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Target Earth: “You Only See What You Want To”

Target Earth: “You Only See What You Want To”

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Target Earth: “You Only See What You Want To”

Lunghezza:
275 pagine
4 ore
Pubblicato:
Mar 8, 2016
ISBN:
9781621833598
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

It’s a new day on Earth in the twenty-third century, and an awestruck public is witnessing the stunning arrival of what looks like a lunar lander in Washington, D.C. Called in for their scientific and linguistic expertise, husband and wife team Danny and Chris Marama wait eagerly to meet the alien visitors, whose spacecraft now rests in the American president’s Rose Garden. When two space-suited beings emerge, they surprise exo-linguist Danny by speaking English, among other languages, as they disclose their agenda: to explore Earth’s technology and return to their home planet with it. Accompanying them is a prestigious assignment Danny is only too happy to take on. What she doesn’t discover until later is their secret agenda, much more sinister and life-changing for Danny, Chris, and the entire human race. And both Danny and Chris must choose: loyalty to Earth, whose leaders may be targeting their own people for death, or to the alien race—and life.

Pubblicato:
Mar 8, 2016
ISBN:
9781621833598
Formato:
Libro

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Target Earth - Mary Louise Davie

Target Earth

"You Only See What You Want To"

Mary Louise Davie

Brighton Publishing LLC

435 N. Harris Drive

Mesa, AZ 85203

www.BrightonPublishing.com

Copyright © 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62183-359-8

eBook

SMASHWORDS EDITION

Cover Design: Tom Rodriguez

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All the characters in this book are fictitious and the creation of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Dedication

"For Sherilyn Louise;

No words, just dreams."

Chapter One

Danielle was lying on the king-sized bed, her body stretched out to the left, to the right, up and down—as if she didn’t have to share the bed. A high-tech sheet of meta-material was draped over her torso, but her strands of long, brunette hair were loose.

Standing beside the bed, Christian looked down at her and shook his head. He knew he shouldn’t have gotten up. He glanced at the clock beside the bed. They still had at least two hours of sleeping time left. He wanted to take full advantage of those two hours; he just had to figure out two things: how to slide back into the bed and what corner he could claim.

But it seemed that was not to be. The calm, peaceful darkness of the room was broken when a bright red strobe flashed throughout the whole house. The alert started with two staccato bursts, followed by a recorded message.

Danielle instantly sat up. You’ve got to be kidding me, she groaned, but the message drowned her out.

DOCTOR CHRISTIAN MARAMA, DOCTOR DANIELLE MARAMA—YOUR PRESENCE IS REQUIRED ON THE GOV-NET IMMEDIATELY.

After the message played about ten times, the staccato sounds resumed.

Danielle jumped up, grabbed the sweat pants she kept beside the bed, and opened the middle drawer of her dresser to locate a shirt. Chris went into the living room and clicked on the news station in the big wall and then went over to the virtual link to the gov-net in the bookshelf to prepare.

Safe to assume ‘immediately’ doesn’t mean in your office wear, Danny said as she passed Chris on her way to the kitchen. Coffee?

"The message said immediately Danny," Chris called to her.

It’s not as if aliens landed. This is— She paused, doing the math in her head while she returned with two coffee mugs, one in each hand. This is the sixth quote-unquote emergency since they insisted on installing those things, and that was only four months ago. Seriously, what is such a big emergency that the government needs its top astrophysicist/biologist and exo-linguist/chemistry geek at 3:30 a.m? She handed him his coffee and sat down. Ooo, Honey, look! Volume-up. The TV volume responded to Danny’s request by making the volume louder.

Chris stopped fiddling with the virtual connection’s base and looked at the TV screen. Reporters were standing by the White House lawn, apparently hoping for someone to come out and talk to them about this great event. Film crews were on the spot for what was sure to be the biggest story in history, or at least one of them.

Chris walked over slowly, as if hypnotized, to sit beside Danny. I’ll be damned, he breathed.

They sat there and watched the report in total silence for several minutes. Then Chris jumped up. We’d better call in on gov-net. He turned one way and then quickly turned back. No, wait, I need a shirt. He hurried to the bedroom. Moments later he reappeared with a rushed look on his face. Get the volume. I’ll get the gov-net.

Danny turned off the TV volume; moments later a voice spoke to them: PLEASE IDENTIFY.

Doctor Christian Marama. ID number 6483741, station-home, proximity 28. He looked over at his wife and nodded.

Doctor Danielle Marama. ID number 4287913, station-home, proximity 28.

RECOGNIZED. There was a short pause, and then, PLEASE HOLD FOR PRESIDENT HARKER.

