Authors: Ryder Stacy
Nearly 100 years ago a Russian thermonuclear device transformed America’s amber waves of grain into a sea of nuclear waste. The land of the free has been reduced to a Soviet slave-state, repeatedly raped and plundered by its Red overlords. One man has led the desperate fight to free the once-great nation. He is Ted Rockson, the ultimate soldier of survival.
Tragedy strikes the citizens of Century City. As thousands lay dead and dying the Doomsday Warrior and his “Rock Team” travel to newly freed Pattonville in search of supplies to aid his desperate people. Through sandstorms and deadly Snakemen the FreeFighters find themselves trapped at the Great Caucus Dome, a society of brainwashed delegates. In the name of democracy and independence, Rockson and his men lock horns with the Great Nominee in a fierce battle to the death that will push the Freefighters to the very limits of their endurance—and beyond!
ROCK ’N ROLL
“Hit the deck,” Rockson shouted. He and his Freefighters all dove down as the razor-brimmed hats of the fanatic protectors sailed over their heads. Archer twisted around and managed to get one of his steel explosive arrows notched and in the air. He skewered a row of fanatic killers headed his way.
Rockson decimated a flock of protectors with a series of shots from his shotpistol. They fell, peppered with the “X” patterned explosions of his special submachine-gun bullets. Chen downed another three with a single shuriken explosive star-knife. And, as Detroit lobbed grenades to keep the other screaming enemies back, the Doomsday Warrior and his men rushed forward for the final battle.
are published by
Kensington Publishing Corp.
475 Park Avenue South
New York, N.Y. 10016
Copyright © 1990 by Ryder Syvertsen
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.
First printing: January 1990
Printed in the United States of America
ne second everything was normal, the next it was a living hell. Ted Rockson, a/k/a the Doomsday Warrior, was lying in his bed, down in one of Century City’s lower levels, in that pleasant state between sleeping and waking. One eye was slightly open, the other closed, still trying to cling to the soft darkness of the dream he had just been swimming in. Then the whole world was most rudely and noisily pulled into stark reality. There was a thundering roar that bolted both eyes open in a flash, and then the lights went out.
Rockson was looking up at a cloud of dust that was streaming down from the low ceiling above. Instantly a huge crack appeared almost right above his bed in his 12x15 sleeping quarters. Then as he watched with horror in the dim red light of the room’s emergency lighting system, he saw the crack widen and spiderweb out in all directions. Within a second or two the entire ceiling was bending down as if reaching below for the occupant of the room, to crush him into pulp.
“Earthquake,” Rockson’s mouth muttered without him even quite realizing he had spoken the words. His brain was a bit slower than his lips, but it instantly realized in a flash what the word “earthquake” meant. It meant he would be crushed to death in milliseconds if he didn’t move his butt faster than a hawk dropping for a kill. Even as he started to rise up, his mind feverishly wondering just where to hide, the thunder grew ever-louder, vibrating up his skull, hurting his ears as if he were inside a storm cloud. The whole room began shaking and moving around so that he hardly knew where he was. Out of his peripheral vision Rockson could see the radio bouncing off the table, and the clock dancing around like it was in a tango contest. Then a picture of an ancient whaling ship, something that he had dug up in his travels, flew right off the wall like it was trying to get back to the sea.
The cracked ceiling above him made a most threatening sound, not dissimilar to a few hand grenades going off, and Rock knew he was out of time. Although his brain didn’t seem to know just how the hell to deal with all this, his mutant body acted with its own agenda. For even as the bed shook more wildly, Rock rolled over the side of it and underneath, unconsciously knowing that the thing had a steel frame and might offer protection. Even as he hit the floor and pulled himself under, he knew that it was a chance in a million—but it was all he had. The room was just a small rectangle with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
Rock made his move with not a moment to spare. The instant he slid under the bed, the entire ceiling came smashing down like he was at ground zero of a nuke bomb test. The room shook wildly. Everything was just darkness, crunching sound, and broken concrete flying all over the place like a hurricane of cement—from particles as small as marbles to as big as huge slabs. Two of the slabs came falling at each end of the bed, crushing it down on top of him. Rock knew he would die at any second and took a final sharp intake of breath, as if he didn’t want to go into the next world without a little oxygen still in his lungs.
