Chapter 51 – Jesus is born
After dinner using a secure video link, Bob had a conference with the NSA Director and the Admiral at 8 PM CET that evening.
The discussion was necessary because all of the ideas on their original list had now been tried, and they were no closer to knowing anything about the Silver man.
Bob began, ‘Gentlemen, for the last 7 days we have attempted to complete stages 1 and 2 of the NASA PROCEDURE TO ANALYSE AN ALIEN LIFE FORM POROCESS. Stage 1 involve staking comprehensive measurements, which we have completed and documented. Stage 2 involves staking a small sample for analysis. Although we have tried every known method of cutting a sample from the Silver mans’ clothing nothing has worked. We have now reached a point where a much more radical approach is required. Therefore I need your authorization to use heavy cutting equipment.’
The NSA Director asked, ‘have you any sense if the alien is still alive?’
Bob replied, ‘Sir, we have not been able to detect any breathing or heartbeat or any indication at all that he is still alive. We even tried some electric shock treatment yesterday that produced no response.’
The Admiral interjected, ‘Dr Cabana is it your opinion that he is alive or dead?’
‘Admiral, I would have to say at this point that I believe he is dead.’
The NSA Director asked, ‘what is involved in this heavy cutting equipment?’
‘Sir, we literally cut the Silver man limb from limb. It is the equivalent of the magicians’ act of sawing the lady in half. Except this is no trick.’
The Admiral said, ’well if he’s dead then this is no problem.’
The NSA Director said, ‘I agree, cut him up’.
With that the NSA Director cut the connection and Bob was left staring at the NSA logo.
The bunker complex was secured by a 24x7 high security operation. The marines worked in shifts, and the night shift was often the busiest.
Supplies for the secret operations inside were brought in at night by Chinook helicopter. Mary could hear the double bladed machines approaching by their characteristic whoop-whoop sound even in the confines of her bunk deep inside the mountain. The sound was amplified by the mountainous terrain and cold mountain air.
The noise often woke the scientists. They would wonder outside in track suits and nightwear, clutching steaming Styrofoam cups of coffee to watch the Chinooks land, curious about the cargoes they carried. Mary joined the small group outside in the cool night air under a cloudless sky. She watched the teams of Marines as they unloaded more than just the donuts for the teams’ breakfast. The fork lift trucks unloaded heavy wooden crates that hey all assumed contained the heavy laser cutters.
The marines efficiently unloaded the helicopters and they took off into the night sky. The outside landing lights were extinguished and the stars shone brightly in the clear mountains air. The small group of on-lookers dispersed, and she and Ali went and sat in the front seats of one of the open top old-fashioned jeeps.
They were alone, and they had a magnificent view of the starts in the night sky. She looked up at the three stars on the belt of the constellation of Orion the Hunter and said quietly to Ali, pointing with her empty Styrofoam cup, ’I wonder if that is where the Silver man had come from?
In the seat beside her, Ali shrugged. ‘Maybe, but he traced with his cup the broad swathe of the Milky Way and the billions of stars. But maybe from there, who knows?’
They sat for a few minutes in silence.
The discussion after dinner, had been about Bob’s request to use the heavy cutting equipment. Mary was massively disappointed at that decision but could see no other thing they could do. If they cut him up, they may never get the answers about him.
She said quietly to Ali, ‘if we cut him up tomorrow, we may never know where he is from?’
Ali took some time to answer, and when he did, Mary realised he was very emotional, almost in tears, ‘I know, it feels as if we are killing him.’
Mary put a hand on Bob’s, and said, ‘I feel the same, but come on lets gets some sleep.’
As they walked back into the mountain bunker complex, there was a sharp contrast to the peace and tranquillity outside. Inside it was a hive of activity. The marines sweated and strained so the heavy equipment would be unpacked, installed and ready to go when the scientific and medical teams needed it the next morning.
Inside the operating theatre where the Silver man lay inert on the operating theatre table, it was calm and still. The room was brightly lit, the temperature and humidity were carefully controlled and four HD CCTV cameras recorded every activity in the room 24x7, with a live secure video link to Fort Meade.
Then something totally unexpected happened. Suddenly and without warning the Silver man’s suit deflated gradually. It was as if a balloon had a slow leak, and the air had escaped slowly. The fabric of his space suit gently came to rest on the table, with only his shoes and helmet still remaining intact.
