King Stephen, the Silver man and Greta the Witch

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Chapter 48 – US Marines capture Alien

The headline in Weekly World News:

US Marines capture alien and search for missing space ship

US Marines have set up a large operation in Bend, Oregon to interrogate a captured alien and search for the space ship. A US military spokesman denied the Marines were looking for aliens, and were on a routine training exercise …

At first light the site near Bend, Oregon adjacent to the Deschutes River looked like a war zone. The marines brought in an entire division of 1,000 men and set-up what they called a FOB – Forward Operating Basecamp. The Admiral had ordered the Colonel to do whatever it takes to find that craft.

Now some 30 hours since they had captured the Silver man, the Admiral was in his command tent by the river, talking on a secure satellite link to his direct superior, the Director of the National Security Administration or NSA in Washington DC.

‘How the hell do these stories leak?’ asked the NSA Director.

‘We got 1,000 personnel down here in Oregon on this one Sir, and they all got internet activated mobile phones,’ answered the Admiral.

‘Good job nobody believes this shit,’ said the NSA Director, ‘or I’d get fired by the President.’

The previous evening the Admiral and had given all the Marine commanders a severe dressing down about leaks. They had confiscated all of the soldiers’ personal phones, tablets and laptops, but somehow the stories kept getting out.

The Admiral had called in the CASEVAC, Causality Evacuation helicopter, as soon as they had tasered the Silver man. The CASEVAC had been on stand-by at the nearby Gopher Gulch Airstrip. It arrived with an advanced contingent of Marines who immediately began the process to set-up the FOB. The NSA invoked a pre-arranged contingency plan for the capture of an alien, and flew the Silver man directly to a site in Colorado that encompassed a secret bunker complex deep inside a mountain. The NSA then hastily arranged transportation for a specialist pre-selected team from the NASA Johnston Space Center in Houston, Texas who had been trained to deal with the eventuality of a captured alien. Although the Admiral understood that this team had never actually done it, just rehearsed the possibility with dummies, the NSA Director told the Admiral that they were the best people for the job.

The Admiral flew in the CASEVAC to Colorado to supervise the transportation of the Silver mans’ inert body. The marines in the helicopter had two Tasers fully charged just in case he woke up. They also cuffed his hands and feet.

What the Admiral didn’t know was that the high-voltage electric shock from the Taser he had administered to the Silver Man had caused two things to happen.

First it had blocked the Silver man’s distress call. If this had got through, a rescue mission would have been launched and the elimination capsules mission would have been delayed. In time, the lack of contact from the Traveller would trigger a search and rescue mission. But that period of time had not yet passed.

Second the electric shock caused the Silver man’s body to go into re-birth. This was not dangerous, but it meant that he would remain unconscious for several weeks, before his body tissues began to regenerate.

The skeleton crew of Marines assigned to guarding the in-active Colorado complex were on hand to meet the CASEVAC. They wheeled out an old fashioned hospital gurney trolley and the Silver Man’s body was lifted out of the helicopter and laid on his back. Two marines then wheeled the trolley into the mountain complex, while the Admiral followed closely, and two Marines carrying the Tasers. They meandered through a maze of corridors, crashing through several sets of double doors and into an operating theatre.

The Admiral knew the complex had been built on the 1960’s during the cold-war, and was designed to house the President and key staff during a nuclear attack. The Admiral had seen enough field hospitals to know that this operating theatre had never been used, and contained very little modern equipment. It was like a 1960’s time warp with a yellow and blue color scheme obviously considered cutting edge at the time. The walls were decorated with elaborate tile patterns, in different colored ceramic tiles. The gurney table that the Silver man body lay upon and the other furniture in the room was all made of the heavy chrome steel, polished wood and black Bakelite style plastic of the era. If Beatles music could have been heard, the illusion would have been complete.

Since the end of the cold-war, successive administrations had not funded improvements. Captured aliens weren’t considered a vote winner, so were not a funding priority.

Dr Ali Palaszwaski and Dr. Mary Morrell had been invited to join the Johnston Space Center team. However, invited wasn’t quite the word that Mary would have used. When the call came on her home number at 4 AM in the morning from a NSA operative, saying that Admiral Gerald Smythe was sending a helicopter to collect her in one hour, she knew it wasn’t a request. You didn’t say no to the Admiral.

