Summary: This is the beginning of Book II. The Events in this cycle take place on Earth and it begins with the eyewitness account of an American explorer. His plane had just been shot down by a Flying Saucer ...
Chapter 1 Part 1: Antarctica], 1947
Lieutenant Richard McMillian was the only survivor of the Fokker Universal Monoplane that had crashed into the rock solid frozen landscape. Of course base camp knew about the crash, but at the current weather conditions, Richard knew they could not send out the only other plane the South Pole Expedition had. He glanced over the blistering icy surface and the thick snow storm whipping frozen snow crystals like shards of glass across his partially unprotected face. He no longer felt it; his cheeks were numb below the aviation protective goggles and the felt cap he wore. The wool shawl he had wrapped up across his nose was frozen stiff. Behind him the remains of the plane, most part of the fuselage over there, and almost 20 yards away to the left pieces of the wing . The smartest thing would have been be to stay with the plane. As soon as the weather cleared up they would search for him and the dark painted metal would be easy to spot from the air. Some of the emergency gear might even be still intact. The crash was violent and sudden, killed Lorenzo outright, but there was no fire. He knew there were flares and enough wood and material to make a fire. Finding shelter in the fuselage would increase his chances of survival considering all viable options if it weren't for them!
It wasn't animals Richard was trying to escape from. This forbidding frozen continent was not home to any predatory animals that could prove dangerous to a grown man armed with a pistol. Matter of fact this far from the actual coast, there wasn't any animal life. Even though the polar winter was three month away, and the rough pebble beach were they had established the camp overlooking the mostly ice free bay. Here roughly 80 miles from the coast, it was very cold.
He wasn't sure if he was unconscious or just dazed from the crash, but after he realized they had crashed he first thought it was the sudden weather change that had caused the plane to collide with the frozen ground, but then he saw it, that impossible thing and the fist-sized charred holes across the fuselage made it all too clear to him this was no accident. They had been shot down!
What he had seen must be reported. He knew his life was unimportant in relation to what he had seen. The notebook he carried held his sketch and his notes he had scribbled with frozen fingers. He hoped against all hope that his people would find him, but then they might be in the same danger. Shot down by that flying disk! He was an Aviator all his adult life and this exciting new technology that allowed men to leave ground and sore like birds, kept him hungrily seek any information about all the Airplanes and their development. There wasn't a manufacturer, motor or plane shape he didn't know, yet that flying disc that had appeared hovering over the plane wreckage was nothing he had ever seen, but he knew the symbol on its side identifying the country of origin very well. This logo had replaced the Iron Cross shaped logo from the first world war, it was still a cross, to some known as the broken cross, but to everyone reading the papers and watching the news reels from Europe it was the Symbol of the New Germany , the Swastika !
Chapter 1 Part 2: New Mexico, 1948
The massive chrome grill of the Cadillac gleamed for a short moment in the bright sunlight as the heavy limousine rolled past the armed Military Police Corps (United States) MP guards. Other than the armed guards there was a small guard house, a high razor wire topped chain link fence and a number of big signs telling anyone that might come by here that this was a government installation and trespassing carried the danger of being shot on sight. Not that there would be many to read these signs out here in the middle of proverbial nowhere.
The big black Cadillac dulled with the dust of a long drive over unpaved desert roads, came to a grinding stop on the loose gravel before a single corrugated steel storage building. It was, as far as anyone could see. the only construct within the fenced off area.
The building looked like any other metal warehouse, basically a big half pipe closed on each side. There was a big roll gate and a smaller door on this side.
The driver got out and opened the rear door and saluted as the man sitting in the back got out, nodded to the driver and went to the buildings door. It was opened before he reached it. A man in white coat and a General greeted the arriving man. The General smiled. "Glad to have you here Mr. Dulles."
"Let's cut the pleasantries until we are inside. I am in dire need of a drink."
The men went inside.
Most of the interior was occupied by stacks of crates and boxes, an olive green painted fork lift. The three men went to a small office. A cheap desk, two wooden chairs and a steel file cabinet were all the furniture.
But as soon as the man in the General’s Uniform closed the door, the floor sank with a humming sound and it was apparent this was a camouflaged elevator platform. The platform kept on descending as the General said. "You might as well sit down, Sir. The descent takes over 20 minutes."