The TV picture shifted to gov-net, and the outline of a man slowly came into focus—a man shown from the waist up in a White House polo. He began to address them. Gentlemen and Ladies, I am White House Chief of Staff Rod Pearl, and I will be running a roll call both for a matter of record and for the benefit of others on this call. If you set your virtual Gov-net to span-scan, it will show everyone on the call in a small picture box and a larger view of the person controlling the meeting—in this case, me, and then the president. Let me begin. Secretary of State John Hellmann?

A response of present could be heard, and when Danielle found his face among the smaller picture boxes, she was amused to find that he looked like death warmed over. Soon after he responded, he took a sip from what was either a glass of iced tea or bourbon. Danny was guessing bourbon.

Secretary of Defense Trent Marshall?

A low-toned but high-volume response was issued. Chris was interested to know who had that confidence level, as this gentleman hadn’t been on the last five emergency calls. Definitely from Texas, he was in his late sixties and wore a cowboy hat and a robe. This is a guy who rises to the occasion, Chris thought—one who welcomes a fight.

Attorney General Vincent Ashburn?

I wonder if this meeting would be best served— the attorney general began, but Rod Pearl interrupted him.

You’ll have a chance to speak later sir. The young man couldn’t have been more than thirty, but Chris thought Pearl had the confidence of a man ten years his senior. He didn’t get to his position without knowing how to maintain control of a meeting where big egos were in attendance. Barbara Christie, Secretary of Health and Human Services, thank you for rushing to a nearby connection. He paused for a second to allow her to comment and then moved on. And also on the line we have Doctor Christian Marama, an astrophysicist, and his wife, Doctor Danielle Marama, an exo-linguist—although for the record they both have biology and chemistry as well as other related specialties.

Danielle and Steve said a quick hello from where they sat beside each other on the couch, coffee cups in hand. The screen flickered, and President Harker appeared.

Good evening—or rather good morning to you all. If you have watched the news, you are aware that we have a circa-1960-type spacecraft that somehow slipped through space unnoticed and is outside of Earth’s atmosphere, heading here as we speak. Doctor Marama—Danielle—I need you to come here to the White House as you may be needed to assist from a linguistics point of view, but first I wanted to speak with all of you prior to their arrival, which should take in the neighborhood of one to three hours. Assuming they don’t change their angle of descent greatly when they enter our atmosphere, I am being told that they should land somewhere in the vicinity of DC or Virginia. While this very well may be a great day for mankind, it could also be a threat to it. Best-case scenario, they want to share their technology with us; worst case, they are going to attack. Dr. Marama—Danielle—while I know you previously helped update our response report that showed us how to react in situations such as this, I am treating this as a brand new case.

Harker paused, picked up a glass of water and drank from it. What I need from all of you is possible scenarios and strategies to deal with them, and I need those scenarios and strategies immediately. I want them put together in writing and on my desk within the hour. And Trent—this is directed to you. What level of alert should we be at right now, and at what times should we evaluate for changes?

Mr. President, right now I have placed us on Orange Alert, or rather, elevated status. We will stay at this level for the foreseeable future. Of course any upgrade to Red or High Alert will depend on the intentions perceived when our visitors arrive. Trent Marshall paused and seemed to be setting up what he was about to say. Sir, given the nature of the threat, I would like to take leave so I may get a report to you as requested—ASAP. That is unless you have anything else to share with me at this time?

No. Rod, can you please note the secretary of defense is leaving the meeting? And Trent, don’t worry about spell-check, just get that report to me. The president sighed. Okay, for the rest of you, each of you was notified because your skills or talents were either needed or anticipated. Doctors Marama, I have already explained what I need—Danielle, I need you at the White House, and then we can helicopter you to the landing spot, wherever it may end up being. Christian, your skills will be needed at Lab 18; they’re expecting you, so whenever you arrive, get down to what we know, a good guess, sorry hypothesis, what they likely know, the science of the ship, et cetera. And be ready to analyze photographs as we get them in. At present we have no clue as to where they originated, so why don’t you make that your first priority?

Harker took paused for a moment to take a deep breath. As to the secretary of Health & Human Services, Barbara, at present there is nothing I require from you, but I wanted you in the loop as we don’t know what if any contaminants these aliens bring with them. If they will allow, I am going to order a full battery of medical tests, but that’s downstream from here. Vincent, as the AG you’ll provide the legal aspects involved. I’ll need a review of what if any legal requirements I am bound to by office. And then Rod, that leaves you. I need you here with me. You are going to have to communicate these happenings to Congress and stand beside me in my press conference. So everybody, that’s it for now; get to your tasks, and Godspeed to us all.

The president’s picture went blank, and Pearl was again on screen.

This meeting is adjourned. Thank you all for answering this call, and should you need to reach the president, you can do it through me—or if you have a c-code, you may communicate directly. That is all. With that the entire virtual monitor disappeared and the news was again on the TV.

