Tobias Zenger, Director of The Agency, known by one and all as 'The Chief' watched from where he sat in his large throne like chair behind a huge and intentionally imposing mahogany desk as Professor Truman Gottlieb was ushered into his office by Zenger's personal aide and pointed to a chair facing the desk. "Truman," said The Chief, rising and offering a welcoming smile. "Good of you to come on such short notice."
"Oh come on Toby," Gottlieb said in his usual deep and somewhat gruff voice. "It's not like it was an 'invitation' you know. When the head man of The Agency requests one's presence, one makes haste to comply without hesitation."
"Nonsense, old friend," Zenger said. He sat back down and leaned back in his chair. "I'm sure you will be happy to have come so quickly when you see what I have to offer you."
Gottlieb absently scratched one side of his somewhat grizzled full beard and said, "Uh oh... that sounds ominous. What's it all about?"
"Right down to business, huh? Same old Truman. You'll never change, will you."
"Out with it."
The Chief's smile disappeared, and he said, "Okay Toby. Here it comes."
Zenger's voice lowered, as if he were fearful of being overheard. He said, "Toby, what I am about to reveal to you is classified Ultra Secret. The details are known by only five people. In case you are not aware of it, the Ultra Secret classification carries with it the understanding that if you in any way allow such classified information to leak out, in any way, your life will be forfeited... immediately, without benefit of trial, and no excuse will be accepted for your indiscretion. Do you understand this?"
"Of course I understand. I understand the meaning of the words you just spoke. Can't say that I accept them as being factual, however. After all, this is the United States of America, and I as a native born citizen of that great nation, am quite aware that my constitutionally granted civil rights completely negate your somewhat ill advised threat."
"Truman, Shut up. Can the bluster. You know me. You know what I am capable of. And you'd better know that I am deadly serious about this matter."
The Chief leaned forward and stared across his desk into the eyes of his long time friend, celebrated head of psychology at Prestige University, two time winner of the Noble Prize, and said, "If you breathe a word of what is about to transpire in this office, I will personally order that you be killed. Period."
The professor again scratched his beard as he stared back into the director's eyes. "Of course I understand. I am not a fool. And, of course I agree."
"Good. Then let me begin by reminding you of the long history of UFO sightings and the various rumors of extraterrestrial visitors, such as the unsubstantiated stories concerning Area 51, and such."
"The maundering and delusions of weak minded malcontents, yes. All explainable phenomena but eminently conducive to mass acceptance due to wish fulfillment, and due to unchecked applications of individual self hypnosis."
"Truman, please, said the Director, "restrain your penchant for oratory and just listen, okay?"
In the silence that followed, Zenger continued:
"Well... many of those UFO sightings were real, validated by both official military sources and a multitude of privates citizens' photos. And the basic premise of Area 51, the rumor of the existence of space aliens, is real. Quite real."
The Chief stood and came out from behind his desk, motioned for the professor to follow, and then walked over to a wall hanging, pushed it aside, and opened a door behind the heavy curtain, indicating that the other man should follow him through into a small, dimly lit room.
The room was furnished with two sofas, nothing more. On one of the sofas sat two individuals.
The Chief took a seat on the other sofa that faced the two figures and indicated with a wave of his hand for Gottlieb to join him.
"Professor Truman Gottlieb, I'd like to introduce you to Gabriel and Michael, visitors to Earth from a planet orbiting a star near the center of our Milky Way galaxy."
The two individuals did not stand, but both nodded their heads in recognition of the introduction.
Gottlieb stared at the pair. They were almost identical in appearance, presenting only minor differences. They were neither green nor bug eyed. Both were approximately six feet tall, slim, and perfect examples of what the average man of Earth would describe as handsome athletes, and the average woman of Earth would describe as being 'dreamy'.
"You are spacemen?" he asked. Visiting Earth? For what purpose? Exploration? Trade?"
"I have been given the designation, Michael. My purpose is to serve The Master."
"I have been given the designation, Gabriel. My purpose is to serve The Master."
"You speak English. And you both have English names. How 'is' that?"
"This unit, this 'I', has been given the designation, Michael, by Director Tobias Zenger. Tobias Zenger speaks the English language. Therefore this unit speaks the English Language."
"This unit, this 'I', has been given the designation, Gabriel, by Director Tobias Zenger. Tobias Zenger speaks the English language. Therefore this unit speaks the English Language."
Gottlieb turned to Zenger and said, "Why do they repeat what the other has just said?"
"Good Gravy, Truman. That's why you're here. To find out why these two parrots do the stuff they do. You're the psychiatrist."
"Psychologist," Gottlieb said.
"What ever," said the Director. Just talk to them, analyze them, teach them how to talk if you have to, but get some answers. I want results. I want facts. Get busy and find out all you can about them. God only knows, nobody else has been able to do a lick of good around here."
