The clock reads eleven O'clock and my lecture draws to a close. Several students are already closing their notebooks. One girl takes out a cell phone, there's no watch on her olive skinned wrists so she must be trying to confirm the time. With a sip of water from my water bottle, I clear my throat signaling that I am indeed finished with my lecture.
"Please remember that we will be discussing Ambrose's The Wild Blue next week. I expect your research proposals then," I say. My World War II history class begins to exit the classroom. Two students in particular approach me. One of them has long hair and dark brown eyes, small odd details like that help me remember his name. He is John, though his last name seems to escape me right now. He wears simple t-shirts that reference bands that I don't care to know about and tends to sport some knee length cargo shorts. He seems like the lazy type of student, but he is always prompt with his work and it is always very exceptional work to say the least. The other student is a girl with very short hair and grey eyes with a nose ring through her left nostril, Claire I believe. Her personality doesn't match her appearance at all. I have the strangest students.
"Dr. Swisher," John gets my attention, "I have an appointment on Tuesday and I'm not sure I'll be back in time for class on Tuesday." It's a simple enough problem, and just the reason why I have my students make a research proposal on a book the day of the discussion. There research has to be based on a topic discussed within the book and it must reference specific items in the book several times. It's a good way to insure that they read the book by the time it is due to be finished without wasting a day of class on a test.
"Just make sure you hand in your proposal on Monday afternoon
then. My office hours are till three," I say. He nods and thanks
me and walks way.
"Um," Claire hesitates before she speaks, she seems to be a shy girl. Smiling at shy students sometimes helps them feel more comfortable, so I always make sure to do that. In Claire's case, an undergraduate sophomore, it really does help her. She doesn't say anything, something behind me catches her attention so I turn around to see exactly what it is. Behind me at the door stands a woman, perhaps mid twenties. It's hard for me to tell age sometimes. I have never seen her before and she has no notebooks or text books in her hands, not even a bag or a purse. Hazel eyes and deep brown hair let loose around her shoulders. A name doesn't come up, not even a memory of passing her by between buildings or in hallways. She's wearing a blue summer dress, not exactly something that most college students wear during a Thursday morning.
"Can I help you?" I ask her.
"No," she smiles and takes a step inside the room, "But you do need mine."
"I'll…see you next week," Claire says and scurries past the strange lady despite my attempts to have her ask whatever it is she was going to ask. If it is something important she'll send me an email anyway. The strange lady takes a step away from the door again and towards one of the desks. She scans the room and sits down crossing her legs.
"You're doing research on air defenses in World War two in southern California, right?" She says.
"Who are you?" I ask. There are a few students crowding the area around the door in the hallway, the next class is waiting to come in. It's not my class; it is Dr. Vasquez's History of the Modern Middle East class. Both our classes are only ten minutes apart in the schedule, so his students are usually waiting by the door towards the end of my class.
"We should go to your office," the strange lady says.
"I'm sorry," I respond, "But I have a lot of work to do, perhaps another day."
With my things inside my bag I make my way to the door and let the students know that they can move in for their class. The strange lady walks up beside me and gesture forwards with her arm.
"So we'll talk in your office then," She says. She's very persistent and the fact that she has not mentioned her name or why she wishes to talk to me makes her mysterious. Mysteries are a weakness to my inquiring mind, which is why history has become a life for me. I am most interested in the unexplained events in history, things that have yet to be understood properly and may never be understood have quite a special allure. It's like opening a present after weeks of anticipation, only that I don't always finish opening it.
"What kind of man says no to pretty girl more than once?" She says with a smile, the kind that I give to put shy students at ease so that they can feel free to speak their minds. She's trying to make me more comfortable with her, it is working. Her joke does make me smile a bit.
"Sorry lady," I say lady for I don't know what to call her, "You're too young for my taste. But I guess hearing you out won't hurt."
"Great!" She exclaims. We both begin to push through the crowd of students as they filter through the hall way entering and exiting different classrooms and seminar rooms. There's always a giant crowd along the stairwell. She doesn't say anything on the way down. Outside we begin to walk across campus to the main admin building where my office is located.
"I'm sorry," I say, "I didn't catch your name." She doesn't say anything; maybe I should have just left there at the classroom. We enter the old Admin building which also houses several classes but mostly offices.
"My office is just up these stairs," I say and gesture towards the stairs down the hallway.
