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* KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter: The space combat and FTL are soft sci-fi, but the weapons are all either homing missiles or kinetics, whether magnetically or chemically accelerated.

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* ISurrenderSuckers: Lee, Danny, and Mac get trapped inside the Alystierian base when the alarm goes off. Lee's solution? Surrender, because with the security alert going on the enemy will bring them outside, [[spoiler:where Hamish is waiting with a {{BFG}}]].

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* CoolTeacher: Lee's EstablishingCharacterMoment is catching one of his students reading a ''Mako Assault'' magazine instead of paying attention to first-day orientation and proceeding to completely school the kid in knowledge of the game, including telling him that he developed the strategy to beat an early level based on a historical battle... which is on such-and-such page of the textbook.


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* FamedInStory: Lee and the Renegades are well-known in ''Mako Assault'' circles because the game scoreboards can be read on the Internet and only one other team has progressed as far as they have.

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* TheWarJustBefore: An alien race known only as the Beyonders (the Aurans' name for them) invaded Aura about eighty years before the series. The Aurans eventually drove them off with armed resistance and by firing a WeaponOfMassDestruction at what they believed was the enemy homeworld, but the aftereffects of the war led to a political schism between the Traditionalists who wanted to return to the ''status quo antebellum'', and the Imperialists who sought to create a ''Literature/StarshipTroopers''-like military government to prevent any further {{Alien Invasion}}s. When they didn't get their way in a plebiscite on the matter, the Imperialists seceded and became the Alystierians, the books' enemy nation.

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* HaggisIsHorrible: There's a brief mention in book one that Hamish convinced the group to try haggis once. ''Once.''


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* MilitaryBrat: Hamish's adoptive family had a long history with Scottish British Army regiments, and he sometimes regretted not enlisting himself. His Auran military uniform has a Scottish flag on it, which reduced him to ManlyTears when he first saw it.


* DoAnythingSoldier: Played with. Precisely ''because'' it's meant to teach every possible skill a soldier could know, no one ''Mako Assault'' player can be an expert in everything so the game ''has'' to be played as a team. Similarly the Renegades do come out of their training as commandos who can also be {{Ace Pilot}}s, but they all have their own particular areas of expertise: Lee is the best pilot and the main strategist, Mac is the second-best pilot and the best hacker, Link is a sniper, Hamish is the demolitions guy, and Danny is an infantryman and martial artist. They're all ''competent'' in each other's skillsets, but they all lean on the others.



* GenreSavvy: The Renegades are a bunch of modern Earthlings transported into a science-fiction setting so they frequently have these moments. During hand-to-hand combat training, DrillSergeantNasty Keith Noll stands at ease and tells Danny to attack him. Danny has seen enough movies to say he knows where this is headed, and sure enough, Noll's knocked him on his ass in two seconds.



* GuiltyPleasure: Mac is a metal fiend who is derisive towards SouthernRock ("Mullet rock for hillbillies in pickups"), but Lee once caught her rocking out to "Please Call Home" by Music/TheAllmanBrothersBand. [[spoiler:Her RelationshipUpgrade with Lee comes when he puts it on the jukebox on the ''Praetorian''.]]

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* GuiltyPleasure: GuiltyPleasures: Mac is a metal fiend who is derisive towards SouthernRock ("Mullet rock for hillbillies in pickups"), but Lee once caught her rocking out to "Please Call Home" by Music/TheAllmanBrothersBand. [[spoiler:Her RelationshipUpgrade with Lee comes when he puts it on the jukebox on the ''Praetorian''.]]


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* PoweredArmor: The Mimic suits that are part of the Mako project are a variation on the concept. Instead of turning the wearer into a walking tank, they're a training aid that helps teach the body the skills that have been learned through study (''Mako Assault'' gameplay) and gene-implanted knowledge. The Renegades compare them to training wheels.

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* PreMortemOneLiner: Hamish gets in a good one in the base attack in ''Mako'' when the other Renegades surrender so that Alystierian troops will take them outside. Cue Hamish standing on the roof with a {{BFG}}.
-->'''Hamish:''' ''(cheerfully)'' Hello, fishes! Welcome to ma wee little barrel!

