The last sunset (preppers fiction): the dark star is coming and death lingers in its shadow (preppers

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The Last Sunset

BOOK 1

 

The Dark Star is Coming and Death Lingers in its Shadow

 

 

Frank Montgomery

 

 

© 2015

Copyright 2015 by Zenith Publishing- All rights reserved.

 

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Chapter 1:

 

                            “Sherry, I swear to God if you come to me with one more stack of papers I’m going to quit!” Darius yelled in a half joking tone as he hung up the phone, clearly dissatisfied with the conversation he had just had.

Sherry, his assistant, had just dropped a stack of papers on his desk that had the same thickness of a Stephen King novel. Darius Downey was right in the middle of a massive legal battle in which he was defending a member of “The Hell’s Angels.” The guys name was Desmond Morrato and he slit a man’s throat at a bar early last year. The man he killed happened to be the bartender and the only people in the bar at the time were members of Desmond’s crew. Darius was trying to prove that Desmond was not responsible for the killing and that the bartender had been murdered in the early hours of the morning, after Desmond and his crew had already left the bar.

 

“Sorry D, don’t shoot the messenger. You don’t really think he’s innocent do you?” Sherry probed.

“He’s innocent Sherry and I’m going to show everybody,” Darius said convincingly. Sherry rolled her eyes and left the room.

             

                            In reality, Desmond did kill the bartender and Darius was well aware of this. Desmond claimed the bartender was listening too intently on the conversations he was having with other members of his motorcycle gang. Desmond thought the bartender might be a spy for a rival gang, so he did the logical thing (in the eyes of a Hell’s Angel) and killed the man before asking any questions at all. Desmond was used to defending the scum of the earth, but defending Desmond Morrato was a new low for him and he wasn’t certain he could win the case. Life wasn’t easy as a defense lawyer, but hey, it paid the bills.

             

                            Darius has a dark complexion and he’s just over 6 feet tall. He’s 43 years old but he looks a few years younger. You can nearly see your reflection on his bald shiny head, but you don’t want to stare too closely or he might knock you out. Darius is an ex semi-professional boxer and he has been known to rough people up and then get himself off the hook with his wealth of legal knowledge. He quit boxing at the age of 22 after he lost in an Olympic qualification fight. He got knocked out in the final round by a man much smaller than him and he still has a scar under his left eye that reminds him of his defeat every morning when he looks in the mirror.

             

                            Darius never quite seemed to get over the fact that he missed out on the Olympics. After quitting boxing he decided that he needed to sharpen his mind. Unlike a lot of boxers, Darius had a relatively short career and he hadn’t been hit in the head too many times. In fact, the only time he had ever even hit the canvas was when he was knocked out in his final fight. He had immaculate agility and his opponents always found him to be very elusive and hard to hit. Darius decided that since he wasn’t ‘punch drunk’ and still had a long life ahead of him, that he needed to sharpen his mind. He began reading a book every two days and this greatly expanded his mind and his perspective on life. Darius was always quick witted and smart, but he knew that he could become smarter and he did.

             

                            He lived in a fairly crime ridden area, so he started renting out law books from his local library just in case the police ever gave him a hard time. He became obsessed with learning the law and he eventually made a run at law school. He made it through law school with ease and a few years after graduation and working at some low level firms, he founded his own firm with two other lawyers. The firm was calledDuckers, Downey & Smyth.The firm has now been in operation for 11 years and it employs 33 lawyers. Darius continues to hold the best win percentage out of anyone at the firm. Rarely does a case come across his desk that he doesn’t win. He is a master at manipulating the law and finding any and all legal loopholes that can help earn his clients an innocent verdict.

             

                            Chicago is a dangerous, violent place and there is no shortage of people who need a good lawyer to help them get off the hook. The year is 2040 and if you had asked Darius 10 years ago if he would still be in Chicago at this time, he would have responded, “Hell No!” It’s not that he doesn’t enjoy life in Chicago; he just hates the winter with a burning passion. He lives in an enormous penthouse with his wife Kristina and he really doesn’t have a whole lot to complain about. He is rich, physically fit, intelligent and his wife is amazingly gorgeous, great it bed and a lot younger than him.

