"International Spaced Out Station" by Raj Raj, November 2017
Disclaimer: All characters presented here are the product of a fiction. Any resemblance to real characters is of a pure coincidence. No intention was made to insult anyone for any reason.
AN: This story is an act of fiction. No one is should attempt to plan, do or act in the same manner as it is depicted in the story.
Summary: Would you recognize an alien if you saw one? Look around – the world is going organic, with more and more being made according to so-called "healthy", organic standards. I mean, we've had organic clothes, organic food, organic baby products, and even organic beds for years, but now we've got a new addition to the ranks of the organic products: an organic vehicle!
International Spaced Out Station
It was afternoon. In a secluded area of Pentagon, Dr. Marcus Dunst, John Waring, Scott C. Allen, Dr. Kirsten Augustijn van Sloter and general William T. Wheeler were seated around an oval table, watching some presentation.
John Waring, their host was holding a laser pointer and a remote of the projector.
"Excuse me John … what exactly are we watching?" General William T. Wheeler seemed a bit anxious.
"Oh, I am sorry …" John paused, looked around and then sighed with a brusque smile. "… I suppose we all have enough of the clearance levels." He zoomed in on one satellite photograph. "… This is Bulli Beach, south of Sydney."
Others looked at each other, expecting the rest.
"Just a few days ago, local authorities found presumably lost campers ..." Photographs of three smiling teenagers waving showed up.
There was a pause and General Wheeler exhaled loudly.
"Campers? We probably have THOUSANDS as well? What about them?"
"Oh …" John pressed the button and the next photograph showed what seemed to be an individual interview at the local police station. "… These three teenagers were missing for thirteen months."
"More than a year?" Kirsten asked with her foreign accent.
"That's right." John nodded with relief, smiling mysteriously. "… To cut the long story short, these three rascals went out one night and ventured into this resort area, but …" He changed the slide. "… Instead of having a wild weekend out, they ended up … here."
They all looked at the unusual underground area.
"Looks like some kind of a cave?"
"And it is." John pushed more buttons. "… It has two or three water streams …"
"… Of fresh water?"
"Yes. We got the analysis as well. Nothing too toxic." He changed the foot he was standing on. "… Now … the only problem was that there was no exit."
"Excuse me John …"
"What is that in the corner?" Scott asked.
"A-ha!" John answered back victoriously. "… This is the reason why we're here today."
"Looks like a … car wreck …"
"… Or what's left of it?"
"And it is."
There was a moment of silence as the others looked around or budged in their seats. Service girl came smiling, bring more refreshments after John nodded that it was all right.
"But the only problem is that we are not sure how long has it been there."
After the service girl left, John, changed the slide.
"As you can see on the following pictures, the area of the underground cave is not very large. However … it does have enough of fresh water and air to sustain life."
"Yes, human life."
John sipped some water and then continued.
"After their parents reported missing children, an extensive search was conducted in the wide Sydney area. However, the results were amiss."
"No one could find these teenagers?"
"No one. What's more surprising is that even bloodhounds failed to track any scent."
"Almost as if they went into some underground cave?" General Wheeler added with irony, munching some junk food and eyeing John. Someone chuckled.
"And that is exactly what happened here, ladies and gentlemen."
They kept quiet, watching drawings, schemes and some scientific data.
"Thermal imaging, supersonic or geo sensors?"
"Nothing could detect them. Hence, after six months they were pronounced missing or … dead." John made some smacking sound. "… But … they were far away from being dead." He switched some lights on, keeping the projector on. "… Ladies and gentlemen … that is why today we have present Dr. Kirsten Augustijn van Sloter from NATO with us. As you may already know, Dr. Kirsten is the world expert for survival medicine."
Kirsten nodded and smiled around.
"I assume you have brushed through the data I sent you?"
"I did, my dear sir, I did." She chuckled.
"And ... they are all conclusive."
"Meaning that according to the data provided to me ... these three youngsters COULD sustain their living under such conditions."
There was a pause and then general Wheeler snorted.
"Could someone please extrapolate these facts?"
"These three teenagers survived in the underground cave for more then anyone could expect. The cave itself, on the other hand, seemed present for ages there …"
"Yet no one knew of its existence?"
