Peter Baker sat in the office of his Superior with his hat in his hand.
Captain Wills had both his fists stemmed on his desk and glared at the huge man. ”Did you really have to shoot sixteen of them, and break the jaws of four?”
“Captain, I gave them a fair warning. Besides they killed old Bart and the doctors don’t know if Sam is going to make it. They had Bernadine Rice as a hostage and torched the United States Post Office of Pontus. What was I supposed to do?”
Wills sighed.”Wait for backup like everyone else!”
“And have them kill more innocent folks? No Sir, I don’t think waiting for backup would have been the right choice, Sir. I am a Ranger and this is Texas. Much has changed with all them liberals and them goodie two shoes reporters, but as long as I wear this Star, Captain I will do whatever it takes to protect and serve the Citizens of this State.”
The big man was no longer sitting but stood up. Wills was by no means a small man but he always felt small in the presence of this six foot nine oak tree of a man.” You are one of the best, a living legend in these parts, there are few who can match your record of unassisted arrests. The locals love and respect you, this is all true and I commend you for that, but did you really have to tie the rest of the bikers behind your truck and march them all the way to Fort Mason?”
“I would have pulled them all the way to San Anton if you guys hadn’t stopped me!” Baker responded angrily. "There is no law and no regulation I know off telling me how I have to bring my arrestees in for booking. “
“You don’t get it, Ranger. Those bikers burned down a Post Office. It is going to be a federal case in federal court and with human rights lawyers and all that. Stuff like this is all a slick lawyer needs to get them off. It’s going to be a hard thing to proof who of them did the actual killing.”
“Let me talk to them and I find out, besides if Sam’s going to make it he’s going to pick the killer out.”
“This is going to be a high profile case. It made national news, there are going to be reporters and lots of motorcycle gangs both supporters and rival gangs. I want you to take a few weeks off, let things settle a bit. Administrative leave is standard in any use of deadly force, as you know.”
“You are suspending me?”
“Peter I am sending you on a vacation. You haven’t taken a vacation in years. The department will investigate the incident and there will of course be hearing. Until then you are indeed suspended.”
Peter was still irritated two days later as he drove north crossing the state border to New Mexico to visit his Uncle Seven Feathers, who was a tribal chief in the Mescalero Tribe. Seven Feathers had called him a week ago and invited him, and now since he was forced to take a vacation this was a good time to take him up on his invite.
Besides he did not want to run in any reporters especially the East coast type. Seven Feathers lived on the reservation near Ruidoso.
Peter had been there many times before and since Seven Feathers was the brother of his mother, he did have close ties to this tribe, even though he did not look Native at all.
The closer he came the more he realized how much he actually looked forward to see them all. Seven Feathers stood outside his home and greeted him in his usual fashion. With a Nod you only saw if you really looked closely. Of course those who knew the Old Chief always felt deeply honored by this nod, as Seven Feathers would only nod to those he really liked. Before Peter could even get out of his Suburban, Seven Feathers opened the Passenger door and took a seat next to Peter.”Glad you could make it, Pale Rock.”
This was how Nine Feather’s called Peter and said it was his true name. ”I want you to see something. You know where Roundtree has his log cabin, the one with the big TV antenna?”
Baker rubbed his chin, somewhat surprised by his Uncle’s behavior. ”I think I go back down the road and take a right where Don's barn used to be and then up the trail...”
“You remember, well! When we are there I show you where to go.”
Peter turned the big Suburban around and followed the directions until they hit a barely visible path behind Redhorse's cabin that led them further up and closer to the mountain peaks.
”Say Uncle, isn’t that sacred land up there?”
“Very much so!”
“You are not going to show me where you going to get buried or something like that? You are not old enough for that.”
Seven Feathers, who could have doubled for famous historical Chief Concise was somewhat around eighty years old; no one knew for sure and he never said much about his age, but he looked as weathered as he looked healthy, as always.
He glared at his nephew.” Nonsense, I am not going to show you my burial site. I let them decide where they put me once I am dead. I don’t spend much time thinking about that.”
