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Chapter 1:- one

                The chatter from the P.A. system coupled with the bright lights of the emergency room served as a rude awakening. I felt more coherent of my surroundings. I sat up on my elbows and looked around. My curtain was closed, but I could hear the excitement from the other side, and I could see shadows and feet as the emergency room was alive with action. Whatever they had used to tranquilize me, had left a nasty ach in my sides. It felt like I had just spent the night sleeping under a rock. Though I was more cognate than before, I was a little confused as to why I was in a hospital. After all I had not been affected by injury.

                I heard a medical professional give a subordinate an order to administer sleeping medication to a woman that had begun screaming in terror. As I contemplating making my exit the curtain to my area opened up and a nice looking female nurse came in and smiled an overly friendly smile.

                “Well good morning”, she said as she tapped my IV bag, “I thought we lost you to the Sandman.” She chuckled as though an emergency room was a place to joke about such things.

                “No”, I replied, “Not yet.”

                “Well good, we wouldn’t want that”, she said with a smile that seemed genuine, but I got the feeling that she didn’t quite mean what she said.

                “When can I be released?” I asked.

                “Soon, there are some federal agents that would like to interview you.” Her tone was cold and the smile had left. For a medical professional her demeanor was not that of a sincerely caring person.

                “Will I get a more permanent room?” I asked quickly glancing around the area to find my clothes.

                “My you are inquisitive, you’re a reporter are you?” She asked with her eyes piercing through my own.

                I don’t know why but I became increasingly nervous as she looked at me, it was as though I had something to hide. “No”, I replied plainly.

                “Well just sit back and relax, I’ll go inform them that you are awake, and that they can interrogate-interview you now.”

                When she left I wondered if I had an escape route, but as I looked down at the patient garb I was wearing I realized it was futile.

                The first agent that entered my little space in the emergency room was a beautiful but hard faced woman that stood at least six foot one. She had brownish-blonde hair with a touch of grey. It hung past her shoulders and she looked more like an aging model than a federal agent, but who was I to judge.

                The second agent was a broad shouldered man that looked to be in his late thirties. He had a clean cut image and there was not one hair out of place. His face looked as though it was made out of wax, and there was the faint scent of tobacco smoke as he spoke.

                “Mr. Jarvis- Maxwell Jarvis?” He asked with a tone that said he already knew more about me than my parents.

                I nodded, I had never been comfortable with authority figures especially when they were in such close proximity.

                “I’m agent Wright, and this is agent Nichols” he said nodding to his partner. “We just want to ask you a few questions.”

                “Sure- what you wanna know?”

                His tone grew cold as he asked, “What exactly is it that you saw last night?”

                I searched my brain as quickly as I could. Should I tell him what I saw, I didn’t think that’s what they wanted to hear, so I lied, “Nothing.”

                “Nothing?” The female agent said in a surprisingly feminine voice.

                “Nothing I arrived at the crowd of people just as the emergency crews had, and before I know it I’m being dragged away from the crowd and put in an ambulance, then waking up here.”

                The two agents looked at one another and then returned their gazes to me.

                “Well then,” agent Wright said, “I guess you are free to go. Your clothes will be returned to you shortly and then you will be escorted out of the facility.”

                I decided to take a longshot, “Is there anything you can tell me about what I didn’t get to see, or will I have to wait for the papers and newscasts?”

                “There was nothing to see, and there was certainly nothing to report.” Agent wright looked at me and lowered his gaze to catch my own, “I wouldn’t count on this story being in the news, it wasn’t anything more than an average car accident.”

                Right, I thought to myself, that’s why you’re here.  

                As I waited for my clothes to be returned to me I overheard the agents in the next area. I heard the frantic cries of the man as he repeatedly said, “It was an angel”. I wasn’t surprised to hear him get drowsy as he was administered another sedative. I pretended not to notice and kept my eyes closed in hopes no one would attempt to ask me more questions about the thing I saw, but didn’t see.

                When my clothes arrived I had never felt such happiness and joy in my life. I didn’t even wait for the nurse to leave before I was up and stripping out of my gown and jumped into my slacks. I was instructed to wait for an escort and was surprised to find that the escort would be agent Wright and his partner.

                I was led through the emergency room. It looked like any other medical room of its type. People in scrubs moving about like worker ants. The agents brought me to a long corridor and led me out of the hospital. The tunnel was long, and felt like it would never end. We finally came to a door that had a security keypad. Agent Wright used his thumb print to unlock the door. I was then led out into the blinding sun and escorted to an airplane that was painted a drab, metallic grey.

                I suddenly realized that I had not been in an ordinary hospital, and that just like I hadn’t seen anything the night prior, I wasn’t seeing anything now. I treated the moment as though it was a normal occurrence, like I was getting into the back of a cab and heading to my cousin’s house in the Burroughs.

