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 confident