The Ripper: Redux by Byron Lester - HTML preview

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BY

 

BYRON LESTER

 

Byron Lester

 

131 Yarra St, Victoria,

 

Australia, 3220

 

(m) +61 400 315 606 CHAPTER 1

 

DINER IN THE DESERT

 

The four wheel-drive vehicle rumbled along the lone highway in the barren

 

expanse of the desert. The sun was scorching hot, and the rock formations

 

towered out of the ground in the distance.

 

The thin face of the man was grayish, slightly withered from years of stress,

 

the hair on his head, a light brown, but the gray roots visible underneath,

 

covered by the vanity of hair coloring, the sign of man valiantly trying to retain

 

the striking features of his younger years. His eyes were sharp, as if burning

 

their way forwards, and his body was thin, but muscular. The legendary Film

 

Director, Kevin Stone, about 45, perfectionist, blunt, driven, and ruthless, sat

 

in the driver seat. His eyes were locked onto the dirty and sandblasted

 

makeshift sign that listed a short distance ahead. The sign swayed on the dirt

 

road that led off the main highway. Kevin Stone looked across at the young

 

man with a round, baby face, thick black hair, and thoughtful eyes, driving the

 

four-wheel. He was Film Producer, Mike Parson, about 40, a professional,

 

quietly ambitious, and intellectual man. Mike Parson had a laptop on his lap

 

that was currently running a program with, “Department of Defense,” labeled

 

across the top of the screen. The detailed maps were constantly decrypting

 

and revealing the pre-determined route that their four-wheel drive was to

 

follow. The small blinking red dot that represented their four wheel-drive vehicle on the map moved along the marked out route. It led them towards

 

that small dirt road that led off the highway. The thick black line on the map

 

marking the ‘route’ stopped at the corner, turned and then ran along the dirt

 

road, and right off the side of the map. It was obviously going to be a long

 

drive along this dirt road before they hit their secret destination. Mike Parsons

 

looked at the director.

 

“Is this the road?” Mike asked as if puzzled by all of this secrecy.

 

Kevin Stone nodded softly.

 

“This is the road,” Kevin replied sharply.

 

The four wheel-drive vehicle swung tightly around the listing road sign. It

 

barreled along the dirt road and kicked up a storm of dust that flew around the

 

vehicle if a mini dust hurricane. The dirt road ran in a straight line towards the

 

horizon. There was nothing but flat, empty, dusty earth for as far as the eye

 

could see.

 

Mike Parson ran his hands over the laptop. The decoding program began

 

running again. A new detailed map appeared on the screen. It had a large

 

blinking dot that seemed to represent the final destination. The sun seemed to

 

scorch every inch of the vehicle as Kevin Stone looked across at the laptop.

 

Kevin Stone’s thin lips pursed. He gave a half frown as if to say, “Finally, we

 

have almost arrived.” The dust that was thrown up by the tires of their vehicle

 

clouded their vision but they could faintly make out the outline of the building

 

and it appeared to be derelict. The four wheel-drive vehicle slowed as it drove into the empty parking lot.

 

The paint was peeling upon the diner, its windows were smashed, and there

 

was no one to be seen. The diner had been visibly abandoned for years.

 

Kevin Stone and Mike Parson stepped out of the four-wheel drive. They

 

looked around slowly as if looking for something. Then they walked towards

 

the wrecked, unhinged door of the diner.

 

Kevin Stone and Mike Parson walked into the diner. There was a large cover

 

of dust upon the tables, chairs, and the large menu board hung on the far

 

wall. They looked over the diner as if looking for a waitress. They looked at

 

each other and sat down at one of tables as if waiting for service.

 

The four wheel-drive vehicle sat silently in the parking lot. The sun scorched

 

down upon the ground. There was not a sound except for the sound of lightly

 

swirling wind.

 

Kevin Stone looked at Mike. He nodded as if it was time to go somewhere.

