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The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian is dead and the universe is about to end. Can Sunny Burroughs, a nitwit and a klutz, step in to save the day? Of course not—the lovable buffoon can’t walk across a room without falling on his face. But when he is sucked into the quest to rescue a worthless, half-naked princess, he becomes the last best hope for mankind! Even with his uncle helping him, it is anybody’s guess whether he’ll save the girl or actually hasten the end of everything.

In cliff-hanger near-misses and catastrophic attempts, Sunny fumbles his way from planet to planet hoping to save the princess without even knowing the universe is at risk. He is opposed by a diabolical foe he cannot possibly defeat. Along the way, Sunny faces the greatest foe of all, himself, and stands up to his fears and inadequacies. Will the universe be destroyed? Probably—if it is left up to Sunny to save it, but perhaps there is another way.

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Stephen LaFevers

Stephen LaFevers is a native of Oakland, California, but calls Arkansas Home. His first job was killing flies at a cheese plant. After that he worked as a newspaper editor, school teacher, bus driver, EMT, nurse, nurse practitioner and hypnotherapy instructor. He spent 16 years in Alaska working in emergency medical services and training emergency room personnel. He even spent five years working on the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

He has been writing since elementary school and has "always" wanted to be a writer. He got his bachelor's degree in journalism because that would allow him to write and get a paycheck, an advantage many writers don’t have. While in Alaska he wrote for the Alaska EMS Instructor News and the EMS Response and numerous computer magazines.

LaFevers writes non-fiction as well as fiction and is co-author of Pre-hospital Care for the EMT-Intermediate, and author of Hypnosis in Healthcare. His fictional Dreams of April Ten was a 2005 Eppie Award Finalist thriller with science fiction overtones. The Last Guardian is a humorous, world-hopping fantasy adventure and Dark Moon, written with Canadian author Beverley Bateman, is a horror story set in New Orleans.

He lives in rural Arkansas with his wife of 40 years and the two cats who own him.

Reviews

This book was an exciting quick read. The action kept the pages turning. The unique home of the main characters, Alaska, and book setting in late 1970's gave it an interesting flare.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants an easy, funny, action filled sci-fi thriller.

Marigny Mom -- Amazon reviews
Excerpt

I was having dinner in an Anchorage restaurant the first time Lyssa appeared. She was frightened, half-naked, and, as I would discover, the harbinger of unimaginable disaster.

It was the fall of 1977 and I was seated across the table from my nephew, Sunshine Honeysuckle Burroughs. Yes, that's his real name. His mother called him Honey for short. Can you imagine? I called him Sunny. The only thing Sunny was any good at was throwing good money after bad, and it was usually my money. When he asked me to join him for lunch that September day, I wasn't worried about universal catastrophe, I was afraid he would hit me up for a loan.

"This is the sweetest deal you ever heard, Uncle Ed," he said as the waiter cleared our table. "It's gonna make a bundle f'rsure."

I nodded, mumbled "Umm" and held my cup out for a refill.

"Just let me tell you about it!" He popped the allergy tablet he had been playing with into his mouth, washed it down and spun his bottle of Valium around on the tabletop. "You can double or triple your money! I guarantee it."

He got that faraway look in his eyes that always accompanied his dreams of unearned wealth. On and on he droned about oil leases in the arctic and millions of dollars waiting to be snatched up by those who could see the opportunity.

The trans-Alaska oil pipeline was almost finished. The populations of Anchorage and Fairbanks had swollen until people were living in tents and paying a fortune for any piece of lawn in somebody's yard to sleep on. The economy was booming and there was talk of a natural gas pipeline to follow.

"Then they're going to move the state capitol from Juneau to Willow," he concluded. "We'll make billions on that deal."

That's when she appeared. She seemed to just materialize a few feet from our table. She looked puzzled, as if lost. I'd lived in Alaska nearly fifty years and had seen a lot of strange things, but never anything to equal that young woman. Sunny stopped talking when he saw the astonished look on my face.

"Uncle?" he asked. "Are you all right?" Then he turned and saw that incredible creature.

She looked about eighteen or nineteen years of age and was more than six-feet tall. The left side of her body was entirely nude, except for the sweat on her forehead and the bright blue coloring of her skin. Her disheveled hair was the color and luminance of polished silver and hung down to her waist. A soft material that matched the color of her hair covered the right side of her body. It clung to her flawless flesh like plastic wrap to a hot dish, and covered even the right side of her face, except for the eye and lips, right up to her hairline. I couldn't see through the material, but I could see every little line, every expression of her face, as if the material were not there at all. What I saw written on that exquisite face, in those silver eyes, was absolute terror!

As Sunny stared, the lovely creature bolted forward, took hold of his shoulders and said something I didn't understand. She pulled at him, pleadingly, and looked as nervous as a Beirut businessman. Then a man's arm wrapped itself around her shoulders from behind and pulled her roughly back. I glanced up and saw a tall, muscular, handsome fellow wearing a ridiculous looking black, leather harness. He dragged the poor girl back a couple of steps from our table. Then, they simply vanished.

I guess we both sat there stunned for a while. I know I did, because that's what I was still doing when the waiter calmly placed our dessert on the table a few moments later. "Will there be anything else, Mr. B?" he inquired.