"Good," She says, "I look forward to seeing your office. I hear that professors have the most interesting collection of books." It's hard to figure out just how to respond to that, or what to think. But the lack of a name has not escaped my notice. Pure curiosity propels me to move on with this particular mystery. Half way up the stairs she holds my arm and yanks me back. She looks at me as I turn to face her.
"Hey," I protest
"Shh!" she hushes me and speaks with a whisper, "Don't say yes to them, not yet. Ask them for some time."
"What? Who?" I ask. There are footsteps heading towards the stairs.
"Stop asking questions and just do it," She responds harshly, "Trust me. I'll talk to you after." She lets go of my arm and takes a step back. The footsteps are now closer, so I turn to look up to see who is coming. Two men dressed in dark suits approach me. One of them has brown skin with sunglasses covering the exact nature of his eyes. In his hands he carries a large beige envelope. His hair is cut short, but looks like it could be curly. The other is slightly taller, fair skinned with brown eyes and dark hair. Brown eyes pulls something out of his suit, brown skin does the same thing.
"Doctor Jeffry Swisher?" Brown Eyes says and I nod confirming my identity, "I'm Agent Grant of the Department of Defense and this is Agent Ramirez." Agent Grant gestures toward his partner. Both their hands brandish bright golden badges from the Department of Defense. I glance at their pictures in the ID cards that they carry; Ramirez seems to have black eyes.
"We need to talk to you about," Agent Ramirez says, "Mind taking us to your office for a word?" It sounds more like a command than a request. I turn around and find that the strange lady is not there. The two agents stare at me waiting for a response.
"What is this about?" I ask.
"It would be best if we could speak in a private location, such as your office, sir," Agent Grant says.
"Staircases aren't really known for their privacy, if you know what I mean," Agent Ramirez says. Agent Grant's eyes shoot a quick glance at his partner and something around them twitches slightly at his comment. This is turning into a very strange day for me, but regardless, refusing to entertain federal agents isn't really an option. So I lead them up the rest of the stairs and walk past a few doors and unlock the door to my office.
Inside my office, I move to take a seat behind my desk which is an engineered wooden desk with an estate black finish. Perched on it are a few books and my laptop with a small flower pot on one corner. Surrounding the desk are a few book shelves, a window with more plants, and a sofa on one side. Both agents sit on the two cushioned chairs in front of the desk.
"Now what is this about?" I ask again.
"Is it true that you have been lately researching US air defenses on the West Coast during World War Two?" Agent grant asks me.
"Yes," I respond, "I am making a book about the fear of invasion that was prevalent in that era. The defense placed on coastal cities is a major part of my book."
"You also have some friends who hooked you up with some lost archived documents about the air defenses in Los Angeles, right?" Agent Ramirez asks.
"I'm not sure where this is going?" I say.
"Doctor," Agent Grant speaks, "I'm afraid to inform you that those documents that you received contain classified information and that we are here to retrieve it."
"Classified?" I blurt out and nearly jump out of my seat, "Those files are over eighty years old, how could possibly still be classified?"
"Wow," Agent Ramirez says holding his hand up, "Slow down a bit Doc." I straighten myself up a bit. It took me months to get my hands on those archived files. The first time I even learned about their existence was nearly a year ago and had to track them down. The air force was no help, so I had to call in several favors. The files contain multiple reports and transcripts of interviews and photos that no historian has ever seen. Not only would it mean publishing a book, it would also mean publishing endless papers on what information they may contain.
"The situation is a little hard to explain due to matters of national security," Agent Grant says, "However, we also have a court issued gag order." Agent Ramirez pulls out a document from the envelope and hands it over to me. My eyes glance over the legal jargon and manage to pick up the specific information.
"Because of the nature of those files you are limited to the research you are allowed to publicize or discuss," Agent Grant explains.
"Maybe you could write about something else," Agent Ramirez says, "Something a little more interesting like who killed Kennedy. But don't think you can challenge this gag order. It's may not be very strong, but the alternative involved is not pleasant." Agent Grant grunts a little and stares at Agent Ramirez. Was he supposed to tell me that the gag order can be challenged?
"What alternative?" I ask cautiously.
"You've been applying to the Air Force History Studies Office, correct?" Agent Grant asks.
"Yes," I say. I've been attempting to join their staff for the past two years. The book that I am working on would go a long way to getting favorable reviews from several military historians. The discovery of new never before seen documents would definitely help me get in.
