Maxim (Galactic Cage Fighter Series Book 8)
SynopsisMaxim is a droid halfsie, part human and part android, created in a lab. Now free from the madman that converted him, he must find a way to make a new life for himself. In an effort to put his past behind him, he takes a job as a fighter for the Galactic Cage Fighter Association. Unfortunately, he soon learns that the position comes with some unwanted benefits, like constantly being surrounded by adoring fans. It’s a situation that’s definitely all new for him, and he has to work hard to adjust. Just when he thinks he has finally moved on and gotten used to his new life, he discovers that the past cannot simply be ignored forever. These revelations of his past put everyone around him in danger, including the one woman that holds the key to his hidden heart. Alona is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful halfsie women in the world. But human men only seem to seek her out when they want to display her as their trophy, and most halfsie men see her delicate features as far too human-like. Just as she feels ready to give up on the hope of a real relationship, she meets a droid halfsie that attracts her like no other. The more she tries to fight her attraction, the more she seems to want him. Will Maxim let down his guard and allow Alona to see him for who he is? Will Alona overcome her disenchanted view of relationships and give Maxim a chance to prove there is more to him than the surface? Can they find their way to one another while surviving the dangers surrounding them? Warning: For Mature Adult Audiences. Contains sexual content, language, and actions some may deem offensive. M/F
Chapter 1Maxim grunted as he took the brunt of the punch to his ribs. His internal operating (IO) chip reported that he would suffer a break if he took another direct hit. He needed to end this match soon. His internal clock told him the second round wasn’t near the end yet, but he knew it would be more efficient for him to get it over with before his systems started to shut down automatically. He stood in the center of the GCFA cage. He didn’t try to protect his ribs. His Beastial opponent grew in size right before he ran and jumped at Maxim, attempting a superman punch with one arm extended. Maxim didn’t move until right before the other man’s fist was about to make contact. Then he stepped to the side so quickly, hardly anyone saw him. The Beastial landed on his stomach and face hard, clearly a bit dazed. As the Beastial attempted to get up, Maxim stepped forward and aimed a punch at his temple. He pulled the punch slightly, hitting with just the amount of force his IO chip calculated was necessary to knock his opponent out. He didn’t want to kill the other man, after all. It was just enough to make the Beastial slump over and black out. He straightened up and waited for the bell to ring. It took a few seconds for the crowd to realize that the match was over. Half of them applauded and the other half booed. He was not the most popular halfsie fighter, but his fans were slowly growing in number. Mostly they seemed to be women, and they were constantly throwing themselves at him. He found this strange. He had no interest in them. Maxim turned and headed for the healing facility to recuperate. ***** “Well, that was quite a match Johann,” said the commentator, sounding a little uncertain of what to think about the outcome. “Yes, quite an interesting and . . . short match, Poland. You would have thought that the Beastial, with his larger size advantage, would easily defeat the smaller Droid halfsie. But that may be the fastest match I’ve ever witnessed.” “I think I have whiplash from the speed with which the Droid knocked out his opponent. Speed and strength are definite factors on the Droid halfsie’s side. He’ll be a fighter to watch! But I’d say he still needs to work on his personality a bit to be much of a crowd pleaser.” “I agree, Poland. He won’t keep his fans happy with his non-existent charm. The winner of the match, ladies and gentleman . . . Maxim the Cyborg.” ***** “They’re right. At this rate he’ll start losing fans and we’ll have to buy him out of his contract. He’s making us look bad for hiring him. You need to do something.” Nigel sat back in his seat in the VIP box and stared at the assistant director of the Galactic Cage Fighter Association, William Macey. “What do you want me to do about it?” “Clean up his image, make him more appealing. I don’t care what it is, just do something. He’s not pulling in the numbers that we need,” William ordered, taking a sip of his beer. “He’s got a good number of female fans already,” Nigel pointed out. “Great, expand on that.” “How am I supposed to do that?” Nigel had the beginnings of a headache. He rubbed his temple. His assistant Amelia silently handed him a bottle of pain medication. He looked at her briefly in surprise. How did she always know what he needed? William certainly didn’t seem to notice that anything might be wrong with his minion. He continued, “I don’t care what you have to do, just change his cold and mechanical image any way you can.” Nigel sighed. There were times like these where he hated his job. He took the pain meds and handed the bottle back to his assistant. At this rate, he was going to have to invest in a pharmaceutical company to keep his headaches away. ***** Maxim heard them announce his fighting name as the winner and cringed on the inside. He wasn’t a Cyborg. He was a human droid halfsie. Why the GCFA insisted on calling him that was beyond him. He walked to the healer’s facility to have his injuries checked, although he honestly considered it a waste of time. The healing program on his IO chip told him that most of the injuries would be healed by the morning. As he entered, he saw there was one other fighter being treated. Hammer was lying on a bed with IV fluids running into him. They grunted at each other but didn’t say anything. “Lay down on the bed, Mr. Maxim,” one of the healers said, directing him to an empty bed. He shook his head. “I don’t need to lay down. I need a chair and an outlet so that I can recharge myself.” “But, sir, we need to evaluate how severe your injuries are.” “I have already run an internal diagnostic. I have bruises on my chest and upper arms. My ribs are also bruised and require a healing agent. I have some minor scrapes, but no infection has been detected.” He ignored the bed and walked over to the corner, where he pulled a chair over next to a power outlet. He placed his hand over the outlet and pulled the current of