Dr. Smith appeared as if he had not aged at all, even though he seen 11 president and 64 years go by.
The makeshift laboratories and work rooms in the old potash mine in New Mexico long abandoned and while the rumors and conspiracy crowd suspected UFO’s to be stored at Area 51, the real secret lay not hidden in a remote desert anymore but it was located now in New York.
Deep underneath the busy metropole utilizing an abandoned Subway station and the randomly chosen name Project Armadillo had changed to AXIOM (All Xeno Intelligence Operations Monitors).It was now an above top secret department of the NSA.
Every morning he took the 9 subway from his nice Tribecca home, and made it after switching a few trains to Nevin Street Station.
And like every morning he purchased copies of the sensational tabloids as well as a copy of the New York Times. He had adjusted his appearance with the fashion of the times and even though he was a regular, no one in particular would really remember him. Except perhaps the proprietors of an old Bagel bakery that somehow survived the Starbucks, donut places and the modern Bagel houses, because here he purchased his “Bagele mit lox und Schmier” for the last fifteen years.
And like every morning he took the slow hydraulic elevator. It carried regular passengers from the street level down to the regular platform. Inside he was scanned and observed and after he put his thumb on the down button, which was also a hidden biometric scanner, the cabin descended much faster and further than it would with civilians.
Right at the Entrance to AXIOM HQ he was scanned once more and his identity verified. He considered himself to be Terran but deep down he could not completely deny his Pan Saran origin, and because of this he loved military precision and punctuality.
AXIOM worked flawlessly and efficiently and not in small part due to the rules and procedures he had developed himself and set in place.
The screening process for agents and specialist working for AXIOM was second to none on the entire planet and it resulted that only the very finest, the very best men and women worked here.
His secretary Lora Grayson for example, met him at precise 9:07 after the ID verification tunnel.
She took his papers and the bag with the bagels, placed them inside a bin that would travel over tracks of an intelligent transport system and deliver its cargo to his office and almost with the same move handed him the daily Activity Report.
A thin green folder, sealed with a paper band stamped: Top Secret/TSI-UMBRA-Day Code Verified.
He broke the seal and while he walked, opened the folder. Ever since the days underneath the mountains of New Mexico, it contained one single sheet of typed information. The only other copy of this page was delivered daily to the Director of the NSA and he would decide if there was information in it the President needed to see.
Not every president had seen these documents or knew about AXIOM, only those who passed the rigors of a Single Scope Background Investigation, the most intense security clearance check known to man.
Usually he would make his daily round through all the departments, but he stopped dead in his tracks. There were two pages today!
Lora Grayson actually walked seven more steps before she realized her Boss had stopped walking. Smith abandoned his daily routine and went straight to his office and said. ”Department head meeting in 5 minutes, Ms. Grayson and be so kind and switch the board from 'Guarded blue' to 'High Amber'."
Just like the Department of Homeland security,AXIOM had a color coded threat board. It ranged from from all green over blue to yellow, amber and red. Plasma screens in every office, lab and corridor displayed that board at all times. It had never been switched to anything higher than Blue.
The oval shaped conference table in the Conference room had room for twenty and all twenty Department heads had made it within the five minutes, except Dr. Isah, but he arriving wirhin ten minutes was considered a small miracle since he was the only one who didn’t pay much attention to the military precision Dr. Smith liked so much.
Dr. Smith overlooked it as usual and said. “Our Argus Satellite system picked up high energy activity near El Paso, Texas. Energy activity associated with Directed Energy weapon fire. The observing satellite was slaved and its orbit changed to make high resolution pictures and this is what we got.”
He activated a big view screen and everyone could see a SUV of some kind, a white passenger car, a collection of motorcycles and a large group of people. The next image showed a bright glowing field that blurred out everything. Dr. Smith explained.”The Satellite camera was set to highest magnification, but ground heat emission from the desert caused the images to be blurred somewhat and then the sudden sun bright energy flash overloaded the system and destroyed the camera. We then redirected a Global Hawk drone used by the Border Patrol to check for Illegal Immigrants and drug traffic nearby and it arrived only 20 minutes later above the scene.” The SUV and everything was gone, except for a dozens of clearly visible torch marks in the ground, and a 10 meter wide shallow crater. There was dead silence in the room.
Dr. Smith stemmed his fists on the table surface and gazed at each of them.” Ladies and Gentlemen we had some serious activity here and there over the last six decades, but nothing like this.
know of the Ferons watching this planet and sending small observation spacecraft. We know they have abducted humans and taken samples of other Terran life, but this is something completely different. A battle was fought there, with highly advanced weapons far beyond our technological capabilities.”
Dr. Isah simply spoke when he felt like it and never asked for permission to do so. No one not even Dr. Smith would chastise him for it, as this man was perhaps the most brilliant mind in human history. One could actually spend five minutes just to list all the doctor and professor titles this man had amassed before his name. He even looked like every child thought an absent minded professor should look, complete with a wild mane of hair and a huge mustache.
”I just went over the Satellite data in my mind and if I calculated it right then the Energy released down there is equivalent of almost a Kiloton bomb, adding all the individual energy flashes up with that final big flash at the end.” Jan Burns, head of the Xeno Assault Response Team raised his hand.” Sir?”
Dr. Smith nodded." Go ahead, Mr. Burns."
“I think I should immediately take my Strike team to Texas and investigate the site.”
“I concur Mr. Burns. I authorize full deployment. I arrange cover with the local Military. There is an Air Force base in Clovis that will simulate an exercise or accident in that area so you can work unobstructed and unobserved, if needed.”
Burns cold eyes sparkled.” We will find those aliens and capture or neutralize them.”