"The Air Force does not deal with undesirable individuals," Agent Grant says, "Furthermore, other agencies would have to investigate the exact nature of your methods to gain access to classified information. I am sure your university would not appreciate that."
He's blackmailing me, but why? What can possibly be in those files? Agent Ramirez removes a packet of papers from his envelope and places it on the desk in front of me. The packet makes a slight thud upon landing and I can only look up after staring at it for a moment.
"You've been studying the events that unfolded in the night of February 24th, 1942 in Los Angeles," Ramirez says, "We just love to get a lecture from you about that at some point, that is if you are willing to help us out a little. You know, you scratch our backs and we scratch yours."
"Sign this none-disclosure agreement, and the gag order will not keep you from your research at all," Agent Grant says, "Of course you still wouldn't be able to publish anything without or approval." Agent Grant removes a pen from his pocket and hands it over to me. Each page on the non-disclosure agreement requires my signature and at least half a dozen initials. In 1942 in that February night several anti aircraft guns opened fire at reported sightings of low flying enemy aircraft. A city wide blackout was quickly instituted and search lights frantically were aimed at the dark sky riddled with black bursts of flak rounds exploding. Those small clouds of smoke prompted even more sightings of enemy aircraft which was responded with even more fire. Two million people were left scared to their wits expecting a rainstorm of bombs falling on their homes ending a peaceful existence only to find out that nothing was shot down and that only one picture of search lights illuminating a series of anti aircraft shell bursts and a few scattered reports failed to explain what happened.
"How much do you know about the 'air raid' of Los Angeles during World War Two?" I ask both agents. They look at each other for a moment and Agent Grant exhales in frustration.
"We know enough to understand that you are in the middle of finding out exactly what happened that night," Grant says.
"There were reports of Imperial Japanese activity along the coast not too long before, however after the war the Japanese reported that they sent no aircraft. We have never been able to identify who fired the first shot, which I find rather strange if the military did think that the Imperial forces were making a run for the city," I say. The strangest thing is that there were allegations that four aircraft were shot down within Hollywood. What I found the most strange is a connection between Truman's establishments of the Office of Strategic Services. There are a few files from the OSS in the three boxes that my friend sent over to me. Those must be the very files that these two agents are trying to take from me. The OSS was transferred from the War Department to the Defense Department upon its reorganization as the Central Intelligence Agency. But these can't be CIA, they can't censor American Citizens on American soil like this.
"Look pal," Agent Ramirez says, "Just say yes or no to our offer. We aren't here right now to answer questions or talk history." That strange woman told me not to say yes right away, but how would she know? None of this is making much sense, but truth be told, I am tempted to sign the non-disclosure agreement and just find out what this is all about. Maybe if I can talk to her a before I commit to anything, she might be able to tell me what I am getting myself into.
"Can I have some time to think about it?" I ask, "This is all very overwhelming." The two agents look at each other for a moment and get up. Agent Ramirez picks up the non-disclosure agreement packet.
"We'll see you in a few hours," Agent Grant says, "We need an answer soon." They both walk out the door and close it behind them. The boxes that I got from my contact at the state archives are at home. It is time to take a good look at those files before they disappear, which I don't doubt that is will happen. Leaving the safety of my desk, I reach towards the doorknob. However, the door opens on its own. That strange lady stands before me for a second and inches around me closing the door. She walks towards the desk and spots the sofa and sits there with her legs crossed.
"What…" I can't finish my question at first, "Alright lady, you will tell me exactly what is going on here now."
She smiles at me and says, "Someone is feeling very demanding today. Why don't you sit down first before you keep wagging your finger at me?" My head tilts to the side and my eyes get tense. A bit of my nose flares and my lips press tightly in annoyance. That sensation of nerves and confusion rushes through my veins making filling me with impatience.
"Who are you?" I ask.
"You will have to sign that non-disclosure agreement later on," She says avoiding my question, "Don't go home, they are watching you and will take your chance away if you start acting oddly."
"How do you know about that?" I ask again, "What is going on here?"
"First, sit down," She says, this time without a smile and a little edge in her voice robbing it of any pleasantness that it had before, "now." It really doesn't make any difference if I am up or down, so I decide to sit down if that's what it takes to get her to talk. She doesn't smile; her expression is neutral as she starts to talk again, "What they will show you will seem like a good thing. However, they are playing with fire and will cause this whole world to burn before its time."
