Dec 6, 2011 1:38 PM
an unfinished " story " yet to be written as a script... and storyboarded etc ( not to mention revised a zillion times ).
Its the nature of my several unfinished projects to be sorta... well...
this could be the first " ever " ... " Movie Made In A Forum " !
ITS BEER THIRTY ! YIPEE !
ROBODOG, SPACE ALIEN, SAVING PLANET EARTH
'Robodog, Space Alien' by Rodney Bauer
Nobody expected, in their wildest dreams, the appearance of Robodog. The third planet from the sun had been spinning around lackadaisically, introducing another Springtime in the Northeast of North America with orbital regularity, giving everyone with the time or inclination to notice a feeling of mathematical certainty. On this particular day, where millions of earthlings could be seen driving about from high above the planet's surface, in Northeast North America that is, not one of them thought such a thing as Robodog even existed, let alone this was the day he would appear.
Dave was driving to work on the expressway in his car-like truck, listening to a news station on the radio. He wasn't concerned with electro-magnetic waves even though that's how he was able to chuckle in his self satisfied way at all the moronic things going on in the world, which the news was happy to focus on. "Ha Ha,” said Dave, after the news guy said, "The president of France has announced that America is arrogant.” Then Dave laughed again, "Ha Ha,” as the news guy said, "Germany doesn't want to go to war.” Meanwhile Dave was driving about 10 times faster than everyone else, weaving and dodging through traffic. He wasn't in a real hurry. This was the way he always drove. After 15 years of living too far away from where he worked driving 10 times faster than everyone else was just his way of catching up on having a life. Some of those he passed also thought about their lives, and how lucky they were the jerk who just sped by didn't slam into them. Dave didn't worry much about getting a speeding ticket, cause he had a little shield pinned to the inside of his wallet. Whenever he opened his wallet to get at his license the shield sorta popped right out, it was so shiny. That's because he had family members who were cops and firemen. Not long ago a lot of those guys got killed trying to rescue people trapped in the World Trade Center’s twin towers on 9-11. Nobody expected, in their wildest dreams, that someone would build the world's tallest buildings out of toothpicks and wood glue and then turn that model into a real structure that couldn't support itself. Oddly enough nobody caught on afterward there's a good chance many other buildings of the same impossible proportions are just as questionable. In fact, the owner of that part of the world wanted to build something just as big, maybe even bigger ! What a great idea.
Dave didn't feel the world spinning around. To him everything was steady and only his car and the slower cars around him were moving.
The feeling of normalcy which was unknowingly mathematically mushed into everyone's head by the planet's steadfast activity of spinning in space was shared by those whom some might say had lives hardly worth living. The hungry expected, as usual, to be hungry. The homeless, homeless, the wretched, hopeless, and so on. Most people are like bees. Bees are hard workers and collect pollen. Dave was like a worker bee insomuch as he would soon be working, and that would turn into honey, or food as the case may be, a mortgage payment, car payment, insurance payment, and so on. From way up it looked like everyone was moving around, some fighting, some laughing, some hanging out, but generally looking sort of busy. Lots of movement.
For thousands of years (nobody knows for sure) all the busy humans like Dave had fights over who was really in control, who ate the most. How to act. What's right. Who deserved what. That sort of thing. In the beginning it was brutal and in a way easy to figure out. Might makes right. Then people got civilized. Dreams like the ones that made a really tall building out of toothpicks started to make people less diligent about what is responsible and what is really silly. That's the nature of dreams. Some are great and some are silly. Some are a little of both. Throughout 'history' the on again off again advent of people who had big dreams, thinking the world was their oyster, and that it could be utopia, managed to amass great armies and kill a lot of people they didn't consider having lives worth living. That still goes on. Dave listened to news snippets about those things as he drove to work.
He listened to a snippet about how some jerks who didn't have two nickels to rub together murdered a neighboring family because they didn't have the same dot on their forehead, in some far away country, thank God, with rifles and ammunition that cost about three thousand dollars. Dave didn't even wonder how someone who can't afford to dig a well for water, so they can irrigate some land, and make a farm so they don't starve every few years, happened to have a three thousand dollar rifle and ammunition. How weird is that? Thinking of firearms Dave remembered how a few days earlier he had seen the president of the National Rifle Association, on the news, in an argument with some protesters who had disrupted his meeting of thousands of members, say, "I'll KEEP my rifle, YOU DAMN APE!” The N.R.A. president had been in a movie once about apes who ruled the world. The funny thing is, even though a lot of people only see movie stars on the news or in movies, they really feel they know those people. Someday someone might see the president of the National Rifle Association and say, "Ha Ha, YOU DAMN APE!" And the NRA president wouldn't have a clue what the heck the person was talking about, and might even have a bodyguard drag them away.
Way up in the sky, looking down on stuff, there's all these busy bee humans and mostly they are making ends meet, miraculously, since not a single one of them knew how the economy really worked, how someone who doesn't farm for a living can actually manage to eat anything. They manage by making cars that spew out poison gases, and zip around really fast in them. They get fat doing that, going fast, eating fast food, on the go. Why is 'fasting' a word for not eating? Should be the opposite, a word meaning 'gobble'. Also, they make do with producing things like movies and entertainment shows. They show people doing the most outrageous things, lots of killing and explosions. Lately there has been a shortage of utopia minded dreamers with the wherewithal to do anything about this crazy behavior. A shortage of Napoleons, Stalins, Hitlers, people like that. A lot of people like Dave, who do think of it once every 5 years or so, how the level of humanitarian diligence seems to be slipping, usually because of some family crisis, like some family member under 18 got pregnant out of wedlock or arrested or addicted to drugs or something, push the question aside as soon as possible, cause they don't know the answers and they hope they can just make enough money to get out of the rat race and then everything will be OK. "Ha Ha,” said Robodog. But he hasn't shown up yet, so nobody heard him.
Robodog's been around longer than people. But he hadn't been paying attention to earth during most of the time people have been spinning through space. He was busy elsewhere. He just got brought up to speed on things here recently. It didn't take long, because Robodog is smarter than humans. He can do just about anything. He doesn't show off, of course, and doesn't even consider that much of an option. He won't say where he came from, how old he is, what he can really do. But I'm getting ahead here.
When Dave parked his car-truck in the Silvercup East stage parking lot in Queens he stopped thinking about anything. This was an art he developed over the years, like driving a million miles an hour. It was simply the mental survival technique best suited to deal with the most curve balls thrown his way during the work day. In most businesses 'working' follows more or less the same predictable patterns and activities week after week. In the film business anything is possible. Most normal people can't survive long in this sort of atmosphere. Dave thrives in it.
In any normal business it follows that those most likely to successfully lead others will rise to the leadership positions. Like the military, where officers with the most experience and know-how will rise to higher rank to lead those less familiar with the rigors of war, most commercial business will also adhere to a common sense hierarchy. In the film business, contrary to the rest of the world, you will find people who normally wouldn't be given the responsibility of standing in a field shepherding a few sheep in charge of an entire department of men. In short anything is possible not only with regard to who is in charge but what will happen with the day's schedule. Dave's genetic and experiential qualities enabled him long ago to approach any film job, as soon as one foot hit the pavement out of his car cocoon, with a totally blank mind. A somewhat dead smile was the only indication his mind was blank, as he could function more or less normally even without thought.
On this particular day, much to Dave's credit, he is not the boss of his department. Instead someone else is boss, who is already racing around inside his own head with an overwhelming sense of fear and futility for the coming day's schedule, mostly worried about how to do twelve pages, and who is eating a breakfast burrito at the stage door Dave steps over to.
"Morning Tom,” says Dave.
"Mmmphh,” replies Tom.
Dave continues inside to the grip room, where he puts his coat, bag and morning paper down. Everything gets an immediate coating of sawdust. He goes outside again and says hi hi hi to everyone as he gets coffee from the catering truck and after a while, filled now with brief social pleasantries and coffee in hand, follows the slowly milling crowd of crew and extras into the stage to find out what is going to happen first. Meanwhile, his mind is still fairly blank.
"Well, it looks like we're just going to start with the same scene we were doing last night at wrap,” says Tom the key grip to the few grip crew members inclined to be next to him and find out what's going on. "Oh,” "OK,” "Ahhh, time for more food,” they mumble in response. There's nothing to do, it's lit already, everyone is content to find someplace to wait for the scene to be over so they can strike it and get on to the next one. Tom and some other department heads and production people mosey over to the set and mill about, some talking about what fun stuff happened in the last 10 hours since they left this same set the night before. The A.D. makes jokes and several walkie talkies are squawking away while someone tries to find out if talent is going to show up soon. The house lights go off, set lights on. Dave moves over to the camera dolly, his job on this show, and puts his coffee on the back. The brief thought, "It's a dolly, not a deli,” goes through his almost blank mind. It's not the first time he's had vagrant thoughts like that go flitting through his mind while on the job.
"OK, everybody, listen up!” says the A.D. Everyone tries to listen to those things that effect them or their departments. It’s hard to actually get a whole crew to listen to everything all day long. Minds wander.
"Talent will be here in 10 minutes, we're going to start off with scene 5….ugh…Mary?" Mary the script girl, right there when needed as usual fills in with, "Scene 5, take 4,” looking now over toward the camera guys, one of whom is doing the clapper and nods, while the others snicker over private jokes, and build the camera.
Suddenly, like a special effect nobody was anticipating, a gold colored dog appeared with a popping noise right in the middle of the set ! "POP!” Nobody moved except for heads turning in the direction of the popping noise. Then everyone just stared, frozen in their various attitudes, all suddenly quiet on the set.
"I am Robodog,” said the dog.
It's voice was electronic, not screechy or synthetic. Dave's mind went from blank to totally full in about 1 nanosecond. "Holy ****!" said Dave. He was the first to talk and that started the panic. Everyone yelled and a couple screamed, and all but Dave ran off the set in a rush, pushing and yelling more as they screamed at others on the stage what had just happened, more and more noise rising from outside the set walls, as a stampede of people exited the building in fear and confusion. Robodog just stood there, hadn't moved an inch since it first popped in, hadn't even moved its head or nothing. Dave was just like Robodog, he didn't move either, and even his mouth, when he said, "Holy ****,” had barely moved. The only thing that moved, and this with lightning speed, was Dave's thoughts, which came from out of nowhere, just like the dog.
A tingling sensation washed over Dave, like static electricity, as he stood transfixed behind the camera dolly, motionless as a statue. He began to look more closely at the dog's features, while slowly his head full of thoughts began to turn from confusion and nonsense to half formed ideas with beginnings and endings. The dog still didn't move. It was as if the thing was waiting for something. Dave hoped it wasn't waiting for him to make some movement, at which point it would do something awful and unexpected. Meantime Dave figured (the first real coherent thought since the dog's arrival) it was best not to move. Except his eyes. He moved his eyes, just a little, and started to try and figure out what in the hell this dog was. It wasn't real. That much was definite. Not a flesh and bone dog. It had skin like gold. Smooth. It looked like liquid almost. No joints were obvious, where it's legs, head, tail were connected. The legs just melted into the body sort of. There were no eyes. No mouth. It had two ears and also very thin antennas, two of them, one behind each ear, on top of it's head, with, and this he faintly thought amusing, a little ball of black material at the tip of each one. Like antennas you might buy for your kids at some space play land. Outside the set, somewhere near the doors to the stage, people were murmuring. Someone was explaining what had happened. Some authority had arrived maybe. Who? The stage manager? That wouldn't be much help Dave thought. This was something very different than a 'problem with the stage' sort of thing the stage manager was used to.
Then the dog moved. Just as Dave was thinking the stage manager wasn't going to be much help, that someone really important should deal with this thing, the dog's tail wagged. Several times, back and forth, just like a real dog! Dave almost jumped, did jump, inside, but outwardly he was still a statue. His hands were holding onto the dolly steering post as if he'd been doing the most difficult and tricky dolly move in the world, his knuckles almost white. He thought, "boom up" and "beam up,” in quick succession, more vagrant thoughts, of little use. He took a slow, deep, silent breath trying to make himself relax. Then his thoughts got back to normal. Not normal for a job, in which case he would be thinking nothing except "as needed.” Now he was really thinking normally, which in Dave's case was pretty good.
As if the dog sensed Dave's new found mental equilibrium, it's tail began wagging more, this time keeping it up, like a metronome, back and forth. It made the dog look friendly. "What are you?" asked Dave. Nothing. Then it's antenna vibrated slightly and it turned it's head toward the noises coming from beyond the set walls, toward the stage doors, toward where some people might be on their way back in to see what was going on. "Hey, anyone out there?" called Dave. "Hey, Dave is that you?” someone yelled back. The dog looked at Dave. Look is not really accurate. It had no eyes. It turned it's head toward him. It's head was like a short cylinder on a small cylindrical neck, connected to it's cylindrical body. All of it like liquid gold, reflecting lights and stuff like a mirror. It's head was now pointed at Dave. "****,” thought Dave, not having any idea what to make of this business. Robodog's feet were not like regular feet at all, but small flat rounded silver discs. "Hey, this thing is moving a little, and it's looking at me I think, and whatever you do, do it slowly,” called Dave to whoever was out there on the stage beyond the set walls. "OK,” said the voice out there. It was louder and closer. The dog looked away from Dave toward the set doorway, and just then the stage manager stuck his head into the doorway to see what was going on. He saw the dog and his eyes got wide. He sorta froze like that for a moment, no longer thinking this was some kind of joke everyone had been telling him outside. "What's that Dave?,” asked the stage manager. "How the hell should I know?” replied Dave.
"Well, look, it's wagging it's tail,” said the stage manager.
"Where'd it come from? Is it a prop or something?"
"Nope,” Dave said. Dave moved away from the dolly and the dog turned it's head to him. Dave stopped moving. The tail still wagged. The stage manager came slowly into the room, the dog turning to him now. Then, as if it suddenly lost interest in these two humans, the dog just walked around the set sniffing things, just like a real dog, wagging his tail, moving it's head around objects and the floor, making electronic sniffing noises! Dave took the opportunity to get the hell out of there and went outside. When he looked back, the dog was following him! It sniffed things on the way, but it was definitely following him. Everyone gave Dave and the dog lots of room, backing away, some running for a bit, before stopping to see what was going to happen. Everyone thought more or less the same thing, which was, "Wow!"
"OK, don't follow me, nice dog, go away now, go home now,” said Dave. Robodog acted like Dave hadn't said anything at all, but looked at him and stopped wagging his tail. They were just outside the stage door now, and Dave could see his car. Dave wanted to get in that car and be in his own space. He didn't know how big space really was, how he was in fact spinning through space on planet earth. Dave had bought the idea of car cocoons a long time ago, when he had his first car and turned on the radio and bobbed his head to the rhythm of his favorite music. That was a long time ago, before he started to drive really fast to catch up to something. The stage manager, thinking he was an authority over weird **** happening in his domain, walked briskly over to Robodog, emboldened by the dog's obvious affinity for Dave. When within a few feet, extending his arms as if to shoo the dog away, he said, "Hey, nice doggy, how bout we just get you…” Zap! That's what it sounded like. Everyone jumped, but mostly it was the stage manager who jumped, because this thin line of blue light went from Robodog's antennas right into the stage manager's chest, who got knocked backwards in mid stride and now sat on his butt on the pavement with a shocked look on his face. Everyone thought the same thing, "Wow!"
Then there was the sound of sirens coming closer. Dave thought that was predictable, here come the cops. Maybe they will know what to do. The A.D. said, "I called the police, everyone go over to stage B and wait, while they take care of this. Then we'll get back to work, but for now just go over there and wait, OK everyone?" The A.D. thought the show should go on. He wasn't sure what to do but this seemed a reasonable request. Some people were moving away toward their cars, and the announcement arrested their movement. Now they were interested in what the cops could do about this alien creature, sure they might witness some totally new event in the history of the world. Someone was taking pictures with a little video camera and speaking into their hand, just in case anyone watching later on couldn't figure out what was going on by image alone. The camera did not record any images though, which became apparent later on. Dave moved backwards, toward his car, slowly, still watching the dog who hadn't moved since zapping the stage manager. The dog matched Dave's movement, slowly moving forward, wagging his tail. Dave stopped, and 2 police cars came into the parking lot, their lights flashing and sirens droning down to a low rumble. When they stopped 4 police people got out and moved toward the crowd of crew people with the gold dog in the middle. They stopped, staring for a moment, as they became part of the crowd, all thoughts of normal police work out the window.
"My name is Robodog,” said the dog.
"What's going on here?” asked the most senior of the police officers. He addressed the dog but was half looking at the crowd, the sitting stage manager, and Dave, who was the one closest to, and the focus of the dog. Everyone started talking at once, some yelling louder and arguing a little about what happened, and the policeman had to yell "Stop!” to make everyone calm down. Dave was surprised that with all the noise, arm waving, pointing, and near panicky voices the dog hadn't seemed disturbed. It stood there now, looking at him, without wagging his tail, just waiting. "That dog stung me!” said the stage manager, still afraid to get up off the pavement.
"What? You don't say, uh huh, yeah, Oh, OK, sure, it did what? OK, hmmm.”
Nancy the secretary could hear what the assistant director of the F.B.I. was saying because the door to his office was open, as usual, and her desk was close by. Sometimes the door would be closed, but only when really important people came by to talk about sensitive things, or if Dick, her boss the assistant director, had to make some important phone call. This call had come to her through the switchboard operator and the person on the other end was a captain of a police precinct in Queens, which was unusual, and she wondered why a policeman would want to talk to her boss, an assistant director of the F.B.I. in Manhattan.
"You must be joking,” said her boss. "Right.” "Uh huh.” "OK, bye!” and he hung up the phone with a loud thump. "Nancy!"
"Yes sir,” said Nancy, as she scrambled out of her chair and hurried to the open doorway.
"Call information, get this Queens precinct on the phone, then ask for, uh, this officer, oh here, get this guy on the phone,” and he handed her a sheet of paper. On it was a precinct number, a name and several doodles of a small dog with lightning bolts coming out of antenna on its head. Nancy was used to weird things from her boss, so she didn't think twice about it, and dialed information, got the number for the police station, asked for the person on the paper, and heard a man say, "Yeah! It's me! See? It's NOT A JOKE!"
"Please hold on, sir, the assistant director will be with you in a moment, sir." She took a couple steps to the open door where her boss gave her an incredulous look, looked at the phone on his desk as if he were reluctant to pick it up, and then grabbed for it.
"Alright," he said, "So you're who you say you are, and this isn't a prank call. You expect me to believe an alien dog landed in Queens and you want me to do something about it? Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND?!" After a moment of silence and obvious discomfort from what the other man said Dick looked at Nancy and told her to tape the call, get the director on the phone, and call Bill Fenly. "OK, Captain, you've made your point, and now we're going to calm down and begin again from the beginning. I am taping this call now, so we all have a nice clear record of this conversation, OK? Good, now please state again what you believe has happened in your precinct, how you and your men have dealt with it and how you are asking for our assistance, just like you said earlier…for the record. When that's done I'm going to talk to my director, and some field agents who will be dispatched to the scene, and we'll also get in touch with the agencies we feel are necessary to contact, OK?"
Nancy thought, "Wow, something weird is going on,” and did as Dick had asked, first calling the Director’s office in Washington D.C. and then calling Bill Fenly. She got through to their secretaries only and they promised to have their respective bosses call the assistant director as soon as possible, which wasn’t fast enough for Dick but would have to do.
"Are you getting all this?” asked Deputy Director Bates over the shoulder of the technician on console 30 below Cheyenne Mountain.
"Yes sir,” and the technician wiped his forehead with a free hand while his other moved the mouse that moved the space based telescope and sensor array to keep up with his "bogey.” The unidentified object, now labeled "bogey 3,” was being looked at in real time, and a bunch of numbers on the large computer screen at console 30 gave constant data updates as to the objects location, speed, distance and so on.
"Good, you're doing great, just take it easy and stay with it,” Bates said, as he turned on his cell phone and dialed the White House.
Hundreds of miles out in space, looking down at earth, was a very large space ship. It had appeared out of nowhere, and surprised a whole lot of earth based space oriented spy equipment and personnel who ran the equipment. Several governments had alerted their armed forces and were scrambling around to respond to a military threat of some unknown source. About 30 seconds after the initial appearance of the spaceship 1/5 of the world's military establishments had gone bonkers and put into play all sorts of wild plans to save themselves from the unknown. 4/5th of the world had nothing they could do about it anyway, so they watched what the other guys did. If anyone had thought to fire something at the spaceship it wouldn't have had any effect, but nobody did that. For the first time in thousands of years humans acted with restraint. It didn't matter.
