Twilight of Civilization

Book I: Twilight

Prologue: The Meeting

It was autumn in Washington, DC, capitol of the United States of America. Two strange men said across from each other. They were in an open air café across from the Capitol Building. The duo had conversed many times before, but this was one of the few times the two men conversed in person.  

"Ah, Washington, DC. Quite a city, it seems," the bearded man said.

"It is quite a city. Did you visit the Smithsonian? That's quite a museum," the other man said.

"I'm afraid I haven't found the time. I was off sightseeing all day," the bearded man replied, "I was not particularly interested going in to any places until we have concluded our business."

"I'd offer to move somewhere inside, but I am waiting for an assistant of mine to arrive here," the other man said, looking at his watch, "He's running a bit late."

Just then, a third man appeared. This man was slightly younger than the other two. However, he was in a hurried paced and had a notebook in his hands.

"Sorry, I'm late, Doctor!" the assistant wheezed between gasping breaths. Soon afterwards, he sat down between the two.

"No need to worry about that, Josef. You need to learn to take your time," the Doctor explained, "While you were a few minutes late, there is nothing to be gained by straining yourself getting here."

"Anyhow, shall we conclude our business?" the bearded man asked.

"Yes. As both of you know, I've programmed the algorithms into the System. I've added the latest statistics in, and the results are much more dire than we anticipated," the Doctor answered.

"How so? Is the projected time frame longer?" Josef asked.

"Nay, thankfully," the Doctor explained, "The projected time frames are constant. However, the issue is the time remaining until the Shift. It will happen well within a decade, and that's a liberal estimate," the Doctor replied.

"A mere decade?!" the bearded man thundered, "What about our efforts? Have our efforts to stave it off had any effect?"

"Nay again, I am afraid," the Doctor answered, "It appears everything is too far out of our control. Us stopping the Shift is like attempting to stop a speeding freight train with a flimsy wooden stick."

"What about the Salvage Efforts? How will they factor into this?" Josef asked.

"They will not figure into the Shift much. However, they will work wonders at cutting the projected time length by a tenth," the Doctor answered, "Thankfully, we already have a strong enough base to handle the Shift. However, more Salvaging can only help us."

Just then, two broad-shouldered, black-suited men surrounded the sitting Doctor. Both had shaved foreheads and dark sunglasses, plus ear radios and mouthpieces. Each also had a fully loaded handgun in a holster. One of them flashed a badge and spoke, "Doctor David Risona, come with us."

Risona gestured to his two comrades. "It is time. Alert our comrade who could not make it today. Tell him to watch the news," then, he gestured to the two Secret Service agents, "I am ready."

With that, the hapless Risona was lead away towards the Capitol Building. He knew what awaited him there: a Congressional tribunal. It was pointless to resist. The trial would be televised, and he would have the opportunity to spread his message. He only hoped it would not be too late. Televising an event like this would only serve to bring the Shift closer. He only hoped his comrades would be ready for the judgment that followed.