"How about that piece of tech I noticed?" Scott scratched his shaved skin.
"That piece …" John searched for some photographs. "… Is part of a vehicle called 'Primus'."
"My niece is driving one." Dr. Dunst offered as if offended for not being introduced.
"Oh, I am sorry." Dr. Dunst's expecting eyes seemed eager as John looked at him. "… I forgot to introduce to you Dr. Marcus Dunst. Some of you may already know him, but just to add, he'll be telling us the exact composition of the vehicle, or what's left of it."
He cleared his throat, looked at the laptop screen in front of him and then nodded.
"I must admit I never had anything similar to this. At first … I thought John sent me some organic compound used for the oversea expeditions, but … there were traces of some elements that I've never came upon before."
"What do you mean?"
Suddenly all eyes were on him.
"Well … until I knew it was all about the vehicle, I mean the moving element, I would have concluded it was all about some secret government sustainable experiment."
"Maybe it still is …" General cleared his throat. "… Only not our government."
They all accept the joke and laughed.
"And?" John mimicked at Dr. Marcus.
"All substances analyzed were edible."
"Of what kind? Of the kind that would fulfill your appetite and make you feel fulfilled for hours and hours?"
"Well … yes." Marcus grinned at John.
Others were already getting the large picture.
"My God!" Scott widened his eyes. "… Am I to conclude that the piece of the vehicle we're looking at is … organic?"
John nodded triumphantly.
"And that is the exact reason we're gathered today here." Others coughed, munched, drank or otherwise made other distraction noises.
"Hold on John …" General started with slightly twisted lip full of derisive mocking. "… Are you offering us the story of three teenagers eating some vehicle in an underground cave for … thirteen months?"
"That is exactly what I am offering her you today."
All eyes seemed condescending.
"How about some further details?"
"I am afraid that part of those I sent you already I can't provide any other. The government of Australia had its own reasons, of course."
"Of course." General chewed more peanuts and looked at the photograph portraying two merry boys eating a tire.
There was a longer stance.
"So … how did this vehicle end up in that cave then?"
"Or teenagers themselves?"
"According to the investigation there was some mud slide."
"Unusual amount o rain?"
"So if it weren't raining that much …"
"… The cave would have never been discovered, yes."
They looked at each other.
"But there's more to it."
Service lady came in and cleared empty and used dishes.
"The origin of the vehicle is unknown."
"But it did have license plates and similar?"
"Oh, yes. Everything was registered and official. Car was reported stolen or missing three years before the … incident."
"Ordeal." General nodded sarcastically since one teenager was a female.
They looked at more photographs as the slide show went on by itself.
"How about the owner of that organic vehicle?"
"The Chief Scientist and the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA), consultant for various CSIRO chambers …"
"… Excuse me … CSIRO?"
"… The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO … it is the federal government agency for scientific research in Australia …" Dr. Kirsten Augustijn van Sloter winked at Scott. He winked back and grinned.
"Anyway, the guy's name is Nacer Eyton …" Photograph of a thin face with grayish eyes showed on the projector panel. "… Holds two Ph.D.s and is very popular among organic chem. scientists. and geologists as well."
"Yes. Apparently he's been working on some secret government project as well."
"What was is called?"
"Let me take a look … a, here. It was called 'The Missing Island'."
"What happened to him?"
"To the scientist?"
Others looked at each other.
"Oh, I am sorry. He reported his car stolen years before the … accident with these campers …"
"But was never found?"
John shrugged with one shoulder.
"How about the project?"
"'The Missing Island'? It was held in a remote area of the territory held by the Australian government."
Others looked at each other.
"Now … if I recall correctly … Dr. Marcus Dunst mentioned some 'unknown' organic compounds as well?" general seemed more lenient now, pleasing john's senses.
"That's correct, sir." Marcus nodded.
"Unknown … in what way?"
Marcus cleared his throat, looked at John and then drank some water.
"That it IS organic, but … of unknown origin."
"AND edible as well?" Kirsten laughed.
"That's right." Marcus returned her a serious glance. She shook her head as if trying to apologize.
The first service girl entered and then added more junk food and refreshments on the table.