 

They both got up and walked along the counter. They walked past the

 

decades old vending machine filled with packets of molded chips that hung on

 

rusty hooks. Kevin Stone pushed the men’s toilet door open, and they walked

 

inside.

 

Kevin Stone and Mike Parson walked to the urinals. They opened their flies, and took a long piss. Then they turned and walked to the basins. They

 

washed their hands as if undertaking a precise ritual. Kevin Stone glared into

 

the mirror.

 

“Do we have to wipe our asses now?!” he questioned sharply.

 

There was a slight pause. The door of the toilet cubicle directly behind them

 

began to open. Mike Parson looked around to see the wall behind the toilet

 

bowl slowly slide open. The heavily armored soldier appeared in the opening.

 

“Your identities and security clearances have been verified,” he informed

 

them in a strict military tone.

 

Kevin Stone’s face was non-stoic as if he expected this to happen. Mike

 

Parson in contrast looked stunned.

 

“It’s about bloody time, and you better have some water in there. My throat is

 

fucking parched,” snapped Kevin Stone.

 

Mike Parson looked at the heavily armored guard’s automatic rifle.

 

“There is plenty of water supplied Sir. General Johnson is awaiting your

 

arrival,” the armored guard informed him.

 

Mike Parson still looked stunned. Kevin Stone had obviously told him nothing.

 

Kevin Stone gestured forward confidently.

 

“Lead the way,” he announced.

 

The heavily armored guard stepped backward into the elevator that was

 

concealed behind the wall. Kevin Stone led Mike Parson around the

 

disgusting looking toilet bowl and into the elevator. The wall slid back into

 

place again behind the toilet bowl concealing any indication of its presence. The elevator was dropping quickly and seemed to take some time. Mike

 

Parson looked at the wall. There were ten levels upon the board, and they

 

were speeding down the levels quite rapidly. The heavily armored guard

 

stood quietly facing the elevator door. This unnerved Mike Parsons who

 

looked at Kevin Stone.

 

“Where are we?” Mike asked puzzled.

 

The heavily armored guard then spoke suddenly.

 

“Sub level five Sir. General Johnson is awaiting your presence’s shortly on

 

sub level ten.”

 

Kevin Stone gestured as if to say, “There you go.” The director was clearly

 

enjoyed pulling his subordinate strings as if Mike was his puppet. Kevin Stone

 

was the clearly the Alpha Male.

 

Mike Parson whispered to Kevin Stone still bemused by where they were and

 

why.

 

“Kevin Stone, I thought we were scouting the major location for your next

 

mystery project?”

 

Kevin Stone smiled sharply.

 

“More a way to get there,” the director replied.

 

Mike Parson gave a confused expression.

 

The elevator finally stopped, and the elevator door slid open.

 

General Karl William Johnson, about 60, forthright, and fit in stature, stood in

 

the tunnel waiting to greet them. The heavily armored guard stepped out the elevator and then respectively moved to the Generals side. General Johnson

 

looked at Kevin Stone as if the two had met before.

 

“It is a pleasure to have such an esteemed Director in our presence again Mr.

 

Stone,” he welcomed.

 

Kevin Stone stepped forward and shook the General’s thickset hand.

 

“Your previous presentation quite impressed me General, particularly the

 

future opportunities it affords me,” Kevin Stone told him.

 

Then Kevin gestured to Mike.

 

“Let me introduce my producer for the shoot Mike Parson,” he introduced.

 

Mike Parson watched the heavily armored soldiers walk along the

 

subterranean corridors. General Johnson saw the producer’s bemused

 

expression. He grabbed Mike’s smaller hand and shook it strongly. It was a

 

tight, soldiers grip.

 

“Your first time in a missile silo…albeit a modified silo son,” General Johnson

 

said rhetorically.

 

“Ah, yes General,” said Mike still seeming bemused.

 

General Johnson looked at Kevin Stone.

 

“You didn’t tell him,” stated the General.

 

“It’s like giving away the killer twist to a film…cannot stand the fuckers who do

 

that,” Kevin Stone said in a tone as if a knife slicing the air.