As he lay there, in an awkward sideways position, his hip pressed hard against the floor which he could also feel shaking and cracking around him, the vibrations continued. They seemed to get stronger so that his very bones were being batted around inside of his flesh. Somehow through the dust he saw the entire wall that separated his sleeping chamber from the outer corridor crack all over like a huge gray egg. Then just as it collapsed, more of the ceiling came down and all he could see was jagged chunks of what had once been his room, slamming into the floor just inches from his face.
He pulled back hard, or tried to, realizing even in the madness and confusion of the destruction, that at least thus far the bed frame had provided a sort of shelter for him. He tried to pull deeper into the darkness beneath, like a child delving deeper under his covers, hoping that that would somehow protect him from the nightmares of life, real and imagined. He realized he was stuck, wedged in from all sides by the bed and pieces of concrete ceiling that had fallen on and around it. Rockson shut his eyes to protect them from the dust.
Then just as suddenly as it had started, the quake, or whatever the hell it was, stopped. There were a few more shudders, then a series of undulations, very mild almost as if the walls of Century City were alive. Then it was still. And the screams rose up everywhere out in the halls and the other sleeping quarters. It was a terrible sound, men and women trapped in the sheer animal agony of excruciating pain.
But Rockson had his own problems to worry about. Trapped as tightly as a beaver in a steel cage, he tried to move and couldn’t. Everything, every part of him felt wedged down beneath the collapsed bed. It had saved him from being totally crushed, but he could feel it pushing down all over him. Everything hurt, but somehow, just because he could feel the different parts of his body, if not move them, he figured he hadn’t any major damage. So far.
Suddenly he began coughing, hacking away as the dust and concrete particles reached deep into his throat. It hurt, burning his lung tissue and his throat like flecks of fire. He hacked away for a good thirty seconds, bringing up all kinds of garbage from below, including, by the slick feel of it, some blood. He was completely coated with dust and junk. It was as if there was no air, just soot finely crushed with a few atoms of oxygen thrown in here and there just to taunt him. He felt himself start to cough again, and, using every bit of will power, somehow suppressed the urge.
Rock tried to open his eyes, which were just as much covered with the leftovers of the collapse. They burned terribly; he could feel them coated with dust from corner to corner. He blinked hard but that only seemed to sort of press everything harder against the skin. His hand had ended up wedged against the side of his cheek just inches from his face. By twisting and shimmying slowly and carefully so as not to dislodge what might well be a precarious balancing act of debris above him, Rock managed to get his index finger near his lips. He spat, but not a hell of a lot happened.
He tried again and after a few hacking attempts, a gob of spit landed on his finger and began sliding over it.
Quickly Rock lifted the spit-coated finger to his eye and lightly rubbed it into the corners. It took several attempts and a lot of coughing up, but at last he had both eyes cleared enough to see. And Rockson realized that he might as well have saved his spit. There was nothing to see. Just gray dust that floated evenly in the air everywhere.
There was the slightest dim yellow glow coming from the corridor, but it wasn’t much, a thousandth of a lumen; enough for a worm to see by. Now that everything had calmed down at least for a few seconds, he began realizing the total severity of his situation. He was trapped deep beneath the ground, in one of Century City’s lower levels. God only knew how much of the city had collapsed, how many were alive. He could hear screams coming from outside his room.
Suddenly he couldn’t breathe again. It was hard to tell if it was the dust that was everywhere or the contracting of his lungs as they sucked harder and harder for less and less air. And for one of the few times in his life Ted Rockson felt a deep terror sweep through him. A fear that a child feels when nightmares attack. A fear that can paralyze a man’s heart and make his body clamp up like a vise, his muscles shake, his blood boil inside. He could feel himself losing it, losing his center. Buried alive. A ghastly and hideous fate. And as the dust seemed to clog his lungs more by the second and fill his eyes and ears with gritty, clinging particles, Rock knew that that was exactly what was about to happen to him. He was going to be buried alive like a corpse beneath the cold concrete.
ockson lay in a sort of limbo zone between consciousness and unconsciousness. With the dust filling the air everywhere in a blanket of darkness, and hardly any air to move it all around, his prospects looked bleak. The Doomsday Warrior had never quite realized how much one’s consciousness, one’s very being, depended on sensory information coming in from the outside world. But here, trapped beneath God only knew how many tons of rubble, there was nothing coming in. The dust stopped all but the dimmest trickles of gray light from a few cracks in the far wall, probably one of the hall emergency lights that had somehow survived the catastrophe. And the screams.