Dulles did sit down on one of the wooden chairs. "Is he already here?"
"Yes Sir, the President is here and has been briefed."
"Would you mind briefing me as well? I know precious little. What this is all about."
It was the man in the white coat who spoke. "I was under the impression you were fully aware of Project Armadillo."
"I am aware of it and I know it is the most secretive and highly classified project in our nation's history. I also know it has to do with the Incident in Roswell, but I was left in the dark otherwise. As I understand something was shot down that should not exist." He shrugged." That’s about the extent of it."
The Admiral nodded towards the white coated man. "You might as well tell him now Dr. Smith. Maybe it will lessen the shock."
Before the scientist could speak Dulles took of his glasses and pulled a handkerchief to clean them. "I assume it wasn't a weather balloon after all, that came down in [[Roswell]?"
"No Sir, it wasn't."
"No Sir, it hasn’t anything to do with the Russians or any other nation on Earth."
"You mean it really is from Outer Space?"
"Indeed, Sir, it is."
The platform slowed down and stopped. Two soldiers with MP sleeve bands and armed with rifles awaited them and led them down a corridor carved out of rock and through a door into a conference room. About twenty other men and women were already there, among them the President himself. He briefly greeted his Secretary of State, a member of his cabinet and a personal friend, and, motioning him to take a seat next to him, said to the Scientist. "We are complete Dr. Smith. You might as well get started right away!"
A pretty looking woman served coffee and drinks while some started to smoke. Dr. Smith placed himself before the U shaped conference table. "Mr. President and everyone else present, I am Dr. John Smith. This is not my real name and this is not my real face. For security reasons it was decided that this is important. Unlike any of you I was not born on this planet you call Earth. I am not human."
He turned and pressed a button at the desk next to him. The wall with the black board behind him lowered into the floor and through what looked like a thick glass window everyone could see six transparent cylinders filled with a watery liquid and in each of the cylinders was an approximately human sized beings with a two arms and legs, large heads with huge black eyes, almost non existing noses and small mouth openings. Somehow human, but at the same time, totally alien, and everyone in the room instantly knew these were not life forms from this planet.
There was a shocked silence, and then some fearful sounding murmurs. One of the uniformed officers actually forgot the cigarette between his fingers and only was reminded of it as the glowing tip reached his skin and he yelped. "Damn! What are those?"
Dr. Smith said. "These are six Ferons, members of an advanced galactic space faring species. These six bodies represent the crew of the craft that was shot down over New Mexico approximately a year ago. There was a seventh but we dissected it for scientific purposes."
The same officer wearing an Air Force Uniform and a General’s star said. "And you are one of them?"
"No Sir. I am not, I am a Pan Saran and I have been stranded on Earth for more than 30 years now, after my escape module crashed on your world."
"And what is your business here?"
The President got up. "Ladies and Gentleman, I personally vouch for Dr. Smith. He has worked for us for a long time and his participation in the Manhattan Project was a deciding factor in its success."
With a glance to Dulles to see his reaction the President gave the signal to the projector operator. The lights dimmed to almost perfect darkness, they could smell the typical odor of hot metal coming from the projector. The first image projected
“I summoned you all here to assist me in forming a new Secret Agency, one that is unlike any other, it must remain more secret than anything else. It must be funded differently, hidden differently and operate outside any and all existing restrictions. Any questions and problems will be dealt with a strict policy of denial and ridicule."
The president made a motion that included all present. "You have been carefully selected to form this secret society, and you are the keepers of these secrets."
A woman said. "I am honored to be chosen and I most certainly will keep these secrets, but why are we to keep this secret? Would the public not have the right to know?"
The president nodded to Smith. "Why don't you explain to them, why this must be kept secret?"
The alien scientist acknowledged and said. "There are many reasons of course, ranging from public unrest to religious problems. The paramount reason however is National Security. Other nations and groups might also have contact or gain contact with Aliens. If the Soviets think we have Alien contacts and access to advanced technology, they might go for a preemptive strike."