 

“A test is ready per your request,” the General informed.

 

“I’m ready to make cinematic history. Let’s get this beast underway,” Kevin

 

Stone exclaimed with barely contained excitement. General Johnson led Kevin Stone and Mike Parson along the subterranean

 

corridors. The two Kevlar wearing armored guards that carried high-powered

 

rifles flanked them with every step, quite unerringly for Mike Parson’s. The

 

corridors were dull and claustrophobic in nature. Kevin Stone saw that Mike

 

was uneasy at the surroundings. Kevin looked amused by the producer’s

 

reaction. Kevin glanced at the armored guards that were escorting them. He

 

whispered quietly to Mike Parson as they headed toward a large reinforced

 

steel door that lay at the far end of the corridor.

 

“They can’t allow us to stray off…”

 

Mike Parson looked at him as they approached the heavily built door.

 

“I took five years for me to negotiate to hire it…” Kevin told him.

 

General Johnson stopped at the reinforced doors. The two armored guards

 

that stood either side of the door looked at the General and then moved

 

aside. General Johnson stepped forwards to the ‘finger print pad.’ It scanned

 

his rough hands. Then it flashed with a bright green light. Kevin Stone

 

continued to whisper to Mike Parson.

 

“I would not have even known it existed, who would, unless a certain, ‘high

 

profile Congressman’ drunk and with the promise of a role in one of my future

 

projects let slip, ‘the juiciest state secret he knew.’

 

General Johnson looked up into the ‘retinal eye scanner.’ It scanned his deep

 

blue eyes and the green light blinked again brightly.

 

Kevin Stone added quietly as the General provided voice identification.

 

“We Directors are always stretching for that new technique…that next ground breaking format to shoot our films…we all have ego and covet to set the new

 

standards by which further films follow and imitate.”

 

General Johnson said into the ‘voice scanner.’

 

“General Karl William Johnson.”

 

The light blinked green. The armored guards subtly flicked the safeties on

 

their rifles as if they would had responded with force had the identification

 

procedure for the General proved ‘negative.’ The door made a large locking

 

sound. They began to slowly open. Kevin Stone whispered.

 

“To create an entirely new genre of films…a history making groundbreaking

 

method of making films carves your name forever into history…”

 

He smiled at Mike Parson cryptically. The large reinforced steel door

 

continued to open slowly. Mike Parson eyes were fixed tensely as he awaited

 

to see what lay beyond.

 

“Both our names…even if it did take a promise not to reveal its existence until

 

the President was ready and I was provided the exclusive first civilian use

 

prior to its worldwide exposure…along with a eighty million dollar fee to

 

secure an eight week hire,” continued Kevin Stone.

 

The heavy, thick door fully opened and revealed an extremely large, hanger

 

shape, dimly lit chamber. The silhouetted heavily armored guards and civilian

 

dressed scientists moved throughout it. There were numerous equipment

 

stations littered throughout the dimly lit chamber. Mike Parson’s eyes pierced through the light, and he saw the faint outline of the large halo like structure. It

 

was positioned in the middle of the chamber. Kevin Stone looked over the

 

dimly lit chamber with heavily armored guards and scientists. He looked as if

 

he had visited this place before. He slapped Mike Parson hard on the back.

 

“Even the military has a sense of theater,” Kevin said with a sharp smile.

 

Mike Parson glanced at him stunned by the vision. The General said as he

 

began to move forwards.

 

“My men are already en-route to the destination. They will return shortly with

 

the proof you requested. “

 

Kevin Stone and Mike Parson followed him into the chamber. The armored

 

guards and the scientist’s gave curious looks towards the visitors. Mike

 

Parson was trying to absorb the surroundings.

 

“If you would follow me to the viewing area for optimal viewing of the

 

platform,” General Johnson informed.

