What If Tales: After The Sky Fell [Part One]
Posted By: Jin1<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 10 August 2007, 1:16 pm
After the Sky Fell
"A farmer found it
" Harper's eyes glanced over to the relatively young man in a leather pilot's jacket, and a New York Yankees baseball cap. On his legs were casual slacks. If he's a soldier, he sure as hell didn't look like it.
The guy looked no more than twenty-six years old, give or take a few years. And with one hand bracing against the dashboard and the other holding onto his cap he looked awkward, and Harper knew his driving skills weren't that bad.
"What?" The young man said, looking over before peering back at the bumpy dust road ahead.
"A farmer found it. Most of it anyway."
"Oh? And when did the farmer report the crash in?"
Harper frowned, and reached up, scratching a sunburned hand through his black hair. "Not sure, the 509th Bomb Group recovered the craft. So I would have to say July 9th. The morons had the intelligence to release a press release." Harper glanced down at the small space between the two and nodded. "Take a look."
The young man reached down, letting go of his hat and grabbed the newspaper tucked in the space. Harper continued. "Front page, top left."
The kid flipped the newspaper over and looked at the spot and the man was right. The papers were calling it a "Flying Disc". Yet everyone and their mother knew it was just a damn high altitude balloon, from Project Mogul. His eyes glanced through the article, reading it quickly.
Harper smiled at the kid's interest and saw the base up ahead. The large barb-wired burdened fence loomed over ahead and the guard towers pin-pricked the surrounding area. "We brought you in to check out wreckage."
"I'm a biologist, Captain Harper, not a mechanic. Couldn't one of your techs check it out?" His eyes were focused on the article, reading it slower this time.
"No." The man's voice was cold. The young man looked up curious. Harper's eyes were focused intently on the road ahead. "Look, Mr. Palmer, my Commanding Officer doesn't want you here. But it's out of our hands."
"What do you mean: 'It's out of your hands'."
Harper frowned. "You'll see."
The Willys MB slowed to a stop, coming out was a heavily armed guard wielding a M1 Garand. He was dressed in olive drab military uniform and his face was rough, scars making pale marks along it, there were dozens. He held his stern gaze as he looked at the driver. "Captain Harper."
"Who's your friend here?" His voice was cold, menacing. Very, very dangerous.
"This is Chadwick Palmer, he's from Washington. He's for hanger 6-A."
The man's face grew dark and he nodded. He turned to his partner near the gate. "Open it."
The metallic fence slowly, and Harper nodded, driving straight through.
Palmer glanced over his shoulder to see both men were still watching him. And they continued to as they made a right, heading towards the hangers near the airfield. What the hell was that about?
The jeep slowed to a stop, Harper exited quickly not looking back. "Follow me, don't touch a damn thing. And for god's sake don't look it in the eye."
"Look what in the eye?" Palmer grabbed the backpack that was nestled on the floor and slung it over his shoulder.
He quickly scampered forward and walked along side the taller soldier who led them to the closed doors of the hanger. There was a single door etched on it. And it was firmly locked.
Palmer looked at the Captain who gave a glance at him. The Army Air Force Pilot raised his arm and gave a single hard knock. The door opened slowly. Harper spoke finally in the tense moments. "We want to make sure that we don't draw attention."
Harper entered the quickly and Chadwick followed. Darkness surrounded him, and the light from the door vanished with the sound of a "click".
"Jesus it's dark in here." Palmer murmured, his eyes adjusted, and he saw the faint outline of Harper and another man. He assumed that there was another person behind him.
"We turn off the lights to open the door." Harper said, he then said something that was towards another person. "Young, turn on the lights."
There was a low hum. And the world became white in a flash. Palmer squeezed his eyes shut, and slowly opened them revealing a white tarp covering something massive.
It had to be at least fifty feet long, but with the dark he couldn't be too sure. Around it he noticed wooden fold up tables, dozens of them, each with what looked to be military equipment on them. There were also seven men and women in white lab coats looking at him.
Moving forward Palmer looked at behemoth before making his way towards one of the tables.
What he saw took his breath away.
They were chrome-like in appearance, with what seemed to have patches of blue and cyan metals attached. It came in two parts connected by a larger piece in the rear and one much smaller farther forward. Jutting out from the top half was what appeared to be two long "fins". It was elegant and smooth to the touch and one other fact was clear.
It wasn't human.
He picked it up, weighed it in his hands, light. Chad nodded. He gave a glimpse behind him as Harper approached. "What is it?"
"We were hoping you could tell us."
