Beholder: Minister of Alien Affairs

March 26, 2011

“Sir, you can’t stay here.”

The man looked up at the young RCMP officer. “Get that flashlight out of my face, rookie.”

The young RCMP had his retort cut off by his partner’s laugh.

The man sat in a blue fabric lawn chair. He wore a white tank top and blue jeans. His white hair was held in a ponytail just past his shoulders, and his white beard was down past his neckline. He held a long neck bottle in his right hand. “Jim? Is this your fucking idea of a joke.” His blue eyes turned from the young officer to the one laughing in the shadows.

James Jarvis was a thirty year veteran with the RCMP based out of Creston, British Columbia. His hair was a dyed light brown and he had a matching handlebar mustache. “I’m sorry, Norm. Thought it was time we passed the torch.” He stifled a further chuckle. “”Norm Lombardi, this is Officer Sam Hagar.”

Norm glanced up at the young cop with the flashlight. “Like the rock star?”

Sam pulled the flashlight off of Norm’s face. He glanced at his partner’s shadow. “I’m confused. Are we not here to move Mr. Lombardi along?”

Jim looped each of his thumbs through belt loops. “God, no. He’s harmless. The people from the substation want him out, but we just go through the motions.” He paused for a moment. “Turn that light off, Sam. We don’t want to scare them off.”

Sam snapped his flashlight off. “Who?”

“Beer, Jim?” Norm offered.

“Norm, have I ever said yes? You know I’m working.”

Norm chuckled. “Night before you retire…eight weeks, right? Well, that night I will insist, sir.”

Jim shifted and looked up into the starry sky above the Kootenay Mountains. “Sam, you asked who we don’t want to scare. Them.” He pointed into the air. “Norm, here, is the resident expert on UFOs for the Creston Valley.”

Norm reached down and opened the small cooler beside his chair. He jingled bottles and pulled out a fresh one and quickly cracked the twist off seal and dropped the lid back in with a tinkle. “I’ve been abducted three times,” he said proudly.

“No shit?” Sam was obvious with his disbelief.

Jim continued, “Norm is here every night…well, at least when the weather allows. Our job is to make sure he gets home safe as dawn breaks.”

“How does he…? How do you…?”

Norm answered the incomplete question, “I walk or bike up. I live in the trailer park on the Erickson Back Road.”

Sam nodded that he knew the place. “And you’re here every night?”

“Weeknight,” Norm corrected. “Can’t miss the Canuck games on Saturday and with Sunday being the Sabbath and all.”

“You atheist bastard,” Jim crowed and laughed.

“Alright, I watch the Sunday Night Football and then just get lazy the rest of the year.”

Sam’s eyes were wide as he had obvious difficulty grasping this. “Alright, dawn is three hours off. Why are we here?”

“Not much to do most nights here. Norm has some great stories to pass the time.” Jim tossed a plastic bottle the young cop almost missed in the dark. “Diet Pepsi,” Jim answered before being asked. “We can’t drink beer, but caffeine is still okay.”

Norm’s chair squeaked under him. “So what tale shall I tell your young friend to introduce him?”

Jim sat down on the grass. “I’m sure there are many I’ve yet to hear, but maybe Roswell.”

A few crickets chirped in excited agreement.

“Ah, Roswell, good choice.”

July 4, 1947 just over Roswell, New Mexico, USA

“Roger that, we’ll see you on the ground.” Norm guided his plane in the dusk and lined up with the runway. The guages cast an eerie greenish light through the cockpit.

He watched the miniature vehicles passing about one hundred feet below as he glided over the last road before the tarmac. The chop made him adjust his direction twice more before he heard the familiar skid and felt the bump of his rear landing gear touching down.

He brought the Douglas C-47 to a halt and shut down the engines in front of a large gray hanger. Quickly unbuckling, he stood and walked out of the cockpit to find his anxious passenger still peering out the window.

“Minister Clark, welcome to Roswell.” Norm poped open the hatch and lowered it to use as stairs.

Three tall men in cream colour military uniforms approached from the small door directly to the right of the hanger door. The sky was now dark save an orange horizon showing where the sun had run too.

“How many times do I have to tell you that it is Tim?” Minister Clark asked.

“Not anymore, sir. Not until we’re heading home again,” Norm answered and stepped off the aircraft. The 18 year old pilot stepped to the right of the steps and waited at attention for Minister Clark to follow him.

Minister Clark was the youngest Canadian Member of Parliament at 24. He was a small man, full of knowledge. As he stepped off the plane, he was almost a full head shorter than Norm Lombardi. His blonde hair tussled in the light breeze and lights reflected off his clean shaven face.

“Minister Clark?” one of the uniformed men asked.

“Yes, sir.” Clark offerd his hand for shaking.

The three uniformed men stood just far enough back to not be seen clearly in the dark. The centre man stepped forward and shook Clark’s hand.

“Michael Lance. These are my associates,” the man informed and first referred to the man on Clark’s left. “Garcia and White.” Lance had white hair and acne scars on his cheeks and chin which, though clean shaven, still gave him a grizzled look. He had an athletic build that dwarfed even Norm.

Norm cocked his head. Something seemed off.

Clark introduced Norm, “My pilot and escort, Pilot Officer Norm Lombardi of the Royal Canadian Air Force.”