As she drove the 15 minutes from her home to the NASA Marshall Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama to meet the helicopter, she assumed this was a going to be just like the session in Washington with Ali Palaszwaski and the Admiral about the radiation detection. This time she had thrown some extra underwear into her holdall. She cleared base security, and then parked her car as close to the helicopter as she could. She didn’t like to walk any further than she had to. The dark green Marine helicopter was illuminated by the lights of the helipad. As she locked her car and walked towards the machine, a Marine pilot stepped out of the helicopters cockpit and approached her. He was a tall thin man, and Mary thought he looked too young to fly a helicopter. The helicopter engines had now been switched on ready for take-off, and so the young soldier had to shout so Mary could hear him, ‘Dr Mary Morrell?’

She nodded vigorously and shouted, ‘Yes, Yes’.

‘ID please?’

She held up her NASA ID badge that she wore on a cord around her neck with her photograph on it, so the Marine Pilot could read it in the reflected light of the helipad.

He stooped to read it, and then gave a thumbs up to her and towards the helicopter, she saw a helmeted figure through the helicopter cockpit window return the thumbs up. The tall thin Marine Pilot then grabbed her holdall and set-off at a sprint towards the waiting machine. The rotor blades were now spinning, and Mary followed at a much more sedate pace holding down her jacket and ID badge in the back-wind. She knew from experience that the ID Badge had a habit of whipping up on its cord, and the hard plastic laminated edges scratching her face. The smell of aviation fuel and the noise were almost overwhelming. She ducked as she approached the rear door, it was held open for her by the young tall Marine. He too was stooped, ducking his head. He helped her to strap into the back seat. It was two person seat, but she only just fitted into it, and the seat belts had to be extended to their full extent to fit around her. Conversation was impossible over the engine noise, but after she was given a head set, she asked over the noise where they were headed. She got a polite, ‘Sorry Mam, need to know, you strapped in OK?’, he gave her a thumbs up, which she half heartily returned, and then she heard another male voice over the headset that she assumed was the other Marine Pilot, ’Corporal loud up, we are cleared for take-off.’ She tried again, ’so how long will it take to get there, Corporal?’ But got no reply. She gave up, found a bag of potato chips in her holdall, and a can of soda, and made herself as comfortable as she could. She could see from the direction of the sun rise, that there weren’t heading towards Washington.

After an uncomfortable flight of about 2 hours and 30 minutes, the helicopter began to descend towards a non-descript military base in the mountains. She saw from the air, that there was a road leading up to a gated and manned guard post, a few crated stores and military vehicles around but no military buildings of any significance. As they touched down, Mary realised why there were no buildings, there were what looked like huge aircraft hangar doors that were open and revealed an illuminated cavern inside the mountain. Mary recognised the Rocky Mountains but she didn’t know where she was. There was no signage anywhere.

They landed with a bump, but the engines were not turned off. The Corporal opened the side door and helped her disembark, and handed her over to another Marine who drove up in an open top military jeep to collect her. The open top jeep was so old it looked like it had been used in World War II. Almost immediately the helicopter took off. Bur Mary could hear the Marine driver grinding the gears of the old Jeep even over the roar of the helicopter engines.

The Marine said nothing on the journey, and Mary thought that there was no point in trying another one way conversation so she kept silent. Mary held onto her ID badge again as the driver accelerated and without slowing at all, raced into the open hanger doors. The illuminated roadway inside was curved and wide enough for 2-way traffic. There was storage area at the front of the cave, where a contingent of Marines seemed to be at work moving crates of stores on fork-lift trucks.

After a few hundred yards of curved roadway the Marine slowed the Jeep and parked alongside a number of other military vehicles. He grabbed Mary’s holdall and with a curt, ’Please follow me Mam,’ led her though an unmarked doorway into a room that looked like a windowless hospital waiting room. There were cheap plastic chairs arranged around square wooden tables and a reception counter that looked as if it dated from about the same era as the Jeep. There was clock on the wall behind the counter, and a seated woman Marine officer. She looked up and smiled, saluted, and held out her hand to shake Mary’s. ‘Dr Mary Morrell, welcome to Camp Cody, let me show you to your quarters.’ With that she grabbed Mary’s holdall and set off at a fast pace through an adjacent door. Mary followed, having to hurry to keep the lady soldier in sight as she hurried through a maze of corridors. As she panted along, she thought that these Marines didn’t seem to want to say much did they?