"Tell me what you know about the air raid on February 24th," she says. A short pause and I get up to pace around the room. It's how I can lecture the best, it helps to think things out loud and she seems to know what is going on. It seems like a good idea to comply with her request, only that it didn't really sound much like a request.
"Fine," I say, "After the Pearl Harbor attacks, the 37th CA Brigade was reorganized and as a result lost some man power. At that time people were highly suspicious of Japanese Americans and suspected that there was a large network of spies within the United States planning sabotage." My throat feels dry so I poor myself a glass of water and take a long sip. The cool liquid washes down allowing me one minute of respite to clear up my mind.
"There were reports of Imperial Japanese activity along the coast on the 23rd. An Imperial submarine surfaced and fired several shots to the coast with its 5 ½ inch guns causing minor damage to piers and oil wells. Many feared an imminent air raid. Japanese have also been suspected of launching air balloons, but that wasn't the case. Once someone started opening fire the night of the infamous faux raid, the shell bursts were mistaken by the gunners as enemy aircraft. The underlying hysteria and paranoia prevalent took over and people started to see random things out of fear and irrational thought."
"That's all?" she asks.
"Yes," I respond, "After the War, the Japanese government reported that no aircraft were sent over Los Angeles, further investigations revealed nothing out of the ordinary and the whole thing was attributed to nervous gunners who were spooked by their own shadows." Her lips press together into a shorter version of her previous smile. There's a slight glint in her eyes, she knows exactly what happened, and so do the two agents.
"What is this about then?" I ask.
"Secrets, Doctor, it's all about pathetic secrets," the lady says.
"What do you know?" I ask and take a seat on the cushioned chair.
"I know that they want you to work for them. They are looking into things that will get them into trouble far before they are ready to deal with it. And the fact that they are keeping it a secret means that they simply won't be ready for when the day comes." She stands up walks towards the window. Her hands start feeling leaves of my window plants, and it looks like if she's staring outside.
"Your fate hasn't been decided yet. I have too much work left to do," she says, "So I want you to go with them and just lead them in the right direction."
"My fate?" I ask
"Everyone's fate, Doctor Swisher," she says. That is enough. I take her arm and yank her around. Quickly my hand that is wrapped around her bare arm burs up. My instinctive reflex kicks into action along with a squeal followed by some swearing that results from the pain of the blistering heat. With my other hand tending to my burnt hand I look at her eyes which seem to have an odd grayish color. She takes a step towards me and I back up.
"What…what was…who?" I mumble unsure of what to say or think. My hand was just burnt by the lady's arm. Her neutral expression, tightly held lips, slightly raised eyebrows, and taught cheeks, betrays something that I cannot identify. What is she?
"Do not touch me again," she says. I run out of room to retreat thanks the desk behind me. She stands right in front of me and my hand still hurts.
"You will not leave campus and you will sign those papers when they meet you again. Please, do this for me and for yourself. You can save yourself if I am convinced that you are one of the few," she says. There is a pleading tone to her voice, it's not threatening. She grabs my burnt hand. I pull away and push her back, but holds on. My hand no longer hurts, in fact it feels okay. She lets go and my hand is surprisingly healed from its former redness.
"Who are you?" I ask once more. She doesn't answer and walks around the desk and towards the door. She opens it and turns her head to face me.
"Do remember one thing for me. Don't tell them everything you know," She says and closes the door behind her.
The following hours are numb. I take a walk, eat lunch at the dining hall, and then teach a class. After that, I take another walk and sit on bench in the quad, a central plaza sitting in the middle of the most used halls where hundreds of students pour out of at the end of the class. As the hoards of college students begins to thin out two men in suits, Agents Grand and Ramirez, sit beside me on the bench.
I sign the papers, they escort me to their car and place a hood on me blocking my view of the world around me. A few hours of driving is followed by walking and stopping and several beeps and greetings exchanged between the agents and unidentified persons. Then we stop and the floor drops, but not fast enough for me to lose contact with it. I must be on an elevator.
The falling sensation stops, they remove my hood, and we walk out of an elevator into large lobby with several people crossing paths. Some people are sporting lab coasts, other uniforms, and others have regular cloths ranging from business casual to suits. The Agents take me across the lobby with the high ceiling. Two uniformed military guards walk by escorting a woman in restraints. She has brown eyes and blond hair. Her right ear is holding back a strain of hair, her eyes dart right at the two agents; they avoid making eye contact with her.