power out and through his fingers. There was tingling sensation, neither painful nor pleasant. He could ignore it for the most part. But it was necessary for his IO chip to have full power in order to heal him from within much faster. “That was a quick match,” Hammer commented. Maxim didn’t look at the other fighter as he responded. “My IO chip reported that if I took another direct hit in the ribs, they would be a break. I would rather not have broken ribs, it takes longer to heal from those.” “Hey man, I understand that. But we’re here to put on a show for these people. They don’t care about your ribs taking longer to heal.” Hammer sat up further on the bed. Maxim nodded but didn’t say anything else. He understood what his job was; he didn’t need anyone else telling him. He knew that he was not the most well liked of the GCFA fighters, but he had no clue how to fix that. He enjoyed working with the GCFA. If he had friends, they would be those here, his fellow GCFA fighters. He had spent the most time with them since his conversion. He was honestly willing to work on improving his demeanor to appease the fans, but it was all just so foreign to him. There wasn’t a program he could upload that would teach him how to relate to others. Maybe the problem was in how he was converted to a halfsie. He wasn’t the result of a natural conception or even fertilization splicing, as most halfsies were. He had a whole human life before his droid conversion. He didn’t remember any of it, of course, but he read the report and been told things by the human family he didn’t remember. His name had been Maxwell Copely. He had been twenty-seven years old. He was training for the Galactic Olympics as a weight lifter. A freak accident had him rushed to the hospital, where they pronounced him brain dead. His human parents had agreed to turn off the life support system when they were told it was the only thing keeping his body alive. As far as they knew, he had died in that hospital room. His brain hadn’t been completely dead yet, but it showed so little activity, and the doctors argued that his body would be useful to others because it was athletic in build and he was otherwise healthy. What his parents didn’t know until much later was that Maxwell had still had brain activity. The reports had been falsified to make it look like he was dead. All in the supposed name of science. He didn’t recall being this Maxwell, or being in an accident, or any of that. What he did remember was waking to excruciating pain and having wires and tubes running all throughout his body. He had actually thought his body was on fire at first and begged for them to kill him. He had to be restrained. The next time he woke there was less pain and less fire and he found that his brain was processing at an abnormally high rate. He understood things he shouldn’t have, but also seemed to feel fewer and fewer emotions. It had taken a week for him to be able to sit up, stand, and walk. Maxim was introduced to the scientists that had brought him back to life: Dr. Forbes, Dr. Deans, and a crew of about twelve lab technicians. They all looked at him like he was some kind of experimental equipment instead of a human being. Technically, he was as full of internal operating chips and wiring as he was human organs, so maybe they were right. He hadn’t dwelled on the whys; he only knew he had to learn everything he could so he could escape. So he accepted whatever programming they wanted to upload. It wasn’t until the IDJ, Intergalactic Department of Justice, raided the lab that had become his only home that he fully understood what had been done to him. The scientists had lied to his human parents, lied to the authorities, and lied to him. They weren’t creating him to help improve medical advancements. They were creating him to be their working model, so they could get funding from the military for a new line of weapons. The military wanted an army of droids just like him. They had implanted computer chips and wiring all through his body and a central operating chip inside his brain. As far as appearances went, he still looked completely human, but he wasn’t. The IDJ showed him the lower level of the lab, where the scientists kept most of the failed experiments. It sickened him to see all the half-alive, mostly dead species that they had attempted to make into droids. Human DNA seemed the most compatible for the droid conversion process, but it had taken many failed attempts for them to discover this. Seeing those failed attempts made him realize how close it had been for him. That was the first time since his conversion that he could remember feeling actual fear. He didn’t like it. The IDJ claimed that some of the staff had gotten away and wanted his help to locate them. But Maxim wanted nothing more to do with the lab. The IDJ took him back to his human family, whom he didn’t remember at all. At first they welcomed him and treated him like a miracle. But it didn’t take long before his stoic and rather blank personality, added to the fact that he couldn’t remember any of them, made it difficult for them to accept him. It was clear that he didn’t belong with them anymore; his human life before was gone. His human mother begged him not to leave, but he knew it was for the best, for their sakes as well as his. They only re-lived the loss of their son over and over, every time they looked at him. So he left. He changed his name to Maxim, dropping the last name completely. He looked for jobs that didn’t mind his unnatural strength and stoic personality. But it was a chance meeting with one of the trainers for the Galactic Cage Fighter Association that connected him to the fighting circuit. He owed the GCFA a great deal for the opportunity, so he needed to find a way to uphold his contract with them. “I’ll work on it,” he told Hammer, switching hands over the outlet to focus the charge through the other side of his body. He was determined to make this life work.
Author Bio KD Jones has been a huge fan of both romance novels and science fiction novels since she was 16 years old. Her favorite television shows growing up were Star Trek and Doctor Who. When not writing, she can usually be found curled up on the couch with a good book, working on her hobby of photography, or spending time with her family. As a single working Mom she wants to show her son that a person can follow their dreams no matter how old they are and where they are in life. Dreams can come true if you work hard and keep believing.
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