Chapter 1: Alien Object
July 24, 1947
Area 51, Nevada
James Vaughn stood before the triple-reinforced glass window holding his breath. Although he knew that the bulletproof windows would protect him from whatever was on the other side, he still couldn't help but feel a little bit insecure at the moment.
The man beside him gave a quick look at Vaughn. "Breath-taking, isn't it?" There was a certain smug satisfaction in his voice that annoyed him.
Vaughn scratched the back of his head, letting out a heavy breath before shifting his gaze. "I'm still trying to figure out what that is, Kyle."
Kyle chuckled before realizing the solemn look on Vaughn's face. "You can't be serious."
"My gut instinct tells me that thing is definitely alien," he said, still observing in awe. "But something also tells me that it's man-made."
Kyle widened his eyes for a moment, before tilting his head and gazing through the glass wall again. "Impossible."
Through the glass windows, a makeshift chamber was erected in the former aircraft hanger. A large pin-shaped vessel, no larger than the size of a tow-truck, sat in the center. For the past few hours, it was the main focus of not only their attention, but also those of fifteen men and women hovering around the mysterious object in sterilized suits.
The vessel was completely black, and could have easily been mistaken as an asteroid. Yet any keen observer would know that what sat before them was anything but. That was what those scientists were working on: the black layering on the spacecraft. Their only discovery in a day's work that the synthetic material was best described as "rubbery", and nothing more.
"That thing came crashed a few miles from this location just two days ago," Kyle stated. "It's definitely not an asteroid. Unless there's something that our R&D department is telling us, that thing definitely wasn't made by us."
"What about the Soviets?" Vaughn inquired. "Or perhaps the Germans? Maybe it's some kind of explosive shell?"
"We've got our eyes on both," Kyle replied. "As far as we know, Germany doesn't enough funds to put towards weapons development ever since the war ended. The Soviets, on the other hand, is hard to say. Trust me when I say this is no artillery shell."
A moment of awkward silence passed before anyone spoke again.
"None of this makes sense to me," Vaughn said, the sign of resignation dripping in his tone.
As if on cue, right as the words left his mouth, the loudspeaker on the walls flanking the windows came to life. The high-pitched tone of one of the scientists came through. "Mr. Turner, you better come have a look at this."
Kyle raised his eyebrow, giving Vaughn a look of puzzlement. Vaughn simply shrugged his shoulders. Both men left the watching area and exited through a side door. Their departure took them down the hallway, a right turn and a brisk walk towards the end of the corridor. There stood two men dressed in combat fatigues blockading a double-door entrance. The assault rifles slung across their backs only indicated the seriousness of their duty.
Vaughn and Kyle stopped before the two men, and Kyle fished out a small badge and flashed it to the two guards. "He's with me," Kyle said, giving a slight nod to his partner. The two guards complied with his security clearance and opened the doors.
The two quickly stepped through, and found themselves in a long white tunnel, that led to a revolving glass door at the end. This was the sterilization area, and both men were forced to strip down their clothes, scrubbed down, hosed down from head to toe, dried, and then attired in sealed white suits as to not contaminate or inhale any unfiltered air from the mysterious object.
Finally, after a half and hour process, the two were granted admittance through the revolving door. Kyle was the first through the doors, gaze falling immediately on the small crowd of scientists that gathered around the object. "Doctor O'Connor," he said, and stopped after hearing his scratchy voice from his mouthpiece.
Vaughn arrived at his side around the same time the group of scientists turned around.
Kyle's attention was focused on the man near the middle of the group, the oldest materials scientist on the staff. Doctor O'Connor waved the two of them over, and the group of white suits cleared a path.
Both men proceeded cautiously, unaware of what to expect to see. Vaughn took a deep breath. For some time now, he had been what many in field had been called an astrologist. But the title meant something more. After all, what other profession allowed one to study the stars, the moons, and that of the wondrous bodies that occupied the Solar System. To him, the Earth was just some backwater rock in a giant ocean. If there existed extraterrestrial life out there, than this would truly be the discovery of the century.
He propped himself a little higher on his tiptoes to see what Doctor O'Connor had so enthusiastically motioned Kyle to see. Apparently, a portion of the black surface that covered this alien object had been scrubbed away, leaving a gray metallic surface. Vaughn felt his hopes drop, as if expecting to see the opening to this mysterious thing, maybe a door or portal of some type. But what he saw left his jaw gaping.
"Tell me I'm not daydreaming," Kyle said, his voice nearly breaking. He, too was stunned and in a similar state of shock.
"You're not," Doctor O'Connor said. "We've even checked with higher-ups in our armed forces R&D departments and no one claims to have any knowledge of this thing."
"Surely," Vaughn interjected, "there's got to be some explanation for this."
If there was any, no one offered one. Tense silence passed for a minute before someone spoke again.
"Keep chiseling away at the rest of the surface," Kyle said, taking a step back from the crowd. He took a deep breath before addressing the rest of the scientists. "I want this thing free of whatever that black surface is before the end of today. Also, I don't need to remind you that none of what you see here leaves this room. You all understand?"
A chorus of nods followed, and the men swiftly went back to work. Kyle headed straight for the revolving doors again, with Vaughn tagging behind shortly.
"Kyle," Vaughn said. "There has to be some explanation for that."
"I know," Kyle said through gritted teeth. "And it's going to be our job to find out why in the world the United States of America logo is imprinted on that thing."