"Ugh, let me just confirm this with you, son, since we're both seeing this data here,” said Bates, now looking at the screen again. "That data I am seeing says this object is roughly 3 miles long, is that right?"
"And it's in a stable orbit now?"
"Yes sir. Geosynchronous. I am hardly moving our sensor array any longer to keep up with it's movement. It is stationary now. I've never heard of anything like this before, sir. It didn't need to establish an orbit by increments, but appeared to just be there, if you know what I mean, sir.”
"Yes, I guess I do. Stay with it son, you're doing great.”
The room where console 30 was situated was very large. Cavernous. It was full of computers, consoles, screens, maps, and every high tech electrical gadget necessary for impressive global snooping and deployment of forces. It also had the average TV in a few places, usually so management could keep an eye on sensitive news around the world, which sometimes helped give them a well rounded view of what was going on from different points of view. At this time the TV picture that was on was replaced by a TV picture of what console 30 was looking at and tracking. Someone noticed it and brought it to everyone else's attention. All the TV's had the same image of what was on console 30. It was a public TV, and when someone changed the station, all the channels had the same thing. All the data and the image that console 30 saw was on all the TV channels. This was true around the whole world, though nobody knew that yet.
"Hey !” yelled Bates, "What the heck is going on here! This is supposed to be a secret !"
In Washington the House Of Representatives emptied out, everyone running for cover, except Senator McCain, as if a new dose of suspicious white powder had been discovered in someone's mailbox. They left messages on their answering machines, saying things like, "We're not in at the moment, but please leave your name and a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.” The White House smuggled various people out of town to house them in secret subterranean camps, safe from threats and able to carry on as the new government if something terrible happened to the old government topside. Alien spaceships appearing out of nowhere constituted a “threat” according to the protocol covering generic situations where nobody knew what was going on but things were far from normal.
Everywhere around the world people were talking about the alien spaceship. A lot of people, who had been fans of U.F.O. stories for many years, kept saying, "I told you SO!" They were no more prepared for what to actually DO now that one had appeared as anyone else. However, despite a lack of knowing how to react to the appearance of a spaceship those who always believed in them felt superior to those who didn’t believe in them, for the first time. Some of them thought they could now boss their family members around and wound up in fist fights. It was a short lived feeling of superiority for most. Many people kept looking up, although they couldn't see anything new, and many imagined seeing things that weren't there. From way up in the sky, looking down, the busy people rushing about with their daily lives seemed much the same as before. Only now a lot more faces could be seen (a few with black eyes), where before only the tops of their heads were visible.
Emergency meetings and high level talks rushed into session all over the world, but nobody saw those people on a day to day basis anyway, so they weren't missed. It seemed to those in the meetings and talks that the separations that existed between them and the rest of the world got more noticeable, and some of them wondered if whether it was a good thing to be "in control" at this time, because nobody was in as much control as they thought. Aliens with a giant spaceship put a very big question mark over everything. In some ways civilization was a very fragile thing.
Looting in Los Angeles began in earnest when the TV's started broadcasting console 30's images. Nobody knows why the people of Los Angeles go on a looting rampage whenever something of significance happens in the world. The city was unable to deal with it and called out the National Guard. There were a few National Guardsmen in California rather than in Iraq, and they came to Los Angles to watch people loot the city. Eventually everyone looting got pretty tired carrying heavy appliances and went home.
In isolated cases those who were angry got angrier. These, the disaffected people of the United States in particular, started yelling about how the government was corrupt, the President was evil, Corporations ran the world (not too far off on that one - but even a blind squirrel will find a nut sometimes), and now the aliens were probably going to demand free trade and further erode the working man’s ability to make a decent living. Luckily this sort of person stays home mostly, as few people in public places have much patience with them. Their spouses suffer the most. Some of these people couldn’t wait to ask the aliens what they thought about gay marriage and stem cell research.
The stock market plummeted and the exchanges had to stop trading to keep it from crashing. Gold prices soared. Many rich people thought they could go anywhere they wanted with their pockets full of gold, which they could trade in for food and so on.
The gold dog would change that, but not yet, and not in this story.
Some of the more far out alien worshipping church groups demonstrated in front of the U.N., appearing so suddenly and quickly after the TV showed the spaceship many people wondered how they could possibly get there so fast. The demonstrators chanted slogans about "Aliens Are Here To Save Us.” Oddly enough they were right. Some of the demonstrators wore little antennas on their heads. New Yorkers ignored them as they rushed back and forth trying to make money, which is just about all New Yorkers do nowadays. Well, not the younger ones so much, as they are generally living with roommates and have tons of social activities and boundless energy. Within an hour of the spaceship sighting the U.N. called together an emergency meeting of the General Assembly to address the issue. They could be seen making their way through the hundreds of alien worshippers, some of whom tried to sell alien antenna headgear to the diplomats, without much success.
Dave was still standing outside the stage, hoping against hope he could reach the safety of his car, with Robodog sitting close by, watching him.
Dave took out his cell phone and tried calling his home, to tell his wife everything was OK, which it wasn't, and for her to tell the kids not to worry, cause he was, and that he would be home soon, which was unlikely. If he had got through she would have seen through this typical Dave stuff right away, but she wouldn't have let on. As it happens his cell phone didn't work. He wasn't surprised, and looked at Robodog.
"Are you making my cell phone not work?” asked Dave.
"Affirmative,” said Robodog, which surprised Dave, since the dog didn't talk too often. It also surprised the crowd of people and police officers standing around wondering how long it would be before something solved this mystery of the dog's appearance and purpose, and when it would go away. Everyone knew about the spaceship, thanks to the fact the whole world was seeing it and talking about it. At the moment the dog was of more interest to these people than a spaceship hundreds of miles up in the sky. This dog, they figured, was certainly connected with the spaceship, or they would eat their hats.
A bunch of black cars drove into the now police protected gates to the stage complex and parked nearby. Some men in black suits got out and walked over to the crowd and one of the men in a black suit talked with the senior policeman near the crowd. As usual the newcomers had that bewildered look after seeing Robodog. Robodog didn't turn his head or move, but kept looking at Dave. The policeman introduced the stage manager to the man in the black suit, who turned out to be an F.B.I. agent. There was also a State Department agent, a D.E.A. agent, a C.I.A. agent and other agents who preferred to remain anonymous, who had come in the newly arrived cars. They all tried making calls on their cell phones, but found the phones didn't work. One went back to a car, but came out again quickly, because the car phone didn't work either. There was some muttering and mumbling and general conversation about procedure, plans and priorities. One of the men in black looked up into the sky but didn't see anything unusual. It was becoming a sort of nervous tic, looking up.
"Hey you guys,” said Dave.
Everyone looked at Dave now, instead of the dog.
"I'm going to get in my car and get out of here, if you don't mind. I've had enough of this standing around, and I don't care what the dog does, I'm getting in my car now.”
"You can't do that, sir,” said the F.B.I. man. "Nobody is going to do anything until our van gets here so we can get the dog in the van safely and without incident."
Robodog looked at the F.B.I. man. That made the man nervous, cause he hadn't seen the dog move before, hadn't seen how the reflections and skin of the dog shimmered and flowed when it moved. He was certain the dog was an alien now, there was absolutely no doubt the dog was not from anywhere on earth.
"Can you understand me, sir?” asked the man of Robodog.
"Yes,” said Robodog. "My name is Robodog. I am going with Dave in his car. Dave will be OK,” and Robodog looked over at Dave and wagged his tail, to reassure him. Dave thought, "Oh God, this is really one messed up day.”
Robodog said to Dave, "Come drive me in your car. I am a friendly dog. I won't hurt you or anybody, and you can't hurt me either, so don't worry." With that the dog just walked right over to Dave's car, whereupon the two front doors opened all by themselves, and Robodog jumped into the passenger seat, looking for all the world like a regular dog wanting to go for a ride. "Don't do it, sir, Stand where you are!” said the F.B.I. man. For some reason that bossy attitude bothered Dave, and the thought of driving away with the dog didn't seem such a terrible idea. Now he really wanted to get away from all these official agents and police people, and if the dog wanted to go with him, fine. He walked over to his car, and as he did a few of the agents started to move toward Dave, but stopped short as they felt themselves blocked by some kind of mushy invisible force. Like walking into a giant invisible marshmallow. "Don't go anywhere, that's an order!" they yelled at Dave. Dave got in the driver's side, closed his door, rolled down the window and said to everyone, "Look out, I'm driving out of here!"
Most of the crowd of film people moved aside and even started to think about getting in their cars too, and head for home, where they thought they might find out more about what was going on. But for now they couldn't budge from wanting to see what would happen to Dave and the dog. Some thought, "Poor Dave, he's bewitched or something by that dog,” while others thought, "Poor Dave, he's going to be alien-knapped.” But the agents and police people thought only one thing, and it was shared without variation by all of them, "That damn idiot and that dog are deliberately disobeying our orders!" The F.B.I. man, still trying to walk through the invisible marshmallow, drew his weapon and yelled, "Oh no you don't mister, GET OUT OF THAT CAR NOW!" The pistol went flying out of his hand and up in the air about 4 stories, where it veered over to land on the roof of the stages.
"Don't worry,” said Robodog, "We won't be harmed or stopped. Just drive out and take it easy, and head east when you can."
"OK,” said Dave. And he started his car, put it into gear, and headed slowly out of his parking spot, toward the front gate. What Dave saw as he drove slowly out was a magical invisible force moving everyone and everything slowly and carefully out of his way, as if a giant invisible hand was simply moving people and cars to the side. People's feet didn't move, but their whole bodies just kind of slid easily off to the side, staying in the same pose they were in when they began to be moved. It reminded Dave of a Christmas gift he gave to his mom one year. It was a music box with skating figures, and a little winter park scene around a frozen pond. The figures had steel disks for feet and inside the music box were magnets that moved under the pond, making the figures move about like gliding statues. The cars moved out of the way like that, the crowd, the agents, the police people at the gate, everything just slid away to the side. Their shouts and orders to Dave sounded muffled, as if he were surrounded by invisible cotton. "Oh boy,” said Dave, as he thought maybe he would take it easy driving for once, and not try to race anywhere to catch up with his life. He felt like everything was starting fresh. He sighed deeply, and thought, "Why me?” and drove away from Silvercup Studios.
After the shock of coming under some weird force field control was over, all the people in the Silvercup complex became themselves again, shouting wildly and waving their arms and running in circles as Dave's car drove out of sight.
"Did you SEE that?” said the stage manager to the script girl. She was crying and terrified and trying to get out of the crowd to her car, but she forgot where she parked it, and she got more terrified, thinking her forgetfulness was the result of alien stuff screwing around with her brain. The stage manager grabbed her, shook her like a rag doll, "I said, Hey, pay attention damn it," shaking her more, "This could be the end of the whole world, do you REALIZE THAT?!" The stage manager was losing control. He looked wild.
The police and many agents from all the agencies ran frantic to their cars and jumped in them so they could race after Dave. Some were already on their cell phones, yelling into them, "It's an alien DOG I say! It's loose! It's in a car now! It took control of us and moved us around with some kind of force field!" The people on the other end of these calls started to feel the panic of the callers. They wanted to be where the agents were so they could get things under control, since apparently the agents already there had failed to do so. "We are in pursuit now, and will keep you updated. Meantime, get the president to declare the city in a state of emergency, get the mayor on it, the governor, get the command center on it!" The cars screeched out of the Silvercup complex, a couple of policemen at the gate jumping out of the way just in time. The cars disappeared from view, but their sirens, horns and screeching tires could be heard for some time. Everyone they left behind also ran to their cars and starting talking on their cell phones, and with only a couple of minor fender benders, and a little screaming at each other, managed to get the hell out of there and head for home. The stage manager stared after them all, and yelled at them, saying, "It's the end of the world I tell you!” his eyes crazy.
Bates, at console 30, under the mountain, held a red phone to his ear as he watched the screen over the shoulder of his technician. The TV's still had the image of console 30, even after they tried to turn off console 30 and cut power off to console 30. For some reason console 30 would not be turned off and the TV's would not show anything but the image and data that console 30 saw through the space telescope and sensor arrays it was monitoring.
"Yes, Mr. President, It is a live image, real time, and it hasn't moved for the past 90 minutes. Yes, sir, we have patched all this data through to our space based platforms and several are within range of the U.F.O. Yes, Sir, I understand."
Just then, just when Bates was on the point of feeling confident about the president's calm sensibility, the alien space ship turned about 30 degrees in half a second, as if it had simply snapped around, and then shot off so fast it almost looked like it disappeared. As Bates tried in vain to think something could possibly move that fast, especially in space, the president asked if what he just saw on TV was what Bates saw on console 30.
"Yes, sir. Uh, yes, it just turned and shot off. The last data on it's speed, before it went off the scale, or out of range, was something like close to half the speed of light, sir. I think it was still accelerating, by the figures we see here, sir. No, nothing has it anymore,” Bates was looking around the cavernous room and everyone was waving and saying "it's gone from here,” indicating nothing under the mountain had any more contact with the space ship, "It's just gone I guess.” He hung up the phone, the president had hung up already, and asked the technician, "Do you think it was accelerating when we lost it?" "Yep,” said the technician. Then he whistled like he was very impressed. The TV's switched back to their regular channels and on the closest one to console 30 there were several people wearing gym clothes exercising on tubular frames with giant rubber bands. Some of the people in the room got embarrassed, thinking, gee, I hope the aliens don’t see this ****. They would think we're a bunch of morons.
"Get the dog? Yes sir, we're trying, I mean, we're looking for it sir!” the F.B.I. man said into his cell phone. His driver was speeding along Queens Blvd heading east, with his siren wailing away. Pedestrians jumped and ran out of crosswalks as the car and those behind roared through the intersections, the bruised pedestrians screaming after the cars, "You idiots!" Luckily the pedestrians had a lot of practice diving out of the way of cars in the intersections, due to the almost death a day rate of pedestrians being struck by cars. The road was a virtual highway through the most populated residential areas of Queens. "I feel we may have lost it though, just to let you know, sir.” The F.B.I. man hated to say that, and he winced as he did, knowing that his boss on the other end of the cell phone was going to explode like a stick of dynamite.
Dave drove as if it was a perfectly normal day on the expressway heading east, the dog sitting on the floor of the passenger side, his head resting on the seat. His little antennas vibrated now and then from bumps in the road, but otherwise he was motionless. Now and then Robodog would issue a little electronic sounding "woof.” As if it was thinking aloud.
"Sooo,” said Dave, still looking straight ahead, thinking now would be a good time, not knowing how much longer he would be alive this day, to get to know the dog a little, "Do you think you could tell me a little about yourself before the authorities catch us and we end up dead?"
"We won't be harmed, Dave, Don't worry.”
"OK, let's say that's true, sooo, tell me about yourself anyway. What are you doing here, for example? What ARE you, for example? Call me crazy, but somehow I don't think it's going to be a simple answer, and I'm not the smartest guy in the world, so could you tell me without getting too technical? Keep it simple?"
"Sure. I am Robodog. I am from another planet. Your planet needs some help. I am here to help."
Dave glanced at Robodog, who was still in the same position, his head resting on the passenger seat. The voice of Robodog seemed to come out of the front of the dogs head, where you would think he'd have a mouth, if he had a mouth. But it's head was a solid cylinder, even though it didn't look solid really, being made of that weird gold material that wasn't earthly. "Are all the, um, people from your planet like you? Are they all your shape?"
"No. I am not a people or anything like the beings on any planet. I was made. I am a robot. I am half dog, and half junk yard, Ha Ha Ha Ha,” laughed Robodog.
Dave thought maybe the dog was going nuts, and glanced at it again. At this point the dog also glanced at Dave and a very quick, darting 'smile' appeared on the front of Robodog's head. It was uncanny. The skin or substance of it's head simply morphed into a quick smile, with teeth and dog lips, and then disappeared, to become the cylinder again. Dave swerved but got control swiftly and took a deep breath.
"That was funny,” said Dave.
"I am clever sometimes. I am also making sure those chasing us don't find us, by small and unfelt manipulations of traffic patterns, making their choices easy to go in the wrong directions. We are safe from them. I can see well with my sensors. You aren't ready yet to hear all about me, and where I come from and what I can do. But I am friendly, which is one reason I am in the shape of a dog. Dog's are man's best friends. Do you like dogs, Dave?"
"Yeah, sure. I love dogs.”
"Don't worry Dave, you can go on your own way soon. When you can do it get off this road and go north, toward the Long Island Sound. I want to go by the water there. When I get out of the car you can leave and go where you want. But I have a favor to ask. You don't have to do it. Think about it and you can let me know later. In a couple days I guess. What I would like you to do is consider helping me for a while. Be my friend. I will need help if I am to do what I came here for. You can help me if you want."
"Help you what?"
"Save your planet.”
"Why? What's going to happen to the planet?” asked Dave.
Robodog looked over at Dave and Dave glanced at the dog. It's ears stood up straight, like it was surprised. "You might not like this Dave, but I gotta tell you this planet is not in very good shape. It's still a nice planet now, and you should see it from far away, cause it's really beautiful from far away. A lot of space is cold and empty. There is no other planet like this one, anywhere.”
"Well what's wrong with it? What's going to happen?"
"Hmmm.” Robodog thought a moment.
"Well?” asked Dave.
"I can't tell you much now. First think about what I asked you. If you will be my friend and help me.”
Dave drove off the expressway toward the north shore, and in a little while was close to the water. He was looking forward to the dog getting out of his car, and then he was going to drive home. He wanted to check that his family was OK, find out what he could about the spaceship and eat lunch. "We're almost to the water, where do you want to get out?” asked Dave.
"Keep going down that road there, to the parking lot near the water.”
Parking in the lot Dave realized he didn't feel all that great about leaving the dog in the middle of nowhere and wondered what the whole purpose of his appearance at the stage was, none of this making much sense.
"I don't get it, Robodog. How come you showed up at the stage and now you want to just get out in the middle of nowhere here?"
Robodog was on the seat now, looking out the window to the water. He turned to Dave and answered, "Well, I wanted to meet you. I also wanted to cause as little commotion as possible for this first contact with your authorities. They have to protect the population and I'm a mystery and a lot of times a mystery can scare people. The way it worked out everyone will know about me showing up by tonight. You will be with the authorities and television news crews will surround your house for a few days. Things are moving along already in that direction.”
"Oh no!" Dave hadn't even thought about that. Now he wondered if his house was surrounded already, people who would take him away and question him.
"Yes,” said Robodog. "It can't be avoided, but you will be OK, and so will your family. I won't let anything bad happen to you or your family. No matter what, even if you decide not to help me.”
"How can you guarantee that?” asked Dave.
"The spaceship took care of that already. It left some stuff here. Things I can use later and things to keep certain people safe from harm.”
Dave nodded, still unsure though. "How do I know I can trust you?"
Robodog was still looking out at the water, but turned again to Dave for a moment, his ears going up, and replied, "How can you trust anything?"
Both Dave and the dog watched the water for a moment in silence. It was beautiful, the bay, the gulls, the trees along the shore. Then Robodog made the passenger door open, jumped out, and as he walked toward the water he said, "See you later, Dave.” Dave watched as the dog walked to the shore and walked into the water. Like a dog submarine it simply kept walking into the water and was covered by it, and was gone.
Bill Fenly is a hatchet faced man, more than 6 feet tall, with jet black eyebrows and grey hair cut short, like a marine’s. His muscular frame fills out the upscale off the rack suits he wears, and some people suspect he buys them off the rack because he ruins a lot of clothing in his day to day activities. Nobody knows Mr. Fenly well, and few people call him ‘Bill’ to his face. There’s the hint of vanity in the dyed eyebrows and although it’s rumored someone once said he looked like a Mr. Potato head because of them nobody could find a trace of that person on earth. Bill Fenly was officially an Assistant Director of the F.B.I. but he had no specific jurisdiction. His office wasn’t even in the F.B.I. building in Washington D.C. but in a run down neighborhood several blocks from the White House. His official job description was “Liaison Officer, Domestic-International Affairs.” He’s had this job for about 20 years, being in his late 40’s now, and every new F.B.I. Director that’s appointed his position gets one interview with Mr. Fenly, and Mr. Fenly apparently lets the new Director in on a few secrets about what exactly he does for the government. During his tenure Fenly has touched base with just about every Director and Assistant Director in every known agency remotely involved with intelligence and law enforcement on the federal level. Those who have actually worked with him on any projects are reluctant to speak of it to anyone.