             

                            He rummaged through the thick stack of paperwork and his blank stare quickly turned into a scowl. The papers contained everything his assistant believed the prosecution would use to assassinate Desmond’s character in order to prove that killing the bartender was not something out of the ordinary for him to do. Although Desmond had never been convicted of murder before, he had served time in the past for assault with a deadly weapon, vehicular manslaughter and armed robbery. Things were not looking good for Darius and his near perfect winning record. He pushed the papers aside and started thinking of ways he could manipulate the jury and find some sort of a loophole to win the case. Just then his office phone rang and he promptly answered it.

 

“Hello, this is the law office of Duckers, Downey and….”

“Honey it’s me, spare me the rant,” Kristina said with a laugh.

“Oh, hey babe how are you doing?”

“I’m fine D, there’s just some updates on the news and I wanted to let you know”

“What are they saying? Are we all still doomed?” Darius laughed.

“You know this isn’t a joke D and I don’t like when you turn it into one”

“I know, I’m sorry. What’s going on for real?”

“Well I guess that billionaire, Lance Bitcow, is funding a new project to destroy the meteor before it hits us”

“Fuck Bitcow, just because he has money doesn’t mean he’s smart”

“Will you just listen for a second? He obviously has nothing to do with the project, he’s just funding N.A.S.A scientists who can actually make a difference”

“Honey I told you before, the earth is fucked. The only hope of survival is getting to the lunar base and the only way that’s going to happen is if we have enough money to buy our way in, which is why I’m working my ass off right now”

“You’re so cynical”

“Kris, I’m a realist and there’s nothing wrong with that. Enough about the meteor, how’s the baby doing?”

“Oh you know, she’s growing and I’m getting fatter. Sometimes I think I can feel her kicking but I know it’s too early for that yet”

“I told you she’s going to be a fighter”

“Just like her big, strong father”

“Thanks beautiful, I need to get back to work though. Thanks for the call, I love you and I’ll see you tonight”

“Bye D, play safe”

 

                            Darius hung up the phone and stared back at the seemingly endless stack of paperwork. He let out a sigh as he looked out his office window and into the darkening sky above. He knew that somewhere out there the meteor was coming. N.A.S.A scientists first noticed it about 5 years ago after they developed a new high tech space telescope named theTheBlack Eye.After the telescope was launched deep into space, a leading astronomer used it to see a massive meteor leaving the Kuiper Belt and heading towards the sun. It was calculated that if the meteor continued on the same path, then it would be pulled by the suns gravity in a way that would give it the perfect trajectory to slam into the earth. N.A.S.A named the meteorThe Dark Starand the name has really begun to stick over the past 5 years.

             

                           Every time Darius lost motivation to work on cases he would think aboutThe Dark Starand remember that if he didn’t make enough money; he wouldn’t be able to leave the earth before the meteor hit. The meteor was expected to hit in exactly 8 months on September 16th2040. The current date was January 16thand Darius knew he had to make money fast. He was certain that the billionaire, Lance Bitcow, was bluffing about his plan to destroy the meteor. He figured that the government was using Bitcow to calm the global population down and give them hope for destroying the meteor before it killed everyone. He knew that only the extremely wealthy would be traveling to the lunar base and while he had a lot of money, he knew he would need more to get him and his family onto the ship. He was intelligent and he was confident that he would find a way; he just didn’t have the perfect plan yet.

Chapter 2:

 

                            Bitcow and the government were not bluffing, well, not entirely. They were 60% sure that the weapon they were designing would be able to completely disintegrateThe Dark Star. Bitcow had a net worth of roughly $30 billion and he donated $20 billion to designing the weapon that would hopefully save the planet. Bitcow was already guaranteed a spot on the lunar base and he knew that if he was responsible for saving the world, then he would be worshipped like a God if the crises was averted and he was able to return to earth. The lunar base was massive and it had been built 20 years earlier. The base was built as an emergency evacuation station but this was before the threat ofThe Dark Starhad even arisen.

             

                            On September 1st, space shuttles were scheduled to start bringing the wealthiest and most important people on earth to the lunar base. This wasn’t a publically known fact, but anyone with half a brain knew that the government was going utilize the emergency lunar base in a situation such as this. Darius knew this well and he also knew that it was going to require a large sum of money to get a spot on one of the space shuttles.