 

The two armored guards that had been escorting them from the elevator had

 

remained at the foot of the heavily fortified doors as if not permitted to

 

proceed any further. The steel doors began to close and the light emitting

 

from the corridor was slowly cut out. The interior of the chamber was very

 

dim. The armored soldier stood to attention as General Johnson approached

 

the cherry picker like viewing platform. Kevin Stone and Mike Parson stopped

 

at the base of the stairs that led into the cheery picker like platform. General

 

Johnson walked up onto the platform. But Mike Parson eyes were transfixed

 

onto the large silver circular platform with a large halo like frame that hung above it. The silver platform was large enough in size to hold two semi-trailer

 

trucks. General Johnson shared a few quiet words with the Lead Scientist.

 

Then the Lead Scientist nodded and directed his attention back to the semi

 

circular control panel. General Johnson looked down at Kevin Stone and Mike

 

Parson from the viewing platform. He gestured them to step up onto the

 

viewing platform. Mike Parson eyes did not leave the larger silver platform

 

that was unlike any structure he had ever seen. “You can in his eyes that he

 

thinks this ‘thing’ is what the Director has hired for eight weeks, and his mind

 

is racing as to what the purpose and function of the larger silver pad could

 

possibly be and more importantly, why Kevin Stone would hire it for a film

 

shoot.” The armored guard walked up the stairs of the viewing platform and

 

shut the steel door sealing them inside. General Johnson nodded to the Lead

 

Scientist. The cherry picker like platform flew up into the air, and swung

 

around so it faced the larger silver platform. The halo structure that hung

 

above the larger platform began to crackle as if on fire. The scientist’s level of

 

intensity rose as if in anticipation of some great event. Mike Parson looked

 

around at the flurry of activity at ground level. The armored guards within the

 

hangar like chamber were clearly on high alert. Mike was on edge as the

 

series of red lights flashed along the walls of the chamber. Mike Parson

 

looked across at Kevin Stone. The Director looked excited and his eyes were

 

locked onto the large silver platform. The barely contained excitement rushed

 

through Kevin Stone’s body. Mike Parson looked across at the seemingly

 

empty silver platform. He could hear the sounds emanating from the halo like structure as if it itself was being violently twisted.

 

“They’re coming,” General Johnson announced firmly.

 

Mike Parson eyes snapped onto the General at the final words. Mike followed

 

the Generals eyes onto the large silver platform. The entire platform cracked

 

suddenly as if hit by lightning and BOOMED as if releasing tremendous

 

pressure. A swirl of energy RIPPED around the large silver platform as if a

 

mini hurricane of energy. Mike Parson could not make out any movement

 

within the hurricane of energy. The energy began to swirl upwards like a

 

myriad of serpents into the halo like structure hanging over the large platform.

 

Mike Parson felt himself loose his breath at the wondrous sight. Then his

 

entire body tensed as if caught for a moment in time. His mouth was open

 

and it was dry. The energy dissipated abruptly. The figures of two squads of

 

body armored Special Force’s Soldiers stood on the pad. The energy

 

dissipated around them and into the base of the silver platform. They lay

 

tranquilized, on the platform floor, in-between the two squads of special

 

force’s soldiers, their thick brown fur bristled, their tusks limp. They were two

 

large, prehistoric, wooly Mammoths. Mike’s mouth slowly closed as he

 

watched the fur laced bodies of the Mammoths slowly rise and then

 

descends. They were ‘alive.’ The Lead Scientist turned from the control panel

 

and reported.

 

“The scheduled test was successful General.”

 

Kevin Stone whispered quietly to himself.

 

“Fuck me. It really does work.” General Johnson looked at the Director.

 

“You have the proof you requested,” he told him as if their deal had been

 

sealed.

 

Mike Parson blinked as he stared at the wooly mammoths. “He was still trying

 

to process what this all meant. You could see the thoughts racing through his

 

mind. “

 

“It is a time travel device, but how
can it exist.”

 

General Johnson indicated for the Lead Scientist to begin the recharge of the

 

silver temporal platform. It was time for the primal dinosaurs to return back

 

from where they came. The scientists began working at the assigned gray

 

control panels that lined the chamber. The armored soldiers moved in a semi

 

circle around the silver platform as a precaution should the Mammoths regain

 

consciousness.