We arrive at a small conference room. There, inside are three people. One of them is Niall Ferguson, how could I not recognize him? His brown eyes and a slightly plump face stares at me. His hair, now mostly grey, is combed back. He's an economic historian that likes to play with counterfactual history. One my book reviews dealt with one of his books on World War I and II and whether or not Europe would have been better off if Germany had won World War I. A lot of his ideas don't seem very scholarly to me, especially his claims that Western Europe dominated the world in his books. By the time the Europeans had enough to conquer the Asians, they already lost vast areas of the Americas.
"Doctor Swisher," he greats me, "welcome, we are all glad that you decided to join us." He offers me his hand; I shake it in good manners.
"This is Doctor Konstantin Novoselov," he says. Novoselov has a roundish head, graying brown hair and dark eyes with thick eyebrows and a small blemish on his cheek. We both shake hands and exchange the proper greeting. The scientist has an odd British accent when speaking.
"He's a prominent physicist," Ferguson says, "And this is Agent Sullivan." A dark skinned woman with black eyes and short straightened hair. We also exchange proper greetings with a hand shake. Agent Sullivan has us all sit down at the long wooden conference table.
"Doctor Swisher," She says, "I am sure that you have a lot of questions. We will be answering some of them. However the level of security clearance that you will receive is dependent on the time you spend with us and the level of your cooperation. Let me remind you that what you are about to hear is highly classified information."
"What is this place?" I ask. Agent Sullivan looks at Agent Grant.
"We are part of the CIA's Special Activities Division," Agent Grant says, "We operate outside of the main branch of SAD. Our job is to continue the original mandate given to the X-Project."
"The X-Project was started by President Roosevelt and embedded in the Office of Strategic Services within the Secret Intelligence branch." Agent Ramirez says and hands out a document, an old OSS report.
"This was the X-Project's first investigation. Air Force Intelligence did indeed shoot something down in Hollywood. They called it a weather balloon of unknown origin that caused the first shots to be fired in the fake air raid over Los Angeles."
"Recent work done on that balloon reveals that it is not of human origin," Novoselov says, "What was shot down was not Japanese, American, or German. The X-Project continued to investigate any weird sighting and occurrence and also to keep it secret."
"At that time they still believed it to be of enemy origin," Agent Sullivan says, "That caused all sorts of problems when the Germans started flying around in jet fighters. In 1977, the Big Ear Telescope detected a fraction of a signal that broke off from Quantum Space. We have kept the entire signal a secret and studied it. It is indeed of alien origin."
There is nothing that I can say, what could I say? Ferguson begins talking about how keeping it a secret is necessary or else the economy would collapse as a result of the unrest such a secret would reveal. His work in economic history and his fetish with counterfactual history seems to have convinced someone that what he says is credible. But it makes sense. The Arab Spring sent gas prices up the roof and made many people worry. It didn't help the country in its recovery from the Great Recession, as many are calling it these days. Could the fear of alien invasion really cause a fury of panic that would destabilize the economy enough to make us weak?
"During World War II the Western Allies heard about the Holocaust, but they were reluctant to release such information to the public with any intent to act on it. Many people saw such reports as British and Russian propaganda to get the US to act in war. Then too many Americans were willing to turn a blind eye since the primary victims were Jews," Ferguson explains, "Often in human history information that counters previous notions is ignored, and new evidence is buried. If we were to release what we know right now, not only would we have to deal with different nations racing to make exclusive contact with alien species, we would also face the social backlash from mainstream factions. Others would deny the threat posed and voice economic concerns to avoid any form of preparation, as we saw during Pre-World War Two America. Many Americans used the Great Depression as a pedestal for isolation."
"Stock brokers and various investors will panic and their reactions are quite frankly hard to predict. They could case a crash in the stock market. The resulting crash of the market would make any continued mobilization impossible or insignificant. Our ability to develop a network of defense systems without the knowledge of the public would be severely compromised," Ferguson continues to speak, "So you can see exactly why we can't allow this to be public knowledge. Either way, contact with Europeans proved disastrous for the Native Americans who became divided and saw Europeans as a weapon they could use against their rivals. We are still very much the same race, if the public knew, we would be unable to cooperate with our partners in over three dozen nations."
"Though we are working to prepare," Agent Grand interjects, "Slowly we are gathering an underground network of scientists and experts that will help keep this a secret and develop methods to mobilize as many countries as possible if we are to encounter hostile aliens. The X-Project was made international during World War Two in a secret meeting of the original charter members of the United Nations. X-agencies were embedded so deep into the governments of the allied forces that not even their leaders could use them as leverage."
