This story will most likely be the first in a series of short stories I will call the Classified DPA Files. It has gone through a couple of iterations and title changes but I think I am very close now. You tell me.
Angeles National Forest, California, April 18th, 2011
Special Agent Justin Meyers is a good man. Well-liked by his co-workers and supervisors. A career as an analyst with the FBI isn’t exciting in the Hollywood way but it is satisfying, knowing that the work he does saves lives and protects a nation. This change will be something entirely new for him.
Justin took a deep breath, the smell of fresh cut pine permeated everything. Sunbeams cut through the trees burning off the morning dew, it was going to be a hot day. He looked over at Alexander Eriksson as he held his wife’s hand. Alex nodded his head slightly. Justin turned to the small group gathered directly in front of him. “Ladies and gentlemen of the press corps. You have been invited here today for a very special announcement. We apologize for the short notice but the necessity for this will become clear shortly.
“Congress has approved the creation of a new government agency appointed to deal with this new era that we, the human race, finds ourselves in. Since the arrival of a new type of life on Earth, there are many things to consider for both individuals as well as communities. This is a balance we will attempt to maintain.”
Despite their best efforts the government had lost control of the information about what had happened to people that came in contact with the sentient energy form. Many of the identities of those affected had been locked down but then there were others not so-- fortunate. Lucky? Why are there two words for this?
At the back, past the group of reporters, were four teenagers locked arm in arm with each other. All of them dressed in formal clothes and looking uncomfortable at it. Brendan with his arms crossed tightly in front of him and a perpetual scowl every time he made an appearance. Pangs of regret niggled at Justin’s mind. There had to be more the agency could do for the young man, but what? Justin had not been there from the start, he was a late comer to these things. Everything that could be offered to Brendan had been, most of it he refused, until now.
These young people had made first contact and as such were the ones most profoundly impacted. So far. There are others, we haven’t found yet. It would be some time before their neural pathways would be normalized again, if ever.
The runt of the litter, Derek, is how Justin thinks of him, shuffles from foot to foot as he does when he’s nervous. Kristy and Matt are the least influenced by everything the group has been through. Maybe that is because they have each other. Or perhaps a genetic predisposition of some kind. Only time will tell if it is a nature or nurture induced trait. It will be interesting to see if close sibling relationships have any long term or varying effects on how the mind interplays with the different energy signatures.
They tried to move on with their lives as if history had not been changed, but being hounded by alien hunters, conspiracy theorists, and want-to-be hosts constantly prevented this. Matt and Derek had to finish high school from home on independent study. Brendan and Kristy withdrew from their colleges and quit their jobs to avoid the harassment. Working for and living at the Department will give them the protection and peace that has been robbed from them. As public endorsers and participants with this new program, the public will no longer view them as victims of government negligence.
“The name of this new agency is: The Department of Planetary Affairs. It will be supervised by the Department of Defense. Our main objectives will be to monitor the behavior and activity of these energy forms. We will be resource for those who finds themselves a paired with one, as well anyone interested in knowing more about them. Our goal and hope is that by working with this new energy form we open up a whole new era in the fields of neuroscience and biochemical engineering as well as particle physics. Not long from now the human race will be venturing into the vastness of space, going into the very void where this energy originates. Anything we can learn now will surely benefit those future explorers.
“As a demonstration of our collaboration I, along with Special Agent Eriksson, have agreed to leave our positions with the FBI to lead this organization.” Eriksson moved away from his wife to stand next to Justin. “We will be co-commanders. Equal in our decision making with equal responsibility for the lives under our charge.” He glanced at the four in the back again, none of them would meet his gaze.
Eriksson stands next to him facing the visitors, his feet shoulder length apart and his hands behind his back. The FBI had recruited him from Air Force Special Ops before any of this had happened. The order and efficiency of his military training are built into everything he does. Eriksson could be the perfect host except that he has rejected the notion entirely.
Justin’s heartrate jumps suddenly as he rehearses his next line repeatedly. Now it is about to get uncomfortable. He is hyperaware of the temperature even though the atmospheric level has only changed two degrees since he started speaking.
“In order to fully embrace our mission statement of mutual understanding I have made the choice to become a host.”
Choice. A construct. One worth dying for, as evidenced by thousands of years of civilization. The belief in this construct is a hardwired need even if the concept itself is not.
Justin’s last declaration causes people to stare at each other. Sharp tones amongst the mumbling make it clear that this is a surprise and perhaps shock to everyone, as had been the intention. The reporters had been informed only a few hours before and forced to sign gag orders to prevent fanatics and radicals from finding out about the event. Even now, military personnel patrolled the forest and watched all roads and paths within a ten mile radius creating a protective perimeter to ensure there are no unexpected interruptions.
