Smith boarded the Jeep he had parked next to the building, and Lopez took the front passenger seat. They had to wait a moment for Deltare to climb into the vehicle, struggling with her new skirt and heels. She eventually managed to plop into one of the small back seats. Smith put the Jeep in gear.
They drove a few hundred yards to the central part of the base. As they approached another sheet metal hangar, Deltare noticed it was completely surrounded by a tall chain link fence that was topped off with a heavy roll of barbed wire. They were stopped at the fence’s gate by a heavily armed guard. The intimidating guard walked up to the Jeep with his finger on the trigger and barked a hello to Officer Smith, clearly recognizing him. He then turned his gaze to the two passengers in the Jeep. “My agents,” Smith explained. “Here,” he said, handing the guard some papers.
The guard took a few steps back to inspect the papers, while keeping the Jeep and its passengers in clear sight. He looked back to Smith, then to his passengers, and back to the papers. After several long moments he seemed to be satisfied. He returned the papers, opened the gate and passed them through.
Smith drove the Jeep right up to the people door of the large airplane hangar. Deltare noticed the number “50” over the door. The question, “Why ’50’?” breezed through the back of her mind, barely registering. Certainly there were not fifty buildings on this small base.
Smith shuffled through the keys on his key ring, found the right one, and opened the dead blot of the heavy steel door. He reached inside and turned on the lights. They walked in.
Smith, Lopez and Deltare found themselves in a small reception room which appeared to serve as a briefing area. A blackboard hung on the far wall, with a small desk in front of it. In front of the small desk were a few rows of fold-up chairs, suggesting a small classroom. In that spirit, Smith delivered a short briefing.
“Now don’t interrupt me and listen,” Smith ordered. “On July 4, 1947, an alien spacecraft crashed down near the small town of Corona, very close to this location. President Truman had to act very quickly when the information finally reached him some days later. He mobilized the local National Guard to contain the area, and then involved the Army and the Air Force to finish the job. He had all the spacecraft debris that could be found brought to this location, where it was meticulously repaired and reconstructed. This base had been known as the Roswell Army Air Field for many years, but as part of the many changes that happened after this incident, Truman changed the name to Walker AFB. That and many other things were done to keep this all a secret, for the sake of the national defense. Truman then created the Central Intelligence Agency specifically to contain the intelligence that has been gathered here, because he did not trust Hoover and his FBI to keep this matter a secret from the American people, and from the world for that matter.”
Lopez reached over and squeezed Deltare’s hand. Whether all this was real or not, it was certainly exciting!
Smith continued, “The spacecraft has given us some insight into the enemy’s intentions, and we have learned a few things from the technology, at least from the technology we are able to understand. We believe this spacecraft was a reconnaissance ship. There was plenty of instrumentation, likely intended to gather data, but no weapons were onboard. We believe there was some sort of malfunction that caused the craft to crash down.”
Deltare began to ask a question, but Smith stopped her with a firm flash of the palm of his hand.
“But by far the most important discoveries here have to do with the alien itself. Up to this point, as far as we know, there had never been a confirmed first-person contact with an alien, even though there is good evidence of 49 invasions all over the world prior to this. But now there is no doubt as to the existence of these invaders. The alien we found was essentially intact, other than for the crush injury to the head and chest which caused its death. It has had a very careful post-mortem examination by the best pathologists from Walter Reed, and by Dr. Michael DeBakey, who you know has been the pet doctor of Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower.”
By now, Deltare and Lopez were in rapt attention. Smith paused, amused at the look of anticipation on the faces of his little audience. “What? No questions?” he asked. “Well… then let’s go examine the goods. I’ll tell you more as we go along.”
Lopez and Deltare bolted out of their chairs, almost knocking them over, while Smith unlocked another heavy door, this one leading into the hangar itself. Inside the dark hangar, he went directly to a bank of switches on the adjacent wall and flipped them on one by one. Bright lights lit the space of the large room in sequence.
The ship occupied a large portion of the hangar space. It glimmered in a bath of flood lights from the ceiling. It had an unusual disc-like shape. Smith said, “Yeah, I know, not your idea of a typical flying saucer, huh? DeBakey calls it a ‘biconcave disc, like a red blood cell.’”