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* TwoferTokenMinority: Hamish is both the Token Black Guy and the Token ''Scot'', of all things.

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* RenegadeSplinterFaction: The Alystierian Empire originated as a militarist splinter faction of the Auran political establishment following the Auran defeat of an AlienInvasion. The Imperialists wanted to create a military government as a defense measure, requiring military service for full citizenship rights, the Traditionalists wanted to return to the prewar status quo. A plebiscite decisively favored the Traditionalists, but Imperialist leader and former resistance leader Clayton Zier refused to accept the result and led his followers to secede and colonize another planet.


* GenderBlenderName: "Mac" is a shortened form of Evelyn Twilah [=McKinney=]'s last name. She thought "Evelyn" sounded like an old lady's name, and "Twilah" was a product of her hippie mom.



* NomDeGuerre: Each member of the Renegades has a call sign. Lee is "Daredevil" after the crazy stunts he pulls

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* NomDeGuerre: Each member of the Renegades has a call sign. Lee is "Daredevil" after the crazy stunts he pullspulls. Mac is "Northern Star" after she gave them a ride home when they'd drunk too much and Hamish referred to her as "our Northern Star", because "yer always there to guide us home, safe and sound." Danny is "Hurricane" because he's from South Florida. Link is "Jester" because he's cocky and afraid of clowns. Hamish is "Wulver" after a Scottish legend about a [[FriendlyNeighborhoodVampire friendly neighborhood werewolf]].

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* AscendedFanboy: The entire team of sci-fi gamers become sci-fi warriors after Reiser reveals the truth behind ''Mako Assault''. Incidentally, the other team that beat the game before them doesn't count: they were actually a squad of Auran military guys who played the game competitively in defiance of project rules.

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Books in the series:
* ''Mako'' (2013)
* ''Red Sky Dawning'' (2015)
* ''At Circle's End'' (2016)


* GoodPaysBetter: {{Conversed}}. ''Mako Assault'''s storyline was deliberately designed to instill Auran values and, though gritty, is firmly on the idealstic side of the scale. Taking altruistic actions such as protecting civilians and refusing to abandon comrades-in-arms even under orders, pays off down the line.

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* GoodPaysBetter: {{Conversed}}. ''Mako Assault'''s storyline was deliberately designed to instill Auran values and, though gritty, is firmly on [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism the idealstic idealistic side of the scale. scale]]. Taking altruistic actions such as protecting civilians and refusing to abandon comrades-in-arms even (even under orders, orders otherwise) pays off down the line.



* NomDeGuerre: Each member of the Renegades has a call sign. Lee is "Daredevil" after the cra

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* NomDeGuerre: Each member of the Renegades has a call sign. Lee is "Daredevil" after the cracrazy stunts he pulls



* ShipperOnDeck: During the trip to Phoenix Gaming Company headquarters

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* ShipperOnDeck: During the trip to Phoenix Gaming Company headquarters there's a SheCleansUpNicely scene with Mac (she gets gussied up for a group dinner with Reiser) and Danny notices Lee looking harder than the rest. He starts encouraging Lee to give it a shot.


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* SubspaceOrHyperspace: Hyperspace travel is extremely fast. While ships are detectable from normal space, they do not apparently interact with normal space matter while doing it. [[spoiler:At the climax, Lee uses the the hyperdrive in his Mako to FlashStep into an enemy carrier's engineering spaces to blow it up from within.]]

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[[quoteright:333:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mako_ian_j_malone.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:333:[[BadassCreed Renegades: Never Divided]]]]
''The Mako Saga'' is a series of MilitaryScienceFiction novels by Creator/IanJMalone, best described as [[JustForFun/XMeetsY the offspring]] of ''Film/TheLastStarfighter'' and ''Film/TopGun''.

