Several security guards materialize like stage hands in their black uniforms, and the man in the shabby blue t-shirt is halted. They lean in to whisper their strict orders, but their eyes soon rise.
“Return to your posts,” says a cool voice. “Come on,” the man says to his companion, pushing him forward through the security. The security reluctantly gives way beneath the flash of a badge, and the unlikely pair continues into the next room.
The man in the baby blue t-shirt does not belong among this rich business class, but the hawk over his shoulder is dressed in power, gripping his confidence like the force and using it to blast the guards against the wall and to open every door he meets.
“Out of the way,” he demands as if it was a matter of safety. His stride is unstoppable, but his guest is causing too many stares.
They soon reach a receptionist’s desk deep within the labyrinth of bureaucracy. The man in the black suit is unfazed. He holds out the badge and an official document for a full peruse. “Sign us in as urgent messengers,” the escort says. “And notify the President that we are about to enter. No questions needed.”
The man in black pushes past the desk, yanking on his guest’s arm. His guest is distracted by the secretary, and he tips his imaginary cap before being pulled around the corner. The secretary is left stunned. Nobody—nobody—moves that fast in this place. She looks down at the document. She has to make a decision: give security the green light or warn the President. She thinks quickly about the disturbing young fellow with the goofy smile and messy hair. He certainly should not be let past. They must do at least a background check for that fellow. Not to mention an interrogation to figure out what he is grinning about.
But the secretary does not have enough time, and she finds herself paging the President before anything else. “Two urgent messengers at your door,” she says. “Agent Dillon and a…guest.”
“Who and who?” cracks the President’s voice. But then he gasps. “They just knocked. On my door…” His voice cracks off the phone, and the secretary sets the receiver down with a lost expression.
The President stands at his desk to glare the intruders down, but his glare quickly turns into a stare as he sees the gentleman in the blue t-shirt. “Who the hell is this?” he breathes.
Agent Dillon is calm and cool as if he is holding the upper hand behind his back. “This is Dr. Smite. Dr. Smite, this is President Thorton.” The two do not shake hands, but mostly because the President is standing five meters away behind a desk of solid oak.
“How the hell did you get him in here, Agent what’s-your-face?”
Agent Dillon takes a few steps and leans forward with a secretive glance. “By wielding the power of code 9.”
The President is silent for a moment, his face blank. “Code 9,” he says. Then his eyes flash, and he gapes at the man in blue, who is grinning again. “Shit damn! Is he an alien?” the President asks.
“Ah…no,” says Agent Dillon. “That would be a code…actually I don’t know what that would be; I didn’t think we had a code for that.”
“Oh, it’s gotta be in the book somewhere. Now tell me who this man is, and what the rundown is for a code 9.”
Agent Dillon motions the man forward. “He has evidence of a phenomenon that presents a threat to national security.”
“Threat to national security, you say?” The President sighs. “Right, right. Go on then.”
Agent Dillon waves to Dr. Smite. “You have the floor.”
Dr. Smite nods vigorously a few too many times for comfort. Then he waves a flash drive. “Do I have time for a slideshow?”
“Heavens no,” says the President, automatically. “Just give me the lowdown. The intro, if you will.”
Dr. Smite nods again to the disgust of the two diplomats. “’K,” he says. “Well, the anomaly pertains to the coordinates 42N by 75W.”
“Where’s that? The middle east?” asks the President.
“No sir,” says Agent Dillon. “That’s Pennsylvania.”
The President blinks. “Of course,” he says. “What’s in Pennsylvania?”
“Something wondrous,” says Dr. Smite. “And completely unexplainable. It boggles the mind.”
“And it may sound like science fiction, indeed it reminds one of a particular episode of star trek, but the point is, if you let me outline my premature hypothesis—I was to do more tests, but this man shipped me away on his private jet before I could undergo—anyway, the point is, I detected from a distance that there is a very large object radiating a fascinating mix of disjointed gamma and alpha photons. From a few quick calculations—still from quite a distance—I determined the coordinates and size of the object. It is at least the size of a stadium. Except!” The man punches the air with a large finger. “It is completely invisible to the eye and to meteorological effects! I know! It sounds impossible, right? But besides the radiation, it is as if it isn’t even there! In fact—”
“Dr. Smite,” says Agent Dillon. “That will be enough for now. If you would just wait a moment for me to translate. Then you can continue.” Agent Dillon turns to the President as if it is only a matter of explanation to remove the President’s mask of horror. Dr. Smite jitters into silence, and Agent Dillon begins to translate.
“Two words: ‘invisible’ and ‘radiation’. The radiation could mean that terrorists are manufacturing nuclear weapons, and they are doing so in a nearly invisible facility.”
The President blinks. “In Pennsylvania?”
Agent Dillon nods and then turns to Dr. Smite to whisper a few private words. “Just a different style of presentation,” he explains. “You do want the President on your side, don’t you?”
“Now Agent Dillon,” says the President. “I presume that this is only the…premature hypothesis, right?”
Agent Dillon is impressed. “Why yes. No cause for alarm. Only immediate action. I suggest you start with a quick aerial. Helicopter would be best.”
The President lets out a breath of relief. “Excellent.” But his face freezes as he recognizes the subtle signs that Dr. Smite would like to speak. The man is shaking on the spot and scratching his side.
“If I could just say one more thing,” he blurts.
Agent Dillon gives him a cold look. “One. Small. Thing,” he says carefully.
“If this phenomenon is truly a facility of some sort, created by sentient beings I mean, then surely they would have further security. I mean, looking at this anomaly as technology is astounding! I can only imagine inventing something as advanced as that!”
The other two blink for a moment, trying to decipher what this means. The President is hoping that this won’t change the helicopter plan. He’d rather leave it at that and get back to his morning newspaper. And Agent Dillon is wondering how to bend these new words into something of power.
“Indeed,” Agent Dillon says. “This technology is extremely advanced. Imagine if the military had that sort of technology. Better make it a military helicopter,” he says. The President lets out another breath.
“Good,” Agent Dillon says. “So it is settled.”
But the President’s face freezes one last time. “Did he say…sentient beings?”
“Just another word for conscious, intelligent,” says Agent Dillon immediately. “He means humans obviously.”
The President is unsure. “Why be so general?”
“He’s a…scientist. That’s how they talk,” says Agent Dillon. He really wishes to say, ‘He’s a nerd. So he has to be open to the chance of aliens.’
But the word ‘alien’ does not need to be said. The President is already caught in a dilemma somewhere between aliens and terrorists. At last he sighs in further relief, having come to a conclusion. The military is the only solution to either. And so he raises his fist and says, “We will investigate immediately. Now both of you—go away.”