"Just to give you some more insight on what's going on, Dr. Novoselov will brief you on what Quantum space is, Doctor?" Agent Sullivan speaks.
"Yes," Novoselov says, "We discovered Quantum space thanks to the 1977 incident. A few scientists began discussing the possibility of a pocket dimension hidden between different P-branes that would account for the folding of space and time that makes wormholes possible yet would reconcile both classical and quantum physics. We have looked into neutrino oscillations and have determined that neutrinos are connected via gravitons to 'partner' particles in Quantum Space. Ereditato's faster than light Neutrino incident actually confirmed that Quantum Space neutrinos behave in a manner counter to that of the laws of nature. Therefore we can safely assume that in Quantum space, the laws of nature as we know it cease to exist. It allows for the existence of hyper luminous particles such as a very rare form of neutrinos that at times leak into normal space via neutrino oscillation. When neutrinos oscillate from, say muan to tau neutrinos, their energy bands interact with Quantum Space that causes the change. "
"Okay," I say, "What does this mean?"
"It means that if these neutrinos, which are subatomic particles, can leak out of Quantum space, gravitons, the theoretical gravity particles, have their origin in Quantum space. Gravity bends light as proven by black holes. If a Quantum Space particle can do that, then it can also achieve hyper luminous travel. We may be able to communicate across stars instantly and even travel faster than the speed of light," Novoselov continues his rant, "Photons are just one of many energy bubbles of radiation. Other forms of radiation are radio waves and gamma waves. These energy bubbles travel at the speed of light and bounce off of a surface causing that surface to vibrate, that's how radio antennas work. If there are Quantum Space particles like gravitons that can displace radiation like visible light, then there could be Quantum Space particles that displace things like radio waves. We believe that radio waves at the frequency of 1.42 Gega Hertz was displaced by a few neutrinos that managed to leak out of Quantum Space.
"What Doctor Novoselov is trying to say," Agent Ramirez interrupts Novoselov's needlessly long and overly technical rant, "that Quantum space is like hyper space in Star Wars. Some little green men out there are flying around in ships at warp speed and sending really fast transmissions. And we cracked their code, and what they say does not sound good."
"Our mission is to enlist a team of highly qualified and reliable scientists, and social scientists including historians to investigate alien threats, study possible responses, advance technologies, and make strategic plans," Agent Sullivan says.
They continue to brief me on how they operate. Apparently I will only know what I need to know in order to research past events looking for possible clues as to what aliens may have come to Earth in the past, and apparently the air raid over Los Angeles is one of such encounters that the OSS investigated upon its inception, and an unsolved case for the X-Project. Agent Grant leads me away from the briefing room and directs me down the hall and into an elevator. From there we move down a few more levels and finally exit and walk to a room.
"This is your office for us," he says and shows me a pretty bland room with a few book shelves, a desk, a table, and a few chairs scattered around. There are three boxes on the table marked 'Property of the Office of Strategic Services.'
"My boxes!" I exclaim, "You took my boxes?"
"We had to make sure that the files were secure," Agent Grant responds, "For now you may get settled. Spend a few minutes looking over the files and plan out the times you'll be here for tomorrow. We'll be taking you back home."
Grant stays in the room and watches me opening one of the boxes. The various files in there are papers and documents available elsewhere and publicly accessible. However, I notice a few files that I have never seen sealed by the Secret Intelligence department of the OSS with one title: "OSS-SI X-Project, Possible Nazi or Japanese Scout Ship."
I sit down and flip through the file. The OSS apparently thought that it was some sort of advanced scout plane that got shot down from the sky. They interviewed several gunners and took their statements; they even made a timeline of events. In the second box I find several images, and one of them catches my eye. There's a picture of one of the fabled, or not so fabled, downed "planes" in the middle of Hollywood. There are several people in the photograph looking at army officials blocking off the crash site. Military Police have their hands up, possibly chasing away the onlookers. There are other men there, some in suits and others in uniform speaking with a few people. Off to the side of them and at a distance, there is a lady standing there. The picture is in black and white, but the face is unmistakable.