Peter switched to four wheel drive, as they crossed a shallow mountain stream and the steep path showed now sings of any kind of vehicle traffic, at least not within the past 50 years.
”I was hoping I could take a shower, eat something and bullshit around with my nephews and all that.” Peter said working his steering wheel. “Don’t get me wrong. I love it out here and the Mountains are sure a sight for sore eyes after all that Texan Desert. I enjoyed it when you took me hunting and hiking out here but why are we here?”
“Because you are a Cop, you are smart and I need your opinion.”
“I am a Texas Ranger, if this is about something criminal I am out of my jurisdiction, besides I am suspended.”
“This is our land, and I am all the authority you need. “ The old Indian said.Then he raised his hand. “Stop!”
Peter stopped the car and looked across a mountain meadow with dense stands of wood below and a fantastic view. “You’re right this view was worth the trip.”
“I like it too, Pale Rock but that is not why we came up here. I wanted to show you that!”
Seven Feathers stretched his arm and pointed at a black robed man standing there in the middle of the meadow. Peter only now registered the figure, about 100 meters to the right and down the hill. A man wearing a truly black robe or cloak like hooded garment and whoever it was stood with his back turned towards them. Peter took his binoculars but even with better magnification he did not see much else.
Nine Feather’s said. ”He was noticed two weeks ago. Roundtree said he was standing there just as he was standing there now. He tried to call, went closer and fired a few shots in the air, but the man did not do anything, just standing there. One of his boys actually fired at it and it had no effect and no reaction.”
“Maybe it is some sort of statue, fallen of a plane or something. No one could simply stand there for weeks.” Peter concluded.”I guess the best thing is to load that thing up and take it to town.”
“I don’t think it is a thing. Some of the Elder think it is a spirit or a demon. I am sure it is alive and it moves.”
Peter wasn’t sure what to think, but he took his Smith and Wesson Model 500, checked the drum and then got out of his truck. “I am not sure what to make of this, but I guess I can ask.”
He walked around the hood, holstered his gun but kept his hand on the butt. Then he slowly approached the shrouded figure. “Hey you!”
There was no reaction.
Peter went closer and closer and was only about 10 meters away and tried it again.”Hey Mister!”
There was a slight wind and it slightly moved the folds of the robe. “You with the black robe can you hear me?”
At this point he was almost convinced it was some sort of statue so he was utterly surprised when the thing moved and turned and then spoke with a voice that was as cold and inhuman as death itself. “Acoustic communication, how fascinating and yes I can hear you!”
Peter, without really thinking had pulled his gun and leveled it at the shrouded man. As the thing turned Peter could see underneath the monk like hood, but there was no face, there was just utter darkness. A black so intense he somehow felt that not even the strongest sunlight could penetrate it.
Peter was no coward and he feared little but this uncanny encounter not far from the holy burial ground of the Mescalero made him more than a little worried.”Who are you and what are you doing here?”
The figure wore a metal like belt around its waist and there were two cylinder-like objects attached to that belt, but nothing that looked like a weapon. “Who am I?”
The voice trailed off as if the hooded man was thinking.” It appears I have no information as to who I am. As for what I am doing, I am standing here!”
Peter holstered his gun. ”A Lunatic that is what you are. Escaped from a hospital perhaps? You better come with me and we find out just who you are!”
“Lunatic, I am a Lunatic. I thank thee Life form! Now I know who I am! I do not know what a Hospital is therefore I cannot answer you if I have escaped from one.”
“I am sure we find some doctors who can explain it to you. Now how did you end up here?”
“You fell? From where?”
The black robed man pointed towards the sky. Peter was convinced this was some crazy person, perhaps some sort of Artist from California or a member of a religious sect; he was no longer concerned or worried.
Even though the shrouded man was even taller than him, Peter estimated him to be just about seven feet tall; he appeared to be no real threat.
Peter pointed towards his truck. “We better get you to town now, will you come along or do I need to make you?”