Bill Fenly has direct access to the President of the United States but rarely utilizes it. Most Presidents are merely briefed at some point early in their first term that Bill Fenly exists. Most Presidents prefer to file the information away in their memory and leave it at that.
One of the things that Bill Fenly tells those he makes it a point to visit in the intelligence and law enforcement circles is that, “You should get in touch with me if you have a problem that may concern multiple law enforcement or intelligence agencies, both domestic and foreign, especially if the problem may effect the general welfare our society.” Everyone takes this to mean drastic and dramatic threats such as maybe trying to find a suitcase nuclear device in the hands of terrorists, that sort of thing. All in all there were basically two things you could say about Fenly: 1) He never failed, and 2) He was as much outside the law as within it. It wasn’t surprising to Mr. Fenly that the arrival of the spaceship and Robodog constituted an event which propagated several phone messages for him.
In a room at the Belvedere Hotel on the ocean shore of North Miami Beach known as the Bal Harbor area Bill fenly picked up his cell phone and dialed Dick, the assistant director of the F.B.I., and waited while his secretary patched him through.
“Hello, Bill, Dick here, I’ve got a situation up here.”
“Yeah, I’ve had a few calls about some alien robot dog in Queens, is that what you’re talking about?” Fenly’s voice was baritone, just above a whisper, breathless sounding as if it was a distraction to speak while he concentrated on other things.
“Yes. I had some agents at the location, the dog and a civilian got into the civilian’s car and drove away. The dog apparently used some sort of force field to disarm one of my agents and move everyone out of the way of the civilian’s car when he left the area. The subsequent car chase was fruitless although the dog and civilian had only a couple minutes head start. Not a sight of them and the agents are on their way back to debriefing. Have you any information that might help us pursue this matter?”
“There’s going to be a Cabinet meeting shortly, and I’ve got the impression everyone is still putting the pieces of this puzzle into something coherent, Dick. I appreciate your calling me on this so quickly and I’m going to be working on finding answers, but at this time there’s nothing I can add to what your agents already discovered.”
There followed a moment of silence while Dick digested the fact that Bill Fenly was not going to be forthcoming with any information whether he had any or not. This was a one way street.
“Dick, do me a favor, will you? When you’ve done debriefing your agents would you forward a copy of your report to my office? I’ll clear that with the Director. After the Cabinet meeting I suspect everyone will be reporting to the President tonight and I hear there will be a press conference later. If I hear of anything that will help your end of the investigation I’ll give you a shout, OK?”
“OK, Mr. Fenly, sounds good. I’ll speak to you later then,” replied Dick.
The phone went dead.
After a moment of reflection, which Dick did while doodling more lightening bolts coming out of a little cartoon dog’s antennas, he buzzed his secretary (his door had been closed for the Fenly conversation) and asked for her to try the Director in D.C. again. A minute later he was patched through.
“Hello Dick, how are you? I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you yet, I’ve been running around like crazy.”
“Yes sir, I imagine you are very busy sir. I’ve got a report coming to your office in maybe 45 minutes, after debriefing the agents who were at the scene here. Have you got anything for me that might help me in our continuing investigation? We’ve got an all points out for the civilian who left with the alien, agents are with his family now, and all those who were at the scene are being rounded up. The mayor activated the City Command Center and both City and State are working with Federal regarding deployment of troops if necessary, curfew if necessary and so on.”
“Well, the only thing new I might add to what you already know is that the spaceship is probably robotic also, according to the science advisor’s office, and has already left earth orbit as far as they can tell. The dog alien, whatever it is, seems to be the only one so far. I know that doesn’t help you but now you know as much as I do about it.”
“OK, sir. I’ll let you know as soon as something breaks here. By the way, I spoke with Bill Fenly and he’s requested a copy of our report to your office after debriefing our agents.”
“Yes, I spoke with him earlier. Go ahead and send a copy at the same time you send mine.”
Dick wondered why Bill Fenly didn’t say he had already cleared it with his boss. Maybe he didn’t want to sound like he had already gone over his head?
“Yes, sir, will do. Um, sir may I ask if Mr. Fenly will be keeping that report strictly confidential within our agency, sir?” Dick had a feeling he should know what Bill Fenly planned to do, whether he had his own investigation going on already.
“Just send the copy, Dick, and get back to me in an hour or so to let me know how things are progressing up there. I’ll call you sooner if anything happens on this end that can help you up there. I gotta run, I’m on my way to the White House and I’ll talk to you later.”
“Yes, sir. Goodbye,” said Dick.
Dick had heard the muffled sound of car horns over the Director’s cell phone, and knew his boss was in a hurry. But somehow Dick felt his boss had been vague about what Bill Fenly’s role would be in this situation. It would be a long night ahead and Dick buzzed his secretary.
“Yes, sir?” asked the secretary over the intercom.
“I’m sorry but we’re all going to have a long night ahead of us. When you feel up to it call that Italian place and order some food for our dinner will you? Or call whomever you like, it doesn’t matter to me.”
“Yes, sir. I was expecting that. Can you tell me what’s going on sir?”
“Yes sir, I’ll be here if you need me. I’ll call the Italian place.”
Meanwhile, Bill Fenly made one more cell phone call, to an associate Marty Finnerty, from his Hotel.
“Fenly here. You and Monty Montgomery, here at the Belvedere within 4 hours. I want you here with me when I speak to the committee. Be prepared to travel and work.”
“Yes sir, see you in a couple hours.”
In the White House the president and his staff were in a dark room looking at pictures of the spaceship. His science advisor, Scott Cambell, was addressing everyone, highlighting parts of the images with a laser pointer, from near the big rear projection screen.
"You can see here, and here, modules we think are for propulsion, using magnetic and electro-magnetic energy. This object may be able to travel using several methods seamlessly coordinated at these points. Here you see the magnetic and gravitational distortions surrounding the object, compared with these images down here, from various land based observatories. See how the stars behind the vehicle seem to shift position somewhat?"
"Scott, I see that,” said the president, "But cut to the chase, what is causing that and what is your opinion about this thing's origin, is it a spaceship with passengers, what's it's range, threat potential and ability for us to communicate with it if it reappears?"
"Sir, we haven't got through half the data on this object yet. The distortion we see could be caused by a big planet, like Mars for example. That means the object is using some force that manipulates gravity and electro magnetic energy. It might travel using worm holes in time / space, exceeding the speed of light, in which case it travels in 'time' too, not just distance. In essence it might simply pop from one place to another, with distance not much of a factor. It's ability to create a force field, again using gravity and electro magnetic energy to bend light and other energy around itself, making it impossible for us to detect it near our planet is probable, but it showed itself to us. It is so advanced beyond our science, in that alone, it's impossible to say what it's threat potential is. Anything that can manipulate those forces to the extent this object apparently can probably has the technical ability to manipulate energy far beyond our comprehension at this time. So the question of 'threat' potential is more a moral question than a technical one. Why would it want to attack us, is it morally inclined to respect us as a life form and is bound by ethical considerations similar to ours?"
That sent a little shiver around the room. 'Similar to ours', on an historical review of any depth, by each person in the room, didn't seem to be any kind of yardstick for perfect behavior.
"You say, 'It might be able to this and that' ,” replied the president, "so you think the ship is an entity and not a passenger type ship with life inside?"
"Nothing suggests a construction design with life support as we know it. You see here,” pointing with his laser, "some shielding and containerization, and a more detailed view of this area in this image,” changing to a close up, "but so far the data indicate a kind of electronic and plasma related modular construction for shielding and utility, not life support. So far I would suggest the ship is not supporting life as we know it, or any life that demands a particular atmosphere, pressure and so on. I would say the ship is totally mechanical in essence, like a robot, a probe, an unmanned ship. Everything we can figure out, and that isn't much so far, is strictly design and utility for machine function. It may have been built by life forms, if it is indeed a strictly mechanical object. We don't know."
"OK,” said the president, seeming to come to a decision, "Let's turn on the lights. Have your preliminary report on my desk by 5pm with enough data to back it up. I'll share that with anyone on earth that wants it. Don't worry about any data that compromises national security with regard to how we collect that data, I want this whole thing to be transparent and open, and that goes for everyone, every agency, am I clear on this?"
Everyone in the room nodded assent, some saying, "Yes, Mr. President.”
"Now,” resumed the president, "What about that dog and the people it's been in contact with so far?"
"Taken care of sir,” replied the Health Advisor, "except we haven't got the dog of course. The fellow it befriended, Dave, says the robot dog walked into the Long Island Sound. Everyone that's been close to it, that we know of, is currently being questioned and examined under strict quarantine. So far nothing shows any sign of the alien having had any physical effect on them, including the guy who got some kind of shock from it."
"What about mental?” asked the president.
"Nothing so far as we can tell, sir. There's a good possibility that minor psycho hypnosis influenced how some of the people reacted near the dog, but that might also be due to it's shape and likeness to a nice friendly dog, sir. So far we think, from our interviews, the dog is a robot, it can change shape to some extent, having a skin that looks like gold colored mercury, and can exert focused force fields of unknown characteristics. So far those force fields have made a pistol fly out of someone's hand, made it impossible for people to advance on it, like 'an invisible cotton ball', and made cars and people move out of it's way, which everyone describes slightly differently.”
"Alright, keep me posted and have a report on my desk by 5pm, data to back it up, which I will make available to anyone who wants the report. Leave out the names of the people who were in contact. No sense us being the cause of their discontent if they get a barrage of phone calls and visits from the media and so on, after we release them. Give me a ballpark figure on that release date for them, so we can tell the world and their families. Meantime, everyone, ratchet down your alert levels, where applicable and sensible. We don't want to have any mishaps with our forces and someone else's due to close proximity and stress about this. Let's all of you get with the PR and protocol people in your departments, get up to speed on really having a balanced and measured response to this challenge. I don't need to tell you, this is possibly the most important event in human history. I trust all of you, know you have the integrity and sincerity to represent not only this government, but our world, what I like to think of as mankind's highest achievement, this free and democratic society of ours. Keep up the good work and we'll meet again at 7pm here. Afterward I'm hoping to make an address to the nation about this business. Meantime, keep me posted and up to date on new developments. That's all for now."
Everyone left the room, the president going to his Oval Office alone. Once inside he stood by his desk a moment, looking at the American flag. His eyes were thoughtful, his brow furrowed. He thought, "Space dogs. Why this guy Dave? Why space dogs? And I thought the world was strange already." Then he buzzed his secretary and asked her to send in the Director of the F.B.I. In less than a minute there was a knock at the door and the F.B.I. Director walked into the Oval Office.
“Hello Mr. President, how are you,” asked the Director.
“Very well, thank you. I’ve got a few minutes. I’m going to have to close up some loose ends around here real soon, and the first thing you can help me with concerns our Mr. Bill Fenly. Have you got any more specifics on the network he manages?”
“No sir, not any more than what we covered last month. This event however seems to have mobilized him and the organization he appears to work for, ‘The Committee’, on the spur of the moment. Because of the spontaneity and dynamic characteristics of the event I believe many of the precautions previously taken by him and that organization may be compromised. If he moves too quickly he might make mistakes. He is under surveillance.”
“Good. I’m hoping we can identify all of them and it’s now time, I’m afraid, to put an end to their exploits. In the past they haven’t done anything unlawful,” the President almost sighed, sounding tired, and sat heavily behind his desk. “Have a seat, I’ve got a couple things I want you to do.”
The Director of the F.B.I. sat in front of the President’s desk and folded his hands on his lap, at ease with an ex-soldier’s poise.
“The Committee, as they call themselves, with Mr. Fenly’s help, have manipulated business and banking activities in many countries for the sake of making themselves very wealthy. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as no classified information was passed by Mr. Fenly, and nothing the agency considers confidential to an investigation or case profile. However, we both know that it is a fine line when dealing with those who apparently are on The Committee, as they have no allegiance to any country, ethic or morality, seeming only to worship money and making more of it. And many of their past exploits have been very unethical if not borderline illegal. Believe it or not there has been a certain amount of give and take with this in the past. We leave things alone on the periphery, and we get some benefit in the form of intelligence. Some of the best American companies have suffered somewhat from The Committee’s dealings with foreign companies and markets, but with the global economy it’s fair game, again as long as no overtly illegal activity has been part of their scheming . Maybe a little insider information is being passed along, but basically it hasn’t been totally without merit that Mr. Fenly in essence is carrying out his job description, keeping in touch with international agencies and companies having direct influence on our domestic intelligence, within our borders. Is this pretty much your take on what’s been going on with Mr. Fenly and The Committee?”
“Yes, Mr. President, that’s how I see it in general,” said the F.B.I. Director.
“I want it to end now and I’ll give you an executive order to that effect. I’ll tell you why. First of all this is a whole new world today. We all know that historically many have tried and failed to unite this world into a cohesive, law abiding and prosperous brotherhood of mankind. Unfortunately they have always failed, and I think the main reason has been vanity and the corruption of absolute power. Not to mention mankind’s seeming inability to come to grips with any ideology benefiting all men and women equally in all matters, not with law but through love of their neighbors. Through wisdom, I guess you could say. Well today the alien changed all that history from something that was a thread of continuity, our past leading to our present, to something that just started new and fresh. Today our planet is no longer encompassed by it’s own history and this changes everything. The first thing I want to do is clean up my own house a bit, get things as close to Bristol Fashion as I can, so that in the coming days, weeks and months we can face this new beginning with a fair chance of having the integrity to do what is necessary to make new efforts to live in peace and prosperity.”
Both men sat silent for a moment, both wondering what the alien objective was, if any, and what that might mean, how the nations of the world will need to respond.
“I think I understand what you mean, Mr. President, and I agree that we should certainly clean up the house quickly. We have company, after all.”
“Exactly,” replied the President. “See what you can do to wrap up Mr. Fenly and his Committee cronies. If the past is any indication they will be onto this alien thing in one way or another already, and I want an end to that kind of business. If you can discover them involved in illegal activities then we’ll bring them to justice, get them off the streets, OK?”
“Consider it done, Mr. President.”
Nearly every television station in the entire world was replaying the tapes they made of the space ship, from console 30. Almost every university on the planet with a physics and / or astronomy department was contacted by the news media, most professors booked solid for the next month or more for interviews, a bonanza of unforeseen revenue for the usually ignored sciences. Already, on television, console 30's images were being blown up, dissected, enhanced, and generally totally misunderstood by hundreds of experts and science fiction fanatics. It was impossible to find a radio station or TV station that was NOT focused on, over and over and over, the arrival of SPACE ALIENS!
Without preempting their scheduled television commercials all the television stations arranged wall to wall space alien programming. The movie channels of cable put on science fiction shows while scrambling around to create studio talk show specials with scientists. Turnover Classics planned to have their ‘Dinner And A Movie’ feature the movie ‘War Of The Worlds’ while the hosts would make ‘Martian Burgers’ with a side of robot dog biscuits, made from soy products.
“We Come In Peace,” said the voice on Channel 8 News, while flying saucer music accompanied a series of graphic images featuring deep space photos from the Hubble Telescope, and a montage of real footage from various NASA launches, space walks, space station rendezvous' and segments of various Hollywood movies. “Or are we being invaded?” continued the voice over. “Stay tuned for the first exclusive interview with Dr. Richard Stringer, founder and Chairman of ‘Aliens Group’(official logo appears on screen), an international think-tank, the foremost authority on the science and technology of alien life!” Then the television station went to a commercial break, the first advertisement being for an SUV which made the occupants feel like James Bond, A Desert Rat and General Tommy Franks all rolled into one. In the not too distant future people wouldn’t be able to give away gas driven vehicles, but nobody knew that yet.
In every country, in every language, similar television shows and news specials selling the fear of aliens, or the love of aliens, swamped the airwaves. Not one television station on Earth could communicate to their audience the true import and significance of being visited by aliens, but despite that shortcoming on the part of mass media human beings in general started to get the feeling they wanted statesmen instead of politicians, representatives instead of salesmen, responsible media instead of carnival barkers, wisdom instead of cynicism. Human beings in general started to feel somewhat embarrassed by their own shortcomings without blaming others for them, and somewhat proud of the fine things they could see in those around them. Proud of the human race, of it’s stamina in the face of adversity, yet critical of their individual failings. This would prove to be a very powerful and positive force in time. But for now the internal synthesis of mortification and pride was a mostly private affair for individuals, the events and reactions to them, around the world, happening very fast, in the space of a single day. It was as if someone had said to the whole world, “OK, no more fooling around, it’s time to be human beings.” It would take some time before people would realize they were being profoundly affected, and begin to think of what they could do to make the peaceable changes to their lives and their institutions they thought necessary to live in a universe where they were no longer comfortable with the suspicion of being foolish. Having a neighbor from space, with apparently advanced intelligence, made earthlings self conscious. Semiotically speaking there was no ‘cultural unit’ for a real “alien,” no way to grasp the reality in terms of equivocal or significant codification. Robodog and the spaceship were fantastic.
Extravagant measures were taken on the part of the government to try and get the families of those being interviewed and examined by the government agencies, who'd been close to Robodog, out of town to hidden locations, for their safety and comfort because it was despite every effort impossible to keep the names of the people being interviewed secret. Every one of them was already being promised enormously rich book deals, movie deals and so on. The families, every one, stayed put, despite the nightmare of news media attack on their homes. They were being brave. Those being examined and interviewed would have been glad to hear that, but were out of touch with the world and their families for the time being, mostly being treated nicely but feeling like lab rats. Everyone managed to take it in stride, eventually, except the stage manager, who kept screaming at people, "It's the END OF THE WORLD!" Too many years with a control issue at the stage, people thought.
On the hard sandy beach behind the Sheraton Hotel in Bal Harbor 3 black executive turbojet helicopters landed in succession, the passengers from each one being led quickly to 3 black limousines parked out front, down a ways from the front of the hotel entrance. They were led by a group of men in loose fitting windbreakers who then got into large SUV’s with opaque windows in front and behind the
- limos. The motorcade then proceeded quietly to the Belvedere Hotel’s underground parking garage where arrangements had been made to spirit the newly arrived executives to Bill Fenly’s suite via an elevator temporarily unavailable to the general public and guests of the hotel. Mr. Fenly welcomed the men to his room himself, and each took a seat around a large dining table with nothing on it. The curtains of the room had been drawn and when all were seated Mr. Fenly joined them. These guests were each a representative, empowered by their respective bosses to speak and act for them. Of those represented 3 were heads of democratically elected governments, 2 were dictators, 1 was an arms dealer, 1 was a member of a royal family in the middle east and 1 was the head of a holding company with control of several international banks. In a room adjoining the meeting sat Monty Montgomery, an Irishman who once served courageously with the S.A.S. but found the organization too small minded and ‘kind’ to suit his character, and Marty Finnerty, another Irishman who had once worked for the C.I.A. The two men did not seem to have any limits to their expertise in matters concerning “getting things done.” Financing came from ‘The Committee’, those people now being represented by the men in the room with Fenly.
“Gentlemen,” began Mr. Fenly, “you are about to hear my plan for responding to the concerns expressed by your employers regarding the revelation of the existence of alien life. Those concerns are mainly to hold onto the holdings and relationships you have created these past 10 years and to make sure no single government or organization gain control over future dealings with the aliens. We recognize that the building of wealth is good for the common person, as this trickles down to them as opportunity fitting their skills and talent as workers, and that a true democracy cannot hope to address matters concerning their fortunes as predictably as your benevolence on the international front. The human race must be protected, yes, even protected from itself when necessary, as only those at the top have the knowledge, wisdom and power to effect changes for the common man’s growth and prosperity.”
Everyone nodded to one another, more or less indicating that this was indeed true and their primary purpose of meeting this day. In the next room Monty and Marty looked at one another and smiled, banging their fists together as a signal that they would enjoy banging some heads together if it came to that.
