Susan awakened to a knock on the door. Hoping to snooze a bit longer, she turned over, ignoring the noise. Whoever it was would come back later. She thought but twenty knocks and ten rings later she gave up that idea. A quick look through the through the peephole revealed two men in business suits, one about fifty, the other a young man. With the safety chain firmly in place, she opened the door, prepared to give them a piece of her mind. She was in no mood to talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses or salesmen, the only visitors she could imagine attired in those clothes. “What do you want?” she snarled. The younger man flipped open a wallet, flashing an official looking badges. “FBI we would like to speak to you. It’s about your husband and son.”
Susan hadn’t heard from Phil or Dan since they disappeared two weeks earlier leaving no clues to their whereabouts. Attempts to find them led to one dead end after another. It was as if they simply evaporated. She felt her stomach tighten and heave as she opened the door to the two strangers. Her skin felt as if every nerve was exposed and on the verge of exploding. She didn’t want to hear what the men tell her.
The older man introduced himself as they walked in, looking from side to side as if they expected to encounter a problem. “I’m agent Donaldson this is officer Paxton,” he said, nodding toward the younger man. “We are authorized to negotiate with you on behalf of your husband and at his request.”
“Where are they? Are they ok? What happened?” she asked, feeling that the voice she heard was not her own. “Are they hurt?”
Donaldson answered in a monotone voice resembling a robot reading a book aloud, “They are fine and being detained by the government on a national security matter.”
With momentary relief at hearing them discussed in the present tense, Susan’s next biggest fear engulfed her. Phil had been caught poking around in a place he shouldn’t have been. She was always afraid his insatiable curiosity would lead to trouble. “What did they do?” she asked, not really wanting to hear the answer. “That is a classified matter and we’re not at liberty to discuss.” Donaldson droned. “All we can tell you is that they are being held for an indefinite time. They are not under arrest, and not accused of a crime. As I said, national security is at stake here.”
“Can I see them?” she pleaded. Paxton spoke this time, “We are here to discuss a meeting between you and your family at Phil’s request, but we must negotiate certain agreements before we can take you there.” Neither man ever made eye contact with Susan and their presence exuded a cold chill that filled the room.
As anger rose from her already knotted stomach, Susan’s voice rose, “And what the hell do you mean by agreements?” Paxton continued, “You must agree to never say anything about this situation to anyone. Breaking this contract will have serious consequences. However, if you cooperate, you will get to regularly see your husband and son. You will receive a monthly allowance from the government as negotiated by your husband in the amount of ten thousand dollars a month. These checks will continue as long as your husband is working on this national security situation.”
With trembling hand, Susan held a ten thousand-dollar government check as she watched the two men depart. For that much money she could agree to almost anything. They would return in two days to take her and a week’s supply of clothes to an undisclosed location where she would see her family again. No need to bring anything fancy, they told her. This won’t be a luxury hotel. Susan didn’t know where she was going in two days, but she knew where she was going in the morning: the bank.
Eddie paced from the refrigerator to the couch and from the couch to the refrigerator. Back and forth, again and again, varying the routine only when nature called. The refrigerator held no beer and the couch offered no comfort. The conditions of his release from the FBI’s clutches were clear. He couldn’t talk to anyone about Dan or his dad, not to his mother or to Susan. His emotions seemed to be fighting for priority. First there was anxiety about his own situation, fear for everyone involved and there was guilt. Susan always treated him well, and got him out of jams more than once. Knowing the government had abducted Phil and Dan and was bad enough but keeping it secret from Susan struck him as a betrayal of the faith she had placed in him. His own mother had been intimidated into silence. They’re worse than a bunch of Nazis he told himself.
I have to do something he told himself, but what? Save myself? Lie to Susan? He knew if he would be watched if he violated his agreement, he would be stuck somewhere underground himself. Cutting the lights and peeking out the window blinds, he saw nothing suspicious.
Eddie had been grounded frequently as a child and devised crafty ways to maintain his social life. His upstairs room was the exit to town, as good as a door except it opened onto a roof instead of the porch. Not much of an obstacle to a determined boy. The oak tree couldn’t have been in a better place if he had planned it himself. He considered himself a world-class escape artist.
The next day, Susan set out to cash her first check. Left in a financial predicament by Phil’s disappearance, she welcomed the chance to catch up on some bills. Having money left over was a new experience as was buying a new eighty-dollar pair of Nike cross trainers and a new double door refrigerator. Sitting in the kitchen admiring her new purchase she made plans for her next shopping spree, right after her visit with Phil. First, she would replace the wobbly and mismatched chairs. That will be next week, she thought, as soon as I get home.