             

                            Even the people who made it to the lunar base were still at risk. IfThe Dark Stardid hit the earth there was a good chance that the immensity of the explosion would send large chunks of the destroyed planet directly at the moon, causing thousands of meteor impacts. This was merely speculation though and at the end of the day the safest place you could realistically be was on in the lunar base.

Chapter 3

 

“Paul, give me an update would you? I didn’t invest my life’s savings in this project to be left in the fucking dark.” Lance Bitcow said with a frown.

Paul Ross was the project manager for the mission to destroyThe Dark Star.He looked like the quintessential nerd. White short sleeve collared shirt, slight beer gut, square frame glasses and a slightly balding head. Paul had begun to despise Bitcow after only working with him for a short time.

“Mr. Bitcow, I’m sorry. I’m swamped with work right now and I will meet with you as soon as I can”

“No, I’ve waited long enough. You’re meeting with me right now or else I’m pulling the funding,” Bitcow had sweat dripping down his freckled, sun burnt face. His short red hair seemed to perfectly symbolize the anger he was currently feeling

“You can’t do that Mr. Bitcow, the world is depending on you”

“I can do what I want with my money. If I want an extra $20 billion to take with me to the lunar base, then I will take it. I hold the power here Paul, I’m in charge so tell me what I want to hear”

“Fine,” Paul said as his adjusted his square glasses. “Research and development is coming along great. Global engineer recruitment strategies are in place and we’ve already assembled the brightest group of astrophysicists that the planet has to offer. Neil deGrasse Tyson will be our head astrophysicist and Stephen Hawking has been appointed the position of head theoretical physicist. Tentative blueprints for the prototype are scheduled to be on my desk in two weeks. Don’t worry Mr. Bitcow, this will likely work and you will become the greatest hero the world has ever known”

“Likely work? No this had better work or I will personally see to it that you are out of a job for the rest of your life”

“Understood Mr. Bitcow”

“So what is this thing going to be anyways, some kind of a laser beam?”

“Yes exactly. The weapon, we’re tentatively calling it E.T., will produce the thickest and most intense laser beam the world has ever seen”

“Okay, first things first. The weapon will be called L.I.B., after myself; Lance Isaac Bitcow, understood?”

“Understood sir”

“You may continue”

“As I was saying, the immensely powerful laser beam will shoot towards the incoming meteor. At about one thousand miles away from the meteor, the beam will travel through a massive prism. The prism will be sent into space by N.A.S.A within the next month. The prism will be attached to a larger ship and controlled by two of our astronauts. The beam will travel through the prism, causing it to spread out directly in front ofThe Dark Star. The power of the laser will then essentially vaporize the meteor and the crises will be completely averted.” Paul sounded confident in his words.

“Sounds interesting. I agree with the theoretical framework and I have faith in you and in this plan.”

 

                            Lance was talking out of his ass. He had barely followed what Paul had said, even though Paul had put everything into laymen’s terms. Lance had made his money off a lucky stock market tip. He inherited $70 million after his father past away and he put every cent of it into a hot new Internet business. His father’s old stockbroker gave him the hot tip about the company and it paid off. Lance had taken what was already a lot of money and turned it into a fortune. He made $11 billion dollars within 9 days and from there he started investing in real estate, founded a virtual reality company, and was able to grow his net worth to $30 billion.

 

                            Lance left the Kennedy Space Center, hopped into his Maserati and headed back to his hotel. He was from New York but he vowed to stay in Florida until the project was complete. He had rented the entire top floor of the Hilton Hotel closest to the Kennedy Space Station. He walked into his massive room and announced himself,

 

“Honey I’m home!” There was no reply.

 

Lance hastily made his way to the bedroom and was shocked to find that there was nobody in the bed. The ropes that he had used to restrain the woman were untied and hanging around each one of the large bedposts.

 

“For fuck sakes,” He said to himself. He knew this wasn’t going to be pretty.

Chapter 4

 

                            The next day the news was littered with stories about Lance Bitcow. But they weren’t the type of stories Lance wanted publicity for.

 

“Darius, you’ve got to come see this!” Kristina yelled from the living room as Darius finished devouring his supper. He hurried in and plopped himself on the couch and relaxed after another tough day at the office. The news reporter was practically yelling as he tried to talk over the large mob of people that had formed around him at the police station.

