Someone outside pounded twice on the roof of the wagon. The soldier closest to the door looked out through the curtain-covered windows, and nodded. He grasped the handle and pulled it down. Fresh air entered the vehicle.
“Let’s go Erke.”
The alien looked back to the Major and nodded. He stood in the bent-over posture necessitated by the low roof, and scooted to the opening. Upon reaching the lip, he looked ahead. Another dozen soldiers, weapons pointed directly his way, stood in a half-circle. Erke jumped to the ground, took two steps forward, and stopped.
“Come this way.”
Another man in uniform barked. The prisoner didn’t move.
“I said this way!”
Erke looked at the ground and closed his eyes. When he opened them again, the top of his head had changed color. The deep red shade shifted to a pale blue. Several of the men nearest him gasped.
“I’m not going anywhere. Not if any of you want to survive.”
The company kept their weapons trained on the strange being, but nobody else spoke.
“You had assumed I didn’t have any powers. Well, I do. See?”
Erke pointed to his skull, a pointless exercise as everyone near him was already looking at it.
“If you force me to get on that plane, I will, um, use this power to destroy you all.”
Only the Major, who was still crouching from the inside of the wagon, had the nerve to speak up.
“How will you destroy us? What is this power?”
The men turned to the Major, and then back to Erke, who himself now looked at the man who asked the question. The alien put his hands on his hips, and paused a moment, as if to consider an answer.
“It…doesn’t matter. Or, maybe you would like to be the first victim. Now, out of my way!”
“I’m warning you all. You will not like to feel the force of my amazing alien power. This is your last chance!”
A few of the soldiers looked nervous, and glanced at their comrades for reassurance. The Major jumped down to the ground and walked up to Erke. If he feared anything, it didn’t show at all.
“Erke, I think that if you had the power to hurt any of us, you would’ve used it already. If I’m wrong, then go ahead and use it on me to prove your superiority.”
The alien looked shaken. The familiar shade of red slowly colored his head again. He looked at the men keeping him in their sights, looking a bit tenser than before. His attention returned to the Major.
Something caught his eye before he could fully come clean, as his view a head above the ring of soldiers allowed the flashing blue and red lights of an oncoming vehicle to catch him off guard.
The Major turned his head to look, and the military men followed suit. They watched the car approach extremely quickly. The man in charge grabbed his captive and pushed him back into the ambulance, shutting its doors behind. His focus came back to the nearly arrived cops. He reached for his gun and held it, still holstered on its belt. The police cruiser skidded to a stop a few feet away.
“You stay put Joe.”
Eli and Walt opened the car doors and stepped outside. They walked no further than the front hood of the car, where the Major and a dozen of his company stood at attention.
“Gentlemen, you have no business here. This is a military issue.”
Eli was ready to fly off the handle, but Walt, being Walt, took the initiative in an attempt not to let emotions get out of control.
“No sir, that’s incorrect. You see, we received a 911 call and dispatch sent us out. However, you prevented us from doing that job. Not only that, but you hid evidence and manipulated a witness. You disturbed a crime scene. This is without a doubt a police matter.”
“Officer, you couldn’t be more wrong. The depth of this issue makes it solely the jurisdiction of the United States military. You both need to leave. Now.”
“I’m sorry Major, but no. We aren’t going anywhere until we fully investigate this case. And you cannot prevent us from doing this.”
Each of the men facing the cops raised their gun. The Major spoke flatly.
“You gentlemen need to go.”
Eli and Walt stood their ground, staring daggers at the man in charge.
“We know you have Erke! Let him go!”
Joe had slipped out of the car, unbeknownst to anyone there.
The Major smiled at his declaration and reached to pull open the back door of the wagon. Two of his men grabbed the arms of the captive, and pulled him outside for all to see. Erke straightened, and stared at the newly arrived.
“Hi Joe. Good to see you again.”
The cops took a step back in mild shock. Until that moment, they hadn’t fully allowed themselves to actually believe it. Joe smiled and nodded at Erke, who returned favor.
“Since you three already know, there isn’t much point in hiding him. We’re putting him on this plane and getting out of here. Now clear out.”
Joe ran a few steps towards the captive, but the two soldiers holding him un-holstered their weapons and lifted them into position. Joe stopped in his tracks. Eli and Walt lifted their guns in response. Each creature in the vicinity, except for two, pointed a barrel at someone else.
Joe, frozen in fear, stood still.
Erke’s panic manifested itself in action.
He scanned the military men, realized that none of them were looking his way, and dove back inside the ambulance. The door was pulled firm and locked. It wasn’t much of an escape, but it was something. The Major spewed fire.
“Enough! You men there, go and disarm those cops. We are leaving, and taking our prisoner. If you’re lucky, we’ll let you cow-town sheriffs keep your normal lives after this.”
Four military men walked over to the policemen. With little choice in the matter due to being severely out gunned, they let their revolvers drop. The soldiers pushed each man back against their car, forcing Eli and Walt and Joe into submission, facing away from the scene.
“Now get him out of there.”
Another group of four began yanking and pulling on the handles of the wagon’s back door. It wouldn’t open. A fifth man walked up and began bashing the handle with the butt of his gun. It dented the metal door with each strike, but did nothing to force the captive out. Erke was holding on for dear life inside.
“Stop fighting him! Just break the windows and force it open!”
The major’s frustration soared, and he completely focused his attention on getting the alien out of that wagon and onto the plane. Likewise, the company circling the ambulance also concerned themselves simply with whatever method of extraction would work. Even the two soldiers who were keeping the three interlopers restrained watched on. If just one of these men had bothered to turn and look in the same direction that Joe, Eli, and Walt were being forced to look, they would have seen something else entirely. Another vehicle, this one a white van, barreled towards them at alarming speed. As it approached, Joe could just make out the writing across the hood. It said, Channel 8 News.