“I have a copy of the F.B.I. report from New York, regarding the debriefing of their agents and some others who were at the location of the alien’s appearance on earth, and I also have reports on the technical data available from our space based passive interrogation of the spaceship that appeared. When combined with information from the military and their progress on tracking down the alien we will be able to locate that alien and act. The action I propose is simply this: Take the alien, by force if necessary, and discover all we can about it. Discover it’s technology, it’s secrets. Take from the robot all we can learn of the builders of that robot, and use the powers we gain to better mankind, and protect ourselves from the alien race that built it!”
“Hear Hear,” said all the executives at the table.
“Do I have your vote to go ahead with this plan? It will cost dearly to collect the expertise and manpower we need to contain and dissect this robot, to take it from the very grasp of the U.S. military if they should find it first.”
All around the table heads nodded in the affirmative.
“Arrange for transfer to my account 100 million each, you’ll get the details tomorrow, and also arrange for total cooperation with me or any of my representatives should you be contacted during the operation. Thank you, the meeting is closed.”
Mr. Bill Fenly walked over to the door and opened it to let his guests out, and they filed into the hall, following their escorts back through the route that brought them to Florida. When they were gone Fenly opened the door to the adjourning room and said to Monty and Marty, “Let’s go to New York.”
At 5:30 pm the President was sitting in the Oval Office reading summaries of the various reports he had requested from his Cabinet. The Cabinet had assured him, just moments ago in a hasty meeting to gain these reports, that all departments were dealing with events openly and transparently, the underlying idea of showing themselves as deserving the American Public’s trust and to foster good relations with the international community. Although the Cabinet members knew the President planned a press conference later, and that events almost dictated an open dialogue between the nations of the earth, nobody knew for sure what he had in mind to tell Americans and the world.
His secretary buzzed him and announced the F.B.I. Director had arrived to see him, and he asked her to show him in. The Director came in looking a little weary. The President asked him to have a seat, waving with a hand, as he read quickly through the remainder of a page in the other hand. He put the paper down, shuffled the pages on his desk into a neat pile and pushed them aside. When he looked again at the Director the President had a vague expression, as if he wasn’t really seeing him yet. Distracted. Worried. Then the President seemed to gather his strength and smiled.
“Well, what a day, huh?”
“You can say that again, sir. And it ain't over yet,” replied the F.B.I. Director
“I can tell you one thing. Everyone is willing to let the United States put out the dough to try and find this alien dog robot but everyone is also right in my lap trying to be in on our next contact,” said the President with a sigh, “And the international military responses have only now begun to settle down to fairly safe normal activity, defensive mostly for forms sake. It goes without saying that it’s inevitable that some would test the potential of rivals on bordering patrols, but I think things are settling down OK.” The President brushed his hair back with his palm and looked up at the ceiling. “What have you got for me?”
“I have confirmation Mr. Fenly met the Committee representatives in Miami, and he is going to try to use all their power and resources to get the alien robot dog. They want to observe it and dissect it to get the secrets of it’s advanced technology. They then plan to use that technology amongst themselves to save mankind from the sloppy and ineffective humanitarian democracies of the world, and get pretty rich along the way.”
“You know who all the members are now?”
“All but one, an arms dealer. It’s hard to believe but the guy is like a ghost. C.I.A. and everyone else is on it. We seem to be working well together, the agencies.”
The President looked directly at the F.B.I. Director, “Are you sure?”
“Yes, sir. There’s no more internal jealousy over budgets, resources or terrain. It’s never going to be perfect, but it’s a lot better than it used to be. And when the new Director Of Homeland Security is finally sworn in it should be a painless transition for him.”
“Good. That is good news. Now, lets not get too close to ‘The Committee’. I’m not going to micro-manage any of this, you know me, but I sure don’t want to blow this. I want this to be the last of the Committee and to have enough on them to stop them for good. And I want Fenly and all those who have been conspiring with him and passing him information. Does it seem to you we can accomplish all that? It’s a tall order, I know.”
“Yes, I do think we can do it all,” replied the F.B.I. Director. “For whatever reason most everyone has been more or less treating me like a surrogate Director Of Homeland Security and there isn’t any problem concerning this case, involving getting Fenly and The Committee, getting all the help and information I need. In fact many of our formal allies and even some of the antagonistic government intelligence services overseas have been forthcoming with quite a lot too. It may come down to the timing of events, however, and maybe some good luck too, because it really is difficult to come up with the hard evidence of unlawful activity in their past endeavors.”
“OK, let me know if you need anything from me. Now I’m going to have to cut this short, as I have a news conference coming up and I want a minute to get my notes together,” said the President, as he stood, signaling the end of their discussion. Without watching the Director leave the Oval Office the President again walked over to the American Flag and stood looking at it deep in thought.
“My Fellow Americans,” said the President of the United States Of America. “I am addressing the nation today and invite all the peoples of this planet, our home, to believe that I speak with all my heart not only to our nation, but to all. We of The United States have the welfare of all in mind as I speak to you now.
“Earlier today a spaceship appeared in orbit around our planet and stayed in that orbit for roughly 3 hours before leaving. We don’t know where it came from or where it went. At the time we, and many other countries around the world, used the full range of our technical ability to analyze the spaceship. We are sharing our observations and collected data about the spaceship with all governments and scientists of all nations to try to unravel the mystery of the appearance of the spaceship. At about the same time the spaceship appeared in orbit an unusual occurrence took place in the city of New York. Reports of a robotic alien in the shape of a dog, confirmed by witnesses and law enforcement personnel, have been forwarded to my office, and we are trying to locate the alien device.”
The President paused for a few seconds, taking a breath and gathering his strength. He looked like a statesman, summoning those watching to believe in his integrity and honesty.
“I have instructed all my Cabinet to investigate this matter with full transparency, to share all information with all governments and peoples of the world. To hide nothing even if it means disclosing heretofore undisclosed technologies of a defensive nature in our space or land based military establishments. Our embassies will assist all who ask for the information we acquire about the spaceship and apparently alien robot dog.
“The spaceship did not communicate. However, the robotic dog did in fact talk to and interact with a number of civilians before it was seen walking into the Long Island Sound, disappearing under water.”
The President paused a moment to let this sink in.
“Our Navy is currently searching the Long Island Sound and a larger search party will be arriving soon from our mid-Atlantic Navy ports, embellished with the newest scientific equipment available for sub surface searching. Many countries have offered their help in equipment and scientific knowledge and we are very thankful.
“We do not believe the alien presence indicates any threat. The alien robot dog is quoted by a witness as saying, ‘I have come to save your planet’, and we think that was meant to mean the alien was expressing a desire for us to have a healthy and robust environment on a global scale. A healthy planet. The witness has told us the alien means that it wants us to have a good healthy planet because it is beautiful. The alien said, ‘Your planet is very beautiful when you see it from space, and it is the only one like it anywhere’ .”
The president paused again, so people could reflect on that a moment.
“Yes, it is beautiful. And we live on it together. It is our home. And now it seems we have guests visiting. There is nothing to fear from the appearance of the alien ship or the robot dog. Which, by the way,” the President makes a lame attempt at humor with a chuckle, “calls itself Robodog.”
The small audience at the White House laugh off camera, as the rest of the planet watches this broadcast on television.
“Perhaps this is a good time to think of ways we can make our planet healthier by thinking how we can stop burning fossil fuels so much, and stop industrial waste from getting into our water, into our oceans. If our guest, the visiting alien, Robodog wishes to help us I welcome that help and invite the alien to let us know what we can do to share our ideas and keep the planet beautiful! Thank you, and God Bless you all.”
That was the best that could be done at that particular time. It shows how far people had yet to come in order to understand why Robodog was on earth. For one thing he wasn’t just visiting. He was going to stay !
A week went by, since the appearance of Robodog, and finally the examined were released, secretly, so they could try to get to their families unmolested by the media and the crowd of misfits who joined the media professionals for the fun of it. Many people with fake antennas on their heads, some with elaborate space costumes, had joined the media crowds at many locations, to get a glimpse of those who had been in contact with the SPACE DOG! The media people wanted the freaks to go away. The freaks wanted the media people to go away. The families wanted everyone to go away. Several fights broke out among them. In one case the evening news showed a TV sound guy clubbing a man on his space helmet with a fuzzy microphone, while the space guy was spraying the sound guy with a water filled space gun, while a woman in hair curlers at the front door of a suburban home screamed at them all. An anchor person got knocked over by accident in the fracas, seen in the background sitting on a lawn with his hairpiece askew. Dogs barked and sirens wailed in the background, as policemen ran onto the scene to break it up.
Approximately three thousand fake sightings of space ships and robotic dogs were called in to local police stations every day in New York State alone. The number of fake sightings worldwide was beyond measure. Some people put fake alien antennas on their pets, and several television shows had parrots, mice (antennas glued on), dogs, cats, and many other alien space creatures on display. Some did amusing tricks.
Meanwhile, meetings continued within governments all over the world, including high level conferences at the U.N. In several countries coalitions between corporate giants of international renown were hastily put together, all for the purpose of meeting the challenge of current marketing strategies, how to benefit from Robodog's next appearance, or the spaceship, or both. Institutional and corporate action and reaction was quite different than those of the individual. Individuals, thought of in a statistical and ‘consumer’ sense by the institutions had their own agenda for a change.
The planet earth spun around, orbiting the sun, as usual, but in a very slight and subtle way it wasn't taken for granted quite as much as before. By imperceptible increments the people of the world started to think about where they lived, in a broader sense, and looked at the sun, moon, stars in a slightly different way. And each way that humans began to see things slightly different was as individualistic, unique and full of mystery as each individual's heart. The experience, despite the homogeneous barrage of media, touched everyone differently, and they began to understand in a new way the beauty of the differences between them and others, which brought them closer together. Just a little. Nothing grand and barely noticeable. But it had begun.
By and large the knowledge of alien life, though many were still skeptical, brought the majority of human beings a sense of hope. Even if only machine-like (as the argument generally offered for machine theories was that a real life form had made the machines) people generally were bringing their best dreams to their imaginations, rather than their worst fears. This was not an H.G. Wells moon mice vs. human 'nature' stance, where aliens were nice and humans were by nature bad. Instead, most people realized they actually did try their best to love their neighbors, that they were a community of families created out of affection as well as comfort and need. In the northeast of North America it's not uncommon to have dreadful snowstorms in the winter. At such times many people help each other in ways reflecting a genuine caring and concern, a liking for one another. The reflection of a human desire to feel helpful and supportive, rather than hopeless and impotent in the face of adversity. In some ways the reaction to the knowledge of alien intelligence brought about the same reaction, first out of concern and worry, then from a desire to help one another in the face of such a profound unknown.
Large church organizations were debating the issue of alien life and millions anticipated with a little anxiety the outcome these conferences might conclude. The main question the public had was, "Do the aliens have the same belief we do.” The question most in the minds of church leaders was, "How does an alien presence fit in?" It happens that some whackos pointed out right away that 'dog' spelled backward is 'god' (in the English language, that is). However, that's as far as it got as people in general realized almost any word could be jumbled around to extract other words and meanings and it was time to think rationally. Differences in language and faith and cultures didn't seem quite as formidable as before, as if the whole human race was, despite the many differences, a family of sorts.
From way up in space, looking at the jewel known as earth, it was indeed obvious that those who lived on this living planet were all in the same boat.
In the Long Island Sound an entire fleet of Navy ships scoured the area for signs of Robodog. The 'Whoop Whoop' of ship horns could be heard day and night and many civilians lined the shores to watch the ships and helicopters and planes. Never had the area seen so much cool high technology and majestic ships. It was strange in a way that many other areas of the world were more familiar with the U.S. Navy and it's majesty, and the locals enjoyed seeing their navy, many for the first time. Although secretive about their progress it was obvious to anyone watching that the Navy didn't have a clue where the dog was. The navy spokespeople were careful to always refer to the dog as 'A Possibly Alien Device', and many navy personnel were glad of it, because on liberty the civilians often joked about such high powered and mighty sailors being unable to find a little dog, though in general the public liked and welcomed the sailors. Many friendships were formed at this time between the civilian families and navy personnel. One of the strange things about Long Island is that most of the people living on it hardly thought of themselves as being surrounded by water. Most did not own boats, or have much access to the shore, except in cases where a town or county or the state government subsidized a beach for the public. Some people watching the navy wondered why the business of ship building and other things relating to harbors and ships, fishing and so on, were so scarce on and around Long Island. It was a new experience for many people to go out after work and watch the navy scour the Sound in search of Robodog instead of watching TV. There was a noticeable change for the better in the mental health of the populace. Some families brought picnic meals to the shore with them, and discovered who their children were, and the children discovered they had parents who were (no kidding !) REAL people. 'Whoop Whoop', the ship horns blasted, and some navy jets from an offshore carrier group swooshed by overhead, and hamburgers smoked on grills down a ways on the sand, and no cops came by and said, "Hey, you're not allowed to have a fire on this beach!" It was a very unusual time.
Even some of the owners of the big mansions didn't yell at people who wandered onto their beach fronts, trying to find better vantage points to watch the activity on the water. Some of them even went down to the beach with bottles of water and offered the use of the poolside bathrooms, so long as the adults made sure they were clean when they left. Some were not as hospitable, and one night on TV a news crew soundman was seen hitting a mansion owner over the head with a fuzzy microphone, while the owner was trying to get a pool net over the soundman's head.
Dave was busy playing with his wife and kids, focused primarily on a game board of Monopoly, just having fun horsing around with each other where the Monopoly game was simply the backdrop of their enthusiasm for being together. They'd been separated for a week and now everyone was reunited. After a bit of wrestling, chasing each other over the hotels and paper money they all suddenly started swiping from one another, the game ended and the kids were put to bed. Dave and his wife, Mary, cleaned up and caught their breath, talking at first about how fun it was to be with the kids like this again. To be all together again. It hadn’t been easy getting the children to bed at the same time but since it was later than their usual bedtime hour Jerry (11 years old) couldn’t justify complaining about going to bed at the same time as his sister Anne (6 years old), and Jimmy (8 years old).
"You know, It's been quite a while since we had a chance to be together like this honey,” said Mary.
"Yeah,” answered Dave, closing the Monopoly game box and making some room on the table in front of him, "I guess I've been working so many hours there's no time anymore.”
"Yeah,” said Mary, as she sat opposite Dave and looked into his eyes. "You know the government people were all very nice and tried to make us comfortable while they questioned us, and the hardship of having the press and fruitcakes out there in the front yard hasn’t been too bad, but no matter how you cut it we were prisoners in a way. We missed you so much, you have no idea.”
"I know,” said Dave. He looked down at the table, with an almost guilty look. "I felt like I let you down, not being able to stop them, not being able to do anything but be tested, examined, and answer their questions. They told me you would all be fine, not to worry, but I did anyway.” After a moment he added, "I'm real sorry Mary, I don't know what made me drive that dog thing out of the stage parking lot. I guess I lost my head.”
"No, you just love animals and even if the thing is a robot he sounds like a good dog too in a way. Wow, it's just so hard to believe, you know? A dog robot alien and YOU got to meet it first!"
"Yeah, wow wee,” said Dave. Dave had enough of being awed and just wanted things to go back to normal. "Now we can't even do anything without a zillion news people on us, and probably all the walls have microphones, and we're probably going to be watched and followed anytime we go anywhere, and the kids will have to put up with mean kid stuff and …."
"Oh stop it Dave! Don't you dare worry about all that stuff !" Mary went around the table and gave Dave a big hug and said, in a very seductive voice, "I love you, and you know what I think would be nice right now?"
Dave looked at Mary and blinked his eyes, like he was bewildered. She often surprised him with her strength and love. Before he could form a complete thought to answer her Mary had taken Dave's hand and pulled him to his feet and pulled him toward their bedroom, a little bit forcefully.
Outside it was dark but several news crews remained camped outside watching Dave's house, and several police cars watched the news crews to make sure they stayed off the property, and once in a while someone would look up into the night sky for no particular reason.
The next morning Dave started getting the phone calls he had been expecting from his friends and family. Everyone wanted to know what had happened, what the government told him, what he told the government, where the other people were that saw the dog with him on the set (nobody seemed to know where they all went), how come they let him come home and so on. Dave answered all these questions, knowing full well the phone was probably bugged by the government people, hoping to get yet more information about Robodog. All day long the phone rang, the same routine mostly, and it was good to be in touch with everyone again. The media people that called he firmly told to call back in a week or so, he'd talk to them then. In between calls he and his family talked about what they should do, maybe take a vacation soon. Work was put off indefinitely, the show he'd been on would not resume for another week or so, and he begged off going back to it right away. The key said OK, that would be fine, call when things settle back to normal, and started racing around in his mind who he would get to take Dave's place.
Robodog was now a name known throughout the entire world, even where there were no radios and TV. By word of mouth every human on earth knew about the robot dog, and everyone called him Robodog. Several corporations were labeling their products with new names, like "RoboCoke" and "RoboFries,” and most would have a spike in sales selling the same products with the new labels. A few toy companies got busy making Robodog toys, and one company also had RoboPuppies. It was a free for all. The newspapers and TV shows continued to speculate on everything and anything remotely associated with space, robots, secret government projects, science fiction, UFO's, the U.S. Navy deployment off Long Island and so on. It was still front page news.
Everything else continued as before, and everyone felt comfortable knowing that everything was still the same, even if an alien robot had shown up. No big deal. It was amazing how fast people accepted change. In this case the change was not something that made any difference with daily life, it was mental. It was psychological. Maybe it was also other changes in ideology and science (speculatively) but on average things got back to normal pretty quick for most people.
This was Robodog's plan, to let things settle down, let people take it easy, let everyone get used to the idea of him being around. By doing nothing anyone could see, by going into the water and staying quiet, he had virtually disappeared and let the natural course of human reaction and action find a balance with the new reality. The new reality was, of course, very simply this: Human beings were not alone in the universe anymore. There was no hurry on Robodog's part to prove it.
Dave, getting tired of answering the phone, picked it up this time on the first ring, saying in a drab voice, "Hello?"
"Hello, Dave, this is Robodog, how are you getting along?"
"Hey! Hold On a sec,” Dave replied, calling loudly to his family in the living room, "Hey! It's Robodog on the phone, pick up the extensions!" Then back to Robodog Dave said, "Hold on, my family is getting on the phone too! They want to meet you.” Dave was excited now, he could get his family to hear Robodog, space alien robot, calling "Them,” Dave and his family! Wow ! Now they could all share this weird stuff together a little bit, and Dave wouldn't feel like he was half nuts, like he might've imagined things somewhat. Everyone got on the phones, some sharing the earpiece, and everyone said, in there own ways, "Hi Robodog!" Of course it came out like Mary saying, "Hi Robodog,” while little Jerry said, "Woof, Robo!" and Anne said, "Hi robo doggy!"
"Hi everyone. I am glad to meet you and hope you are all well. I'm sorry you all had to go through so much on account of me. Guess what? I am still in the Long Island Sound, under the water. I am becoming very friendly with many of the marine life here. I think they are fun.”
"The Navy is looking for you there, along with a lot of others I imagine,” said Dave.
"I know,” said Robodog. "There are a lot of ships and divers and submarines and they are penetrating the water with energy. I'm through doing my job here for now. I let them find me a little while ago, and now I am going to talk to them. Enough time has passed for people to calm down and figure out what they want to do about being visited from space, ha ha,” said Robodog.
"Are you talking on a telephone underwater, Robodog,” asked Jerry?
"Ha ha,” said Robodog. No, but I am surrounded by water and speaking to you by using a built in transmitter I have in me, which goes into the telephone line you have to your house. I can show you sometime how it works if you want?"
"Wow! Cool,” Jerry replied, and he looked up expectantly at his mom to see how her face looked hearing this. He didn't see the 'no way' look, and was hopeful.
"Dave? Have you thought about helping me? Is it OK with you and your family? You won't be hurt in any way, and your family will be OK too.”
Mary surprised Dave by answering for him. They had agreed he would help to some extent, but it was so far fetched and undefined no real decision could be made in such a general situation. She said, "Yes, we all agree that Dave should help you any way he can, and that we will help too. As long as you are not going to do anything but help us and help make the world stay healthy, like you said. If it looks like you are going to do something bad or that something you want will hurt humans then we won't help you at all, but will make you stop so you can't do anything to hurt us!"