“You can make me?”
“I am pretty sure about that and we can do this the civilized way or the other way.”
“I must confess I am curious about these ways you speak of. What is the civilized way and what is the other way?”
Peter sighed. ”Since you do not play with a full deck let me spell it out for you. You come with me and do what I say and everything will be nice and peaceful and no one gets hurt, or you refuse and I will use force and make you wish you had chosen the first option.”
Seven Feathers approached and Peter turned halfway. ”I would prefer if you go back to the truck. I am going to arrest him, take him down to town and have the local Sheriff deal with that loon.”
The old Chief ignored his nephew and came closer. Then he spoke Mescalero. “God Usen have you come to punish us for evil we have done or to deliver us?”
Peter didn’t have much practice but he still understood much of it. What surprised him more was the answer that came from the black robed man in perfect Mescalero. ” I have come from the heavens and I fell here. My memories are blank and I have no recollection who I am. Therefore I shall not punish you. I do not where to deliver you either.”
“You speak the tongue of the people but your manner of dress is nothing I recognize.”
The shrouded man touched the sleeve of his robe.”This garment is not satisfactory?”
Peter no longer thought the man was an escaped lunatic, he could not make up his mind at all but somehow felt there was a great danger associated with the being. He interrupted not out of disrespect to Seven Feathers but mostly out of impulsive curiosity. ”Whatever you wear is sure not in fashion right now. I would prefer to see your face.”
Seven grabbed Peter’s arm. ”No nephew, do not tempt or disrespect him. He is a spirit of great power. Gazing upon a god can be dangerous.”
The shrouded man said. ”I decided not to harm you. I do not know who I am or where I am therefore I need your guidance.” With these words the black robe simply dropped from the man, without him moving. Before them stood something, Peter was now certain it was not human. It had all the human characteristics and its body was proportioned like a very athletic male. It had arms and legs, a head and a face, but it had no ears, no genitalia, no navel or nipples. There was no hair. The skin tone was that of a light skinned Caucasian, but it had no pores, no wrinkles and no fingernails. The face was distinctive male and reminded Peter of an antique statue. The eyes had no lids, no eyebrows and most disturbingly no pupils, but glowed in a bright red.
The Ranger almost dropped his gun. ”What in the Devils name are you?”
“I do not know your Devil’s name, but we should visit him if he knows what I am!”
Seven Feathers bowed.” Welcome God without a Name. I apologize for my people shooting at you and throwing rocks. They did not know!”
“Ah the ones that have been here three orbital revolutions earlier and discharged chemical operating devices, I was not harmed.”
Peter pulled his hat back and scratched his head. ”Now what are we going to do? You are sure not human. When you said you fell from the sky you really meant that, right?”
“You are not from around here then?”
“It is a fair assessment.”
“I never thought I meet one but you are an Alien. I mean one of those Outer Space Aliens aren’t you?”
The strange man cocked his head slightly to the side and it was clear he was thinking and then he said. ”I concur. I am not native to this planet.”
Seven Feathers said. ”What we do is clear. The Spirit asked for guidance and we shall provide it.”
Then the old man said to Peter. ”Do not talk to anyone about this. Do not bring him to the white men’s scientists and authorities. He came to our land for a reason and we must find out what reason brought this visitor. You say he is an Alien but he speaks the tongue of the people.”
Peter was still shocked by actually stand face to face with an alien and it took him a while to cope. ”Well Visitor from the Sky, I think it is better you get dressed again and then we go somewhere and sit down and have a talk.”
The black robe rose all by itself and shrouded the being once more and as Peter started to walk to the Truck it followed.
”You aren’t some trickster from Roswell and this isn’t some big stunt?”
Seven Feathers shook his head.” No Trickster would speak like he does and no trickster survives being shot at without a scratch or simply stands on one spot for many days.”
“I was pretty sure it is genuine, but I had to ask. Meeting a real life Alien is something I hadn’t really expected when I came here.”