A knock on the door sounded familiar, “tap, tap, tap, tap, then a short pause, and tap, tap. This could only be Eddie sending the “hi sign,” his trademark Morse code knock. Eddie disappeared at about the same time that Phil and Dan had. “Come in Eddie,” Susan said as she released the chain lock. Looking over his shoulder like a thief, Eddie entered the room. His nervousness was evident in his shaking hands. “Calm down Eddie. What is wrong?” Susan said. Eddie’s voice was higher than usual and tremulous. “Phil and Dan were taken by the government. They’re being held in a secret underground location at Hanford. I was there, too, but they released me after I signed a document acknowledging that it would be illegal for me to reveal anything that had happened.”
Susan looked at him, concerned about his anxiety. Eddie usually appeared so calm he bordered on comatose. “I’m in the same boat Eddie, they made me sign something.” The color drained from his face, reflecting his distress at this piece of information. “I’m so sorry, Susan,” he said, his speech rapid and barely understandable. “I wish I could have warned you.”
As he opened the door to leave, Susan saw the two men approach the building. Cuffed without explanation, Susan and Eddie were loaded into a van and hauled off into the night.
“This silly looking brainless kid is the best damned Extra High Performance Vehicle pilot we’ve ever had, they never say UFO anymore” thought Brigadier General Thomas. “He flew a dammed 68 Buick across half the State of Washington and landed it in a C130. We’ve got to keep him.” “Put a good scare in that Eddie Kid and get rid of him, but we’ve got to keep Dan.” He nodded as he spoke to Sergeant Anderson.
“How many of those EHPV’s have been splashed out in the last 20 years?” He asked the Sergeant. “Eight Sir, I’ve been out on two recovery operations. I watched them scrape the pilots up with a putty knife myself.” “There seems to be no reasonable way to control the thrust from the device.” “The ET’s claim they direct the thrust of the vehicle by power of mind, no doubt telekinesis. It appears Dan has the talent. He’s the only control capable human telekinetic we have ever found, and he is completely unaware of it.” “The aliens are quite impressed with both Phil and Dan.” Said Anderson, “But don’t get into big a hurry to get rid of the other kid. Our little gray friends say that it takes two minds to get proper control. Eddie must have assisted Dan in the flight.”
General Thomas said, “If you have to go retrieve that long hair tattooed miscreant. Make sure he gets a haircut before I have to look at him again. Understand?” “Yes Sir, we are bringing in the wife tomorrow, we’ll get the kid on the same trip,” answered Anderson.
After a trip of about five hours, Susan and Eddie were escorted out of the van that they had been riding in. They were in a large building that looked like a factory building. Accompanied by two armed Air Policemen, they passed through a door with a security checkpoint and into an elevator, then taken down to a lower level. It was hard to tell how deep the elevator went but there was a feeling like falling for a while. At the bottom they entered an electric powered vehicle. The ride lasted about twenty minutes eventually the tunnel opened into a large well-lighted cavern. There was one more security door opening into a subterranean excavation that contained large buildings.
A large man in military fatigues with Sergeants stripes allover his shoulders and a cap with the brim pulled down nearly to his nose, beckoned to Eddie, “Come here kid. Your going to get a hair cut.” Eddie gave him the one finger salute and said, “Make me.” The Sergeant pulled his pistol from his holster, and while pointing it up in the air he said, “I’m going to have to shoot you then.” Eddie decided that it was about time to get rid of all that hair; it was getting to be a drag anyway. He asked, “Why do I have to have a hair cut.” The Sergeant’s nametag read, “CMS ANDERSON and on his shoulder there were more stripes than Eddie could count. CMS Anderson said, “The little gray guys don’t like hair. It makes them nervous, they don’t have any hair on their bodies . . . anywhere. Besides that the General doesn’t like long hair. Since you’ve been drafted. You are going to have to conform.”
Just what was this idiot raving about?” Eddie wondered.
The haircut was quick and easy, if not stylish. Looking like sheep sheers the barber’s clippers must have been four inches across the cutters. Three passes over his head with the clippers and Eddie was nearly bald. While hoping the gray guys didn’t have anything against his tattoos, Eddie glanced dismally at the mass of hair on the floor.
Haircut, shower, shave and now dressed in new starched fatigues with Gold Bars on the shoulder, Eddie examined himself in the mirror.