“Can we touch it?” Lopez ventured.
“Yes,” replied Smith. “You can even climb inside it.”
Speechless and unblinking, Lopez and Deltare stepped slowly toward the ship. The color was somewhere between silver and gold, and parts of it glistened in the flood lights. It had a rich, lustrous appearance, except for the dented metal riveted parts that were obviously the patchy reconstruction work. They walked up to the ship and ran their hands reverently over the smooth surface.
“Where did it come from?” Deltare asked, full of awe and wonder.
“No one knows,” Smith said truthfully. “Probably not from our solar system, as the conditions on the planets other than our own are inhospitable to life. The nearest star is very, very far away. This ship travelled an indescribable distance to get here. We figure the invaders must be desperately motivated to attempt such a feat. We assume they ultimately want our planet for themselves.”
“And you say this is not the first ‘invasion?’ How do you know?” Lopez inquired.
“We have evidence going back for at least five thousand years telling us these invaders have been here many times before. There are records of their presence in many places on every continent: North America, Central America, South America, Eastern and Western Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and multiple sites in Asia.”
“What kind of evidence,” Deltare asked, as she started a slow walk around the ship.
“Different kinds of evidence, with varying degree of credibility,” Smith continued. “Some are physical structures, or scars on the land. Some are quirks of language, or recurrent written symbols. Some are legends and myths. Usually there has been an associated surge in local technology in the general area of an invasion.”
They continued walking around the ship. Deltare and Lopez could see that the back side of the ship had been completely reconstructed. It must have been the part of the ship that suffered the most damage when it crashed.
“Are you ready to go inside?” Smith said, with a hint of a tease.
“Oh, yeah!” “Of course!” Lopez and Deltare blurted out in unison.
They ducked under the ship, which was resting on sturdy, metal supports. Underneath the ship was an opening which they could access through a ladder. They climbed up the ladder in single file and, hearts pounding with excitement, they entered the alien ship. Smith turned on a set of lights that were strung to a long extension cord coming through a hole in the ships ceiling. Deltare observed that the ship was surprisingly spartan. There were two work stations against the remaining original wall of the ship. “We think there might have been two other work stations on the other side,” Smith explained. “They were likely lost in the wreckage and plundering in the hours and days after the crash.”
The work surface of the two surviving work stations had an intricate arrangement of knobs and levers, and there were two indented hand impressions, for a right hand and a left hand. The impressions were eerily similar to human hands, only more slim and with somewhat longer fingers.
Above the work surface was a screen, now cold and dead, but Deltare could only imagine the kind of strange information these screens had possibly once shown.
In the center of the room were two coffin-like containers. “And what are these?” Deltare asked rhetorically, as she turned her attention to the objects.
Smith answered anyway. “They were probably beds.” He lifted up the lid of one of the rectangular boxes to reveal a body-shaped indentation at the bottom of the container. “We think they used these to either simply rest and sleep, or perhaps as a sort of hibernation chamber for longer periods of time. There is no way to know for sure.”
“There are two chambers,” Lopez noted. “Were there two aliens?”
“It is impossible to imagine otherwise,” Smith agreed. “There must have been two aliens, but we only have the remains of one.”
Lopez considered all the implications. “What do you suppose happened to the other one?”
But before Smith could answer, Deltare posed a question of her own. “And why would you think there would be just two? A large part of the ship is missing, and the crack is right next to these two beds. What if there were other beds?”
“Again, there is no way to know for sure,” Smith responded. “There could have been just these two, or perhaps two more, but the fact is we will never know, and we only have one dead alien.”
“Where is it?” Lopez could not contain herself any longer. “Are we allowed to see?”
“Yes. That’s why you are here. We want you to know all the facts, so you can be most effective in getting information from the live alien we now have in captivity. So let’s go.” Smith led the way back down the ladder, and out of the ship.