Since others seemed either dubious or confounded in their own thoughts, John presented more photographs, dimming the lights once more.
"What we're watching here is the area where Boolka, which is, by the way, an OFFICIAL meteorite name, landed." They all watched aerial photographs of the site. "... This is 1 of 8977 approved meteorites classified as H5. It was discovered in 1968 and it weighted about … 12 kilograms."
"Anything interesting about it?"
Dr. Marcus Dunst swerved in his chair.
"One of the elements found on the leftovers of this … car … corresponds to the elements found on this … meteorite."
"Ha, ha, ha, ha!" General surprised everyone. "… Now let me sum it up then – some aliens from the outer space sent us their … their specimen … then some idle scientists in Australia made an organic form of it … ha, ha, ha, moreover …" He coughed. "… Excuse me … moreover, an edible form of it, then car manufacturers made 'Prius' model, …"
"… Or a definite replica of it …" Scott added.
".. Whatever … and then … ha, ha, ha … these three poor rascals ended up being some kind of guinea pigs in some, apparently, still undiscovered, yet living sustainable area of the Australia's suburban neighborhood?"
"Well … yes." John surprised everyone by such an honest answer.
All eyes were on him now. He searched for some photo.
They all read some kind of a government issued form.
"You will all receive it in an official manner as well."
"Should we dare to accept it …" Dr. Kirsten lowered her chin and narrowed her eyes as she laughed.
But John remained serious and finally seated himself.
They all looked at each other.
"The government of the USA wishes you to replicate the exact situation."
"But how?" Dr. Marcus Dunst seemed upset. "… Even if we DO manage to make the exact formula AND design this … 'organic' vehicle these teenagers have been feeding upon … nothing guarantees that it is the 100% replication."
"The government wishes you to try the hardest you can."
General seemed curious now.
Dr. Marcus Dunst shook his head.
"It could take months … perhaps even years just to make that pectin-like substance."
"But we HAVE that much." John's eyes shone with brilliance as he swerved in his chair. "… All paid in full."
Others looked at each other.
"And we'll be given access to ALL data necessary to complete the project?" Scott grinned.
"Yes. You'll have ALFA clearance."
"ALFA clearance?" Dr. Kirsten Augustijn van Sloter and Dr. Marcus Dunst repeated together, drooling like children. John nodded gravely.
They gaped around in open disbelief.
"So … you reckon this substance is of … unearthly origin?" General seemed greatly amused now.
John shrugged as if teasing the general.
"All I know is that any randomly chosen teenagers CANNOT survive in such conditions but chopping parts of ANY known vehicle produced on THIS planet."
"My God …" Scott shook his head in utmost disbelief. "... This could mean that on some outer exo-planet out there in the vast Universe ..." he looked up and around. "... The aliens are driving in similar vehicles … just like us here on Earth!?"
"Only our are not made by the old woman from the 'Hansel and Gretel' fairytale …"
"You mean … an old witch." General corrected her and then burst into laughter.
Others accepted it and laughed as well.
"And, of course, should your pebbles become crumbs … your privileges within this secret government project will be terminated. You shall report regularly, no matter how insignificant the progress may seem."
"The prying eyes of the government are upon us!" Scott exclaimed, still shaking his head in surprise.
After a while, when the taste "settled", Kirsten looked at John.
"And … how much time do we have to … make a decision …"
"About your involvement?"
John typed something on his laptop and then nodded at Dr. Kirsten Augustijn van Sloter.
"Please open your e-mail."
"Now?" She seemed puzzled while the others watched her.
They all waited.
"I … I …" She shook her head in disbelief, staring intermittently at the laptop screen and at John. Her cheeks reddened as she looked at the amount.
"I'll take that as yes then." He then switched off the projector, turned the lights around to its maximum and stood up. "… Gentlemen … and a lady …" He grinned at Kirsten. "… Details about this secret government project will be delivered to you in the usual manner. You have a week to respond."
"That's it? No hidden clauses?" General William T. Wheeler stood up as well, packing his belongings.
"Just the usual courtesy and your unreserved loyalty."
"Of course." Scott concluded, laughing.
That evening the night sky was full of stars.