Anderson backed off and threw Eddie a salute and said, “Will that be all sir?” No! Answered Eddie what is this uniform for and why am I wearing it?” Sergeant Anderson said, “All the pilots are officers, Sir.
Eddie looked in the mirror. He could not believe the reflection he was looking at. He really looked sharp. He wondered how Doris would like him in it. The door to the room opened up and in walked Dan who was similarly attired. They did some, Hey. Dudes and High Fives then got down to some serious discussion. Eddie started out with, “Just what the hell is going on here?” Eddie replied you?d find out soon enough. I’m supposed to keep quiet but I can?t keep from letting one thing out of the bag. “What’s that?” Asked Eddie. “You and me are going to be doing some more flying.” He said.
Seleot contacted Zpath telepathically asking, what is the probability that these Earth people are developing telepathic sentience? We have seen some rare examples of brilliance in this cloning, but in general there has been little discipline of that sense in humans. Where there is psi development, the individual is so confused that he often displays poor societal maturation. Zpath continued. Expressions of telepathic sentience have often been dealt with severely by the different Earthly cultures. This tends to repress the talent. At one time they would actually burn them at the stake. Other Earthly cultures used chemicals’ to induce susceptibility, not a good practice for consistent development of the talent.
What is your analysis of Phil’s discovery of the device to tap unified fields? Asked Seleot. Zpath mentally communicated. Phil is a latent telepath; technical competence and superior power of deduction have allowed him to unknowingly tap into the universal knowledge grid. Now that the humans have actually done that we will have to consider, how we relate to them. This has to be decided by the Galactic Council. During the next daily cycle Colmotdn will accompany you on the scheduled flight. You will be assisting the humans in telepathic control techniques. This will be as an observer only intervening only to insure survival. We understand that the two humans have had no contact with our species. So they will be ill at ease at our appearance. Deal with it as best you can. I would recommend nodding and making the facial gesture they call a smile.
“I don’t care how busy Phil is I want to see him, immediately! “Susan had every intention of seeing her husband, now that they were in the same cavern. Sergeant Anderson, a very personable and downright handsome man, even if he was quite a bit older than the other men she had seen in the complex. Said, “On the way to your quarters we will be close to the lab. You can briefly visit him. Please don’t take too long. His work is very important.”
Complaining about being handcuffed on the previous night didn’t bring Susan any sympathy, Anderson just replied, “It’s procedure Mam. Those NSA operatives never skip any of the steps and physical restraint is part of their procedure. Personally, I am very unhappy this happened. Next time we have to bring you here. I will try to do the transport myself.” He gave her a nice smile and said, “You’ll still have to ride in a blacked out van and endure sedation. That is a part of the procedures that even I can’t skip. In a few minutes, you can go in and greet Phil and spend a few moments with him. But not alone this is a security area. He is working on a very important project.” The Sergeant pulled a small cell phone looking gadget from his pocket and spoke into it without dialing, “Code ten, Lab four, Estimate five.”
Stopping at a large security door that looked like a bank vault, Sergeant Anderson said, “I have to put my eye to this scanner and it will read the pattern of my retina. He said this while pointing at a rubber rimmed adjustable peephole, which was at about eye level. You’ll have to be scanned. This will allow you access to parts of this complex via an optical retinal scan. A computer will remember your pattern. If the door doesn’t open for you, access to that facility is prohibited. In general you will be allowed into cafeterias, recreation rooms and your living quarters, every thing else is off limits. If you are interested there is a good selection of DVD movies in the recreation room. No costs just bring them back. The doors are all labeled and the ones you will be allowed to visit will not require the eyeball check.This will be the only time you will be allowed in the lab where your husband works.”
Seleot sentient first class, received an alarm, ALL NON HUMAN LIFE FORMS EXIT ROOM TO GATHERING PLACE FOR SECURITY REASONS. This happened infrequently, and was quite annoying when it did. All work on the artifice ceased and the grays exited to the break room in the back part of the lab.
Phil was working on the fourth generation model of his device. This one was marvelous, a low-pressure hydrogen filled stainless steel sphere. It was pulsed on a three-dimensional axis by hydrogen argon lasers tuned to the precise Glueon resonance frequency. The windows were the purest quartz crystal and its lattice oriented to the lasers frequency. This very device was to be installed in the artifice, as the grays called it.
Dan and Eddie were going to take a ride in the vehicle tomorrow. Phil didn’t feel too comfortable with that idea, but he was assured that the grays going on the trip could handle any emergency. The whole thing was really a training session for Dan and Eddie. Seleot, who said it was functional, had approved the current model. The device was supposed to be safe when handled properly. It probably wasn’t any more dangerous for the boys than when they were riding motorcycles.