Wow, thought Dave. She sounded like she could single handedly take Robodog by the scruff of the neck and whack him on his backside with a rolled up newspaper if he was bad!
There was silence on the line. Dave said, "I feel that way too, Robodog. We want to help, but don't know what you want to do yet.”
"Thank you,” said Robodog. They didn't know it but his tail was wagging, even underwater it was a sure sign Robodog was happy. Robodog was floating just off the bottom, near his newly finished underground structure the size of a football field in area and twice as deep. A couple of fish swam around him, and many more fish were gathering around the exposed area of the mysterious structure nearby. "Thank you for helping me. If you like I can come over to your house tonight and explain what I need you to help me with. That way you will all be able to see how you feel about what I want to do for now, and make a final decision together.” "Yeah, Robodog,” said Dave, "That might be a good idea. Come tonight, but you should know there's probably ways for others to hear us on this phone, and in the home, if they want to.”
"Yes, OK, I know there are people listening, but I will talk to them when I get there. It is a big favor to ask, I know, but it will work out well, don't worry. I will explain later. Right now your navy will want to visit me and I want to show them something I built here to make the water cleaner. I will tell you all about it later. Bye.”
"Bye, Robodog. See you later,” Dave's family yelled together! They didn't know there was no need to shout.
In a van down the street from Dave's house several F.B.I. technicians looked from their computer consoles to each other, their eyebrows raised in excitement, and one of them speed dialed a number on his cell phone, as the other two exclaimed to each other how they got a great recording of Robodog talking to Dave's family.
"Wow, that was so COOL,” said F.B.I. technician number one! "Yeah,” exclaimed technician number two!
Their joint movements rocked the van slightly, but nobody outside noticed, even though there were dozens of news crews and policemen surrounding the van.
"Hello? Hello? This is Post Alpha, We just got a great recording of the alien dog talking to Dave and his family,” said the agent into his cell phone. "Sending it to you now!"
On board the USS Dolphin, a destroyer, Captain Bill Walshman was talking to Captain Johns of the Blowfish, a nuclear attack submarine in deep water northeast of Execution Rocks. "We've just sent our complete sonar sweep of area BH to you, Captain Johns, and I think the anomaly at sector 5 could use a closer look with your mini sub. It wasn’t there on earlier sweeps.”
"OK, Bill, I see what you mean.” A moment of silence followed. "Bill, would you be able to stay on station there until the mini sub 'Minerva' came back to us? I think you're right about the magnetic distortion deserving a closer look. Could be the Telecommunications cable I see on the chart is causing it, but we should check it out.”
"Should be no problem with that. I'll clear it with the boss, and get back to you, Dolphin over and out.”
Captain Johns turned to his executive officer, Curt Williams, and issued his order. "Exec, have the Seal team get ready. I want Minerva to get over here and give us a scan with her cameras and sensor array,” he said while pointing out the spot on the chart that coincided with the Dolphin sonar sweep's detection of magnetic anomaly. "Let's see if we can dig up more information on the geological sectionals for that area too.”
"You got it, Captain, Seal team and Minerva to these coordinates. I estimate 15 minutes before Minerva leaves dock,” and the exec moved out of the control room toward the stern of the sub, to speak to the Seal team leader.
On board the Dolphin a quick message exchange with Fleet Command acknowledged staying on station as backup dock and support of Minerva off the Blowfish, and a Seahawk was dispatched to lay some sonar buoys in a pattern around the area in question, for a further detailed mapping of the subsurface. The Seahawk took off from the Carrier "Carter,” Flagship of Fleet Command, while patrol aircraft routinely took off and landed from the flight deck.
An AWAC monitored the airspace and tankers circled in their patterns high above the fleet. Everything was routine and normal, and the efficiency and professionalism of the finest navy in the world was easily reflected in the decorum of these men and women serving their country.
The radio operator on the aircraft carrier Carter received at this time a properly coded message, using a one time code reserved for the Dolphin, which said, "Hello, my name is Robodog.”
The radio operator, Seaman First Class Dowd, sat bolt upright in surprise and became tense as he called the Officer Of The Watch. "Sir, this is Dowd, Radio message received, one time code from Dolphin, transferring to your station now sir, seems important sir.”
"OK, Dowd, will advise.” The Officer Of The Watch, Mr. Berkey, read the message on his secure link to the radio 'shack' and called the Captain on the bridge. "Captain, radio message just in, one time code, I think you should see this right away, sir.” The Captain came quickly but easily to Berkey's station and looked at his screen, seeing the message and data indicating the code. "OK, this could be contact, sound battle stations, defensive posture, please notify the Admiral in his stateroom, I'll be in the shack if you need me.”
"Yes sir,” replied Berkey, as he sounded battle stations on the carrier, which in turn would put the entire group on alert status. The carrier, even in normal operating procedure, was close to battle stations status, so not too much activity signified the change from operational to offensive / defensive stature, in this case with no clearance to use offensive weapons without the Captain's approval. The captain, on his short trip to the radio shack, wondered how a one time code could possibly be compromised. It seemed impossible. Around the Carrier the fleet ships went to battle stations, the 'Whoop Whoop' of their horns thrilling those on shore able to hear them. The families and kids on the beaches couldn't tell an alert was stepping up the fleet's readiness. Off the carrier a larger number of aircraft were launched, quickly going through the sound barrier as they headed for station, surprising Long Island residents with a series of sonic booms.
Blowfish had the Seal team ready to embark and spool up the systems on it's mini sub, Minerva, when the battle stations readiness directive was received via extremely long wave encrypted code, which the sub received from a trailing antenna from it's conning tower. The call was up to the captain, whether to call off the mini sub exploratory mission, and he quickly decided to go ahead with it as long as no threats were observed from his sub platform, and no explicit directive to the contrary came from Fleet. In a few minutes Minerva, with it's Seal team of 4 aboard, undocked from the sub's airlock and made turns for 5 knots, heading toward the magnetic anomaly detected earlier. The Seahawk's sonar buoys was painting the subsurface with energy, which reflected and refracted, some from below the seafloor, which in turn was turned into a sub surface map of the floor sub layers. When fed into a computer with knowledge of geological sub structure for the area, the map would show a 3 dimensional view of the section, complete with mineral and rock identification. This kind of sub surface mapping had been in use for a long time, looking for geological sub strata formations that might hold oil deposits. What the Seahawks used was much more advanced and precise. The magnetic detection equipment they carried was good for finding metal objects under water, such as enemy submarines, but wasn't good enough to map the sub surface of the sea floor. Like the destroyer Dolphin, however, the Seahawks could see a significant magnetic disturbance apparently coming from below the sea floor. All the information the Seahawk on station collected was sent to the AWAC and from there to fleet command in real time.
The arrival of Minerva at the area indicated was estimated at 15 minutes.
On the carrier Carter the Captain told the radio operator to use a one time code to transmit a message to the Dolphin, with the text, "Dolphin disregard this message, Hello Robodog. Your message received. This is Captain of USS Carter, Lowell. Do you read me?" Aside to the radio operator the captain quickly added, "Send normal to Dolphin, 'Disregard Bravo code message and do not use any class Bravo code until further notice'. We'll keep those one time codes with Dolphin open for this Robodog to use in case he continues with those codes."
"Yes, sir,” replied the radio operator, as he sent the two messages, one to Robodog, the other to Dolphin. The Captain returned to the bridge, and "sparky" the radio operator knew he was to utilize everything he had to monitor for any messages from Robodog.
The carrier USS Carter was the Flagship, and the Admiral of the Fleet was on board the carrier. He now came to the bridge, and Captain Lowell brought him up to date on the situation. The admiral nodded, thoughtful about the alert status. He'd been in his stateroom speaking to presidential advisors and now wondered if they should maybe back off since contact had been made. "Captain, aside from the Dolphin, Blowfish, the Seahawk and the Blowfish mini sub, what's the closest ship we have in the area?” asked the Admiral.
"That would be D239, about 4 nautical miles west, a destroyer near City Island, Captain Singer in command,” said Lowell.
"OK, transmit my orders for D239 to remain on station with Dolphin, but withdraw the Seahawk, have them turn off the search sonar, leave Blowfish and the Minerva to continue their mission, make the group secure from battle stations, and move us and the rest of the group northwest at 8 knots. Stay right in the middle of the shipping lane. I want this Robodog to know we are not out to harass him. I think we found him at that magnetic distortion, what do you think?"
"I think that's probable, sir, since that's when he sent his message, just as we dropped the sonar buoys.”
The First Exec's phone buzzed and he picked it up quickly, then listened to what the caller said. With a curt, "OK, good work, keep the picture up and we'll be there in a moment,” he hung up. "That was seismograph, we've got images from the computer from the Seahawk's buoys, and I think we should go have a look, sir,” the Exec said to Captain Lowell. The Admiral and Captain looked at the Exec officer's face, and knew it was something astounding, his eyebrows raised in an unusual display of expression.
"I'll be in my cabin gentlemen, give me an update in ten minutes unless something needs my attention sooner, mainly a threat to this fleet action,” said the Admiral. The Captain knew that the Admiral was tied tightly to the Pentagon and President's Staff during this operation, and they didn't envy his having to keep them abreast of the situation and respond to their geo-political concerns, as the world leaders watched anxiously these developments and fleet activity. Naval officers love their boats more than politics.
The exec said to the Captain, "He doesn't want to see what we have in Seismograph?"
"I think he knows already,” replied the Captain. "I think I do too, how about you, Exec?"
"Yeah, I guess so, sir. Some kind of alien dog house under water is my guess,” the Exec mused.
"I'll let you know, you stay here and take care of things while I go visit the geological wiz kids. Steer us heading 050, 8 knots, and lets get some more aircraft launched. Get clearance for some of our planes to use Republic, McArthur and we won't have all our eggs in the nest. You work out a preliminary plan for paring down, OK?"
"Yes, sir,” said the Exec, as the Captain left the bridge.
The wiz kids were a mixture of scientists on loan from the Navy's special programs. They were an odd mixture of individuals, some with eccentric behavior. When the captain arrived in the science lab, which the wiz kids had pretty much taken over for this mission, every one of them was gathered around a single computer monitor, with Specialist Joel Meyer sitting at the keyboard. They fell into each other, and poked each other with elbows, one fellow almost losing his eyeglasses, when they attempted to show the Captain deference with a salute at attention.
"At ease, as you were, gentlemen,” said the Captain, "Forget the formalities, before someone gets an eye poked out,” he said with a genuinely warm smile. "What have you got to show me from the Seahawk's initial sonar buoys?"
"Look Captain! Look here,” said Joel, as he regained his seat, and the others made room for Lowell to get near the monitor. Lowell bent down near the monitor and gazed at the screen.
"This is a 2 dimensional, more or less flat, schematic kind of illustration of sea floor topography. You can see, here and here,” as Joel moved his mouse pointer around the screen, "some rock formations, plant life, normal stuff. Now, this area we're looking at, scale wise, is about the size of a football field.”
"What's that round thing over there?” asked Captain Lowell.
"Ah, good question, sir. Check THIS out. I'm going to first rotate this football field,” which Joel did with some keyboard commands, and then by dragging the image with his mouse, "and now we see a 3 dimensional view of the same area. And now,” continued Joel, as he dragged an area rectangle around the round 'thing', and zoomed in on it so it almost filled the screen, "here we have the area in question, and we see the sub strata surrounding the object on the edges of our section. It's normal sand, shale, sandstone, more shale. But now watch, as I begin to remove parts of the edge of our rectangular section,” and with more keyboard strokes, and mouse movements Joel picked away at the ocean floor surrounding the round object. As Lowell watched it was as if someone had taken a section of sod from a lawn, turned it so he could see it slightly from the side, and now started to poke and crumble away the edge of the sod to find what was further in the center. It was an amazingly detailed image he was seeing, and little by little parts of the round object became visible below the surface. It was slowly being stripped clean.
"How far down are you digging around this thing now?” asked Lowell
"About 100 yards, sir,” replied Joel.
"Holy smokes,” said the Captain, and then looked around at the others. They were watching him and not the screen, some even grinning somewhat. "OK, I get the picture. I see how you've been able to do this, now show me what you already obviously completed before I got here.”
Joel, stopped his methodical digging away and brought up another screen image. It was the round object, cleaned off and 3 dimensional. Everyone looked at the Captain while he stared at the image, the scale markings, the data already pasted into the image at certain points to help define dimensions. "Wow,” said Captain Lowell.
Lowell went to the phone near the door to the lab and called the bridge. "Exec, Lowell, I'm at the lab. Contact the admiral and ask him to come to the lab would you? Tell him I'm on my way to the radio room but the wiz kids will show him something he should see right away. I'm going to change the Minerva's mission if I can get them in time, I'll be up there in a few.”
"Aye, sir, will do,” said the Exec.
To the wiz kids the Captain said, "You guys can encrypt, compress that image, duplicate the data that made it, put it in a form we can radio out?"
"Oh, yes sir !” and a couple of them bumped into each other turning toward several computer consoles nearby, some confusion getting around each other. The Captain left the lab for the radio room.
The mini-sub "Minerva" nosed it's way close to where the underwater structure was located and slowed to a crawl. There was a big window in the front of Minerva, so the pilot and co-pilot, and even the other Seal team members, could see outside pretty well. Lights were needed because the waters were dark, but suddenly they came to an area of extremely clean water, clear and easy to see through, so the lights were hardly necessary anymore. And just then, as the crew and Seals on Minerva said as a group, "Wow!” in reaction to the suddenly clean water near the structure, Robodog floated up from below, right in front of them!
"Minerva! This is Captain Lowell. I've got a new mission for you, DO NOT APPROACH your original destination! Do you copy, over?”
“Uh, sorry sir, it’s a little late for that now, over,” came the reply.
“What do you mean, over?”
“We are near the area of surveillance, but we haven’t deployed any instruments, and our position is 6 feet off the ocean floor. At this moment there is a gold colored dog-looking thing floating in front of us, about 3 feet away, apparently looking at us. We have stopped and were just about to call you, over.”
“Copy that, Minerva, stand by while I get the admiral, do you feel threatened in any way, over?”
“Negative, sir. It is not moving or showing any signs of aggression, over.”
“OK, standby,” and Captain Lowell switched to the ship’s intercom, calling the Admiral to the radio shack.
Everyone onboard continued with their duties as if nothing unusual had happened but they knew something was up for the Admiral to be called to the radio shack on the ship’s intercom. It was very unusual. The sailors looked at one another wondering if they would see in the eyes of the others any indication that they could illuminate them. Nobody had any answers. Meanwhile the fleet continued it’s movement, the bulk of the fleet moving out to the wider northeastern Long Island Sound, while flight operations continued on the deck of the carrier.
Robodog, still floating in front of Minerva, was encircled by several varieties of local fish, which seemed to be swimming in patterns unlike their typical ‘school’ habits. Some fish species, usually hostile to one another, swam side by side with no apparent sign of being anything but the best of buddies. Then the fish swam off, leaving Robodog alone. The Seal team watched and took note of the unusually clear water which seemed to center around the exposed portion of the partially underground structure they could see past Robodog. Suddenly Minerva’s intercom speaker came to life with Robodog’s electronic voice. “Hello, I am Robodog, can you hear me OK? You can just speak normally, without using a radio, and I will hear you.” The co-pilot and pilot exchanged glances, their eyebrows raised in obvious amazement. They looked over their shoulders at the rest of the Seal team. They all had the same almost comical expression which seemed to say, ‘Well, you don’t see THIS every day!” The pilot turned back to look out the subs front window at Robodog and said, “Yes, Sir, we can hear you. We are on a mission to examine a structure nearby that appeared recently on our monitors, and hoping to find a way to determine where you had gone when you walked into this water. We are now awaiting further orders from our superiors.”
“Well, you have found both the structure and me. I have been here building the structure, but had a force field around it until recently, to make it hard for you to find it before I was done. Now I am ready to show it to you. You may inspect it if you like, and I will answer any questions you have about the structure. Please tell your superiors what I have told you,” said Robodog. “Oh, I think they are listening to you over the same radio channel you are using to talk to us over the intercom,” replied the Pilot. Robodog nodded his head as if to say, ‘OK’, and wagged his tail a couple times. This was the first time the Seal team had seen Robodog actually move (rather than simply float) and they displayed the same wonderment that always followed when humans saw the shimmering of his liquid-like gold ‘skin’, the sharply defined reflections and dancing of light. ‘Wow’, they thought to themselves, this is certainly not anything from this planet! No doubt about that.
Over the same intercom the Admiral now spoke to Minerva’s crew. “Minerva, this is the Admiral. You will inspect the structure. Robodog, you will please come to the surface and speak with me personally.”
“With your permission, Admiral, I am going to show your men the structure, take them on a ‘tour’, and then leave them to continue any investigation of the structure they wish to conduct. I will be speaking to the United Nations tomorrow at 11am. You will please tell your president I wish to see him there and if you would like to come I would be happy to speak with you then, Admiral. I have already sent a message, a few minutes ago, to the U.N. Secretary General, asking that all world leaders come to the U.N. tomorrow to hear my speech, because I wish to speak to the entire planet. Non-member country leaders are invited to attend the U.N. tomorrow so all peoples will hear what I have to say to your planet. This structure, Admiral, is a facility to clean the ocean water in this area of your world. It is not fully operational at this time, but some small amount of its’ effect can already be seen around the structure. You may inspect the water and the structure to ascertain its’ usefulness, and effect on all aspects of sea life and water quality in this area. I will make the structure fully operational in a few days time. At the U.N. I will explain what this structure is for, and what plans I have arranged for other units like this one in other parts of the planet’s oceans and bay areas. Some rivers too will have units like this built in them soon. I will explain all that and what my immediate plans are concerning my ‘mission’ to your planet tomorrow,” said Robodog.
There was silence as this information from Robodog was considered. The Seal team rightfully awaited the Admirals response. It wasn’t often, they thought, that a direct order from him (for Robodog to come to the surface and speak with him NOW) was so skillfully disregarded. The Seal team was thinking of what options the Admiral might have to force Robodog to the surface if that’s what he decided. They sincerely hoped he would let Robodog take them on a ‘tour’, and let it go at that. Then the Admiral, who in fact was already forwarding this whole conversation to the White House, via a conference telecommunications line, said, “OK, Robodog, I approve of your showing the Minerva’s crew the structure you have built on condition that there is absolutely no chance of their being harmed or detained against their will at any time. Do I have this assurance from you?”
“Yes, Admiral. Thank you. I will show them now and will be at the U.N. tomorrow.”
Robodog floated slowly away toward the exposed section of the water cleaner structure that was exposed above the ocean floor. Most of the structure, the crew knew, was underground. As arranged Minerva would follow Robodog to an entrance to the structure, after circling the outside of what was visible. As Minerva began this operation it took water samples using it’s robotic arms, and recorded everything for presentation to their superiors later. Minerva was able to record video as well and utilize it’s many instruments for tracking things like water salinity and temperature. It was unnecessary to use underwater lights because the water was so clean near the structure that daylight easily filtered down for them to see well.
The U.N. Secretary General, having received Robodog’s request for an emergency all inclusive meeting of the world’s leaders, was going nuts trying to reach everyone despite time differences so that they could all get on airplanes and fly to New York City pretty much immediately. Some of those contacted had to get into cars going to the airport in their pajamas, with wives and secretaries scrambling behind them with clothes to change on the airplane, paperwork that needed finishing the following day, with all sorts of aids and counselors doing the same mad dash from all over the place to meet at the airport on time for a flights to New York City. All these people left an untidy trail of loose bits of clothing and scraps of paper. New York City officials got crazed trying to not only accommodate the immediate increase in security and make accommodations available to those who couldn’t fit into their respective diplomatic embassies, but also control a large area around the U.N. which would be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic not associated with this unprecedented meeting on such short notice. The Cuban embassy, as usual, had police barricades around it. No one in NYC could remember why that embassy has a permanent cordon of police barricades. Nobody wanted to miss seeing the Robot dog and hearing what he had to say. It wasn’t going to be easy, in fact it might prove impossible, to keep the public away from the U.N. Naturally the news media announced Robodog’s coming to the U.N. within minutes of Robodog’s conversation with the Admiral, making things even more difficult for officials to get their jobs done. Pedestrians and demonstrators tried to ask all the police and other security persons questions, and some television camera crews were also flitting from one location to another in the never ending quest for some kind of scoop. The networks decided to use the helicopters they normally used to cover traffic jams and accidents, fires, that sort of thing, for covering hard news, to hover around the embassies and U.N., which prompted the police to use helicopters to try and chase them away. On one news clip, live on a local station, people watched as a soundman, leaning perilously out the side of his network’s helicopter, waved a fuzzy microphone in a threatening manner at a police helicopter, which veered off momentarily.