Palmer looked at the military man; he was standing there in olive-drab his hands clasped behind his back. Waiting, for what, he didn't know. "It was found at the site." Harper said.
The young man smiled, but it wasn't one of humor or happiness but one of a feeling of worry. "Yeah
" Palmer put the weapon down. "I don't know what to tell you. I know it isn't human."
"We know that, Mr. Palmer. The question is what does it do?"
Shaking his head, Chad frowned. This man wanted answers but just because Palmer was something of genius they still had the power to grab Einstein and bring him there. "Look, I'm not a professional. I was just in the town for a couple days."
"But you do work for the Government."
"You worked on the atom bomb?"
"That's totally irrele-"
"That means you can find out what it does. An egghead like you that can find out how to make atoms go boom, can sure as hell find out this thing works."
Chad grew angry, the military was one to jump to conclusions and as if someone smart had all the answers. He didn't have one. "Look, Captain. I was put on the Manhattan Project to see the effects of the bomb on the human body and surrounding wildlife, and even on that I was
ill-equipped to handle."
"Fine. We just thought you could help with this subject. But we'll bring someone else in." The man was calm.
Palmer was confused and he tilted his head to the side, puzzled. He finally caught on.
"Wait a second. If you didn't bring me here to see this, why did you bring me on this base?"
The Captain finally broke from the stern expression, and almost gave what looked to be a grin. "Follow me, Mr. Palmer. I think we have area of expertise."
Harper turned and was moving quickly to the rear of the hanger, and Palmer noticed a new set of wooden doors guarded by men with something very unusual. "Are those men armed with the StG44?"
"Yes." Harper responded quickly.
"But I didn't know that the military armed anyone with those types of weapons. How did your men get them?"
Harper paused. "Those aren't our soldiers."
"Then whose soldiers are they?"
He didn't respond. He stopped in front of the door. "This is Chadwick Palmer; he's here to see the bakers."
The man on the right nodded slowly and opened the door. It swung inward. Palmer walked quickly through it but Harper stayed, and Chad turned. "You're staying here?"
"My jurisdiction ends here, Mr. Palmer."
"I'll see you when you get back." The Captain turned and walked casually away.
It didn't matter, the pair of soldiers who stood by the door followed him in anyway and they didn't say a word. What could they say? There was another beyond that which Chad was obligated to open, and the biologist did.
The room was white, a bright white that seemed to shone and reflect light off of every surface. Palmer had a problem seeing even when he squinted. But the lights seemed to dull down and he focused.
There were examining tables inside and there were bodies
Oh a lot of bodies. He counted maybe five
And it was freezing in there. He glanced behind him, watched the door shut and it seemed like his military buddies weren't coming. Shame
He barely got to know them.
There was a voice. "Mr. Palmer, I'm glad you made it."
He recognized the voice and squinted, harder. "I'm not in that room, Mr. Palmer. But I will be in
" The voice sounded like it was from an intercom but it changed once he heard the ruffling of seemed to be plastic and a man seemed to appear from the far side of the room.
"Why do you want me here?"
"For this." He saw a faint hand rise up and wave him forward. Palmer weaved through the tables to one of the farthest bodies. He saw the man was behind a plastic curtain, and the light made it almost impossible for Palmer to see him behind it. "Here put these on."
The man handed Chad a pair of what looked to be aviator sunglasses. He didn't bother asking what they were for.
He slipped them on and looked down at the white sheet that under it held a body. "You wanted me to check out corpses?"
"Great. I'm a funeral director." He sighed. "What happened? Crashed his plane?"
The man ignored the sarcasm and reached up above the head of the corpse and gripped the white sheet with his gloved hands. "You ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be."
"Good." The man moved in one fluid motion, and pulled the cover off the top half of the body.
Palmer jumped back, backing into the other table. "What the hell happened to him?" He yelled.
" The man shrugged. "We presumed it had something to do with our friend on the table behind you."
[idnent]Palmer turned and looked down at the other cover. The man in the white coat moved over and gripped the covers again; Palmer expected to see just a body. Maybe just a bit bloodied and battered. Like the first but he didn't.
It was something not human.
He should've seen it from the height, almost eight feet tall. From the lights and the squinting, he didn't notice. It had four jaws and almost elongated head, its skin molted bluish-black, and its cold brown eyes.
It was something he could've never imagined.
Something out of a god damned nightmare from his youth. Hell no, not even the boogey man couldn't even compare to this thing.
Palmer took a simple step back this time and murmured.
"What the fuck is that thing?"
The man next to him shook his head slowly, frowning.
"We brought you here to find that out."