The grays had just shuffled off to the back. Phil had never seen them do that before. The main entrance door swung open and there was Susan. Forgetting his work Phil ran to her and gave her a kiss. He had been so caught up in this project he had hardly gave her a thought. The only time she had come up was when he negotiated his contract with NSA. Susan asked, “Just what the hell is going on and why are you in this strange place.” It was then that she got a glimpse of a curious gray peeking out the break room window. Sergeant Anderson saw her reaction and knew that she had been compromised. The grays seemed to have an obsession with female humans for some strange reason.
Susan asked him, “What was that?” Anderson said, “Nothing.” Susan said “I know something when I see it. I just want to know what it is.” Susan would have to be debriefed now. Anderson didn’t like that. We have to go now. You have seen Phil. He will be off all day tomorrow so that you two can spend some time together, but today he is working on a special project that is sort of behind schedule . . .
Dad had visited for an hour or so, earlier in the evening. He had been concerned about the vehicle being piloted by his son. Dan himself was concerned about the trip, but he had been told that they would be taught the techniques of flight and he was reassured that they would have instructors. It was getting late and he thought he would turn off the TV and try to get some sleep. A bit restless and worried about what might happen to him tomorrow Dan was having trouble drifting off.
Just then, Eddie made his trade mark Morse code knock at the door,? Dan wondered how the hell he managed to get around this complex so easy. After 10:00 they were supposed to stay put in their rooms. Eddie was not used to following all the rules. He made a few for himself. Dan went to the door opening it a crack to see what he wanted. Eddie was standing there with a big grin and holding a bag. Dan knew that meant a few brewskis were in the bag.
Eddie entered already slightly intoxicated from the beer, he said, “I went to the commissary and asked if they had any beer. The clerk said that I could have a six-pack. I went back a little later and a different guy was working. He gave me another one. Guess what? They change clerks every four hours, and I have managed to get a whole case. Free beer, they just give it to you.”
Eddie was splashed out all over the couch and grinning from ear to ear. He took another swig of the brew and said, “When you pushed that lever forward I was looking at Doris. She had her arms spread out and her mouth wide open, like she had just been sucked up in a whirlwind. She reminded me of the picture of the girl at the Kent State shootings, the one that was kneeling by the dead guy with her mouth wide open. Same look.”
Dan knew that Eddie had always had a crush on Doris and didn’t say anything. He just grinned. “Why do these guys think we are the ones to fly this thing Phil is building?” Eddie asked. Dan said, “I think its because we lived.” Eddie gloomy now shoots back, “That’s not too promising. I would find a way out of this cave if they hadn’t told us we were going to have some experienced pilots aboard.” Dan thought, “He would too, even if he had to climb up a ventilator shaft.? Eddies chicken streak had saved his butt on more than one occasion.
Airman Thompson said to Sergeant Anderson, “Eddie flew the coop with a case of beer. He smuggled a couple of six packs to Dan?s room and they are getting their selves inebriated. You want me to do something about it Sarge?” Anderson said, “Leave them alone, this could be their last night alive. I have seen too many of those crashes and too many good men buried on this project. Just let them have their fun and hope they can handle the job tomorrow.?
Thompson asked, “Have they met the aliens yet?” Anderson chuckled and replied, “We are saving that one for tomorrow. Phil could have spilled the beans on that when he visited Dan, but he didn?t. Phil is a good man. We are really lucky to have found him. They will not have to lift the moon vehicles to orbit with the Space Shuttle, or boost them up with a Titan Rocket anymore. That will be a real improvement in the technology.” What is important here is reducing any contact with non-agency personnel and alien cultures. It would be a much nicer if Dan and Eddie never had to see our gray friends. No way to do that and accomplish this mission.?
What was that thing I saw in your lab, and don?t give me any bull roar?? Susan demanded? The answer was the usual, “You don?t want to know.” Susan, who was tired of this game, taunted Phil a bit, “If you don?t tell me I?m going to pack up and go home tomorrow.” Phil?s reply was a simple “That?s just it Susan if you find out. They won?t let you go. You?ll be stuck here as a virtual prisoner, like I am. The same for Dan and Eddie and you don?t want to know a thing because if you do. You won?t be allowed to visit me or get your check every month. I?m sure you?ll be getting the lecture tomorrow, please Susan just let it slide and pretend you saw nothing.?