 

“Lance Bitcow has just been arrested on allegations of rape and attempted murder. At ten forty five last night a young girl stumbled through the doors of the Merritt Island Police Station. The woman was badly beaten and had marks around her wrists and ankles. Her mouth was bleeding severely and she could barely speak. She claims that she was drugged and taken into a hotel room by Lance Bitcow at a bar three nights ago. When she awoke, Mr. Bitcow was raping her and he promised to pay her a million dollars if she cooperated and kept her mouth shut. He kept her tied to the bed in the hotel room for three days until she escaped by chewing threw the thick ropes, which completely destroyed her teeth, lips and gums.”

 

                            Darius sat in silence as he contemplated an plan. He knew that Lance was probably a psychopath and that he had likely kidnapped and raped the girl. But if he could contact Lance and become his defense lawyer he was sure he could get him off the hook. Proving Lance’s innocence would surely earn him Kristina a spot on one of the space shuttles headed to the moon.

 

“D, I don’t like the look in your eyes,” Kristina said as she watched Darius pondering.

“Kris, you’re probably not going to like this. I am one hundred percent sure that I can get Bitcow off the hook. If I do he will have no choice but to let us on one of the space shuttles”

“Where do you draw the line with lying?”

“This is do or die. We need to think of the baby,” Darius said as he gently touched his wife’s stomach.  “The only thing better than having enough money to buy our way onto a space shuttle is to do Lance Bitcow a personal favor,” Darius was speaking very sternly.

“There are probably a million lawyers calling him right now, how do you plan to stand out?”

“I’m going to fly to Orlando right now and find him. I’ll show him my win percentage and pitch him my plan”

“What’s the plan?”

“Well, there are obviously a lot of people who are envious of him. Somebody might even want to frame him for a crime to tarnish his name forever. All I need to do is find somebody with a reason to frame Lance and then blame the crime on them”

“Easier said than done I assume”

“It’s always easy for Darius Downey, honey. I have to go catch a red eye flight. I will call you once I land.”

Chapter 5

 

                            Lance Bitcow was sitting in his cell at the police station with his face in his hands. His mind was racing and he knew this might be the end for him. He had already met with four lawyers but he decided that he wanted to fly his personal lawyer out from New York. When he found out that his lawyer was out of town on business and couldn’t come to Florida for another three days, he was beyond frustrated.

 

                            As usual, the legal system was going to take forever to get Lance a trial and in a few hours Lance’s financial advisor was scheduled to show up at the police station and bail him out. When one of the police officers told Lance that he had a visitor, he wasn’t expecting to see a tall, bald black man sitting in the visitor’s area.

 

“Can I help you?” Lance said with a look of confusion on his face. “Hello Mr. Bitcow, my name is Darius Downey and I’m the best defense lawyer in Chicago. I’m here to get you out,”

“Hahaha, I’ve heard that one before. Just another guy looking to make some money off Bitcow the billionaire are you?”

“No sir, please just let me…”

“What are you asking three hundred, four hundred or six hundred an hour? You fucking leeches disgust me.”

 

                            With that, Lance left the visitors area and returned to his cell. Darius was furious but he was a persistent man. He spoke with one of the police officers at the main desk and started working his deceptive magic.

 

“Excuse me, officer?”

“Yeah, what’s up?” An eager cop responded.

“Mr. Bitcow is my client and he assures me that his bail has been paid”

“Um nope, it says it hasn’t been paid yet in my database”

“Listen pal, if Mr. Bitcow says it’s been paid then you had better listen to him unless you want to lose your job”

“No you listen here you prick, it hasn’t been paid, end of story. There’s a note here saying that he’s got a guy coming in a few hours to pay the bail. Now back away from the desk.”

 

                            Darius left the building; satisfied with the information he had just learned. He waited in the parking lot of the police station until he saw a white Rolls Royce pull in. He assumed that a car as nice as that must belong to somebody affiliated with Bitcow. The parking lot was packed full of news crews and eager reporters trying to get a few words out of Bitcow after he was released. Darius cut through the thick sea of people and approached the luxury car that he had just watched pull in. A man in a brown suit emerged. He was short and pudgy and the suit seemed to be much too small for him.

 

“Howdy, you Bitcow’s bail guy?” Darius said to the man.

“I’m his financial advisor, my name’s Ray,” he said with questioning frown.