Mary arrived slightly breathless at a door held open for her by the rubber booted foot of the lady Marine. Inside was a small bedroom with a single bed, a wash hand basin, with a soap dispenser above, and a threadbare grey towel folded over it. Apart from a small mirror above the basin there were no wall fixtures or pictures on the whitewashed brick walls. Other than the single bed, the only other furniture in the room was a writing desk with a hard plastic chair like the chairs she had seen at the entrance. There was a small closet attached to the desk.

Mary said nothing as she looked at the single bed, but the soldier saw the direction of her gaze. It was obvious to them both that Mary wasn’t going to fit in the bed.

She was distracted from her thoughts, by a familiar voice from behind her, ‘Mary good of you to join us’. She turned to see the familiar face of Dr Bob Cabana. Bob was a short man with a Hollywood smile, and if he could have embraced Mary’s bulk he could have. Instead he shook her hand warmly in a double handed shake.

‘Bob great to see you, what are you doing here, I thought you had retired?’

Mary knew Bob as a NASA veteran and ex-Shuttle pilot. Mary had known him for 25 years, and he was highly respected as the outgoing Director of the John. F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

‘No I step down next month, but here in charge of my last mission.’

Bob waived his arms in sarcasm at the bleak surroundings. The female Marine had disappeared, Mary hoped to find her a room with a bigger bed.

‘Anyway Mary, great to have you aboard, come and meet the rest of the team’.

Mary could have done with freshening up, but followed Bob like a puppy. He had always had an infectious boyish enthusiasm about him, and in his early sixties, it had not left him. Bob led her into a conference room, with a large table but with the same cheap plastic chairs around it. Apart from a clock on the wall, there were no pictures. However, she was pleased to see that on a side table there was a good supply of coffee and donuts.

There were 10 people in the room, when she arrived. She recognised Ali Palaszwaski immediately and several old NASA colleagues. She went around the room meeting old colleagues and introducing herself to new ones. During the introductions it became clear that this group, apart from Ali and herself, were all known to each other and were members of ALFST – Alien Life Form Support Team. But they all thought this was another briefing, apparently this sort of exercise happened all the time.

After about 10 minutes, which had given time for Mary to visit the rest room, Bob called the meeting to order and asked them all to take a seat. Mary sat next to Ali.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming, I realise that it would have not been your first choice to have been flown out at short notice to this remote outpost in Colorado, but believe me, what I am about to tell you will make it all worthwhile.’

Mary whispered to Ali, ‘so that’s where we are, Colorado.’

Bob continued, ’this facility was built in 1964 as a refuge for the President and his staff during a nuclear attack. I am glad to say, it has never been used, but it is also a designated site for ALFST. You are all fully briefed members of ALFST with the exception of Dr Mary Morrell and Dr Ali Palaszwaski who have been invited to join us upon the special request of the NSA. Ali caught Mary’s eye and raised his eyes to the ceiling at the word invited.

Bob turned to a side table where there was a stack of thick set manuals. He picked up the top copy and held it up for the group. Mary could see from the embossed NASA logo on the cover and the color, dark red, that this was a classified document. It had the words TOP SECRET written in inch high letters.

‘Most of you are familiar with this document, because you helped write it,’ Bob turned the document so he could read the title out loud, it was written in bold capital letters:

PROCEDURE TO ANALYSE AN ALIEN LIFE FORM

Bob handed around copies of the 235 page document. There was a buzz of conversation as he did so. He then continued with a statement that brought an immediate halt to the small talk around the room, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen this is not a drill’. He paused for effect. ‘Yesterday a special forces operation captured what is believed to be an Alien life-form near Bend, Oregon right here in the United States. The life-form is here in this facility now and it is our job to find out as much as we can about it. But first let me show you a video of the capture of the life form that was recorded yesterday’

With that Bob opened the conference room door and the female Marine who had showed Mary to her quarters wheeled in an old fashioned TV set on a large trolley. There was a DVD player on the trolley attached to the TV with cables. She plugged in the units to a wall power socket, pressed a few buttons on a remote control, and then handed the remote to Bob. There was a nod of thanks, and then she walked over to Mary, placing a key on the desk in front of her. ‘Your new room key Dr Morrell’. Mary was impressed.

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