I mumbled something in reply, and he started to leave, but I pulled myself together and stopped him. "Did you see anything…peculiar just now?" I asked.

"No, sir. Is something wrong?"

"No." I replied. "Everything's okay."

As the waiter walked away, Sunny leaned over the table toward me and put his hand into his lemon pie. He reached for his napkin, but ended up wiped the topping on his pant leg instead.

"Well, I saw something peculiar f'rsure, Unc!" he said. He picked up the napkin and smeared the mess all over himself in an attempt to clean it up. "I just saw the most beautiful creature in the world being manhandled by a Hell's Angel. At least, I think I did." He took off his glasses, wiped them on the messy napkin, then mopped his wet forehead. "So beautiful!"

"It looked more like punk rockers pulling a publicity stunt if you ask me," I said, still a little shaken.

"No, Uncle, that girl was in a panic, f'rsure. Didn't you see the look in her eyes? She was terrified! But what happened? Where did they go?"

"I'm more interested in how they went," I told him. I got up to examine the area where they had stood. "I sure would like to know how they did that. Must have been a hologram or something. But that would require a projector and I don't see one anywhere."

"Holograms can't grab hold of you the way that girl did me, Unc. She was real, and she was in trouble f'rsure. She wanted me to help and I just sat there like a fool!" He leaned back in his chair with a force that almost turned it over, but saved himself from a fall by catching hold of the table. Unfortunately, the table was jolted and Sunny's coffee cup emptied its hot contents onto his lap.

I finished looking under the table and finding nothing there, I got up and moved to the wall. The bricks seemed ordinary enough. "What do you mean, trouble?" I asked. "Did you understand what she said?"

Sunny was trying to wring the coffee out of the front of his pants. "I don't know," he said, twisting the material at his crotch. "I think so." He gave up in exasperation, leaving the front of his trousers looking like a mad dog had attacked him. "I mean, the words she used were pretty much gibberish, but I could tell what she meant. She was begging for help. Then that big guy grabbed her and dragged her off." He slumped back into his chair defeated, and stared at the floor through his lemon-covered glasses. "And I just let him do it. Now I'll never see her again. I'll never be able to help her."

"Well, Sunny," I told him, returning to the table. "Don't be too hard on yourself. There wasn't much you could have done. You saw how big that fella was. And you've never won a fight, not even against a little guy."

"I could win f'rsure if I were fighting for her," he whined. "I know I could. Did you see how beautiful she was? I could do anything for her!"

"You're dreaming, Sunny. You're a wimp and a klutz. Just look at yourself!" I sympathized with Sunny, really I did. But I always try to be realistic. "Besides, if we saw what we think we saw, I don't think anyone else would have reacted much differently. Quit brooding and come with me."

I had been eating at this restaurant for years and knew many of the employees by name. Did you ever try to ask twelve people if they'd seen a half-naked girl with the naked half painted blue? If so, you know what we went through. Of course, just like in the movies, nobody had seen a thing. We examined the tables, windows and doors. We even went outside and looked around, but found nothing to explain what had happened.

* * *

The long nights and short autumn days in Fairbanks were giving way to the terrible ice fogs and arctic temperatures of winter. Many residents try to squeeze a final outdoor fling into their schedule that time of year because they'll soon be forced indoors by the weather.

The city's population had doubled due to the pipeline construction. "Outsiders" streamed in, hoping for fast bucks and high times. It was almost too much for the permanent residents. Most of them lived there because they disliked the crime and crush of urban America. Now it had followed them literally to the end of the earth.

Even Fairbanks University student Jane Potter had felt the pressure that September weekend and was determined to get as far away from people as she reasonably could. In her father's plane, Jane flew a few hundred miles east to a place on the banks of the Yukon River called Eagle City. It was just what she needed.

Ninety years ago, Eagle City had been a thriving metropolis of 35,000 souls, living, dying, working, cheating, riding the boom of Klondike gold. There had been casinos, banks, bordellos, a cavalry post, even an immigration office to deal with Canadians coming to search for the yellow metal.

All that was gone now, except the old immigration office, and the hundred or so folks who call the place home. Jane sat on an abandoned pile of wood that had been cut and neatly stacked nearly a century before. She gazed at the ruins of a once-lively cavalry post. A memorial at the stables proclaimed: "Half their horses died the first winter."

Turning east, she saw row upon row of firewood stacked beside the pipe that had carried water to the fort. Along the way, the pipe passed through a series of small buildings. Each building contained a stove where wood fires kept the water from freezing before it got to the next building and so on until it reached the fort. The fort was in ruins, but the pipeline and wood remained nearly unchanged.

Jane got up and walked among the ghosts of men and times long gone, knowing that, like Eagle City, Fairbanks would not always be teeming with society's greedy rejects. She wondered if someday only the oil pipeline and its pump stations would remain to show what had once been there.

It would soon be dark, she thought and zipped up her parka against the chill. She would have to leave soon if she were going to stop at Chicken on the way home. She had never been to Chicken, but had heard the story of the original settlers who wanted to name the place after the local birds, but couldn't spell Ptarmigan. "Hell," someone said. "Let's just call it Chicken."

Her spirits lifted, Jane turned and walked briskly toward the airfield that had once been a parade ground. It was only a few hundred feet to her father's Supercub, but before she reached the aircraft, she quietly dissolved away.