Finally after years of denial, the media had acquired enough information to force the United Nations into announcing confirmation of contact with at least one alien species. Civil unrest and panic quickly spread around the world, and it was clear that something had to be done before the situation got completely out of control…
Download to your Kindle (eBook)
Following the dramatic events surrounding the cascade, the whole world was suddenly thrown into turmoil. It heralded a period of great change, as people began to realise just how close they had come to disaster.
With everyone still reeling from that, the media had managed to acquire enough information to force the United Nations into releasing a report confirming contact with at least one alien species!
People were now glued to the news reports, in a state of total bewilderment. Civil unrest and panic buying quickly spread around the globe, and it was clear that something had to be done before the situation got completely out of control…
The stars seemed somehow different now and not nearly so far away, as they twinkled in the night sky. Even the moon shone more brightly than usual, with tonight’s sky being particularly clear. It almost felt like daylight, as the weather conditions conspired to produce almost perfect visibility. It was particularly mild too, with a soft gentle breeze that brought a pleasant freshness to the air.
Cookie shivered with excitement as she looked up enviously at an aircraft in the distance. All she had ever wanted to do was to learn how to fly, and somehow one day, she knew that she was going to achieve her ambition. However it looked a remote possibility at the moment, owing to a certain lance corporal!
“Yes sir!” She turned to see the chef standing behind her.
“I thought I told you to clean up around here!”
Her face flushed, as he pointed to the empty boxes, and bits of food lying about on the floor.
“Well!” He did not look very pleased, so she grabbed the brush and started sweeping up the rubbish that was lying around her feet.
“I’ve got another job for you when you’ve finished up here!” He watched her for a few seconds, before returning to the kitchens. She kept on sweeping until he was out of sight, and then stopped to look back up at the sky again.
Cookie had only been in the Air Force for a matter of weeks, and had already been forced into doing more than one extra duty. This time she had been detailed to the kitchens, after yet another misdemeanour. This was the second charge that she had been placed on in less than a week, and her whole career now hung by the proverbial thread. One more mistake and it could all be over!
Still daydreaming she started sweeping again, moving the rubbish into a pile. It was hard work as bits of cabbage leaf kept getting tangled up in the bristles, and some of the potato peelings had got wedged between a gap in the concrete. There were also several empty tins, which she was just about to throw into one of the large bins, when she heard a lot of shouting in the distance.
Instinctively she climbed up onto an upturned bucket, peering over the wall at the large crowd of people that had gathered by the main gate. Their numbers were increasing all of the time, and they had already begun to stretch right along the perimeter fence.
Cookie could almost see the ripples of excitement spreading out across the English countryside, and the air was positively buzzing with excitement, as everyone looked up trying to be the first to catch a glimpse of whatever they were waiting for.
It was rumoured that tonight was going to herald the first official contact between the human race, and those who supposedly lived out there in the Milky Way Galaxy.
If this was really going to be the place of official first contact, then it was a rather unlikely setting for such a major event to take place. But being sandwiched between Europe and America did give it certain advantages.
For the people gathered outside the air base it was going to be just like the old days of Empire, with this little island leading the world again. Not everyone was happy though, but there was not a lot that they could do about it now!
When confirmation had eventually reached the United Nations via one of the newly launched communication satellites, they had gone into emergency session. Apparently it had got very heated, and the morning papers had been full of the story. This had quickly grown into a media frenzy, which now seemed to be centred round this airfield.
Some foreign crews were also here and there was a bit of rivalry between them, although remarkably they were all working together despite strong opposition from some of their governments. None of that seemed to matter now, as the visitors from another planet were possibly on their way, and could arrive here at any moment!
Cookie looked out at the row of neatly parked Lorries that had arrived in convoy this morning. Out of the back of them had appeared a larger screen, which had been erected just outside the airbase. When she leaned a little further out, she could just about see the live pictures which were being broadcasting around the world. Cookie shared in the excitement of the crowd, who like her had been busily looking up, watching and waiting for proof that they were not alone in the universe.
It was also rumoured that there had been several unofficial meetings, which had taken place in private over the last half a century. If they had, then perhaps now was the time that they had finally chosen to go public!
Cookie could hardly believe what was happening, and trembled with excitement in her fatigues as her boots rattled the bucket that she was standing on. All morning she had been preoccupied with the rumours that had been circulating around the airbase, and she had been reprimanded for staring aimlessly out of the window, when she should have been studying. Her instructor had lost his temper after warning her several times, which had led to her present predicament. Cookie was always daydreaming and failing to pay attention, being easily distracted, particularly when there was the possibility of first contact with an alien species!
To some people it was going to mark the end of civilisation, whilst others thought that it was the dawning of a new golden age. The one thing that they all had in common though, was the desire to know where these beings came from and more importantly, what they looked like?
Cookie stared back at the crowd of people, as the rather unpleasant odour of the bins rose up around her. The smell did not bother her though, as she was too busy soaking up the carnival atmosphere. It almost felt as though the whole countryside had been deluged with sightseers, all eager for a glimpse of this new race. Some of them were being featured on the large screen and Cookie lent over a little more, trying to get a clearer view.
