As global tensions escalate, China attacks New York City, wiping out its entire population. Marine ex-con Nick Morrow and his team of convicts, dubbed 47 Echo, are sent on a deadly missionto infiltrate Shanghai and shut down its computer network. Given virtually no weaponry, the crew must rely on themselves as they trek across the dangerous countryside, crawling with enemies.
As they head toward almost certain death, Nick struggles to not lose his ever-thinning thread of control. Though the convict soldiers outnumber their own military counterparts, they're looked down upon as human shields. But to Nick, they're friends. The team needs himhell, the world needs him. The stakes are higher than ever before. This will be the ultimate battle, and the consequences will test everything Nick is and will become.
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The holding cell Nick Morrow landed in was already standing-room only.
It was only a twelve-foot-by-twelve-foot room to start withLos Angeles' Parker Center Jail was hardly known for its spacious accommodations. Benches lined the walls on three sides, and all of those were occupied when Nick arrived. A cluster of men stood in the middle of the room, trying not to look at anyone in particular.
Of course, everyone looked at Nick when he came in. It wasn't just the bloody clothes or the bruises and cuts on his face, though a couple of guys in the holding cell had those, too. Still, the way he looked attracted a lot of attention these days. Nick was half-Chinese, and it wasn't as though he could hide it.
"Well, look at that. Guards threw us a Chink to play with," someone rumbled from the back of the cell.
Nick looked up to see a white male, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt with the sleeves haphazardly cut off, stand. He was big, sweaty and had a beer gut that almost made him look pregnant. Still, Nick could see that the guy was stronghis arms looked like they were spun from thick, industrial steel cabling.
Nick watched the big man slowly crack his knuckles and start moving toward him. In seconds, there were two more prisoners behind him. He'd been expecting something like this, but not before he'd even gotten to his feet after the policeman's rough shove sent him tumbling into the cell. It was almost a given, as he looked to most people like one of the North Koreans who'd set off a nuclear device in Los Angeles months before, or like one of the Chinese they saw taking over more and more of Russia every day on the news.
Nick took a deep breath through his nose and pushed it out through his gritted teeth. He forced his heart rate to slow down, concentrating on controlling the muscles of his face.
They're like animals, he thought. One whiff of fear, and you're done.
"Howdy, gents," Nick said, standing and cracking a smile. "Lovely night outside, right?"
"You know, with that new law they passed, they're sending us all over to fucking kill your kind if we get convicted," a short, muscular Hispanic man said from Nick's left.
Nick slowly backed up until he could feel the holding cell's thick steel door at his back. It was the safest position for him to be in, unless the cop outside decided to reach through the bars and hold him there. Much as Nick would like to, he couldn't rule out that possibility.
"Hey, that's true!" the redneck with the beer gut said, snapping his fingers for effect. "The, what was it, Convict Conscript Act."
A few of the men in the cell murmured affirmatives.
Calm down. Wait for them to make the first move. It was all just talk so far, not the clich d "what are you in for" the movies had prepared him for. It would get violent soon, he knew, but he had to pick his moment. When it happens, move fast and keep moving.
"I guess the guards want us to get a head start with this guy," the man on the redneck's right said. He was a young white guy, all muscles and tattoos, with a shaved head and one eye swollen half-shut. Nick marked the tattooed man's position in the room, adding it to a rough blueprint in his head.
"Come on, gents. You don't want to do that. Get my blood all over yourselves," Nick said, keeping his smile pasted on.