On the far side of the hangar, there was one final heavy door. Smith unlocked it, turned on the lights, and they walked into the room. In the center was a large, cylindrical glass tank filled with a clear fluid. A body was floating in the fluid. As they approached, they could see its back clearly. The left side of the body and head were deformed, crushed. The right side of the body was intact. They could already discern the slender build, the thin arms and legs, the long fingers. To Deltare, it looked graceful even from the back, even in death. Then they walked around the right side of the tank to get a close look at the front of the alien.
Deltare gasped. The alien’s right eye was open and at first seemed to be looking directly at her. But it did not track her as she continued moving around the tank. Now she was standing directly in front of the alien. She saw that the head was bigger on the body than a human’s head. The head was rounder at the top, and somewhat pointier at the chin, with a fine jaw line. Perhaps because the head was bigger, the eye seemed to be lower set. The left side of the head was injured, including the area where the left eye should have been, so she could not get the full impression of the alien’s face. But she thought that the eye seemed bigger on the face than a human’s eye would be. She was suddenly struck by the realization that she was identifying differences: the head and eyes a little bigger, the chin a little pointier. Now a different idea began to take form in her mind. She was amazed that the alien was not so much different, but so much the same a human! It had a head, an upright body, arms and legs, fingers and toes. It had eyes, a cute, pointy nose, and a small, delicate mouth. She tried to picture it when it was alive, how it must have moved, and seen, and talked, and thought. She wondered about its personality.
Smith broke into her thoughts. “These creatures have been invading us for thousands of years, gathering information. And now we know their plans are escalating. We believe that a major invasion could be imminent. It is essential that we find out who and what they are, so we can eliminate the threat.”
Smith allowed Lopez and Deltare all the time they needed to capture as much detail from the alien specimen as they could. When it seemed they had seen enough, he said, “We have albums of pictures to review. Please step this way.” He led them to the desk area against the far wall of the room.
Smith pulled out the first album from a shelf above the desk. They leafed through pages of crash site pictures, the gathering of the debris, and the cleanup. Looking at the after-pictures one would never know that anything extraordinary had ever happened there.
The next album was a picture detail of the ship’s reconstruction. There were a few men at work, in full-body white overalls. They had placed all the ship’s debris in what they believed was the proper order and position, and shaped sheet metal to replace the missing parts of the ship. Pictures showed the men looking over prints, and using all manner of tools. The final page showed the finished product on heavy metal supports, so they could access the door on the underside of the ship.
The next album was of the ship’s interior. Scientists were studying the instrumentation. “We could not get anything to start up,” Smith explained. “We do not know how it was powered. We can only imagine these were very advanced instruments designed to navigate the ship and to gather information. Nothing about this model suggested weaponry, so we can only assume that they have specialized models of ships to suit different purposes.”
“You have made a lot of assumptions, Officer Smith,” Deltare observed, with a hint of disapproval in her tone.
“Yes, based on a lot of observations and opinions from the best military minds!” Smith countered.
“Hmm,” Deltare replied, with a subtle frown.
“And now,” Smith declared, “here is what this visit is all about!” The next album was about the dead alien itself. The first pictures showed its crushed body in a bloody suit. The next pictures showed a team of technicians cutting the suit off of its body. Then there were a few pages of xrays, showing broken bones on one half of its body. After that, there were pictures of the alien lying on a steel autopsy table. Several pages of pictures showed the alien being cut wide open with long autopsy incisions, dissected carefully, and all of its organs being placed into glass specimen jars.
“We learned many interesting things from the autopsy and the examinations of the xrays, laboratory tests, and microscopic examinations of the organs,” Smith explained. “We learned that life on their planet has evolved in a way that parallels our own. DeBakey says the laws of physics and nature show themselves in patterns that repeat themselves at every level, so he was not surprised to find such similarities. Their DNA structure is not identical to ours, but similar. Their blood is similar. Their brain looks different, but is connected to a nervous system like ours. They have paired organs, with only a slight variation from ours.
“What kind of variation,” Deltare asked.
“Well, the alien has two eyes, two ears, two lungs, and two kidneys, like we do. But it also has two hearts and two livers, where we only have one of each.”
Deltare tried to recall the Comparative Anatomy course she had suffered through as an undergraduate many years previously. Now she wished she had paid more attention.
“Interestingly,” Smith continued, “the two lungs are separate. They each have a trachea and each have a larynx.”