                I didn’t speak a word to the agents, and they in return said nothing to me. I was led by a uniformed air force personnel to a vacant seat. It was like a seat one uses at a sports game, very thin and bolted to the floor of the air craft. The buckles were bolted to the walls of the plane, and crossed over my shoulders.

                I wasn’t alone. There were at least twenty others with me. I figured they were as smart as I was and told the agents they hadn’t seen anything. I knew in my heart that this was not over for any of us, and when the U.S. government sets out to cover something up, they make damn well sure it remains covered up.

                As the aircraft began its ascension into the sky, I couldn’t help but feel that there would be no one in this word I could trust. Not any of these people that had similar expressions on their faces that I could feel on my own, not even members of my family. This was a secret that I had to take to the grave, or I might find myself buried in one earlier than expected.

                The madness of the previous night began to leave me as the craft soared through the air. I could feel the warmth of peace returning to my heart. I didn’t want to ever think about what I saw and experienced again for the rest of my life, but I couldn’t get the images out of my head.

                I remembered the night vividly, and I recalled as I sat on the bumper of the ambulance that I had seen what looked like federal agents moving towards the fallen being. They had made an impression in their appearance before I was stuck with a needle and forced into the back of the ambulance. I had noticed how slow and confident they had been in their movements. While everything around them was chaotic and manic, these well-dressed agents moved with precision, confidence and as though there was nothing happening.

                As I sat with my back strapped to the wall of the military airplane, I wondered if the agents remained calm because of their training, or they had seen this type of thing before.

                There was turbulence, a great deal of turbulence. So much that my bolted seat shook and felt as though it could come loose at any moment. All at once I heard the soldiers and air force personnel as they scrambled for their packs. The back loading bay doors opened up and they began filing out of the aircraft one by one. I soon saw the pilot emerge from the cockpit and evenly make his way back to the hanger door. He already had his pack and was followed by the co-pilot, and whom I assume was the navigator.

                I attempted to open the harness but it was locked. The mechanism was triggered when the safety harness was buckled.     

                A panic fell over those of us that had not passed out from mental exhaustion. I looked each of them in the eyes and attempted to reassure them that we were going to be fine, but their panic was too great for them to overcome. I almost let panic overtake me, but as I feared never seeing any of my family again, I remembered my brother Jacob who had bought me this stupid belt I was wearing. It was a well-made belt with an amazing silver lion head for the buckle. It also had a knife inside the buckle, I had always thought how impractical it was. Of course until the moment I was strapped to an unmanned aircraft.

                I could hear the roar of the engine as it began its descent from the sky. I quickly calculated that the aircraft would have had to be at least thirty thousand feet above the ground to allow for enough time for the parachutes to open. I hoped there was enough time to try and grab control of this metal bird before we all went splat.

                The knife in the belt was easily triggered but the hard part was cutting the thick military grade safety harness. It was like nylon rock. I cut on the fabric so fast I could smell it burning, and I thought to myself I might light the thing on fire. I couldn’t decide if this would be a good or bad thing.

                As the little blade cut through the first harness I felt elated and I could feel the silent encouragement from the others. I quickly decided to forgo trying to cut the other side of the crisscross harness and I wiggled out of the snug safety belt.  I made my way to the cockpit as fast as I could. To our fortune the pit was easily accessible. The pilot and his crew didn’t bother locking it since they didn’t figure there would be a chance of escape.  

                I had never been much for prayer or belief in any god, but I prayed that my hours logged on my flight simulator games would pay off.

                This was real, this was not a game. I began checking the flaps, and then I realized there was no need for preflight prep. I looked out of the window and then at the altimeter we were dropping, but not as fast as I had initially thought. I quickly grabbed the controls and slowly pulled the stick back.

                We leveled off, and I put the plane into auto pilot and once again prayed that there wasn’t a mountain ahead of us. I ran to the back and let everyone know that I had control of the plane but it would be better if they remained strapped in because, “It’s going to be a bumpy landing.”

                After years of growing up watching the X-files on Fox, I decided not to use the communication systems in fear that all of us aboard would end up on the politically owned news stations and portrayed as some terrorist villains that somehow hijacked the plane and strapped themselves in for effect. I nodded to myself and realized this could be a tad bit paranoid, but then again stranger things have happened.

                I took the plane off of auto pilot and decided to try and reach out. I cried over the communication channels, “May Day-May Day!”

                After what seemed like hours a voice came over the radio, “Identify yourself rogue aircraft, you are entering restricted space.”

                I tried to sound as calm as I could, “I am a civilian that was strapped to a military plane that has been abandoned by the crew and I only have video game flight experience, and I was always terrible at landing. I could use some assistance. Unless you are with the guys who did this, then I guess you’re gona probably shoot us down.”

                After a long silent pause the voice returned, “Are you able to keep the craft in flight long enough that we can evacuate you?”

                I checked the fuel, “Yes,” I replied hoping to sound confident.

                “Just sit tight civilian, help is on the way.”
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