He made a gesture towards the alien shapes behind the glass. "As you know now, there are the Ferons and the Pan Sarans, but there are many more out there." He pointed upward. "Hundreds of different species and cultures, each with their own agenda and motivations, some of them are peaceful and seek peaceful coexistence; others are as aggressive and expansionistic as can be. There are species out there that consider primitive cultures like yours as a perfect source for food or slaves. All of them are technologically much more advanced than you are at this stage of development and you would stand no chance against them. What good are your best troops, air planes and ships against an enemy that can bombard the entire surface of this world from space? What are 4 billion humans against empires with hundreds of worlds each holding ten times as much?"
The President nodded. "We know Extraterrestrials exist. We know they have visited our planet in the past and they will do so in the future. We must know if other nations and groups made contact. We must prevent Alien technology from falling into hands other than ours. The survival of not only this nation but of mankind itself is at stake!"
He paused, saw that his words made quite an impact on his listeners and then he continued. "Luckily, from what Dr. Smith tells me our planet is somewhat distant from any of the main traffic routes, but not too far from the Freon Hegemony and well within the Xunx Reach.
Dr. Smith nodded in agreement and added. "The longer we can keep this planet out of galactic interests the better chance we have to develop the necessary technology to defend this world and one day ascend and take our rightful place among all the other species in the Universe."
The woman crushed her cigarette. "This makes sense. You claim to be an Alien yourself and yet you speak as if you are one of us. Are you not an agent of your species first and foremost?"
"I have no allegiance to the Pan Saran Empire. I am married to an earth woman and have children on this planet. I will gladly die and sacrifice everything I have to defend this world even if I was asked to fight Pan Saran."
The President spoke again. "I’ll say it once more; Dr. Smith is beyond approach and can be trusted as much as I trust everyone else in this room. I want you all to make this Secret Society a reality and put every possible safeguard in place. You are the twenty most powerful and influential persons in our nation and most of you have been guarding secrets for a very long time for our nation, who better to guard this the most important secret of all humanity?"
CHAPTER 1 Part 3: Oregon State University
Sid Lemmon, true to his name, made a sour face as he glanced at the lottery ticket, again the right combination of numbers had eluded him and with it the 12 Million Dollars in the Jackpot. He was sure some undeserving schmuck would get it. He crumbled the ticket into a small wad and tossed it quite skillfully into the waste basket almost 12 feet across the musky smelling, high ceiling room. Wooden glass cabinets lined most of the walls displaying a wide variety of Antarctic wild life, either stuffed and mounted or preserved in yellowish tinted formaldehyde or alcohol. It was all neatly labeled, cataloged and categorized. He sighed and returned to his work on the six samples of lichen in six collection containers. Dr. Sid Lemmon was a botanist and quite an authority on these so unassuming and to the layman quite boring symbiotic life forms. Whenever he had to tell someone what he was researching, he usually earned a yawn and all interest faded.
However his expertise had earned him a flight to the ISS space station and he was one of the chosen few who had ever been into space. His experiments had shown that certain Lichen could survive after being exposed to deep space, radiation and all. NASA was interested to see if Lichen could be used as the first step in a possible Terra forming project of Mars, or perhaps with genetic engineering turned into something eatable for gardens of a Lunar Colony. All this was of course many decades away of even being more than just some basic ground research and with the current administrations total disinterest to fund even the most basic space exploration, it moved even further into the future.
He manipulated the slide under the microscope, the large high definition screen next to him now showed the grayish green glob to be a fascinating wild garden of intricate forms. Just as he focused his attention and began to make observation notes, he heard the door.
He specifically had chosen this out of the way, back in the old building room because he loved the quietness in this part of the Oregon State University Campus and wondered who was disturbing him and turned.
He wanted to say something grumpy to whoever had entered his little sanctum but stopped short of saying anything as he was quite stunned by the beautiful red head coming towards him. She wasn't a student and not one of the staff or facility worker. For some reason he expected her to have some sort of Gaelic accent.
"Are you Dr. Lemmon?" She asked with impatience clearly showing in her face. He grinned as his spontaneous intuition proved to be correct, even this short question was thickly laced with an accent that was certainly European.
"Who wants to know?" He asked back.