"Perhaps it might be more productive if I interview them alone. You might be too much of an authority figure, creating a damping influence. Besides, knowing you, this room is probably bugged three ways from Sunday."
"Oh for the love of... Oh, all right. Just talk to them. Try to get them to make some sense for a change."
The Director left the room.
Nicole London activated the com pinned to the collar of her tunic and said, "London... go."
It was her partner, David Sawyer. "Got an assignment for you, London."
"The Chief called a restricted BOLO; wants you, and only you, to locate and detain a couple of missing VIPs."
"Somewhere in the city. Probably near The Chief's office."
"Photo in your hand-held's A1 file."
"Accentuate the 'V' in VIP. Requires delicate handling. Subjects are under 'Ultra' -- got it?"
"That's all I know for now. Just watch your back. Out."
"Okay. Thanks. Out."
Five year old Kinesha Kinkaid chased her oversize bouncy ball across the nicely mowed green lawn of the Armand Thomas City Park. The ball came to rest at the feet of two men sitting on one of the park's benches.
Kinesha grabbed up the ball, looked at the two quiet, smiling, seated men and said, "My name's Kinesha, what's yours?"
"My name is Michael.
"My name is Gabriel.
"Do you want to play ball with me?" she asked.
"Is 'play ball' an activity designed to stimulate one's pleasure centers?" asked Michael.
"Huh?" said Kinesha.
Gabriel said, ""How does one play ball?"
Michael stood up, reached down, removed the ball from the little girl's hands, and sat back down on the bench, bringing the ball up to within an inch of his eyes. Kinesha, believing that her ball was being taken away for good, ran towards the group of parents and babysitters congregated under the shade of a giant elm tree, screaming, "Some nasty old men took my ball and won't give it back to me!"
Two of the women from the group began to run in her direction, while another woman used her cell phone to call Emergency 911.
Nicole London, having set her hand held to intercept 911 calls, was alerted by the call for police to investigate two suspicious men who had accosted a little girl in the Southwest corner of Armand Thomas Park. She was within running distance of that area and so arrived on the scene before the police arrived.
Sure enough, as she approached the park bench she recognized from the photo that these were the two VIPs she'd been ordered to locate and detain.
Nicole smiled at the two as she neared them, and said, "Hello. Are you Michael and Gabriel?"
The two men stood up from the bench.
"My name is Michael," said the one on her left side.
"My name is Gabriel," said the one on her right side."
Nicole said, "May I have the ball, please?"
Michael handed it to her, and Nicole rolled it over the lawn in the direction of the little girl and the two women.
My name is Nicole London, she told the two men. I am a federal agent and I have been instructed by Tobias Zenger, director of The Agency, to ask you gentlemen to accompany me to a place of safety and thereby allowing me to protect you at that location until Director Zenger can arrive. Is that amenable to you?"
"That is amenable," Michael told her.
"That is amenable," Gabriel told her.
After the director left the room, Professor Gottlieb sat back down on the sofa. He smiled at the two other occupants and said, "Well. Perhaps I should start by asking you some basic questions. Does that sound reasonable to you?"
"That sounds reasonable to this unit, Michael."
"That sounds reasonable to this unit, Gabriel."
The professor cocked his head to one side. "Do you understand the concept of the English word, "we," and that it can be used by one of you so that it is not necessary for both of you to consecutively answer a single question when it is asked of both of you, not as an individual but as a group?"
The two looked at each other for a moment in silence. Then Michael said, "The unit Gabriel and the unit Michael -- 'we' -- understand the basic concept, and now 'we' understand its English usage."
"Good. Now, you claim to be extraterrestrial beings visiting Earth from some far away planet. Is that correct?
"We do not claim this," Michael said. "Those of your race who are your governing leaders that have spoken with us from the beginning have come to that conclusion."
"Then," said the professor, "who or what do you claim to be? How do you classify your selves?"
Gabriel spoke up, saying, "We are multi purpose units constructed by That Which Is Outside to serve as messengers to biological life forms or, when called upon, to do battle with That Which Lurks Within."
"I do not understand," said the professor. "Who, of what, is That Which Is Outside?"
Michael said, "That Which Is Outside is the Supreme Master of what your race labels The Universe."
"Oh... you mean God?"
"That's what I'm asking. Is That Which Is Outside another name for God? Another name for omnipotent maker of all things? The Creator of the universe?"
"Creator of the universe? No. Omnipotent? No. That Which Is Outside is the infinite entity existing outside the universe."
Gottlieb said nothing more, merely stared at them in silence.
Michael and Gabriel turned and looked at each other. They too remained silent.
Slowly, Professor Gottlieb slid from his seat on the couch and sank to the carpeted floor, where he curled himself up into a fetal position and began to snore.
In another room, The Chief watched a monitor and to his horror, he saw Michael and Gabriel walk to a door at the back of the room, open it, and exit casually out into the city.