Author : Rick Tobin

“Major, Allen’s alive. He got through Iraq. He didn’t disappear in a Nevada training mission.” Reed Winston leaned over the small table in a cramped conference room filled with file boxes, copy machines and a coffee mess. Burned coffee aromas perforated Reed’s attention as the thin, pasty Major Cordoni stared back with penetrating dark eyes and a quizzical expression.

“What a wild-ass concoction. Why don’t you take your cockamamie ideas to the media? I don’t have time.” A smirk rolled across the Major’s face as he leaned back, sneering at the haggard intruder, now handcuffed, and waiting for Oakland police.

“He disappeared in a Sierra cloud bank, but no plane was recovered? How can you believe that? I was a Marine pilot for eight years. You don’t…”
“Don’t what? Lose planes in the Sierras? It took a year to find Fossett. A year! So why are you sure about Colonel Winston?”

“We’re twins. We sometimes see through each other’s eyes. I know Allen’s still flying, but it’s somewhere he hates and the things he’s facing are…well…not on Earth.” Reed hesitated as the Major broke into deep laughter, slamming a manila file folder onto the table.

“Nice fantasy, but I’ve got stuff to do here today. I read your sleeve. You were topnotch with the Harriers for the Marines… even got a DSC. I’ll humor you out of respect, Captain, but there’s no basis to alien abductions. Martians didn’t eat your brother.”

“It’s not food they want. They want soldiers…the best, now. They keep us at war constantly to develop improved fighters for their extraterrestrial wars and invasions. Military disappearances occur continuously. A Persian army of fifty thousand disappeared in a sandstorm in 525 B.C. The armadas from Spain to England, and China to Japan, disappeared with tens of thousands in horrific storms. 1915 in Gallipoli, an entire regiment of Brits walked into a mist on the battlefield and vanished. We’ve lost planes and ships in the Devil’s Triangle clouds. Aliens manipulate the weather to hide thefts. We’ve got thousands of MIAs still unaccounted for since World War II, on every battlefield. You can’t deny those facts!”

Major Cordoni waggled his head, sighing deeply, as Staff Sergeant Prentiss entered, interrupting to whisper to his superior, “I checked with HQ. They put a restraining order on him for all the bases but they forgot about recruitment centers. All we can do is have Oakland hold him for questioning. We need you at the front, too, for a minute, sir.”

“Captain, I have to attend to something else momentarily. I’ll get back with you in a few.” Cordoni followed the overweight sergeant to the center’s glass doors facing west toward San Francisco. The skyline was gone under rolling fog.

“That’s the problem, Major,” Prentiss said, pointing outside. “It came up sudden over Ballena Bay and Crab Cove. You can’t even see the cars on Central Avenue.”

“Shut it down, Sergeant, and lock the doors. We’re closed.”

“Yes, sir, Major, but what about the team that flew in from Las Cruces last night? We’ve got ten top drone pilots from Holloman waiting to brief hundreds of prospective engineering students from Berkeley, Stanford and Cal Poly. TAAC will raise hell if we put these USOVF nerds on ice here.”

“Not to worry. Close it up. I’ve got my quota to meet. Looks like it will be eleven instead of ten.”

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