The van skidded to a stop and the side door slid open immediately. A tall man with a dark complexion jumped to the ground, holding a television camera aloft on his left shoulder. Behind him emerged a well-dressed blonde woman, carrying a microphone. She seemed familiar to Joe, as his tendency to drunkenly pass out on his couch with the TV on often lead to waking up to the sight of the local morning show host. The woman jumped in front of the cameraman and counted down from three with her fingers.
“Good morning everyone, this is Catherine Moss reporting live! Normally at this time of day, I’m in the studio, talking with one of the many fascinating citizens that make our town so great. I believe that bakery owner Dena Pratt was going to be on this morning, and I do apologize to Dena for having to cancel. We’ll get her on real soon, as her pies are a-ma-zing!
However, something bigger than pies is going on here at the airport. We were tipped off to a major event, and here now, on the scene, we intend to find out exactly what is happening. C’mon Nathan.”
The woman strode purposefully past the police car where the three men were subdued, and directly towards the center of the ordeal. The cameraman followed. The soldiers didn’t notice until the pair set foot smack in the middle of everything. The reporter began shouting above the chaos.
“What’s going on here? Who is in charge? Why are these armed men trying to force their way into that car?”
Every man with a gun looked at her in surprise, at the cameraman in shock, and then to the Major, who stood speechless and gobsmacked at the whole thing. He shook from his momentary stupor and walked aggressively towards the woman.
“You need to shut that off, right now! You can’t film this, it is government business. This is not something for public viewing.”
Ms Moss, sensing a story more than imminent danger, made a direct path for the likely commander.
“What is going on? The people have a right to know. You cannot keep secrets from the American public. They have rights.”
“No ma’am, you will stop this, right now. Men, destroy that camera. This is not something you are allowed to film.”
“You can’t! You are violating the freedom of press. Stay away from him!”
Three soldiers approached Nathan the cameraman, who backed up stiffly. From the van, another person emerged.
“Hey, stop it! Erke’s in there, isn’t he? Let him out! The world needs to see him. You can’t do this!”
Katie ran past the reporter towards the wagon, but met with resistance. She kept yelling.
“Let him out, you can’t keep hiding this! Let him go!”
The Major looked at the new interloper, unsure of who she was and why she wore a uniform. He felt control of the situation slipping away.
Nathan held the camera high above soldiers. They wanted to impose their will and take his device but, as this was being filmed, felt unsure about the level of force they should use.
Thus the show continued, live, going out to whatever local insomniacs typically tuned in to be entertained at four each morning.
Eli and Walt pushed away from their uncertain captors and returned to the fray, forcing themselves around the reporter to provide protection.
Joe pressed through the mayhem to Katie’s side, equaling her screams with his own.
The Major watched it all, utterly unsure just how to untangle this disaster. He reached for his gun, held it high in the air, and fired once. The crowd went quiet, and looked his way.
“This ends now!”
He was correct.
The back door from the wagon flew open, slamming the Major in the back and knocking him to the ground. A total of nineteen troops, two cops, two television employees, one farmer, and a few hundred barely awake Barrow, Alaska citizens looked on live as, for the first time ever, a being not of their planet, appeared. All those viewing were stunned into silence. It wouldn’t last long.