“With myself as a host and Special Agent Eriksson as a non-host, together we will represent both sides of this issue. And thus the purpose of our dual leadership.”
Two men from the DoD carry a large a silver case up to him. The material of the silver case is of no significance to the contents except that the perception of a silver case in government matters means whatever is inside is extremely valuable and/or classified. It gives weight to the importance of the thing inside but otherwise it is irrelevant.
“In an effort to demonstrate to the American public that there is a future and a hope when we open ourselves up to things we may not understand in the present. I will now become a host. Right here, on site of our future facility.
This moment will be recorded in the history books and so is the most critical. The hysteria around being “contaminated” had reached epic proportions at one point. This public display will show people that they have nothing to fear. That working together has benefits that far outweigh the dangers.
After entering a code only he knows, Justin opens the case. Cradled inside between chunks of black foam is a glass cylinder. Powerful electromagnets on each end create an artificial gravity well.
With both hands he lifts the container up for everyone to see. At the center of the glass column is a single point of light. A blinding white light that makes spots swim in front of most people’s eyes if looked at directly even for just a moment.
“This is the specific energy signature that helped Agents Miranda Grant and Alexander Eriksson apprehend the rogue hosts. Miranda had been the host until her untimely death. Since Miranda is no longer with us, I am honored to take up this charge in her place. She would have been a better leader, but since a part of her resides with this entity she is still with us, after a fashion.”
He smiled bitterly. Sometimes he heard her voice in his head like a guardian angel when talking to people. They had not worked together but her reputation as a person of compassion, integrity, and loyalty was well known.
For the greater good.
A few camera shutters click, he gripped the canister tighter. Justin lowers the glass cylinder, turning it in his hands, aware of the cool glass against his palms. He places his thumb over the power switch, a brief image passes through his mind of the cylinder dropping to the ground and the sharp sound of the glass breaking. Usually they would feel the pull of the electromagnets at each end but not today.
The audience is silent. He presses the power switch. The bright pin point of light inside the glass disappeared instantaneously.
Close eyes, drop chin drop into chest. He hates this. As an analyst he never had to be a keep up any kind of public façade. Tense shoulders. Breathe steady. For the greater good.
“Justin?” He heard Eriksson’s voice nearby.
“Draegg.” Justin gives a sigh of relief. “As co-commander of the DPA I will be known by the name Draegg.”
No applause. Just clicking of camera shutters and avid note taking, video had been prohibited. Dead and dry pine needles crunch underfoot as people shift in discomfort. The reporters do not know how to react. Their faces are hard to interpret. Fear and uncertainty. Concern maybe for how he is feeling. It does seem that they have all moved back from him, but he had not noted the distance between them before so there is no way to know for sure.
Justin shook himself. “This ground here today will be the site our future facility. This new facility will be a place of tolerance,” he looked at the four in the back; still no eye contact, “scientific inquiry, and mutual understanding.
“As a government agency our highest value will be transparency. We, the leadership of the DoD and DPA, know that we have lost the public trust in regards to the events surrounding this phenomenon. It is our promise to the people of the United States that we will disclose any information we can that will benefit the community at large while protecting the individuals involved.”
Justin lifted his hand in the air, waving someone forward. Two men carrying a large, round disc under black cloth came around and waited next to him. To an onlooker it must have looked similar to a kitchen table without the legs.
“At this time we would like to present to you the seal of this new department.”
The two men hoisted the object so that it was perpendicular to the ground. Gravity did the rest with cloth as it slid from the edge and floated to the ground revealing a blue and green emblem with a double headed bird. At the dead center, an image of Earth.
Eriksson stepped forward, hands behind his back, his voice rang out clearly. “The double headed eagle represents the dual nature of being a host. You see in its talons an olive branch to symbolize peace. Around the edge are eighty-nine white dots to represent all the energy signatures in a complete grouping. And finally, the dominant colors of blue and green. Green for Earth and blue for the sky and by proxy, space.” He stepped back to indicate he was finished.
Scattered, polite clapping is swallowed up into the open air. The men carry the seal off to the side where a stand has been brought for it. After securing it into position they move to the back again so the audience will forget they are there.
Draegg looks past the crowd to the four teenagers at the back staring straight back at him. “Together we will understand.”
Special Agent Justin Meyers is a good man so he is uncomfortable with this orchestrated display. The first word that came to his mind, their mind, was fabricated. But he also realizes its importance and changed the way he thought about it. Even after several weeks they are still adjusting to each other.
Commander Draegg examines the empty glass canister in his hand, careful to make sure that his thumb does not hit the power switch. If that were to happen, the faux light would reappear and the whole ruse would be a PR disaster. It had been a fair simulation of what they look like. There has never been a public display of their kind before. The DPA would see to it that there would not be another so it did not matter what it looks like as long as the public believes it.
For the greater good.