Christian muted the volume and looked at Danielle, putting his hand forward, More coffee?

His mind was busy running in the background. Danny could see it in his eyes. She handed him her cup. Please just leave it on the counter; I’m going to hop in the shower. You? She headed toward the bedroom.

I think I’ll get us more coffee; then I want to gather some papers. I’ll shower after you and then head in to DC main.

Chris? Danny stopped at the doorway. What do you think of all this? Should we be scared?

Probably, but not necessarily of them. I’ll call you later in the day. Hopefully I’ll know more. Actually, you should call me; you get to meet them.

Who knew writing that paper for my doctorate on alien communications would lead to this day. Not me! Danny left, switching into fast mode. She had a lot to do and little time to do it. Good thing she was still young—well, young enough at thirty-one.

She didn’t have much to do to get ready. She had learned the trick to getting by when she was in college whenever she took an early class: just a quick shower, a cup of coffee, then stop by the dorm after class to shower before the next class.

Danny had met Christian when she was going for her doctorate. They were just starting to offer the brain-computer interface chips, or BCI, that were implanted in one’s brain, an assist when getting a degree. Not really desiring a brain implant, she had earned hers the old-fashioned way. Her sister had had a BCI implanted twelve years ago, but she was disabled, and it had brought her new freedom, controlling her wheelchair and helping with all sorts of things, so that with the implant she no longer had to rely on others for every little thing she did. Besides, an implant wouldn’t have helped much in getting the degrees Danny had gone after. Sure there were tons of things she had to memorize, but when it came down to it, she had to think through problems, and a chip couldn’t do that. Not really.

As she let the glorious hot water of the shower flow over her head and face, she dreaded making the drive this morning. They can wake you at three in the morning but they can’t send a helicopter to get you to the White House! This of course meant she was going to have to ride over the DC Plant. It wasn’t an actual plant, but if you didn’t live there, that’s what you called it.

In the cities there was always one big building that housed from 1.5 to 2 million people in various-sized apartments with some malls thrown in and possibly a few parks that had open ceilings, but only out here in the suburbs did one’s car drive on a road. Otherwise it piloted over the residential plant on air traffic controlled tracks or roads. While computers had handled driving since before the cars took to the air, air traffic control now took care of everything—maintained by computers with a few humans overseeing them. Unfortunately commuting wasn’t as much easier as one would think. There were still slow-downs; they said there were fewer accidents, but now as a passenger you had more time to sit, watch, and complain.

Showered, dried, and clothed, Danny ran a comb through her hair, grabbed her bag, and ran out of the bedroom, practically knocking Chris over.

Whoa! He was wearing pants but was shirtless, carrying his cup of coffee, and totally surprised by her.

Sorry, Hon. Danny stopped to give him a quick peck on the cheek, then picked up her pace again, racing to the coffee on the counter in the kitchen. By the way, thanks for the coffee. She grabbed the cup and started to leave, thought better of it, grabbed a to-go cup, and transferred the contents. She headed out the door and ducked under the branch of the big oak tree Parks and Services had just transplanted. Apparently one of the so-called benefits of being able to afford the suburbs was having Parks and Services plant things wherever and whenever they felt like it in your yard. It was only your yard when the taxes were due; otherwise it was part of the nation’s green space.

The door to her Google Empress car closed automatically after she sat in the seat. She pushed the button to start the engine check, which the car began after running her thumbprint.

GOOD MORNING DANIELLE LOIS, DESTINATION?

I’m going to kill him! Danny screamed in her head. Chris must have reset her name in the computer to include her middle name. He knew she hated it with a passion. No matter—she would get back at him when things calmed down.

White House, Entrance B.

THANK YOU. YOUR TIME TO DESTINATION IS 33 MINUTES, PLEASE SIT BACK & RELAX. WOULD YOU CARE TO HEAR SOME MUSIC?

No thank you. Then she reconsidered. Just out of curiosity, if I had said yes, what selection is programmed to play? Danny wondered if Chris had played with this setting too.

MAGNETIC FLY

Remove that selection please. Oh yeah, she fumed, he’s definitely going to get it.

For most of the ride, Danny was lost in her own thoughts, running various scenarios: the aliens land and speak perfect English; the aliens land and speak perfect Spanish; the aliens land and don’t understand a thing; the aliens land and it turns out they’re blind or telepathic or both… on and on went the possibilities.

She looked down as the car maneuvered over the last bit of the Heights Plant and thought what a difference from now at 4:30 in the morning to the rush hour between 7 and 9:15 a.m. By that time there were usually gangs out roaming the rooftops of the plant and sometimes throwing paint balloons at the sensors, trying to cause cars to crash. Probably the only way they’ll ever get a car is have it crash on their roof, she thought.