“They have two voice boxes?” asked Lopez, amused at the idea. “So they can say two things at once?”
“It’s hard to know. But that is why we have recruited Dr. Deltare here,” Smith said, pointing to Deltare. “Would you like to hear a sample of what the alien sounds like?”
“This alien!?” Rosa Lopez was confused. “I thought you found him dead.”
“No, of course not. This alien was DOA. I have a recording of our live alien in Area 51.”
Lopez and Deltare were visibly shaken by Smith’s casual remarks. “You have a live recording of an alien!? There actually is a live alien!? Really!? And what is Area 51!? Where is Area 51!?” Lopez and Deltare were asking many questions in rapid fire at the same time.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, ladies!” Smith said, trying to calm down their crazed curiosity. “One thing at a time. Let’s get the recording.”
Smith pulled a small box from one of the desk drawers and removed the circular tape cassette from the box. He attached it to the left side of a reel-to-reel tape recorder that was lying on a small side table. Then he fed the tape through the mechanism of the machine, to a receiving empty cassette on the right side. He turned it on with a click and the cassettes started spinning.
At first they heard a few crackles and hisses as the first part of the tape fed through. Then there was a moment of silence. And then they heard a series of fascinating sounds! They heard beeps, honks, bubbly sounds, gurgles, sweet notes, echoing flute-like sounds, and rough chattering noises. The tape had captured a series of short recordings with a rich variety of strange sounds. It went on and on for minutes. They sat there in silence, at full attention, mesmerized by this amazing, sweet, alien cacophony!
“What the heck was all that!?” Deltare asked, now brimming with curiosity. She was smiling from ear to ear. This was indeed up her alley! She had no idea what she had just heard, but she pictured it as a language, one that with time she could probably figure out.
“You are the one who is supposed to tell us!” Smith clarified.
“Fascinating!” Deltare said, in total awe.
The tape came to an end and stopped. Smith rewound it, removed the cassette, placed it back in it’s box, and into the drawer.
“And finally,” he said, “let’s look at this last album.” He took the last photo album off the shelf. It looked newer and different than the others. “I brought this album from the base in Nevada,” Smith said, “where we have the other alien.” He opened it. The title on the first page said, Area 51.
Deltare and Lopez saw pictures of the crash site in Nevada. Deltare had already seen some of these pictures during the briefing with President Eisenhower. Smith pointed out the burnt ship and the alien’s burnt body to Lopez. And then there were pictures Deltare had not seen. One page had pictures showing the alien as it was being placed on a stretcher, and being cut out of its space suit. The next page showed details of its major body burns. Xrays revealed its multiple compound fractures. Other pictures showed blood everywhere. Then there were pages of pictures of the alien in surgery, with two tubes in its throat hooked up to two ventilators. Another tube was up its nose. It had IV lines in both arms, and chest tubes on both sides.
“How long ago were these pictures taken?” Deltare inquired.
“About this time last summer,” Smith replied, “a full year ago.”
The following pages showed the alien in a hospital bed, with bandages all over its body. One leg and one arm were in a contraption of pulleys and weights.
Then there were a few pages of the alien without the bandages, showing the surgical scars on his chest and abdomen.
The next page showed the back of the alien, in a hospital gown, hunched-over, walking away from the camera along a stark hallway, holding himself up by an IV pole.
Toward the end of the album, there were a few pictures of Dr. DeBakey and his team of doctors and nurses, posing around the alien’s bed, with satisfied smiles of success.
“And when were these pictures taken?” Deltare wanted to know.
“About six months ago,” Smith said.
Deltare turned to the last page of the album. Smith said this last picture had been taken very recently. This last picture was a closeup of the alien’s face. Deltare saw the now familiar large head and the large, intelligent eyes that were looking directly into the camera, directly at her. The alien had a black, swollen left eye, and small cuts on both sides of its face and ears. Deltare was struck by the look on the alien’s face. What was that - anger? sadness? fear? pain? No. Deltare looked long and hard into the alien’s eyes and at the complex expression on its face. At last, she came to the uneasy conclusion that the alien had a look of… disappointment.