Meanwhile, the navy in the Long Island Sound made some adjustments to it’s formation and concentration of ships. It began to move one destroyer, a tender and supply ships to Minerva’s position. The destroyer would protect who knows what. The tender was somewhat modified and carried the labs and equipment necessary to do a thorough investigation of underwater objects and environments. The rest of the fleet moved further northeast, off the coast of Connecticut, and the carrier started recalling its’ squadrons. Although still on an alert status the fleet had accomplished the task of finding Robodog and awaited further orders from the White House, pending the Seal teams discoveries on the underwater structure and Robodog’s interaction with the team members. The wiz kids, falling over each other and bumping into everyone near them, tried to get their equipment and themselves onto a helicopter that would shuttle them to the tender near Robodog’s location, to set themselves up in the labs on board the tender. Harrier jets hovered around the area to chase news helicopters away, and in one case a navy pilot asked for the rules of engagement with a fuzzy microphone being thrust at his aircraft.
In response to the F.B.I. secret taped phone call from Robodog, acquired by the agents in the white van, who by this time had been discovered by the media people and onlookers milling around outside Dave’s house, and were in fact openly eating snacks and sandwiches with them, various government agencies started arriving in Dave’s neighborhood. In essence they politely asked Dave’s nearest neighbors to let them set up surveillance posts in their homes, and provide shelter and bathroom facilities for a few S.W.A.T.- like teams of commandos. These commando units were especially trained in dealing with alien related stuff. The program that trained them was started when a lot of U.F.O. nuts kept insisting there were aliens being hidden by the government at Roswell Air Force Base, and some of those nuts began to devise clever ways to get onto the secure base to free the aliens. Because the training program was inspired by security concerns more than any actual knowledge of aliens all sorts of wild and imaginative protocols were instituted to deal with real aliens. And of primary importance in terms of security was the separation of civilians from the alien, and vica versa. This basically meant “Capture, Cordon, Control” (C.C.C.), which became the official name of the S.W.A.T.- like teams.
The neighbors immediately around Dave’s house gave the government agencies the access they wanted, but insisted on staying in their own homes as well, with the expressed interest that the agents not harm Dave, his family, or the Robotic Dog. One neighbor summed it up with this declaration to a commander of the C.C.C., “You hurt anyone and I will tell Larry King on C.N.N. what you did!” The commander in question started to sweat a little. Nevertheless, the surveillance posts were set up and they settled in to await Robodog’s arrival at Dave’s house that evening. They also awaited orders about what to actually do when that happened. The commander, in the house directly across Dave’s house, looked out the window and said to his second in command, “Say, Jack, go over and talk with those clowns in the white van and ask them to go away. The truck has become some kind of snack bar or something. You know?”
Meanwhile, the Secretary of Defense (in his office and you could tell he was the Secretary Of Defense because behind his desk was a giant emblem that said ‘Secretary Of Defense’) was talking to the Admiral on the carrier on the Long Island Sound. “OK, Admiral, let me know as soon as you have a report from your Seal team about their encounter with Robodog and their ‘tour’ of the structure. We’ll decide what to do afterward, but for now I agree with you that we should not try to capture the alien. Let’s see what it has apparently built down there first. I’m informed that Robodog plans to visit a civilian he befriended on his arrival to Earth, Dave, the guy who drove him away from the movie stages, and we have teams in place at that location to continue our surveillance. The C.C.C. teams will be able to handle getting the alien to cooperate with them. So, Admiral, continue with your current action and let me know when you have that report from your Seal team.” The Secretary Of Defense hung up his phone after the Admiral said, “Aye, Aye, Sir,” and walked over to the American flag standing in the corner of his office. He gazed at it and thought to himself, “Hmm, I wonder if this Robodog thing can help me find Osama Bin Laden?”
The navy Seal team slowly followed Robodog toward the top of the exposed area of the underwater structure. Robodog didn’t appear to have any method of propulsion - he simply floated along, in the same sort of physical appearance as if he was standing on solid ground. Minerva’s video cameras recorded their movement, and sent a live feed of what transpired to the AWAC flying high above them. That signal was in turn broadcast to several surface ships, including the Flagship, which in turn forwarded the signal to Fleet Command, which in turn sent it to the White House Joint Chiefs, the Pentagon and a lot of other places. All the signals were highly encrypted, secure, secret coded scrambled stuff. Bates, under Cheyenne Mountain, who had previously been the subject of various jokes about his own security in the case of the spaceship’s appearance being broadcast to the whole world through console 30, watched Minerva’s progress via his command’s secure link to the Pentagon.As usual the various normal T.V. monitors around the cavernous room showed news programs from around the world. Suddenly all the normal T.V.’s showed the same video images of Minerva’s progress that was on the secure link. Technicians around the room yelled out, “Hey, look! The T.V.’s have done it again!” Bates mumbled something unintelligible under his breath, leaned back in his swivel office chair and folded his arms. He looked up to heaven, or in this case the cavern roof which was still way below the mountain, but somewhere up there was heaven, he was sure. Then he turned back to the live video of Minerva’s progress and became entranced with what was revealed.
“This is a water cleaning machine,” said Robodog. They floated over the top looking down on the machine. “It is about 100 yards in diameter and goes down into the subsurface about 150 yards. There is an airlock over there,” continued Robodog, as he pointed with his tail to a location on the structure that looked like a big closed door, “and it is big enough for you to pilot your submarine into it. The atmosphere inside the structure is exactly the same as sea level, but is actually a little healthier for you, as there are no pollutants.” Robodog floated over toward the door, and Minerva followed. “If you wish to explore the machine there is a map of the facility inside the first room you enter after going through the airlock. The second room you come to after the map room is a room to monitor the machine’s functions, and from there you can access the control room and all the corridors to other areas of the machine. The areas that are not so easily accessible, and which perform the bulk of the machine’s work, are the filtration and catalytic conversion tanks. Basically the machine takes in sea water at various vent areas and cleans it and then releases the cleaned water through a series of other vents. The overall motion of the intake and output sets up a sort of convection current, which ensures little of the cleaned water comes back into the machine, but is dispersed away as new dirty water comes in.”
Minerva’s Seal team took all this in, and they were truly fascinated and impressed. Being sailors they loved the sea. All seas, all over the world. And this machine, if it really worked as Robodog suggested, would be able to do what exactly? “What about sea life?” asked Minerva’s pilot. “Wouldn’t the chemical balances change so dramatically that it would be harmful to those plants and animals that had adjusted to the current state of the water?”
“No,” answered Robodog. They had now got very close to the closed airlock door, and they could see a small control panel to one side, which Robodog said was the way into the airlock. “There is another panel like this on the inside, and the instructions are printed in English. In fact, all the control functions and map information and so on is in English in this unit. There are manuals that explain functions and monitoring techniques to best deal with long term operation of this machine inside. I’ve left them for you on tables in the map room. This machine is now in a kind of ‘standby' mode. It is operating just enough to keep the components of the machine ready for turning on to full operation. You know, so some gaskets and filtration materials don’t dry out or crack, that sort of thing. What it puts out now, in the way of clean water, is extremely slight, though you can see it is already having a nice effect on the water surrounding the machine. The information in the manuals includes answers to questions about how the water is handled to accommodate the time it takes sea life to adjust, some migration to occur, and so on,” said Robodog. “I will put this machine into full operation in a few days, but first I want to talk to the people of this planet at the U.N. This is one of many units that I will build to begin saving your planet, your environment. I built this one first so you can explore it and come to understand how it works. Some of the technology and science involved is beyond your current knowledge. But the printed materials inside explain both the physics and mathematics involved with those things you aren’t familiar with. This is a gift to everyone on the planet, even though I’ve chosen you to be the first ones to explore it. Maybe saying it is a gift to the people of Earth is misleading. But I will explain that at the U.N. tomorrow. For now you can go ahead and explore this unit and I will speak to everyone tomorrow. Good bye.”
With that, Robodog simply floated away, rather fast for a dog that wasn’t moving it’s feet or anything, and was gone. Minerva’s crew looked at one another, looked outside at the door, and started getting ready to go outside the sub in SCUBA gear. They felt like kids who’d just discovered something really magical and wonderful and they all had the same idea, which was ‘I have to get in there and look around!’
All around the world normal T.V.’s went back to their regularly scheduled programs. The technicians in charge of fixing weird stuff at the T.V. stations, like having stuff broadcast on their channel that they didn’t broadcast, just looked at each other and threw up their hands in surrender.
As the Seal team were getting into their respirators and masks the intercom came to life with the Admiral’s voice. “Whoa, what do you think you guys are doing?”
Under Cheyenne Mountain Bates walked over to console 30. The same technician was there that spotted the spaceship. “Anything?” asked Bates. “Nope,” replied the technician. “Do you think there are aliens in heaven?” asked Bates. The technician turned from the console and looked at Bates. He didn’t answer. He sorta pretended Bates hadn’t asked him the question. Bates sighed and walked back over to his swivel office chair and sat down, staring blankly at the instruments and monitors at his station.
Around the world, especially for those who were already traveling at breakneck speed to reach the U.N. in time for tomorrow’s 11 a.m. (E.S.T.) meeting with Robodog, the broadcast showing the first water cleaning machine became the main topic of discussion. Speculation abounded regarding not only the wonderful effects of such a machine, of many such machines, but what else the Robodog might have up it’s sleeve, what other great inventions might be forthcoming. How much new science and technology might Robodog give them, and what benefits might be realized from it? If the motivation to go to the U.N. to hear Robodog speak was previously unprecedented in it’s near hysterical energy, the broadcast of a water cleaning machine of such proportions positively elevated that energy right off the scale of human desire. News programs began altogether new in-depth coverage of oceanography and ecological issues and gave the previously booked pundits and experts on astronomy and ‘space’ (not to mention all things space-like’, such as spaceships) the boot, in favor of the new hot item. Some experts on space told the news producers that the ocean was in many ways like space (at least in terms of how much of it remained unexplored) and that they could easily speak about the ocean just as well as speaking about space. But this ploy didn’t work and the space guys and gals had to kiss those paychecks goodbye, take off their makeup and make room for the ocean guys and gals. New demonstrations began at the U.N. and in other parts of the world; now the space people and U.F.O. people, and those selling Robodog dolls and alien space antenna head-gear, had to make room for the ecology people and ocean people. Some of the ocean people came wearing large costumes. Three sets of legs could be seen underneath the clever costume of an 8 foot long whale, marching back and forth in front of the U.N. It collided with several U.F.O. nuts (some of whom, despite black eyes, still had some fight left in them) and started a brawl. A news program showed the altercation, editing out the boring parts. The whale could be seen trying with a very large mouth to eat a U.F.O. person’s head, while a couple other U.F.O. people whacked the side of the whale’s body with plastic spaceships that resembled frisbee’s (the typical flying saucer shape is a hard one to get out of the human psyche).
“Yes, Admiral, I agree with your assessment,” said the President. The President was in his Oval Office at the White House. Before the Admiral called to speak to him about the Seal team’s progress, he had been speaking to aids regarding the ‘continuity of government’. Although many of those government people who originally went into subterranean camps for safety when the spaceship appeared remained underground it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep them there. They wanted to know what was going on ‘up there’, and didn’t like being left out of all the excitement. Plus they weren’t thrilled with their diets, as the non-perishable foods in those places was not any better than ‘meals ready to eat’, what used to be known as army ‘K-rations’. Anyway, the President ended up just telling everyone to stay put until they could figure out what this Robodog was up to. Now, the Admiral, having halted the Seal team’s rush to get out of the mini-sub ‘Minerva’ to inspect the water cleaning machine, was conferring with the President about how the navy should proceed with their investigation. Should they be ‘public’ about it, for example, since the whole world already saw it on T.V.? So, the decision was made to bring cameras inside with the Seal team, and broadcast it live. “I’ll have my staff get in touch with the networks and news organizations, so we can give them a live feed from the cameras,” said the President. “OK,” replied the Admiral. “Do you wish to invite press reporters into the structure when it is fully explored and deemed safe for civilians?” asked the Admiral. “I can have another Seal team ready for that eventuality if that is your wish, Mr. President.”
“Yeah, good idea Admiral. That way we can keep the groups smaller than a camera crew from the T.V. people but still provide in depth coverage through the press. But first we’ll do the live camera feed to the T.V. people from our first Seal team’s investigation. Now, what about where the Robodog went? Any more on that, Admiral?”
“No, Mr. President. he went off radar soon after floating away from Minerva. My impression is he has a way to render our radar and sonar sweeps ineffective on a large scale, as he wishes. I mean, look how he hid the water cleaning machine, and it’s very large. Only when he wanted to make contact did we get a fix on the machine with sonar and magnetic measuring instruments. He did say he would address the U.N. at 11 tomorrow and my guess is he’ll explain a lot at that meeting,” mused the Admiral.
“Yes, Admiral, I think that’s most likely. At any event please keep searching for him but keep it a low profile. I think you’re right that having most of your surface vessels further out to sea at this point is more sensible than a full scale presence in the Sound right now. Keep my staff informed with your Seal team’s progress as they investigate the machine. I’ve got to go, maybe do a quick news conference in light of these developments, and I’ll talk to you later.”
“Yes sir, Mr. President, will do.” And the Admiral called the Seal team and gave them the go-ahead to enter the machine, bringing video cameras with them. They would receive instructions later to begin their investigation from the inside of the air lock when the live video feed had been established with the news organizations.
The Seal Team from Minerva entered the airlock of the underwater ocean cleaning machine after a brief conference with the Admiral, wherein it was determined they would bring a portable video camera that fed images to the AWAC and take certain precautions. From the AWAC the video feed was distributed via military satellites to the White House, the Chief Of Staff, and the Pentagon. The images were reviewed live by the president’s Science Advisor, Scott Cambell. When arrangements were complete the live video feed was also made available to news organizations, and people all over the world started to watch the Seal Team’s progress through the structure. It was well lit and modern, with wide corridors and high ceilings. It was very quiet. Transparent panels, like glass, allowed the Seal Team members to look into rooms before entering. As promised there were manuals and technical printouts lying about on various tables in some of the rooms but the Seal Team left that material stay there for now, as they initially wanted to see the full extent of the interior layout before setting about a more systematic investigation of the machine’s functions. Every once in a while, as a new portion of the structure was revealed in the Seal Team’s progress, one or another of the Seal Team members would exclaim, “Wow!”
Around the world people watched with awe as the Seal Team explored the underwater ocean cleaning machine. They marveled at its size and complexity, amazed that the Robodog had actually built such a thing. And it didn’t cost anybody a dime!
Science Advisor Scott Cambell, also aware of the cost factor, wondered what the catch was. Why, he mused with his secretary (equally enthralled by the images they were watching), would an alien race send a robot to Earth to save the planet at such enormous cost to the aliens?
The mad dash to the U.N. continued in earnest. NYC hotels overflowed with guests while outside each hotel groups of demonstrators marched and chanted slogans they just made up, which were meaningless. The television stations showed, over and over, the Seal Team’s earlier broadcast of the ocean cleaning machine, while ocean and ecological pundits expressed all manner of guesses and opinions about all things fishy and green.
The President gave a short speech about how all the world’s governments and scientific institutions were working closely together to analyze the wonderful gift of the ocean cleaning machine. He asked all people to be patient and await the arrival of Robodog at the U.N. on the following morning, where no doubt much would become clear. He also suggested people go out and shop a bit, spend some money, keep the economy moving along. The economy hadn’t been doing very well at all recently, and it was generally beyond the understanding of anyone what to do about it, except go shopping a lot.
On the Long Island Sound the U.S. Navy, especially the carrier group, moved off into deeper water leaving only a few ships to carry on their investigations of the water cleaning machine. It was unclear what the carrier group would do next, but most planes were recalled and most sailors were hoping for a few more nights on leave with the friendly natives, especially the young women who loved men in uniform.
In the early evening Dave’s house continued to attract a huge crowd of onlookers and news crews, but the white van was gone. The van had become a place for news crew people and local police people to congregate over coffee and buttered rolls, which made it difficult for the F.B.I. agents inside the van to maintain a vigilant and stealthy eavesdropping of Dave’s house. With some hurt pride and with many handshakes goodbye the F.B.I. guys in the van took their superiors orders to vacate the area in stride, and vamoosed. Superior methods of eavesdropping and spying were already in place, in and around Dave’s neighbor’s homes, where there was less of a party atmosphere.
Dave’s house in the suburbs was a ranch style affair with an attached garage. The back yard of Dave’s property faced the back yard of a neighbor’s property, separated by a six foot high wood fence. The sides of Dave’s property, bordered by the fence, were fairly narrow in comparison to the front and back yards, with neighbor’s property and houses on both sides. At 7pm, this being Springtime on Long Island, it was still daylight, and the C.C.C. teams (‘Capture, Cordon, Control’) in all of Dave’s neighbor’s houses had a good view of what was going on around Dave’s house. Special heat sensitive imaging devices allowed C.C.C. agents to see inside Dave’s house to some extent. Radio communications allowed all teams to keep in touch with each other and their superiors. The immediate superiors were holed up in the local public grade school a few blocks away, and they in turn were in contact with the commanders and Chief Of Staff in Washington D.C.
Above Dave’s house an AWAC from the Carrier Group flew in lazy circles, keeping an eye on local air traffic and Navy air patrols, which were at the moment not allowed to fly anywhere within twenty miles of Dave’s house.
Eight blocks away, sitting in the back of a big black SUV with black tinted windows, parked in the back of a small bakery off Main Street, Bill Fenly silently brooded on various scenarios to capture Robodog. Monty rode shotgun and Marty sat behind the wheel. On the dashboard sat a speaker from which they could all hear with perfect clarity everything going on in Dave’s house. Next to the speaker was a digital recorder, which faithfully recorded away. Monty thought about busting heads while Marty thought about shooting things in motion from far away (always a challenge).
Within Dave’s house, in the living room, Annie played with a herd of tiny toy horses, pretending they were friends of Robodog and saving the planet by moving from one pasture to another (the rug provided much pasture land for toy horses) before eating too much of the first pasture... a vague feeling of moderation in Annie’s plans. Jimmy was watching Nickelodeon in the same room, sprawled on the couch, while Jerry played a video game on the computer in the corner. Dave was in the kitchen with Mary cleaning up the dinner plates and talking about their wishes to go on vacation, which was like dreaming out loud. The back door of Dave’s house, opening onto the back yard, was situated in a small alcove off the kitchen. There was a knock at the back door.
The kids raced into the kitchen, screeching to a stop in front of Dave and Mary. Dave looked at Mary, Mary looked at Dave, all of them looked at the back door. A little electric thrill went through Dave and his family, like static electricity, as they heard Robodog’s synthetic voice from the back yard say, “Hello, It’s me, Robodog. Let me in!”
“CONTACT !” yelled the C.C.C. captain in the neighbor’s house behind Dave’s. “Robodog just appeared out of nowhere at Dave’s back door,” continued the captain into his radio. “He appears to be waiting to be let into the house after saying, “Hello, It’s me, Robodog. Let me in.”
The radio crackled and a whispered voice known to be that of the local C.C.C. Commander, at the nearby grade school, said, “Copy that, we’ve got both visual and voice confirmation.” The commander’s low whisper prompted the captain to lower his own voice.
“What do you want us to do, sir?”
“Keep a couple guys in the house with the neighbors and send the rest of your team to intercept Robodog,” replied the commander.
This tactic was in direct conflict with the C.C.C. Commander’s orders from the Chief Of Staff, which was to ‘observe only’ until directed otherwise. As the Chief Of Staff listened to this new tactic instigated by the C.C.C. Commander a secretary was informing the president of Robodog’s appearance. The Chief Of Staff rolled his eyes in disbelief and barked into his own radio, “Negative, Negative, Do Not Approach Robodog At This Time!” Too late. The C.C.C. team was already out the door and about to jump over the fence. They ran into an invisible force field that felt soft and springy. Like a very large and invisible Twinkie.