The first thing I take notice is her eyes, round with an arched eyebrow over each eye. She has a small nose, slightly sharp cheek bones and straight dark hair running down her back. Her mouth and chin just at the right proportion to complement the rest of her face. It's her, that strange lady. But that's impossible, the picture if from the 1940's. She looks about twenty in that picture, which would make her around a hundred years old! I remember what she said about not saying everything I know, well that seems like the right thing to do. Her arm burnt my hand, she knew about the agents, and she somehow managed to evade their notice. Who is she?
Agent Ramirez walks into the room and says something to Agent Grant. I am too busy moving through the rest of the papers and images trying to look like if I saw nothing interesting in that one picture. A few minutes was what Agent Grant said, so going home would probably be best at this moment.
"Can I return home?" I ask, "It's been a long and overwhelming day."
"Sure," Agent Ramirez says as Agent Grant leaves the room, "Agent
Grant has a few things to deal with so I'll take you back to your
place." We both walk, making our trek back to wherever the
"So you guys, your agency, you cover up these alien encounters?" I ask going into the elevator.
"About ninety percent of conspiracy theories are the result of delusional and paranoid nuts or pathological liars. Five percent of conspiracy theories are a mystery to us. Two percent of conspiracy theories are of our own making, directly or indirectly," Agent Ramirez answers.
"What about the other three percent?" I ask as we walk out of the elevator and down the hall.
"We don't know about that other three percent," he answers, "Maybe they do have a point, maybe there is another agency out there doing things, maybe there is no explanation and they just are. Or it could be aliens."
"I never thought that someone could say 'it could be aliens' and have truth to it," I say.
Ramirez covers my head with a hood and takes me through a maze of doors and security check points, At least that is what I think they are. The car drive is long and silent. Ramirez finally stops the car and removes my head covering. We are parked outside my home. Ramirez lets me out of the car and informs me when he'll be dropping by for me the next day and drives away in his dark sedan.
The sun is setting taking it's precious warm sunlight away from the street. The path up to my door is flanked by a few carefully pruned bushes. My two story house sits comfortably in the suburban neighborhood. At one point I wished to start a family, but I never really got around to it, sadly. Maybe I should, I still have some time before I pass that point where I can no longer have children.
My front door is open, that's strange. Inside the lights are off so I walk into the living room to turn on the lamp in there and just sit down and let the day play through in my mind. That's when I see her. She's in the same dress as before, sitting on the sofa with her legs crossed politely, waiting. Her face is exactly like I remember from the picture, except for the fact that the picture has no color.
"So you see why I need your help?" she says more so than ask.
"You don't want them to know you," I say, "but how could they? Unless they already know your face from a later date than February 1942, a much later date."
"Exactly," she says.
"Why should I help you?" I ask. She stands up and walks up to me and places her hand on my shoulder. She leans in close to my ear and whispers, "because you can't say no to me." She walks around me and picks up a picture of my parents beside the lamp.
"I am running out of patience, lady," I say annoyed at her evasion. She puts the picture down and turns around to face me.
"I have two options. Allow everything you know to crumble or to help protect your world," she says.
"What?" I ask.
"I don't want to work having to hide from your various governments because some men decide to pretend to be smart enough to deal with what is out there," she continues speaking, "I can help you if you help keep me a secret."
"From what's out there?" I say, "You mean the alien transmission we got in the seventies? They are hostile and you can help us prepare for them. But why hide?" She walks over towards the front door.
"Because I haven't decided if you are worth it," she says and opens the door, "Will you help me out?"
This means that we could have an ally. Someone that can help us when we need them. The only problem is that I have no idea if she is an ally, she could be from the same aliens that sent that transmission.
"How do I know that you are not on their side?" I ask.
"You don't," she says. At this point, it is possible to keep her trust. I can find a way of letting the agents know about her and make her think that I am keeping her a secret. Or I could wait and see if she really is telling the truth, but why would she want to be a secret? Furthermore, why does she look so human?
"Where are you from? What are you?" I ask.
"I am a human form artificial construct from a world far more advanced than you can possibly imagine," She says and walks up to me, this time she gets really close, "My home planet is never revealed and we will stay that way. Double cross me and I'll make you sorry you ever met me." She turns around and walks out the door.
"Wait!" I call out, "What's your name?" I ask. There's no answer. I run up to the door and there's no one out there. She's gone, just like when we were at the stairs heading to my office, she vanished when the two agents came down the stairs. She said something about being an artificial construct, is that like a robot? A female robot? Maybe I should call her something other than a "lady." She's not a human, but she's a girl and a robot ofsome kind, a girlbot.