The Westhampton Fire

 

To be published May 15th, 2018

Chapter One

The bedroom was bathed in eerie semi-darkness. There was some ambient light in the room which created many distorted shadows. Suddenly, Loni Chen’s dark almond eyes flicked open. Keen senses immediately told her that something was wrong. She quickly sat up in bed, letting the comforter which covered her sleek, naked body, slide down to her waist. It was not a time to be modest.

She methodically searched the large room with her eyes—just as she had been taught by instructors at Quantico. She started on the left and worked her way around to the right by slowly turning her head. She didn’t see anything that was out of the ordinary—until a silhouette of a man crossed her vision. It gave her a start until she realized who belonged to the dark shadow.

It was her lover, partner, companion, and roommate, Colton Banyon. He was sitting up in bed with his back ramrod straight. He looked frozen in a trance, his arms flopping down at his sides. His posture sent a shiver down her spine. She had seen Colt do many things but had never seen him sit like that in bed—he was in a trance.

Loni quickly rolled over, kicking the bed sheet off her small Asian body as she reached for and turned on the lamp on the night stand. She then crawled across the big king-sized bed on her hands and knees until she was directly in front of her man. He hadn’t moved.

Loni noted his face was calm and he seemed relaxed, but didn’t react to her movement on the bed. He’s in a deep trance, she thought. What would cause that?. She was about to shake him to break his spell, but then hesitated. He wouldn’t want me to wake him, she realized.

Although she was over twenty years younger than Colton Banyon, she knew him like a book. He was the only man for her. They worked together like a fine-tuned machine and understood when to not interfere with each other, well most of the time anyway.

It had been divine destiny to meet him. They had been together for over ten years and she had fiercely protected him on many occasions. She was an expert with guns, knives and fighting and he seemed to get in trouble all the time. She realized she needed to guard over him now, until he woke up.

She reached over and grabbed her light robe from the end of the bed and sat down with her legs crossed right in front of him. She wanted to make sure that no harm would come to him.

The problem was that Loni was not a patient person. After a few minutes, she began to fidget. After five minutes, she lost control and called out in her sweetest sing-song voice.

“Colt are you there?”

There was no response.

 

Chapter Two

“I want that object,” Brian Peck bellowed as he slammed his fist on the conference table. “I want it brought to me, do you understand?”

Brian Peck was the CEO and sole owner of Peck Aviation. It was a company he started two years ago with his own money. That was after he already had a lucrative career as a government contractor for the Department of Defense (DoD).

The corporate mission was to launch rockets into outer space and deliver satellites, supplies and anything someone wanted to send up into the sky. He had heard that space exploration would become popular again. His spies at the DoD had tipped him off and he wanted to be prepared to cash in on the top-secret news. Peck was already a multi-billionaire, but wanted to become the first trillionaire.

Peck was also not a nice man. He was utterly ruthless. He bent rules and buried people who stood in his way when he wanted something. He bribed people, blackmailed others, offered kickbacks, arranged crimes to implicate his enemies, and if none of that worked, he had his own black ops team who could accomplish his goals through less subtle means.

The five members of his clandestine team were currently gathered around the secure conference table in the corporate headquarters just outside of Washington D.C. No other employee from the company was invited to the meeting.

“But, Mr. Peck,” the leader of the team, Carl Johnson, objected. “The DoD will be all over this. They probably are looking for the object already.”

“I don’t care,” Peck screamed. “Be better and quicker than them.” They don’t know that I have people on the inside who will slow down the investigation.

“Sir,” another member of the team spoke out. “The object has caused a huge mile long fire along the crash site. We’re going to have to deal with firefighters, police and reporters just to get near the area.”

“And we don’t know what we are looking for or even how big it is,” Johnson said with frustration.

“I pay all of you to be the best at this kind of work,” Peck warned with an implied threat. “Figure it out. I need the object to prove that all the junk in space is dangerous and force the government to clean it up.”

“So, for you, this is about cleaning up space junk and not about anything else,” Johnson said sarcastically. “What if this is truly some alien probe.”

“Well then,” Peck chuckled. “That only makes my demand have more value. If the government gets ahold of the object first, they will surely bury it in someplace like Area 51. The public will never know about it. They always cover up alien discoveries.”

“And your campaign to initiate protests and marches concerning the problem of space junk will really take off if we prove that the object caused the fire,” Johnson said knowingly.

“Exactly,” Peck said as he pointed to his subordinate. “I’ve already spent a huge fortune on this venture. The first article comes out tomorrow. I want a return on my investment.”

“But, can we even find the piece of space junk?” Another man asked with greater interest.

“Have you forgotten that we have the best scientists in the world for projecting trajectory right here in this very building?” Brian Peck announced confidently.

“No, sir,” Johnson replied.

“We have all the data already uploaded in our computers and they are working on the problem right now. I expect when they are finished, we’ll be able to pinpoint the position of the space object to within a hundred feet,” Peck told his men.

“Okay,” Johnson said with resignation while he threw up his beefy arms. “Where are we going?”

“The space object crashed in someplace called the Pine Barrens on eastern Long Island. I’m told it’s a heavily wooded area. The fire runs west to east for several miles and just below the hills that makeup the backbone of the island, just south of a town called Riverhead and north of Westhampton,” Peck explained.

“Then that’s where we are headed.”

“Be quick about it,” Peck ordered. “My contacts can only hold off the investigation for a limited time.”