The novels center around a FiveManBand of old friends from Florida State University whose life never quite worked as they intended:
* Lee Summerston, the main protagonist, an adjunct history professor at Layne State College struggling to make ends meet amid the Great Recession and a messy divorce.
* Evelyn "Mac" [=McKinney=], a bar manager who failed to make it as a music agent.
* Danny Tucker, a police officer laid off from the force from budget cuts.
* Hamish Lunley, a [[TokenMinority black guy]] [[StereotypeFlip adopted by a Scottish family]] with a struggling motorcycle shop.
* Lincoln "Link" Baxter, a would-be politician whose career went down in flames, now stuck as a lawyer with few prospects.

Though separated by geography they remained close, and Lee got them hooked on the Next Big Thing in video gaming, a [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot mil-SF virtual reality multiplayer online action RPG]] called ''Mako Assault''. Together as "the Renegades", they become the second team in the game's history to complete the final mission.

And then Lee gets a call from Dr. Jonathan Reiser, the game's lead dev, who reveals the truth behind ''Mako'': The story is based on real life, it's a testbed for a system to train soldiers for a real war, and would the Renegades like to come with him and help further develop the program?
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!!This novel series contains examples of the following tropes:
* AttemptedRape: Foreshadowed early on when the Aurans tell them that female Auran [=POWs=] often aren't treated well in Alec Masterson's custody. [[spoiler:Mac's captor Captain Hourne tries to rape her, but fortunately the other Renegades hit the base right then and Lee kills him.]]
* BigBad: Alec Masterson, the Commandant of the Alystierian Imperial Guard and the next in line to the chancellorship.
* TheBigGuy: Hamish, hands down. Enormous black guy, mechanical whiz, and explosives expert who ''loves'' {{BFG}}s and the Tuskan Starbomber gunship.
* TheChick: Mac as the token woman of the group, but she's a major tomboy from childhood.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Lee unknowingly creates a personal enemy out of the BigBad [[spoiler:when he kills Captain Hourne. Hourne is Alec Masterson's secret son.]]
* FriendlySniper: Link, a hunter from childhood, gravitated to sniper rifles early in ''Mako Assault''.
* GoodPaysBetter: {{Conversed}}. ''Mako Assault'''s storyline was deliberately designed to instill Auran values and, though gritty, is firmly on the idealstic side of the scale. Taking altruistic actions such as protecting civilians and refusing to abandon comrades-in-arms even under orders, pays off down the line.
* GuiltyPleasure: Mac is a metal fiend who is derisive towards SouthernRock ("Mullet rock for hillbillies in pickups"), but Lee once caught her rocking out to "Please Call Home" by Music/TheAllmanBrothersBand. [[spoiler:Her RelationshipUpgrade with Lee comes when he puts it on the jukebox on the ''Praetorian''.]]
* TheHero: Lee is the group's main planner and the top pilot.
* TheLancer: Danny and Mac sort of share this. Danny is an expert martial artist and Lee's oldest friend in the group, while Mac is the only pilot to approach Lee in skill and the two are LikeBrotherAndSister.
* NomDeGuerre: Each member of the Renegades has a call sign. Lee is "Daredevil" after the cra
* RelationshipUpgrade: [[spoiler:A subplot in book one deals with Lee realizing he has a serious crush on Mac and being encouraged by Danny to act on it. Turns out ''she'' was waiting for ''him''.]]
* ShipperOnDeck: During the trip to Phoenix Gaming Company headquarters
* SpaceRomans: Somehow Auran culture is all but identical to modern America right down to the names, which is given a parallel evolution {{handwave}}. They also seemingly had ''literal'' Space Romans at some point, given Admiral Katahl's flagship being named the ''Praetorian''.
* StereotypeFlip: Hamish, the huge black guy who talks like Scotty. {{Justified}}: he was adopted from a Chicago orphanage by a Scottish couple.
* UnwinnableByDesign: The sudden twist during the final level of ''Mako Assault'' is that a group of Auran colonists imprisoned by the Alystierians have been brought to the refueling post the Renegades are trying to destroy. Reiser says that had they exfiltrated without rescuing the colonists, the game would have sent them on a final bonus level to rescue them which was deliberately a no-win scenario.
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