But at this time of day, in the dark, when the sun wasn’t even considering rising yet, it was quiet. The wheels dropped now that her car was coming out of hover mode, and the car landed in the road outside of Gate B. The guards at this gate didn’t have as much commotion to deal with, since much of the action on this early morning was on the opposite side, over at the main gate. One guard stepped out of the gatehouse to verify her for passing, while the other just leaned out the window from inside.

Doctor Marama, said the young guard in his crisp, clean uniform, noting her White House decal & permit on the windshield, you are on the list for immediate entry. Please go right on up to the entrance, and someone will meet you there. He stepped back and snapped his legs together, waving her through.

Thank you, Sergeant, have a good morning. As the car resumed moving, Danny couldn’t help but think that age was creeping up on her. She had thought to herself this young kid in reference to the guard and then realized that ten years ago she would have seen things a little differently. But then, ten years ago he was probably eight.

Danny’s car knew what to do: the guard stations had a smart sign that, like the sporadic road signs that still existed, the computer could read through its lidar. Danny gathered her things as the car came to stop in front of the entrance, watching as two different men in shirts and ties but no jackets came running down the stairs, taking them two at a time. It actually looked as if they might miss a few steps and land flat on their faces at the bottom. Every light in the building seemed to be on. At first she wondered how high their energy costs were, and then she remembered who was paying the bill. As she got out the car, the two men practically accosted her.

We’ve been waiting for you, Doctor Marama. We need you over at the South Lawn immediately, said the sandy-haired young man.

Why? Am I taking a helicopter to the landing site?

No, responded the older one. It is the landing site.

And thus the aliens communicated the fact that they were indeed intelligent beings without ever having to utter a word.

They’re already here? Danny was upset that she had missed the landing.

No, but they’re right overhead—about fifteen to twenty minutes out, the blonde guy told her. Come with us, it’s easier to get to the South Lawn by cutting through the hall inside.

Danielle turned to her car and placed her thumb on the handle to activate the sensor recognition state. Parking lot B, section 6. The car put itself in gear and drove off to the parking garage. When Danielle turned to follow the two men, she was amazed to find they weren’t waiting for her. She double-timed it to catch up.

Once they arrived at the South Lawn, Danielle found herself amazed at all the foot traffic. There was a rather large area that was sectioned off with police tape. Gosh, I hope they’re familiar with police tape, she thought, considering all the aliens would have to deal with and how it might be received. She overheard a Secret Service agent growling because they didn’t have the time to properly vet everyone, not to mention the aliens. She saw the select group of the press in an area with guards posted, and there were guards way back across the lawn with protesters busy trying to climb the fence—it was a nightmare. With every alien aficionado, hunter, and hater all in one place, it was a zoo.

When she heard a whooshing sound overhead, Danny looked up to see a gold and gray capsule with what looked like spider legs landing dead center in the taped-off area.

Chapter Two

The smoke and flames being expelled from the rockets on the small capsule were sending up dust and pieces of lawn everywhere. The onlookers, instead of running scared or turning from the debris that was swirling on unpredictable trajectories, faced the flying particles as if fearing they would miss one moment of this historic landing. The smell of burnt grass and plastic filled the atmosphere.

This wasn’t some technologically advanced spaceship—in fact, it somewhat resembled the lunar lander from two centuries earlier. No one knew yet where it had come from, as it had just appeared on the radar right before breaking into Earth’s orbit. The fact that they could mask their appearance spoke volumes as to the advances they could offer. As the capsule set down on its thin legs, the engine sputtered to a stop like those old gasoline engines Danny had seen in a museum. The material used in the formation of the thin legs must have been something incredible: while the spacecraft was small, it was dense and probably heavy. The earth under the feet of the lander immediately pushed down at least a foot and a half into the White House lawn.

This moment was being recorded for posterity and mankind in thirty-seven languages on forty-five networks the world over. Danny wondered where the president was, as no doubt he was preparing for his close-up. He was probably ecstatic that he was going to be the president under whom the world saw tremendous advances.

A man came up to Danny. Dr. Marama, will you please come with me? This person had an authoritative voice and a strong grip, which he exercised on her elbow. He walk-ran with her about twenty feet, and the crowd seemed to part for him. When he came to a stop, she was face-to-face with President Harker. The gentleman on his right looked like Rod from the gov-net call; the attorney general was present as well.

Dr. Marama—may I call you Danielle? the president said, extending his hand.

Didn’t you call me Danielle on the call? she thought, but instead she shook his hand and said, Of course Mr. President. What is the plan, sir?

I was hoping you might have one, he said. When she looked confused, he held her right hand in both of

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