“Alright Ray, my name’s Darius Downey and I want to work for Mr. Bitcow”

“Many people do”

“No, but I want to work for him for free, out of respect for what he’s doing for the planet. I want to be his defense attorney”

“And you’re telling me this why?”

“Mr. Bitcow doesn’t believe me, so I would like to be in the room with you while you discuss the bail proceedings. This way I can convince Mr. Bitcow that I only want to help him out”

“You seem very sincere Mr. Downey. I’m sure Lance would love to save some money on this case. You have no idea how many lawyers I have calling me, trying to take him for all he’s worth. Come in with me and we’ll speak with him. But if you try anything out of line I want you to understand that Lance has enough money to make people permanently vanish. He’s done it before and he’s not the least bit afraid to do it again”

“Understood Ray, thank you.”

 

             

                            Darius followed Ray into the visitor’s area and after Ray spoke with a police officer, Bitcow was brought into the room.

 

“Ray! Just the guy I wanted to see. Wait a minute, what’s this asshole doing here?” Bitcow said pointing at Darius angrily.

“Sir, I think you should hear Mr. Downey out. I believe his intentions to be good. He can save you more money than you realize and after donating two thirds of your wealth I think saving money on legal fees is a fantastic idea,” Ray was nervous that Bitcow was about to yell at him.

“Fine, let’s hear it,” Bitcow said impatiently.

“Mr. Bitcow, unlike a lot of the lawyers you’ve probably heard from, I have great respect for you as a person. I understand the donation you are making to preserve the human race and I will work for you at no cost.” Darius knew exactly how to inflate a person’s ego.

“Well thank you for being appreciative, but no cost? Shut up”

“Mr. Bitcow I could not be more serious. When I heard about what happened to you I grabbed the first flight to Florida to see if you would like me to help you out. I already devised a thorough defense strategy on the plane and I am more than willing to start acting as your lawyer today. But first I need to know if you actually did tie up and rape that girl”

“Well, yea. When you’ve got money like me the law tends to not really apply to you. Know what I mean?

“Haha, I’m not accustomed to that type of money, but I sure know there’s nothing wrong with roughing a woman up from time to time” Darius did not believe this, but he had to make Bitcow feel comfortable so that he would open up.

“That’s true, let’s hear what you’ve got”

“Well, there are a lot of people who are very envious of the wealth that you’ve built for yourself. Many people wish they could be the person responsible for saving the planet, but you are the only one who stepped up to the plate. Somebody clearly tried to frame you so that they could ruin your credibility. The question now becomes, who would be a good person that you could accuse of framing you?”

“Well shit I don’t know, I’ve got a lot of enemies”

“Just pick somebody you dislike and I will be able to place the blame on them, trust me”

“Paul Ross”

“And who might that be?”

“Just some asshole at N.A.S.A., He’s really jealous of my wealth and he gets under my skin”

“I will look him up and start digging up some dirt. But is he integral to the mission to destroy the meteor?”

“No, he’s basically just the coffee bitch,” Bitcow lied.

 

                            Lance didn’t care about the project, all he wanted was the recognition for trying to save the world. He knew he was going to be in the lunar base, so he wasn’t really concerned with the outcome of the project. He would rather take down an innocent man who was getting on his nerves than potentially rescue earth from certain disaster.

 

“Alright, consider it done. Paul Ross is about to become a convicted rapist. Once you’re bailed out all I need you to do is meet with Paul Ross and get a small piece of his hair.” Darius spoke confidently and it put both Bitcow and Ray at ease. Bitcow nodded, showing that he understood what he must do.

 

                            Darius left the police station and approached a reporter. As soon as he began to speak he was immediately surrounded by cameras and microphones.

 

“My name is Darius Downey and I am representing Mr. Bitcow in this case,” He said with a sense of fake pride. The questions quickly flooded in.

“Mr. Downey can you tell us how you plan to get this monster off on this case?” One reporter yelled out.

“Mr Downey, as a defense attorney have you ever encountered a case such as this in your past?” Shouted another reporter.

“No further questions. All I will say at this time is that Mr. Bitcow has been wrongfully accused. He was framed by someone working at N.A.S.A. and I promise to bring this psycho to justice so he doesn’t embarrass this countries great legal system any further.” With that, Darius shoved his way through the crowd, jumped in his rental car and headed back to his hotel.

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