The movement of the suit was so soft and gentle that it didn’t trigger any unusual activity in any of the multiple monitoring systems in the room. Initially the deflation went unnoticed by the bored operators at Fort Meade on the graveyard shift.
About 20 minutes later an operative at Fort Meade returned from a bathroom break and took a fresh look at the image of the Silver man on the monitor. They had been looking at the same image now for two weeks, and it dawned on him that there was something different. He re-wound the recording, and watched the suit deflate.
As instructed, he called the Admiral who answered on the second ring. Bob Cabana and the team were all back in the viewing gallery 55 minutes later. Most had dressed in yesterday’s clothes, and were still groggy from the lack of sleep.
Like every day, the team went through their practiced routine to enter the operating theatre area where the Silver man lay. They were now suitably surgically scrubbed and dressed in their surgical green and sitting on their stools around the perimeter of viewing gallery looking through the glass into the operating theatre where the Silver man lay with his deflated suit.
Most were wishing they were allowed to bring coffee in, but food and drink were forbidden in the operating theatre area. Mary’s mind was on the unopened tray of donuts and pastries in the break-out room next door. She was wishing she could peel back the shrink-wrap and bite into that soft sugary confection.
However, her sugar craving was soon forgotten as she watched the video recording of the Silver man’s suit deflating several times. First in real time, then in slow-motion and then frame by frame. Bob Cabana asked for suggestions. Some stifled yawns, not everyone was as interested in this development as Mary.
‘Could be some form of rapid chemical decay,’ suggested Carl.
Ali suggested, ‘Carl could be right, if so we should set up some gas detection and chemical analysis equipment’.
Bob made a note on a legal pad.
After a few more minutes’ discussion Bob suggested the meeting was adjourned so the gas detection and chemical analysis equipment could be set-up in the operating theatre before any detectable chemicals dispersed.
Everyone agreed with this course of action immediately because it not only made scientific sense but it also gave everybody a chance to get to the coffee and donuts while the equipment was set-up.
Then just as the team was about to file out of the viewing area. Ali pointed and said, ‘look the helmet is moving’. Sure enough as the team stopped, Mary saw the Silver man’s helmet move, and the visor popped open. Over the speakers there was the distinctive cry of a new born baby. The team fell silent and each stopped and turned towards the sound. Not sure if they could believe their ears.
Mary moved with a mother’s instinct. Breaking all the rules she barged her way through the double air lock, hitting the buttons so the second door opened before the first closed. She then stepped into the operating theatre without wearing breathing apparatus, with her hood pulled down to expose her face and leaving both doors open.
While it had been impossible for even diamond saws to move the Silver man’s helmet before, she simply pulled aside the helmet removed her gloves and lifted out a beautiful new born baby boy, perfect in every way. She may have been mistaken, but she thought she saw his skin colour change to match her own. In her eyes he was now even more beautiful.
She spoke instinctively, the words forming without fore-thought, ’a beautiful baby, thank the Lord, thank Jesus.’
The name of Jesus stuck.
It took time for the Traveler’s people body tissues to regenerate and during that time they were dependent on the support of any host life form they encountered. Long ago they had evolved a defence mechanism designed to protect them during the most vulnerable phase of their life cycle. During re-birth, the Traveller assumed the appearance of the life form they encountered. In this case human beings. They also emitted a very tiny amount of a special chemical that immediately compelled the host life form to protect them. The chemical was an enhancement to the natural instinct that compels any human parent to protect their child.
For this reason, the team of rational and distinguished medical staff and scientists forgot all their discipline and training, and followed Mary into the operating theatre in blatant disregard of the air lock and quarantine rules. They burst into spontaneous applause as Mary protectively held the baby in her arms. Her face wet with tears of joy. The women cooed around the child and wept openly, and there was more than one man with a tear in his eye.
Mary took one of sterile white linen towels that were neatly stacked in the operating theatre ready to absorb any plasma or chemical spillage, and wrapped the baby Jesus with an instinctive easy motion that came from raising four of her own.
Now the mothers, fathers and grandparents in the room, began a tirade of advice about feeding and so on. The lined up to take turns to hold the new baby. Even Bob Cabana, a proud Grandfather himself, joined in.
Two of the women went to a computer screen in the corner, and began typing out an inventory of baby things.
The watching Admiral at Fort Meade was incandescent with rage. He dialled the secure telephone in the operating theatre, but the ringing could not be heard over the hubbub of excited conversation over the baby Jesus.