“Have encountered some kind of force field, sir,” whispered the C.C.C. team leader.
“Roger, Team Lead, come on back into the house,” replied the captain.
Bill Fenly, sitting in the back of his huge brooding SUV, listened to the proceedings with interest. It was his order being followed by the C.C.C. Commander, to try and capture Robodog. With a calm sense of purpose Bill Fenly quietly sighed and settled down to listen to what else might happen. Monty, in the passenger seat, smacked his right fist into the palm of his left hand, making a satisfying ‘smacking’ sound. Marty, behind the wheel, imagined he had a big laser beam weapon to shoot down alien flying saucers.
Dave opened the back door. Sure enough, there was Robodog.
“Hello Dave. I have come as promised. Can I come in?”
Behind Dave Mary and the children were trying to see around Dave, get a look at Robodog, and for a second there was such a crowd in the doorway Dave could hardly move. Dave turned back to his family and said, “OK, OK, hold on, he’s coming in,” and turning back to Robodog said, “Come on in Robodog.”
Dave and his family backed away into the kitchen as Robodog walked over the threshold, continued walking straight through the kitchen and into the living room, sniffing things as he traveled. Robodog stopped in the center of the living room and stood there looking around, tail still wagging slowly.
Dave’s family seemed transfixed in the kitchen, mouths hanging loose, heads turning only to follow Robodog’s progress, with various degrees of wonder and disbelief moving across their faces like gentle ripples of emotion. Annie was the first to recover and become herself. She ran with a high pitched screech of happiness to Robodog and threw herself on him with abandon, hugging him and petting him. “OH ! ROBODOG! YOU’RE HERE! OH, WHAT A GOOD DOGGY!” yelled Annie. This prompted Robodog to wag his tail faster and he started to make electronic panting noises that almost sounded like laughter. “STOP IT ANNIE!” yelled Mary, as she ran to Annie and began to peel her off Robodog.
“It’s OK,” said Robodog, “I like Annie.”
“Come on, Annie, Listen to your mom,” said Dave, as he moved closer to Robodog with Jimmy and Jerry. Jimmy, eight years old, three years older than Annie, found his opportunity to slip in and pet Robodog’s back as Mary pulled Annie off. “Hi Robodog,” he said faintly, almost whispering, as if by saying the word Robodog the strange alien creature with all the shiny reflections would become more real. Jerry, the oldest boy at eleven years, and by far the wiser of the children (according to Jerry), kept his distance, standing near his dad, and wondered aloud at this strange turn of events. “Wow,” he said.
“Hello everyone, I am very pleased to meet you,” said Robodog.
“OK, OK,” said Dave to his family, “Everyone sit down Come on over here and sit with me.” Dave helped get the kids and Mary settled on the living room sofa and sat himself in his favorite easy chair. Robodog remained in the center of the room, his head turning to look around the room. The kids were supercharged, unable to sit still, exclaiming things like, “Gee, wait until I tell so and so,” and “Wow, this is soooo amazing!”
In Washington the president was joined by his science adviser, Scott Cambell, in the Oval Office, where they both listened to what was happening in Dave’s house through a speaker on the president’s desk. “We’re trying to ascertain the source and nature of the force field, Mr. President,” said Scott. The president waved a hand which meant, “OK” and “Shhhh” at the same time, as he leaned closer to the speaker. The F.B.I. Director was let into the Oval Office by a secretary, and both men acknowledged his presence with nods. The Director and Science Advisor pulled chairs closer to the speaker, got comfortable, and stared at the speaker. The F.B.I. Director mumbled, “We’re sure Fenly is around somewhere, and we think the C.C.C. captain might have some connection with him. The captain is being replaced and detained for questioning.” The president waved a hand again, which meant, “Sure, OK, Shhhh.”
Robodog looked at Dave, then at his family, and back to Dave. He said, “Dave, I would like you to help me save your planet.” Robodog’s unusual “skin,” always shiny and unearthly looking, began to shine more, as if some inner light was shining more brightly.
“What’s wrong with the planet, Robodog?” asked Dave.
The kids settled now, their eyes getting wider as they watched Robodog and their dad talk to one another. Like they were watching a tennis match, they turned their heads to whomever was speaking, transfixed and awestruck by an actual alien Robodog asking dad to help save their planet! Wow!
“The planet is going to die within twenty years if it is not saved now,” said Robodog.
Dave and his family exchanged serious looks as if to say, “Oh Oh, this sounds bad.”
“Why is it going to die?” asked Dave.
“Because of pollution mostly, which includes climate change as a result. But also factors concerning dwindling resources, your loss of forests and rain forests, wetlands, that sort of thing. There is nothing you humans have in the way of science and technology to stop the planet from dying. It’s a fact that your planet will die within twenty years and there is nothing you can do to stop it. I’ve been sent here by those who built me to save your planet. The technology we have can reverse most of what is wrong with your world, and in time the other factors, such as growing forests, will be done by your planet.”
Dave was quiet a moment, thinking about all the things he’d heard about how the planet was in some trouble because of climate changes, melting polar ice caps, and dwindling forests. He couldn’t quite believe that the people in charge, the governments of the world, would let things get so out of hand that the planet would die.
“Are you sure about this Robodog? I don’t think our governments would let that happen,” said Dave.
“Yes, I am sure. Your governments are nothing more than people just like you, elected or in power for various reasons, and those reasons don’t always include what is best for the general population or the health of your planet. Sometimes making money for a select few is deemed by them to be more important than long term stability and smart governance. Sometimes those in charge ignore the signs that your planet is being hurt by certain manufacturing techniques and uses of fuel.”
“But if we just stop using those fuels and stop cutting down the forests, and stop doing what is harming the planet, why won’t that save the planet?” asked Dave.
“Because it is too late,” replied Robodog.
Dave’s family looked at one another. There was a profound sadness in the room.
Robodog continued, “I have been sent to save your planet. Will you help me, Dave?”
“Of course he’ll help you!” declared Mary, who was on the verge of tears, as she realized that her children might be in a lot of trouble if the planet was in such bad shape.
“We’ll all help you!” said Jerry.
“Yeah,” said Jimmy and Annie.
“Hold on, take it easy now... nobody is going to do anything without me saying it’s OK, and you kids are definitely NOT going to do anything with Robodog!” said Dave.
“Don’t worry Dave, nothing can hurt you or your family. That is a promise. But I won’t do anything with your children, like ask for their help. I am only asking for YOUR help, Dave.”
“Why do you need my help? To do what?”
“Hmmm, this is a little complicated but I will try to explain it. If you look at your planet from far away you will notice that it is a world unlike any other. It is a living world. The earth has evolved and in a sense gave birth to many forms of life. It has no boundaries, borders and special sections, apart from other areas. In other words, the way humans split the surface into countries and governments is only man made, and not a fact to the planet. The planet is one planet, and the air and oceans are shared by the whole planet. So, when one country decides to manufacture things that pollute the air in that country it is really polluting the planet, the whole planet, not just that country. Now it comes about that the planet, which is a living planet, needs help to survive. That cannot come from an entirely alien energy source, something outside of the planet, not part of the planet’s body, so to speak. Humans, and all life on Earth, is actually in large part a part of the planet. Your life and the planet are intertwined in terms of energy. I cannot save your planet without a human’s help, or the help of some other form of life of your planet. You humans are the smartest and most advanced form of life on the planet. It is human activity that has killed your planet. It would be best if a human, rather than some other life form, helped to save the planet.
“There is more information regarding this subject that I must tell all your leaders at the U.N. tomorrow morning. Please wait until tomorrow to hear the rest of what I have to say about how your planet will be saved, OK?”
“Geez....,” mused Dave.
“Help him,” said Mary, as she implored Dave to do what he could with a look on her face that was part fear for her children and part love for the world she felt so small on, all of a sudden.
The children were silent, just looking at Robodog with a wondrous respect, but also a little amount of fear now. What if Robodog didn’t save their planet? Would it really just die? Would everything just die?
Robodog looked at the children as if he could read their thoughts. “Don’t worry, I am here to save your planet,” said Robodog. It didn’t sound so reassuring for some reason, though they couldn’t tell why.
“What do you need me to do?” asked Dave.
Robodog looked at Dave and the glow that had been coming from within Robodog slowly diminished. Nobody noticed. Robodog’s tail began to wag slowly.
“When I build things like the water cleaning machine I need to turn it on to begin working at full speed. When that happens I need to put a lot of energy and information into the machine’s computer systems. I will build many machines and they will all work in conjunction with each other, forming a large system. Some machines will be for cleaning air, some for water. We will start with those types of machines the first year that I am here.
“I need you to take what will look like a ‘key’ out of my back, and insert it into the machine and for you to turn on the machine by pushing a button. Then you will take the key out of the machine and return it to my back. During the time the key is out of me I will be only partly functional because a lot of my energy and focus will be in the key. The machine will know that you, Dave, a human, are the one inserting the key. Although no energy from you will go into the machine the machine will know that the life on planet Earth has engaged in helping to save the planet. This might sound strange, but it is essential that a human perform this function if the best case scenario is to be realized, regarding saving the planet and the welfare of life on the planet.”
“Why me?” asked Dave.
“Why not?” replied Robodog.
There was no answer to that, of course. Why not, indeed? Time to wonder about that later.
“I have to go now,” said Robodog. “I will speak to the U.N. tomorrow. There are some things I want you to hear so please listen to my speech, OK?”
“OK,” Dave mumbled, along with assents from the family.
Bill Fenly almost cheered out loud from the back of his SUV, and his plan to capture Robodog formed instantly in his mind. Get the dog while Dave had the key, and he would be home free, sole owner of the alien robot and probably the most powerful and richest man in the history of the world.
“Let’s get out of here, gents!” he said to the boys up front.
The SUV roared to life and drove away, Bill Fenly chuckling and feeling truly happy for the first time in weeks. It was evening now and the headlights of the SUV slithered over many a home occupied by C.C.C. agents as Marty drove toward the nearest airport.
Robodog said his goodbyes but there was no playing around with the kids. The seriousness of the planet being so sick put a damper on everyone’s spirits and Robodog walked out the back door and immediately disappeared with a loud popping noise.
At the White House, in the Oval Office, the president, Director of F.B.I and Science Advisor mulled over what they just heard. There was a profound silence. The president turned off the speaker and just sat there. You could hear their breathing, it was so quiet. Time to go to the U.N., the president thought to himself.
The next morning’s sunrise in NYC shed a soft light on the United Nations building. Situated on the shore of the East River the view from Queens allowed many an onlooker to see things they never saw before. Dozens of Navy ships held station in the river, while normal shipping was not allowed anywhere within five miles of the U.N. This meant the entire NY harbor area, from below the Verrazano Bridge to a point north of the Harlem River, including portions of the Hudson River and the western part of the Long Island Sound, were without any normal shipping. Military helicopter gun ships hovered over the U.N. and patrolled the airspace around Manhattan. No flights were allowed to or from LaGuardia or Kennedy airports except government chartered flights, or military flights. Newark Airport had many restrictions regarding arrival and departure routes.
In Manhattan, above 14th and below 125th, thousands of people crowded the streets trying to get closer to the U.N. to see what they might see. Around the U.N., within a twenty block area, military and NYPD forces tried in vain to stem the tide of human curiosity, but at least those who got through the cordons and blockades were few in comparison to the great mass trying to get closer.
There were no more demonstrations with people in whale costumes or space suits. Instead there was a mass of diplomats trying to gain entrance to the U.N. Some of the diplomats hadn’t been to the U.N. in many years, being happy to let their underlings deal with the tedious day to day agendas the U.N. so effectively focused on. Military and NYPD checkpoints funneled these individuals through to the U.N., turning away the less great in favor of Kings and Queens and Presidents and Dictators and Murderous Individuals currently holding the reins of power in various countries around the world. Some of these people had to leave their ivory handled pistols, machetes, spears, and assault rifles with the authorities before entering the U.N.
At home Dave and his family turned on the TV to watch and listen to what Robodog had to say. Nearly everyone in the entire world also turned on their TV to do the same thing. All they saw was a big empty space with a podium, in front of the General Assembly, while the news hosts mumbled over and over how this was going to be a pretty amazing event, and that they expected Robodog to come to the podium at 11am. They said this over and over for about 3 hours, because they started broadcasting the empty space at 8am. The empty space was sometimes replaced with video of the General Assembly seating area, which was really packed with people. Folding chairs were brought in to accommodate the more than normal volume of delegates. Then there was standing room only. It was so crowded some of the delegates had mixed up their microphones and earphones with other delegates, and there was some confusing activity here and there as they tried to work out the problem. Almost everyone in the giant room spoke a different language and wore different style clothing (especially those who wanted to impress Robodog with their wonderful heritage and traditions).
When Robodog first appeared, and the space ship appeared, there had been a slight change in the attitudes of most humans regarding their feelings toward one another. It had been a change for the better, and many humans around the world continued to make headway feeling more compassionate toward their fellow man. Being more compassionate was a normal reaction to the sudden realization that alien life existed, and that the Earth was a special place, a beautiful place, and Robodog was here to help save the planet. A lot of those people now crowded into the General Assembly of the U.N. represented, in terms of human character and ethics and morals, being leaders of the world, the lowest of the low. They had in general the meanest outlooks, the smallest brains, the most untrusting attitudes. Many of them intended to get what they could from Robodog. Some special project to save the planet that would take place in their country so they could make a ton of money from it. In the back of the room there was a brief flurry of activity, along with some unintelligible yelling, as a fuzzy microphone on the end of a long boom arm was seen rising and descending quickly, apparently beating on someone in the way of a sound man’s progress through the crowd.
At 10:30am the operator of console 30 below Cheyenne Mountain sat up straight as if an electric shock had gone through him, and he immediately called Bates to come over to his station.
“Sir, I have several new contacts!” said the operator of console 30.
“Speak up! What have you got?” asked Bates, now standing to the side of the operator so he could see the screen.
The operator was switching switches, turning dials, moving his mouse while he answered, “Sir, I have seven new contacts! Alien Spaceships, Sir!”
Bates mumbled something under his breath that sounded like, “Geezzzz.”
“Sir,” continued console 30’s operator, “They just appeared like the first one did last time, already in geosynchronous orbit. They are evenly spaced around the entire globe sir.”
“Right,” said Bates, as he got out his cell phone and started calling The President.
Other operators and technicians in the cavernous room began reporting confirmation of the contacts. Unlike the past spaceship contact console 30 did not duplicate it’s images or broadcast it’s images on other consoles and television sets. As a matter of routine the Armed Forces of the United States ramped up to a defensive position with the launching of many military aircraft and deployment of various troops throughout the world. All the other governments in the world who had the ability to launch things and deploy things did so, as they too had equipment to detect the arrival of the spaceships. In a small country of Africa a single twin engine beechcraft, having that country’s air force emblem on it’s wings, took off and flew around for a while and then came back and landed. It was the only plane the country owned. It did not report anything out of the ordinary.
At ten minutes to 11am the large TV screens on the wall of the General Assembly, behind the podium, began to show the video of the empty space near the podium, and all TV’s in the entire world showed the same image. Radio stations around the world, including wavelengths generally allocated to the military and civilian aircraft, began to broadcast the proceedings at the U.N. This caused not a little consternation and concern because of the current focus on many spaceships in orbit around Earth, and the subsequent operations designed to protect against weird things happening.
At 11am Robodog appeared with a loud popping noise next to the podium in the General Assembly of the U.N. ‘POP’ !
It got real quiet in the room. Everyone just froze and stared at Robodog. Everyone had more or less the same thought, which was this: ‘The Robodog is real. It is not from this planet. Wow!’
“Hello, My name is Robodog. I have come to save your planet,” said Robodog.
A loud humming noise arose from the crowded room, as everyone began to whisper to their fellow delegates. Considering the strangeness of the event it could be said that the humans present actually acted with some degree of intelligence, mostly due to the realization that Robodog was real and apparently had something to say to them.
The whispering stopped as Robodog continued to address them.
“I am a robot, built by an alien race far away. My mission here on Earth is to save the planet. Because of pollution and diminished resources on your planet, deforestation and loss of wetlands, global warming causing your ice caps to melt, your planet will die within twenty years, unless I save it.”
This caused a sensation and the whispering started again, a little louder. Quiet was restored when Robodog continued.
“I have data and information, studies of your planet, which I will share with you, showing how the Earth will perish with an ever increasing rapidity, culminating in all life on Earth dying by the end of twenty years from now. I have built a water cleaning machine in the Long Island Sound, which you now have access to for examination. That machine will become fully functional in two days.”
Bill Fenly, watching Robodog on TV with the rest of mankind, chuckled to himself as yet another piece of the puzzle regarding how to capture Robodog fell into place. Two days. Plenty of time to get his resources into place on the Long Island Sound, near the water cleaning machine.
“There are some things that I need to do in order to save your planet. Some of these things will cause problems in your economies, and must be mitigated as much as possible to preserve social stability for humans. Military balances of power will also be effected by some of the things I must do, and some time will be given for you to work out what plans must be acted upon to preserve peace on your planet.”
Robodog paused for a moment, letting this sink in. Big questions would be forming in the minds of these people now, and he wanted to give them time to adjust, to think clearly.
The U.N. Secretary General and the U.N. President Of The General Assembly stepped forward and approached Robodog, stopping about ten feet from him. Robodog turned his head to them.
“Robodog,” said the Secretary General, “If you tell us what we must do to reverse the effects of pollution, tell us how to deal with the problem, we can be trusted to carry out those actions and plans, and save our planet. Then, when you leave to go back to your own world, we will continue to do what needs to be done to save ourselves and we will be very grateful for your help.”
“Your science and technology is not advanced enough to reverse the death of your planet. It will certainly die, with all life on Earth dying with it, in twenty years if I do not save it. It will be difficult for you to adjust to what needs to be done to save your planet, and I will help as much as I am allowed. I have specific orders and programming directives from those who made me to interfere as little as possible with human activity beyond what is necessary to save the planet. However, since some of the things I do to save the planet must effect you, and since you will not be able to adjust in all cases quickly enough to insure stability and peace I must help you with some things,” said Robodog.
“What sort of things do you hope to do, Robodog?” asked the President of the General Assembly.
“For example, In six months time you will no longer use petro-chemical products to run your cars, your gas and diesel engines. Likewise other types of petro-chemical fuels will no longer be used. It will be necessary for me to actually change the physical properties of your oil reserves to prohibit them from being distilled into the fuel products mentioned. This means that a vast number of oil fields and oil related industries will become virtually value-less. You won’t be able to make gas from oil anymore. This will prove to be a disturbing factor in certain financial institutions and an economic challenge for large areas of your world.”
What Robodog was saying finally got through to the Middle East delegates and various other oil producing region delegates. Their mouths dropped open, staggered by the thought their oil would become useless. In some cases it was all they had in the world to make any money!
Whatever yelling and screaming they would normally engage in at this time was for some unaccountable reason not happening. They just sat with their mouths wide open, stupefied.
“Likewise,” continued Robodog, “Your nuclear materials will be altered physically so that they no longer function in weapons. I will be altering the elements involved so that nuclear weaponry will not function, the warheads will not work. This will happen in two weeks time. I will be giving you information on alternative methods of creating energy in your nuclear power plants, similar to but better than radioactive material. This information will be given to your scientists in your universities.
“Certain activities, like cutting down specific forest areas, some mining operations and certain manufacturing techniques will be stopped and prohibited, by the erection of force fields if necessary.
“The specifics will be given to you at the end of this day, to your government representatives, scientists and also to various experts in economics, business, and so on.”
It was now deathly quiet in the U.N. But now and then an outburst of anger from some delegate would erupt from different areas of the audience.
Around the world, everyone watching Robodog at the U.N. responded differently. Some cheered, some yelled obscenities, some sat dumfounded.
“Robodog,” said the U.N. Secretary General, “This plan of yours sounds like it will be extremely disruptive to our way of life, our economies, our ability to provide basic services and food to our people. Surely you understand this and will give us more time to make the changes we need to save our planet?”
“You have no time. I am hoping you will find a way to work together and solve the many problems you will face because of what needs to be done to save your planet. However, it is my directive to make it very clear that I am here to save the planet. You have killed it. You will not be allowed to continue to do so, and you will not be allowed to interfere and stop me from saving Earth. You are not the only life form on this planet. Although you have had the responsibility to take care of this planet, to make sure it is healthy and a good home for all life forms, you have failed to do so.