“Welcome, gentleman.  I would say it was a pleasure, but under the circumstances I hope we can dispense with pleasantries for now.  Please follow me.” Lance turned and started walking back towards the hanger.

Clark and Norm followed. Garcia and White stepped behind them. A helicopter batted at the air as it passed above them.

The large hanger door opened and a tanker truck slipped out and past them.

Lance piped up as they started entering the light sliver from the door, “We’ll refuel you now as we don’t have much time before we move the bodies and equipment to Colorado.”

Norm noticed the military uniform on Lance was crisp and clean. “Mr. Lance, might I ask an odd question, sir?” He glanced behind to confirm that Garcia and White were dressed the same. Garcia had a darker complexion, black hair and a mustache. White was bald and near the complexion of an albino with piercing blue eyes.

Lance answered above the tapping of their collective boots. “Minister Clark? Does this man need to know?”

“Considering what he is about to see, yes. Going forward Lombardi will be my advisor and right hand man.”

Lance chuckled and glanced back at Norm. “Hear that, son? You’ve been promoted to henchman.”

Garcia and White joined in the collective chuckle behind.

“I know what you are going to ask,” Lance spoke as the group entered through the door the tanker had pulled out from. “We are neither army, navy, air force nor marines. I like to refer to us as the men in black.”

Clark nodded and smacked Norm on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, Norm. We’re amongst friends.”

Lance continued as he led them past another tanker and towards an area segregated by drapes, “Your Minister Clark here is the expert in the projects we work in.”

Other than their voices and footsteps, the room was eerily silent.

Lance stopped and turned around at the split in the lang black curtains. His brown eyes drove holes into Norm. “Do you believe in God?”

Norm nodded. “Of course, sir.”

“Well, that makes one of you. After what you are about to see, that may change.”

The group entered the curtained area.  Norm was initially shocked by how cool the area felt as somehow the curtains were enough of a barrier to help refrigerate the area.  Ahead there were glassed walls where men in glass helmets and white suits worked.

Lance led the group to the first window.  “This was the pilot we pulled from the wreckage.”

Norm looked in the window and saw that the men in the white suits and glassed helmets were around a naked man.  The man was extraordinarily tall and bald but otherwise appeared nondescript.  “What’s special about him?”

Lance chuckled and answered, “We have three other of his crew in the surrounding chambers.  All dead from the crash.  All are measured at more than nine foot tall.”

Norm’s eyes widened.  The glass deceived him as he did not expect that answer.  “You mentioned wreckage?”

Lance nodded and beckoned them to follow him to a set of double metal doors behind the glassed in chambers.

Norm’s eyes went even wider upon sight of the disk like craft.  It looked like something out of one of the science fiction films he had taken his high school sweetheart, Becky to see.  The craft almost looked like shiny black rubber, not even metal.  It was about forty feet in diameter and had a pyramid point in the centre on top.  More men in white suits scurried about, no helmets required here, however.

“This is the third craft we have recovered from a crash in three years.  The frequency has increased and the crafts now appear to be armed.”  Lance looked back at his charges.

Norm noticed that Minister Clark had a small note pad and was jotting down details.

Clark looked up at Lance.  “Why Nebraska?”

“We’re doing a double cover here.  First we will,” he said and put his fingers up for quotes, “‘float’ the idea that it was a weather balloon.  Too many locals saw it, so the conspiracy types will jump on that.  We will then let slip that we have moved it to area 51.”

Clark nodded.  “In Nevada.”

“Let’s call it slight of hand,” Lance continued.  “The folks will think it is in this hand, being Nevada.  Instead, we will have it with the rest of these crafts in this hand, being Nebraska.”

Norm listened and one question that came to mind, “Are those beings human?”

Lance chuckled again.  “Kind of beats the shit out of the Book of Genesis, now don’t it?  Yessir, they are human even though they are a bit taller than we are.”

Clark looked up once more from his pad.  “Do you have something for me?”

Lance nodded and pointed at Garcia.  Garcia held an envelope out for Clark.

“Then I have all I need.  Thank you, gentlemen.  Time to go before we raise the wrong suspicions.”

“Wrong suspicions, sir?” Lance asked.

“You will be raising the right ones.  Weather balloon and area 51 are perfect covers.  Keep up the good work and I will have my report to you in a couple of days.”

The group was led back out to the C-47 and within ten minutes Norm had them airborne again.  This time, however, Clark sat next to him in the co-pilot seat.

“Discretion, Norm.  No one else can hear about what we just saw.  Do I have your promise on that?”

Norm looked at the man who once babysat him as a child.  “I gave you that promise before we left, Tim.  It is still a secret that is safe with me.”

“Good,” Tim smiled.  “I fear there is an invasion coming.  The problem is, we have no idea from whom or from when.”

“You mean where, right?”

Tim shook his heads.  “That wasn’t a space craft.”

March 26, 2011

Sam almost coughed Diet Pepsi out his nose.  “Man, what were they?”

Norm smiled and drained his fourth beer since the story began.  “Suns coming up, so best we end here.  Come back tomorrow, and more shall be revealed, my son.”

All three men laughed and toasted the first rays of sun shooting over the Kootenay Mountains.

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