The camera panned round to where one of the many reporters had stopped to ask people questions, as sound boomed out of the stacks of loud speakers positioned at either side of the screen. There had even been a commentary box set up on top of one of the buildings, and it was now full of experts waiting to give their opinions. Cookie was equally as excited, even though she had been assigned to garbage duty!
“What are you expecting to see?” The reporter asked.
A rather startled man turned to see a microphone being thrust into his face. “Oh I don’t really know, but it’s all very exciting!”
The reporter smiled at him, as she thrusting her microphone towards a woman standing behind him. “How do you think this is going to change your life?” Before she had a chance to answer, a small boy grabbed hold of the microphone and shouted at the top of his voice. “I want to go into space!” The host of the show started to laugh, as he watched everything on his monitor. The screen then changed to show him sitting with the group of experts all gathered round a desk, waiting to give their analysis.
He looked really smart in his crisp white shirt and designer tie. Cookie had seen him arrive earlier too, and had watched him get out of a chauffer driven car. He was quite handsome, with distinguished features which were enhanced by his grey hair and matching moustache.
“Well, what do you think John, will there be a chance for ordinary people like us to go into space?” The man on his left looked thoughtful, taking his time to reply. “Now that’s a very interesting question. There have been reports coming out of New York suggesting that the U.N. has already gathered a team to explore this very possibility. Rumour has it that these aliens have their own organisation, which they refer to as the Galactic Council, and they may be prepared to allocate us our own sector of the galaxy. Just think, in a matter of only a few months we could all be applying for jobs off world!”
Cookie’s eye’s lit up, as there was a large cheer from the crowd who had picked up his comments. She liked the sound of that, and began to listen even more intently than before.
The screen changed again to show a group of students busily partying, all waving frantically when they saw themselves on the big screen. The reporter pushed her way towards them, and was greeted by cheers of encouragement. “Would any of you like to work off world?” They cheered even louder than before, clearly overjoyed at the prospect.
Some of the children nearby had their faces painted green, with little antenna’s sticking out of the top of their heads. Some others wore silver space suits, with big eyes painted onto their faces. They all waved frantically too, when they saw themselves on the big screen.
This had temporarily distracted them from the smell of cooking, which had been wafting gently through the air. Behind them on the road was a catering van, serving up hot drinks and snacks. It was being partially obscured by a man standing on a box pointing to the sky. He was shouting at the top of his voice. “It’s the end of the world!” His face was all red, and his voice was getting horse. He had gained some people’s attention though, and continued to shout. “I tell you it’s the end of the world!”
He swung his arms upwards in a big arc, shouting again. “It’s the end!” People watched as he suddenly began to lose his balance, teetered on the edge, before falling backwards into a clump of bushes. They all laughed at him, as he tried to scramble out!
Loud music blurted out a little further along the perimeter fence, as a group of other people danced around. The reporter was still working her way through the crowd, stopping whenever she thought that she had found someone interesting to talk to. “I’m Cheryl Watson; tell me what it feels like to be here today?”
“Brilliant!” There was another roar from the crowd, which seemed to be getting larger all the time.
“Look!” Someone cried out, and there was a gasp, as a faint light appeared from the other side of the moon. Cheryl had almost worked her way back towards the main gate now, and her cameraman stumble over the curb, wobbling the picture as he regained his balance.
The main screen suddenly changed to a view of inside the base, where there was a line of dignitaries waiting to greet the aliens. Behind them was a group of special guests and members of the families of some of those involved in the broadcast.
They were equally as excited as those standing outside the wire fence, and they were waving and cheering too. Cookie really wanted to join them, but had to make do with where she was.
Through all of the noise, it was just possible for her to hear the host’s voice coming from the commentary box. He was also watching the light on his monitor, whilst the experts speculated about what sort of a craft it might be.
“Well, John, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anything quite like this before!” The host declared.
“Yes, it’s the day all of mankind has been waiting for!” The expert replied.
“Do you think it will take them long to get here?”
“No, I don’t think so.” He shook his head. “They look as though they're about as far away as the moon, which is only about a quarter of a million miles!”
The host looked amazed. “It sounds a long way to me!”
The expert shook his head again. “Not really, when you consider that one of our rockets can go about 40 thousand miles an hour, so even with our limited technology it would only take us a few hours!”
The screen then changed to show a picture of the landing area, which they could look out onto through one of the windows in the commentary box. It was ringed with soldiers, who were politely moving the guests back to a safer distance. There were quite a lot of them, and their presence was clearly making the military personnel uncomfortable, particularly as some of them were getting a little over excited.
“Just look at that woman over there!” The host exclaimed.
The screen focussed in on a large lady, jumping up and down frantically. She had been reluctant to move back, and suddenly leapt forward grabbing the man in front of her, lifting him off the ground in a bear hug. They all started laughing at her, until the host recognised who it was.
“Blimey, it’s the wife!”