The Airman opened the door. He had three stripes on his shoulders and had on one of those cloth caps pulled down nearly to his eye. His nametag read Thompson. He unceremoniously rousted Dan and then Eddie saying, “Up and at em sirs, time to take your ride.” The vestiges of a hangover and the foul taste of the beer lingering in his breath was all that Dan could think about. Airman Thompson had to put a little extra effort into getting Eddie out of bed. Eddie was one of those people who just couldn’t break loose of the rack. The hangover didn’t help.
When Eddie refused to get out of the cot, Thompson rolled the bed over depositing him on the floor. Eddie was on his feet in a flash looking for a fight. The airman backed off and snapped to at ease with his hands folded behind his back. He said, “Now that you are awake sir, I would suggest a shower. Pre-flight briefings at eight A.M., it’s seven now. Breakfast is being served Sir’s. The uniform of the day is flight suit, they are in your closet.” With that he spun around and exited the room.
All shaped up with breakfast and dressed in shiny blue flight suits with gold bars on the shoulders the boys went to breakfast. After a quick breakfast the Airman stood up and gave them a silent nod and then headed for the door. Dan and Eddie followed him out of the room to an elevator. He addressed them with, “Sir’s this is elevator 2D it will take us to the briefing room.”
The elevator took a very long ride, going up this time. Exiting the elevator Thompson took a left turn and walked down a short corridor with two sets of doors, one at each end. One end was stenciled in white paint, “BRIEFING ROOM,” the other “HANGER.” They entered the briefing room. Inside the room there were several people.
Dan could see one General with a single silver star a Colonel with a silver Eagle on his shoulders. There were several other officers in the room along with Some NCO’s including Sergeant Anderson. The General spoke up, “This meeting is called to order. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m General Thomas. This is a pre-flight briefing for the benefit of our novice officers. Sergeant Anderson please begin your presentation.”
Anderson stood and started addressing the group. I believe you all know me so I’ll just start with the briefing. First items first. Security is the number one consideration. I’m going to explain why security is so important and then I’ll get down to the consequences of security breaches.
Item #one: The United States of America has a Treaty with the Unified Galactic Council (UGC) that protects us from rogue alien civilizations. This protection is essential, without it we are in jeopardy of being attacked and exploited. All the people of our planet could be wiped out by rogue civilizations existing elsewhere in the universe.
Item #two: We are being protected by the UGC under conditions of a treaty that states that our civilization has to develop its own technologies. Alien technology transfer is prohibited. That is why we are here tonight. For many years the United States of America, and for that matter several foreign states have been developing new technologies that will eventually put us on a par with our galactic neighbors. These developments are energy related and will change our way of life in many ways. One change will be the ability to travel the universe in our own vehicles.
Item #three: We are directed by the UGC to keep the provisions of this treaty secret from our own populations. This provision will be dropped at some time in the future when we have achieved recognition from the UGC.
Item #four: Strict security enforcement of the existence of this treaty and alien life form interventions on our planet is paramount. Enforcement is the NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY’S job and NSA has absolute authority including lethal intervention to insure the security of this agreement. Pay strict attention to the term lethal. We don’t want to harm anyone, but if you become a security risk your life could be forfeit.
Serious things going on here and some people are involved who are outside of our normal security precautions. We have to be sure that these persons can be trusted not to divulge any of the classified information before allowing reintegration into normal society. This is as uncomfortable for me as it is for you. Believe me. I’ve been involved in this situation since the late seventies and have seen strange things happen.
Phil and his family are involved along with one of the family friends. At this point I am going to confirm to the Dobson’s and Eddie that there are alien beings in this facility. Two of these persons, we think of them as friends, are going to be on the test ride. Extraterrestrial entities named Seleot and Colmotdn will be in the vehicle as advisors.
Our allies the Zeta’s avoid human contact when it’s not absolutely necessary, so they are not with us now in a physical sense. They are aware everything that is going on at this meeting. You need to understand that these entities communicate via telepathy. They are capable of some limited vocalizations but are much more comfortable with their normal mode of communication.
“General Thomas do you have anything to add?” Anderson nodded to General Thomas, who had been standing through Anderson’s brief presentation. The General nodded and spoke, “Continue with the exercise.” Sergeant Anderson ordered, “ATTENTION” Everyone went to attention including Dan and Eddie. General Thomas thought, “Military discipline can become ingrained in a young man so fast. It’s scary.”
Sergeant Anderson said, “this way sir’s”, motioning to the boys. Dan and Eddie followed him out the door and down the hall to the door labeled HANGER.