whole damn bar into a bloodbath.

It was best to avoid that particular scenario.

The twins nodded when they noted her retreat and turned to where three other drunk Zappers surged into the melee. They were tackled almost immediately and more combatants flung themselves into the growing pile in the center of the room. It didn’t take great intelligence to see how that would go.

The best strategy was always to stick to the fringes of the fight. She’d learned that particular lesson the hard way, although she’d needed a few brawls to drive the point home.


Chill ducked again and a fist swung mere inches over her head. She lashed out with her right foot, caught her attacker on the legs, and upended her with satisfying efficiency. The usual move to drop a Xi-Trang was to grasp the feathers jutting from the tops of their heads, but this one didn’t have any. It took away one of their biggest advantages as well as one of their largest weaknesses, and she had to reevaluate how to proceed against the Xo-Trang—so named to denote members of the species that had their feathers removed, either by choice or by punishment for crimes.

The kick wasn’t quite enough to knock the bitch out of the fight, but she was more than willing to follow up. When her adversary scrambled to her feet, she twisted and cracked her elbow across the Xo’s temple hard enough to make her fall again, stunned and more or less out of the brawl.

Under other circumstances, Chill wouldn’t have been above kicking her fallen opponent’s skull in to make sure that she wouldn’t join the fight again later, but certain rules should be followed in a bar fight.

“Look out!”

The same voice that had warned her about the chair being thrown made her spin hastily. A woman—taller than she was and with a full head of bright red hair—stepped forward to intercept one of the combatants before he could attack Chill with a broken chair leg while her back was turned.

Bad manners seemed to prevail all round but she had long since come to realize that she was the only one who followed the long-forgotten rules of bar brawling. She was content to fight folk who didn’t abide by them since that merely showed how they’d probably been raised in a barn. It also revealed how terrible they were at throwing their fists given that they had to break the rules and she didn’t.

She took a moment to sip her drink while the redhead ducked under another drunken swing, hammered her fist into the man’s gut, and tripped him as he stumbled forward.

“Appreciate it,” Chill commented and put her glass down.

The redhead turned and grinned. A bright purple bruise already showed on her right cheek.

“No problem. It always makes me angry when dumbasses think they can introduce weapons into the fight because they happen to be losing.”

A thin silver line across the woman’s cheek suggested that she’d probably had some bad injuries that resulted in implants in the area to hold her skull in one piece.

It was interesting that she hadn’t bothered to get the surgery to graft extra skin over the trace of implant that was visible. Most people wouldn’t like a battle scar to show but she thought it complemented the overall fiery look the woman espoused.

“I’m Daria,” the redhead told her off-handedly before she grinned with almost feral humor. “Although some people call me Dollface—but not for long.” She raised her stout in greeting and took a large sip to cool off.

“I’ll bet they do.” Chill took a step back when another brawler stepped between them. She swayed as the man’s fist careened past her face and clipped her shoulder instead.

Before he could recover, she lunged toward him and jerked her head forward into his nose. While it didn’t quite carry the power she would have liked and didn’t break anything, it brought the opportunity to drive her knee up between his legs.

That was enough to quiet him for a while, at least. The timing had been good as well since officers began to force their way in and fired crackers to get everyone’s attention and stop the fight.

“They call me Chill,” she responded finally and wiped some blood from her forehead.

Daria tilted her head and studied her curiously. “Because of your hair or your overall temperament?”

That was a good question and she laughed. “It must be the hair. I don’t think anyone could accuse me of being a calm, collected person.”

“You seem comfortable with our current circumstances.”

“Well, yeah.” She shrugged. “These circumstances are the kind that calm me.”

“Fair enough.” The redhead looked around when the brawl appeared to grind to a halt as the officers began to arrest the worst of the offenders.

The roller twins were among them, although they would probably be released the following morning once they had sobered. No officer would want to get in the way of a full complement of Zappers come morning.

“Are you with us?” Chill asked and swallowed the rest of her drink.


“Bugzzappers. This is the bar we usually come to after a real fight to spend our earnings.”

“Oh. No, I have my team waiting for me.”

Chill glanced to where she pointed at a group of various humans and non-humans who looked like they hadn’t been involved in the fracas at all. “Oh. That’s too bad.”

“Why’s that?” the redhead asked.

“It’s always nice to have people on my side who know the proper rules in a fight like this.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint you.” Daria winked with the eye that wasn’t swelling—Dollface didn’t seem appropriate given the bruising. “Speaking of my team, I should probably join them. Good to meet you, Chill.”


She took a moment to study the woman as she sauntered confidently to her group. While she wouldn’t have said she was partial to females as a rule, something about a head full of bright red hair was appealing to most people.

Or maybe she was merely an aberration. It wouldn’t be the first time she had come to that conclusion.

A soft groan from the floor caught her attention and she glanced at the man she’d upended, who now began to move. She extended a hand to help him to his feet.

“What the hell…did you…knee my reproductives for?” he asked, still recovering with a hand over the area she’d treated so rudely.

“Sorry,” she answered with an apologetic smile. “It’s not usual for me to drop a man like that but you chose to charge at someone who was out of the fight. I couldn’t have that.”

He glared at her—although she had to admit that he wasn’t a particularly bad looker. Light blond hair, pale greenish-blue eyes, and a stout look about him offset the fact that he was about an inch taller than she was.

“All right. Fair enough.” He dropped into a seat, closed his eyes, and gave himself a second to gather his composure. “Still, there are better ways to do it.”

Chill sat across from him and nodded. “Probably. What say you I buy your next drink and we call it even?”

He shrugged. “I can pick up the round after that.”

This was how people settled bar fights the right way. The rules were always a little murky in the thick of it but buying drinks to soften the blows thrown was the right way to finish it.

Can’t wait to see what adventures this bar-fighting silver-haired warrior is about to go on? Well, don’t worry because New Rules for Firefights: Dead Evil Mercenary Corps Book 1 comes out February 21, 2022. Available for pre-order now.


New rules for firefights e-book cover