“I am not here to harm any humans in any way, but it is going to be very difficult for you to adjust to the many changes in your activities and I cannot do it for you.
“You have to work together with compassion for each other and for your planet.”
“Robodog,” said the U.N. President Of The General Assembly, “We are a whole world of different cultures, of different needs and desires. There are many good people working all the time to do what they can to make this a better world. Many programs and policies and foundations try very hard to make this world a better place. Why don’t you let us work with you on saving the planet while keeping our infrastructure intact so we don’t have widespread turmoil and calamity? Then, when you leave us you can report that you have truly been successful.”
Robodog looked at the crowd in the U.N. and back to the two U.N. officers by his side.
“I am not leaving. I am here to stay,” said Robodog.
This caused a sensation and everyone in the room started talking, yelling, screaming, waving their arms, stomping their feet and so on. It took a couple minutes for the crowd to settle down so Robodog could be heard. He was patient and simply waited for the outburst to end.
Robodog said, “I hesitate to say this because it reflects some form of judgement. It is amazing to me that you have managed to survive as long as you have, so there must be some very good humans doing great things in small measure. I have met some very good humans recently, and it is my hope there are many more of you.
“Currently less than 5% of all humans own or have control of more than 90% of your world’s wealth. Some of these special humans want to control the world with a new government of international banks and corporations, while ignoring the needs of citizens and working people. A recent example in this very country finds these special humans looking down their noses at working people while they claim free trade and globalization is the only way to ‘move forward’. They want a worker in Detroit who is barely able to save any money to put their children through college, to give up their health care, their pensions, their pay. They want that worker in Detroit to compete with a native of a country where making two dollars a day is a boon to their lifestyle. Meanwhile these people manage to pump that worker’s tax money of many billions of dollars into banks and insurance companies who pay bonuses of many hundreds of millions to the executives responsible for the collapse of those enterprises. It is clear as day what is going on in your world, regarding compassion and ethics, and it is no wonder to me that you have destroyed your planet.”
Once again it became very quiet in the U.N. People around the world, watching the proceedings, nodded their heads in solemn agreement, while muttering things like, “Rotten apples,” “Typical pigs.”
Even the U.N. representatives looked pensive and introspective as they nodded and murmured things like, “Boy, if you only knew...,” “I’ve been saying this for years..”
“Humans can fix many social problems by focusing on ethical and moral education, for adults as well as children. Children appear to accept and believe much of what they learn from their parents. The children often appear to adopt what adults do as righteous in attitude and acceptable behavior. If you have corrupt governors, for example, many children will simply consider their own actions in light of what is acceptable according to that governor’s actions. Likewise, if those in high positions in your social structure, like your NY governor who was caught using prostitutes, even across State lines, is not prosecuted it sends the message that if you are powerful enough the laws will not apply to you the same as for those without power. The prosecution may say, “We see no social benefit in prosecuting this case,” and they would be absolutely wrong. Regardless, I am here to save the planet and humans must solve their own serious problems of how to care for one another, be compassionate and fair and just. By this I do not mean I would do anything to harm humans. I am here to save the planet Earth. Meanwhile, I don’t see how humans can survive if you do not begin to work together in a fair and just way. Certainly you cannot hope to keep your planet healthy if you continue to live as you are now, nor adapt to the very great challenges facing you now, because much of what I do to save your planet will interfere with current balances of power, and your strategies for making wealthy people wealthier.”
Robodog wanted to avoid questions at this point and wanted to time the end of his speech with a more upbeat message of hope for these great people in front of him, in control of the world he was going to save. But he couldn’t lie about his lack of faith in this group’s ability. Unknown to Robodog there were several dozen very good humans in the room, and many more all over the planet watching these proceedings on TV, or listening to the radio.
The screens behind Robodog began to show the seven orbiting spaceships. There was a suppressed gasp from the audience.
“These robot ships are here to help me save the planet. I will be in touch with you all individually as time allows, and help as much as I can as problems arise from what I must do to save Earth. Meanwhile the materials and data promised you will be delivered to your experts, and I hope you share equally the burdens and the benefits of the future.”
With a loud ‘POP’ Robodog disappeared!
Pandemonium broke loose, but out of that mess many decent humans exited the U.N. and went back to their homes. There was going to be a whole lot of work to do, and they wanted to get started right away.
Many delegates went to their missions and a slow crawl of black limos began picking up and transporting away the crowd that had been in the General Assembly.
In the U.N. General Assembly there was an area of the front row reserved for the really big countries. These seats were coveted by many smaller nations who dreamed of someday sitting there instead, with their own country names displayed prominently. One of these front row seats contained the bulk of The President Of The United States, surrounded now by the Chief Of Staff, Secretary Of State, Science Advisor, Secretary Of The Treasury, the U.S. Delegate To The U.N., assorted secretaries and so on. The President said to his Chief Of Staff, and everyone else, “Well, there you have it. This Robodog is here to stay and we have a bunch of flying saucers around our planet. He wants to save Earth, but if we humans don’t get our act together he cannot save us humans. I’d say that calls for a Presidential Declaration of a National Emergency. Let’s do that. Let’s also put an immediate wage and price freeze into place, like during the Nixon years. Let’s get everyone out of the caves, out of the safe havens as back-up government. We need everyone to get back to assuming their normal duties. Let’s get our National Guard troops back from wherever they are. We’re gonna need them. There’s a ton of stuff to do and I want everyone to expect we will meet tomorrow in Washington, say at about noon. Any immediate ideas?”
Everyone shook their heads slowly. No immediate ideas of any use.
The President continued, “Let’s start planning a major replacement of all nuclear warheads with conventional warheads. Quickly. Like tomorrow. Like I want it done yesterday, OK?”
Now the heads started to nod slowly. Yes, sir, the heads were saying.
Dave and his family sat dumfounded in front of their TV, which had gone back to normal broadcasting, which happened to be a commercial of some muscle-bound woman working out on a contraption made of large rubber bands, and she was moving in a way that resembled a hamster running in a wheel . Dave turned off the TV. Dave, Mary, Jerry, Jimmy and Annie sat still and stared at the now blank TV.
“Dave?” asked Mary.
“Huh?” asked Dave.
“Robodog is not going to save people too?”
“Sounds like people have to save people,” replied Dave.
Annie, moving a couple toy horses around on her lap, said, “We can save people can’t we? We just have to tell them to be good and help each other, right?” It wasn’t clear if Annie was talking to her family or if the toy horses were talking to Annie.
Jerry looked over at Annie and her toys and decided to bolster her hopes. “The teachers at my school always say that people all over the world know the difference between being good and being bad. Seems to me you’re right, Annie, and people just need to be good now.”
“Hmmph,” said Dave.
“What?” asked Mary.
“I don’t know,” said Dave. “Why did aliens send Robodog to save Earth? Why bother if humans may not survive?”
“Robodog said we wouldn’t be hurt no matter what,” said Jimmy. He was pouting a little, as if trying to convince himself of the truth of what he just said.
“That’s right, Jimmy. Robodog did promise we wouldn’t be hurt, no matter what,” said Dave. “It probably will take a long time for people to adjust to a new way of living, and Robodog said he wants my help to turn on those machines and so on, so that will probably take some time too. I don’t think anything bad is going to happen right away to humans in general.”
“Unless people panic and start fighting each other right away,” said Mary.
Dave gave Mary that ‘please don’t scare the kids’ look.
“Of course,” continued Mary, “that is very unlikely.”
“If Robodog knows the difference between good and bad behavior on the part of humans, maybe the aliens are like humans,” said Dave. “Maybe they believe in God?”
Annie put her toy horses to the side and said, “Everyone should believe in God.”
Dave looked at Annie, then back to the blank TV set and let out a big sigh.
Mary said, “Not everyone believes in God, Annie. Some people believe in God but they are not exactly the same God in different religions. Some people think their God, the one they believe in, is the only real God, and the other people’s Gods are not God at all.”
Annie looked at her father who was still staring at the blank TV set. “Doesn’t God know what’s going on, Dad? Won’t God help us too, as well as Robodog?”
“Robodog said he wants to save the planet because it is beautiful. Because it is a living planet, and it is special, unlike any other planet. We can ask Robodog when we see him again if the aliens believe in God. Maybe God asked the aliens to save our planet. I don’t know. But the good thing is that Robodog is here to save Earth, and if all the people get together to help solve our problems then I don’t think there is anything to worry about.... maybe it is a good reason to be happy, to be hopeful. We have time to figure out the best way to fix things. There are some very good and smart people in the government and they will help us figure out the best way to fix things,” said Dave. “Now, lets make some plans for today and do something fun for a change. Let’s go out somewhere!”
This caused a sensation in the living room of Dave’s house, because they hadn’t been out for weeks. They were still surrounded by news crews and being spied on by secretive people in the neighbor’s homes. Jerry, Jimmy and Annie started jumping up and down like jack rabbits while screeching and yelling “Yes! Let’s Go Out! Let’s Go Out!”
Dave got up and went to front door, opened it and waved to the nearest police officer. When the policeman was close enough to hear Dave told him, “We are going out today. Please tell your superiors, and maybe we can get some kind of escort away from here? We need to get out, OK?”
“Yes, Sir,” said the policeman, who then spoke quickly into his walkie-talkie while moving away from the house, back to the sidewalk.
“That was easy,” said Mary, standing next to Dave at the door.
“Well, so far anyway. This might turn into a circus. Better pack some sandwiches and drinks just in case we get stuck somewhere.”
Mary gave Dave that ‘You worry too much’ look, and smiled a giant smile that just about made Dave’s heart soar into the air.
Dave, Mary and the kids packed up a couple travel bags. Jerry wanted to go to the town park and play catch. Jimmy wanted to go to the zoo. Annie wanted to go to the zoo too or maybe a nearby horse farm. Mary wanted to go to Bayville and hang out on the beach and get some seafood at one of the restaurants. Dave wanted to get out of the house and go anywhere at all. Mary won with a promise that next time they would go to the horse farm and then play catch at the park near the zoo. Dave went out and got the car-truck out of the garage and left it running in the driveway while talking to the same policeman. Seeing that the family was getting ready to go out, the news crews crowded in as close as the police would allow, and began yelling questions at Dave.
“Sir,” said the policeman, “My superiors expressed the wish you would change your mind and not go out. However, I am instructed to give you an escort to wherever your family would like to go so the news crews don’t harass you and your family.”
“Thank you,” replied Dave. “We will be going to Bayville, the beach area.”
“HEY DAVE,” yelled a news reporter, “WHAT’S GOING ON? ARE YOU GOING TO MEET ROBODOG? WHAT’S HE REALLY LIKE? ARE MORE ALIENS COMING TO EARTH TOO?”
And another news reporter yelled, “HEY DAVE, YOU PROMISED YOU’D TALK TO US AFTER A FEW DAYS OF RESTING! HOW ABOUT TALKING TO US NOW?”
This was true, Dave recalled. He thought he’d talk to the news people on the telephone, but that hadn’t happened. Dave had changed his phone number and it was now unlisted, and no more calls from news agencies were being made to his home. Furthermore, most of the others who’d been at the stage and saw Robodog had been interviewed by the press, and some of them openly wondered why Dave hadn’t come out of his sequestered situation and spoken about his and his family’s experiences with Robodog.
“If I give you ten minutes now would you let me and my family go out for some fresh air today without following us?” asked Dave.
The news people looked at each other, nodding tentatively in agreement to this idea. Seeing the police car escort forming in the street they decided it would not be fruitful to follow Dave and his family anyway, so they all agreed.
“OK,” said Dave, as he moved closer to the sidewalk to speak to the news people. “Let me first tell you what’s happened so far...”
“WHAT’S ROBODOG REALLY LIKE?” yelled a newsperson.
“Easy, Easy...take it easy, no need to shout... Robodog is not like anything I ever met before. It’s a robot made by aliens. He has been very polite and honest with me and my family. The kids like him and Annie was playing with him the other day, climbing on him sorta, like kids do with dogs. He liked that I think..”
“IS IT TRUE HE IS GOING TO MAKE IT SO CARS CAN’T WORK ANYMORE?” yelled another newsperson.
Dave could see there was no sense asking these people to calm down and he wouldn’t be able to say what he wanted as much as he would just have to answer their questions. He decided to make arrangements at some future date to have a news conference where he could tell people what has really been going on ...what has happened since Robodog asked him to help.
“We saw Robodog the evening before he went to the U.N....”
The news people, sensing a scoop, murmured among themselves as they pressed closer with their video camera operators.
“He just said he wanted my help to turn on the water cleaning machine. He said something about our planet being better off if a human were to help him save it...that some form of life from Earth had to participate in saving the planet because an outside energy source, alien to our planet, could not by itself save the planet. My impression was that he meant it is important for some human to kind of ‘steer’ what energy Robodog could supply to save the planet,” said Dave. “Robodog did not say to us anything about what his plans were concerning oil products or nuclear stuff. He asked us to watch his speech at the U.N. so we could hear what he had to say to everyone. We don’t have any more information than you do about all that stuff.”
“ROBODOG WAS HERE AT YOUR HOUSE? HOW COME WE DIDN’T SEE HIM?” yelled another newsperson.
“He wasn’t here for long, just a few minutes. He materialized at our back door in the early evening. Like he did at the U.N., and he left the same way. Wasn’t here long at all.”
More murmuring among the newspersons.
“HOW IS ROBODOG GOING TO GIVE US FUEL SO OUR CARS RUN?” yelled a newsperson. “DOESN’T HE KNOW I HAVE TO GET TO WORK?”
“I’m sure Robodog has given new scientific information to our scientists and experts. He said he would do that in his speech to the U.N. I think those people are the ones to ask about that stuff. OK? All we know is that he asked me to help turn on the water cleaning machine. He said we are going to do that in a couple days....”
At this point a few police persons in plain clothes, along with some uniformed policemen, stepped between the newspersons with camera operators and Dave.
“OK, OK, that’s all the time we have now for this interview....please step back onto the sidewalk and let Dave and his family get out for some fresh air. Step back, that’s right, move along there..” said the police people. More police people showed up and continued to make a wall between the news people and Dave’s property. One of the plain clothes policemen said to Dave, “OK, sir, it’s clear for you to get your family into your car and we will escort you to Bayville.”
Dave was glad to be through with the interview and went back into the house. Within minutes he and his family were out the door and into the car-truck. With a fairly large number of police vehicles lining up in front and behind Dave they made their way down the street and were happy to see the news people were satisfied to stay where they were. Once on the main road some of the escort broke off so they would be less conspicuous, replaced by unmarked cars and more secret type law enforcement people. Inside Dave’s car it was nearly impossible to keep the kids settled with their seat belts on, and Mary had to yell at them a couple times, finally threatening to go right back home if they didn’t behave. That did the trick and everything settled down a bit. Almost a normal drive to the beach if you didn’t pay attention to the twelve car escort.
Once they got to Bayville Dave pulled into a large parking area across from some restaurants and a small playland with amusement rides. When Dave was a kid his family used to come here, sometimes getting hot dogs at the old ‘Pig N Whistle’, which was now gone. Once parked the kids immediately bolted out and ran to the beach. Mary yelled after them, “Hey! Don’t go far!”
Dave and Mary followed the children slowly, walking arm in arm, while the escort parked out on the main road and waited. The beach was nearly deserted. The kids screeched and yelled and pointed at strange things washed up on the beach, mixed in with seaweed, and they quickly got lost in their game of finding treasure of any sort, whether it was a beautiful sea shell or a scary looking horse-shoe crab! Dave and Mary could see a few Navy ships across the Sound, near where the water cleaning machine was being investigated by the authorities. There was a slight breeze coming off the water, bringing the fresh smell of salt and iodine, while a few sea gulls floated on the wind that rustled Mary’s fine hair.
“Look at them,” Mary said to Dave as she pointed to the kids down the beach a ways. “They’ve been so good being stuck in the house for so long and now they act like everything is just normal. I remember having fun like that when I was a kid, looking for shells and stuff.”
“Me too,” said Dave. He took in a big breath of fresh air and relaxed, letting the breath out slowly. “Hard to believe the planet is in such bad shape, it’s so beautiful here”.
“Let’s get the blanket and sit out here for a while,” suggested Mary.
“Come on down this way,” yelled Dave to the kids, and the three kids reversed the direction of their treasure hunt, coming back toward their starting point. Every once in a while one of them would stoop down with a screech and pick something out of the gently lapping surf or from a tangle of seaweed. Annie had a big clam shell, bleached by the sun, which she held like a prize.
Dave went back to the car and got the blanket and the basket they had packed some sandwiches into, and met Mary and the kids back on the beach. Dave did not notice, when he was at his car, the large black SUV across the street and parked a couple hundred yards west of the parking lot.
“Well, that’s the general plan, guys,” said Bill Fenly to Marty and Monty in the black SUV. He had just given them the basic outline of what they were going to do in order to capture Robodog. Marty and Monty were more interested in action than planning and Fenly knew it. To make sure things went smoothly it was sometimes necessary for him to push them a little more on the planning side of things. “You guys have any questions?” asked Fenly.
“Nope,” said Monty.
“Nope,” said Marty.
Fenly sighed. “OK, once again, here’s the plan in a nutshell, and if you guys have any questions now is the time to let me know, cause it’s going to be a very critical timeline of events.
“First we will wait for Robodog to get Dave and bring him to the water cleaning machine. As soon as Dave is gone from his house you will go into Dave’s house and get the kids and his wife and bring them to our cigarette boat at the North Shore Marina. The cigarette boat will bring you all to our sub in the middle of the channel, where you will rendezvous. The sub will surface only long enough for you to get everyone into the sub, and you will then go to the air cleaning machine airlock. At the airlock you will be met by our underwater combat team, who will take over control of the airlock from the Navy. This has to be timed so that you gain entry just as Robodog is giving Dave the key. When you get inside you will take the key from Dave in return for letting his family go free. So don’t harm the kids or Mary before you get the key, you understand?”
“Yep,” said Monty.
“Yep,” said Marty.
“I will be with the combat team and will meet you inside. We will have a fast yacht with stealth capabilities come to the water cleaning machine to meet us after we have Robodog. We leave Dave and his family inside and take the sub with Robodog to the surface. Then we transfer Robodog and ourselves to the yacht and we race for the open ocean. Once clear of the Navy we will take the helicopter tied to the yacht’s helipad and leave the yacht abandoned, which will self destruct a moment later. Once in the air we rendezvous with The greek’s ‘Stella Star’, landing on it’s deck, and off we go to the Mediterranean.”
“Right,” said Marty.
“Right,” said Monty. Monty smashed his right fist into the palm of his left hand.
“How many guys you want with you to get the kids and Mary?” asked Fenly.
“Us plus five,” said Marty.
“Correct,” agreed Monty.
Ahh, thought Fenly. Some actual progress being made now.
“They can’t stay on the cigarette boat for long after the transfer to the sub,” said Fenly.
Monty and Marty exchanged a quick glance and a nod.
“The cigarette boat will explode along with all hands after the transfer,” said Monty.
Ahh, thought Fenly. More progress. “Any questions?” asked Fenly.
Monty pursed his lips and asked, “How you gonna get rid of the Navy guys long enough to get us into the airlock, get out of there and onto the Yacht?”
“Fifty commandos, some underwater, some on the surface, four speedboats. After the operation they all go to various ports on the Connecticut side, where they are disposed of by their handlers, four men who can be trusted. Weapons, boats, men supplied by The greek, paid for by our consortium.”
Marty nodded thoughtfully. “The yacht. How you gonna get that by the Navy coming into the Sound? Can’t race in and expect to be stealthy for long.”
“Comes in disguised as a barge with containers on it, pulled by a tug,” said Fenly.
Both Marty and Monty nodded their heads, thinking things through.
“Then I guess we’re ready to go,” said Marty.
“Right,” said Monty.
Fenly sat back more comfortably in the back seat and said, “Let’s get out of here.”
The black SUV drove east, past the escort, while Dave and his family settled down for a small picnic on the beach. The kids showed their parents all the things they found and Mary took them to the little building that housed the beach rest rooms, to wash up before eating. Dave laid on his back on the blanket and looked up at the clear blue sky. Off in the distance he heard a sea gull cry.