"Never mind, just answer my question. I see you have a photo ID name tag, you are Dr. Lemmon. I am Sheilagh McMillian and I am outfitting an expedition to the South Pole. I was told you had been down to the South Pole quite a few times and were trying to get there again. When could you leave?"
Sid made a stopping motion with his hands. "Slow down, Ms. McMillian, there are a million questions I need to ask even before I could make such a decision. The first questions that come to mind are: Who are you exactly? Why is there such hurry? Where are we going exactly, as the South Pole is a mighty big place and last but not least, what actually is the purpose of that Expedition?"
She smiled but it was not a very friendly one. "I am sorry Dr. Lemmon. I am just on a tight schedule and wasted an entire day trying to find you, since you never carry a cell phone."
"I simply don't like to be available for everyone and their dog at all times. There is an old land line phone over there on the wall and the staff knows where I am." He explained to her and then he shook his head. "What am I doing explaining all this to you? Would you perhaps find enough time to sit down, take a deep breath and tell me why you are looking for me and what this is all about?"
She wore tight jeans giving evidence to a pair of very shapely long legs, and over it a shiny green Nylon windbreaker. She opened the brief case she was carrying and produced a manila folder with a seal printed on it he knew well, the logo of the Joint Special Operations Command.
Her smile became a little wider. She had a very pretty face with a porcelain complexion and he knew there were freckles under that natural look, barely there make up effort of hers. Her nose was small and tilted upward, her lips big and painted red, matching the very dark coppery tone of her long locks surrounding her like an explosion in freeze frame. Most striking in her appearance were the large, almost impossibly large, dark green eyes. He was certain those eye lashes shadowing those flashing orbs of emerald were real, despite the fact that they had to be at least half an inch long. "I see you recognize the seal. You are hereby reactivated, Lieutenant Commander Lemmon."
Sid's face clouded over and his watery blue eyes glared at her. "That life is over. I got my discharge from the Navy almost 10 years ago. And I am not an O 4 either."
With all her professional energy focused on her mission, she had to admit he was quite handsome. He had not shaved for several days by the looks of that bronzed stubble over his cheeks and pronounced jawbones. His sandy colored hair cut high and tight would still pass regulations. "You know better than that, you can be reactivated at any time, your VA records confirm your disability is down to ten percent."
She opened the manila folder and the passing glance over the documents inside told him she had read it before. "You solo trekked across the Gobi Sesert, solo trekked for a month around the Arctic and Antarctic, explored caves and climbed several major mountains. Not to mention your trip to the ISS. That tells me you are as physically as fit as ever. Oh, and before I forget it, congratulations are in order as your reactivation came with a promotion."
She turned walked to the door. "I will be right back; I just need to run one more errand. Please don't go anywhere. I would hate to spend another day searching for you." With these words and like a red haired Texas Tornado with a Scottish accent she was out the door. Sid stared at the closing glass and wood door and his eyes caught an old US flag on a stand, dusty gray and faded in the far corner.
His military career and old life with the SeALs was suddenly back. He thought he would never hear from them after being discharged as a cripple with a bullet from a Columbian Drug Lord's assault rifle lodged in his spine. Half his guts chewed to bits by 7.62 x 51 mm rifle rounds, fired by the same gold toothed bastard. America wasn't very grateful or kind to its heroes, especially the wounded veterans. Unless you have been wounded in a real war, declared and sanctioned by the Congress your chances of help, support and care were next to nothing. Sid hated the System, hated the politicians who sent men like him in hell holes to do their bidding, to kill and be killed. He hated the liberal bastards who now ran pretty much everything, who had millions at hand if there was an Earthquake or some other national disaster in some far away country, but they didn't even have the 300 dollars for a wheel chair without going through a mountain of paperwork and waiting lists.
Yes he hated them, but he never hated his country. He still got a lump in his throat every time he saw her fly, that Old Glory. The students displaying their pierced and tattooed bodies passed beneath her every day before they came on campus, oblivious to the fact that they could express themselves however they wanted because of what that flag really meant. He walked over to that old sun and time faded flag and brushed the dust off. No one on campus would dare to show a little patriotism in the fear to be stamped right wing supporters and worse. "Back then when I joined the navy, I made that commitment to you." He whispered to the flag," and if you call me again, even if it is most likely some fools errand, I will go.