 

Kevin Stone but looked at the General.

 

“So what do you think?” General Johnson questioned.

 

Kevin Stone smiled wryly, and stated.

 

“We’re going to make a Hell of a film.” CHAPTER 2

 

STUDIO BOSS

 

The black Porsche pulled up at the film Studio Gates. The bald headed studio

 

guard moved to the window of the guard station.

 

Kevin Stone called out.

 

“Kevin Stone, here for an appointment to see Mr. Jeff Speitzenberg.”

 

The guard disappeared back into the guard station. Mike Parson looked more

 

composed than he was days earlier at the underground silo, as he sat in the

 

passenger side seat.

 

“You know, I have no idea how we’re going to secure insurance for this,” he

 

said.

 

Kevin Stone laughed.

 

“Let’s just drag the eighty million those military sharks want out of our un

 

beloved studio boss by giving him the pitch of a life time,” he said with ego

 

lacing his sharp voice.

 

The studio guard returned and signaled Kevin Stone to drive into the lot. The

 

gate bar moved up into the air, and Kevin Stone sped the shiny Porsche

 

aggressively into the lot.

 

“It’s an absolute killer,” Mike Parsons remarked with a smile.

 

Kevin Stone drove his open top Porsche aggressively around the parked

 

sedans and then pulled to a sudden stop in the parking space at the foot of the main building.

 

A large body, and dominating demeanor, Jeff Speitzenberg, about 60, and

 

blunt to a fault, sat behind the desk. It lay open on the table in front of the

 

studio boss with, “Government: Top Secret,” imprinted across its folder. The

 

sheets with the intricate diagrams for the time travel platform lay across the

 

oak desk. Kevin Stone and Mike Parson sat with glasses half full of wine. The

 

meeting had clearly lasted for some time. Jeff Speitzenberg was sitting quietly

 

as if considering what he had just been told. Then he said in sarcastic

 

admiration.

 

“Well, the crafty little bastards really built one.”

 

Kevin Stone could see the gleam of interest in Jeff Speitzenberg’s eyes. He

 

knew the studio boss had seen the BIG dollar signs. They were practically

 

flashing in the studio bosses eyes.

 

“And for non-disclosed reasons I have an iron clad contract for the first civilian

 

hiring of the, “Jules Verne Ticket,” as it's been nicknamed by the good people

 

at the Department of Defense,” Kevin Stone detailed.

 

Jeff Speitzenberg looked as if he was waiting for the ‘catch,’ to this seemingly

 

slam-dunk deal.

 

“How much?” the Studio Boss questioned abruptly.

 

“Eighty million,” replied Kevin Stone.

 

Jeff Speitzenberg shook his head and laughed.

 

“That’s all…eighty million is a low budget film nowadays…typical government morons…they build a money making machine and don’t even know how

 

much it’s worth,” he blurted arrogantly.

 

Kevin Stone knew the time had come to lay down the ‘pitch’ of his life while

 

he had the Studio Boss on the ‘hook.’

 

“Every tom, dick, and studio will be racing to hire the bloody thing after they

 

reveal it, and the market value will rocket...let’s get in while the bargain is

 

going,” stated the fat faced Studio Chief.

 

Jeff Speitzenberg sat back in his large leather chair, and announced.

 

“What’s your pitch Kevin Stone?”

 

Kevin Stone stood up, and pitched.

 

“Just think, want to see the Titanic
tank it to the bottom of the Atlantic,
what really happened to Amelia
Earhart, where those pesky aliens
really sightseeing around Roswell…“

 

Jeff Speitzenberg liked what he was hearing.

 

He smiled greedily.

 

“I see dollar signs…lots of dollar signs.”

 

Kevin Stone said with the same greed feeding his sharp voice.

 

“And I see Oscars in every room of my house.”

 

The Studio Boss took a sip of his wine and stated. “You have my ear. I’m listening. Give me a name. “ Kevin Stone said one word, simply.