THE INVADERS

ABOUT A GIRL

Part 1

David was working on a new building going up in a local area when there was a knock on the door.

"It's open, come on in." He said while checking the specs in front of him.

David heard the door open and then close again.

"Hello David, long time no see, ha?" A female voice said behind him.

David now spun round and stared at her. He then realised who she was and dropped the specs and rushed up to her.

"Joanne…!" He said then hugged her.

"Easy, I'm a divorcee!" She said smiling.

He stared at her.

"You haven't changed a bit."
"Well, I wouldn't say that. I've been through a lot these last few months."

"What are you doing around here? The last time I heard anything about you was six months after college… you were still with your parents in, Michigan…?"

"A-ha, so I was…."

"But, that was six, nearly seven years ago. Where, what have you been doing since then?"
"I got married, moved to Montana, hated the winters there and eventually left and moved down to sunny Utah. I thought that you were still in Chicago…"

"I was up until five years ago. I decided to look for work further a field, where the money was, a lot of things happened to me in the meantime and I've settled in Huntington."

"Married?"

"Regrettably, no." He said looking at her.

She looked down then quickly back up again.

"Wow, I would have thought a good looking guy like you would have had them queuing up by now."

"I've been saving myself."

"Who for?" She said looking at him.

They continued to look at one another.

"Look, I've got a break coming up. How about we grab a cup of coffee across the street and we can talk about old times ha?" David said grabbing his jacket.

"And new times, no doubt. All right, yes. I've got a window in my schedule."

"Great!"

They now walked out of the shed and across the road.

The coffee's soon arrived and they both grabbed the glass sugar container at the same time.

"Ooops, sorry…" Joanne said immediately pulling her hand away.

"No, ladies first."

"Well, alright, thank-you." She said grabbing the glass and dipped the spout slightly into the cup and started to stir.

David watched her hand.

"You took the ring off soon enough."

"Yes, well, there's no dwelling on the past, is there?"

David looked at her.

"No, I guess not."

"So, you finally became an architect. Something that you said you'd always aspire to." She said looking at him.

"Yes, I did, didn't I?"

"Had much business lately?"

"Not to make a living out of, no. I'm too busy being a parent at the moment."

"A parent? I thought you said that you wasn't married!"

David looked at her as she realised.

"I'm sorry… if it's too personal for you…."

"I have an adopted daughter."

"Adopted… oh, okay. It's funny, I just didn't, man, and you have changed in those seven years. I just couldn't envisage you…."

"A lot of water has gone under the bridge since you…." He looked away.

Joanne looked down.

"Look, David… I'm sorry I was young, foolish. It was just a stupid crush I guess…."

"It seemed more than that at the time."

"Everything does… It wouldn't have worked, David. Any of the plans we made would never have worked."

"You never hung around long enough for any of those plans to materialise. You accepted your parents offer to move away with them and I never saw you again until today. Now, you tell me you've been married which, as you told me, failed!"

"Do you think our marriage would have worked?"

David looked at her.

Steve looked at the clock in the kitchen as the headlights filled the room. He jumped up to see David walk in and moving into the kitchen to grab a glass and the bottle of whiskey.

Steve pressed the button on the wall that illuminated the kitchen.

"Evening."

He stared at him then swallowed the liquid in the glass.

"Someone get struck by one of your falling drawings?"
"What?" David said staring at him.

"The reason why you're hitting the bottle tonight…? Something happen at the site?"

He moved passed him and sat down on the sofa. Steve watched him.

"I'll take that as a yes then." He said sitting down opposite him.

David stared at the open fire in front of him.

"Have you ever had a day when you thought that nothing worse could ever happen to you?"

Steve looked at him.

"Well, in this day and age you have to expect things to get worse before they get better."

David looked at him then got up and moved back to the kitchen.

"I was all set to finish early today, and my god, is this Casablanca or something?"

"Dad?"

Steve turned round to see Claira stumbling out bleary eyed.

"Hey, I put you to bed hours ago."

"I heard dad's voice. What's going on Uncle Steve?"

"To be honest with you darling, I'm not really sure. Your father was just about to tell me, I think." He said now looking at him.

David looked at Claira then turned away.

"Maybe you should go back to bed. I'll find out what's wrong with him."

Claira slightly nodded, looked at her father then went back to her room.

Steve moved around David and took his glass from him.

"Hey!"

"I was only going to fill it up. No point in you getting drunk alone, is there?"

He watched Steve head to the kitchen and he slowly followed to sit on the stool.

Steve watched him as he grabbed the whisky bottle and held it for a while.

"So…"

"Hurh?"

"Why would you come home and want to get drunk tonight for?"

He looked away.

"I met someone today that I haven't seen since, well since long before I ran in to Claira, four years ago."

"What's her name?"

"Hey, who said she was a she?"

"Call it alien intuition. Well?"

"Would you mind pouring that?"

"Later."

David jumped of the stool and moved round to him.

"Ah, so now you want to fight me for the bottle, hurh?

"Just pour!"

"Alright, alright. Anything to stop Claira running in here with all the noise your making." He said pouring out the bottle contents into the glass.

David grabbed it and moved back round to the other side.

"This someone you haven't seen since you were a young man with no dependents. Was she a girlfriend or something?"

David looked up from his glass.

"Something like that, yeah."

"Hmm, that would mean that it was serious. Serious enough for you to ask her to marry you?"

"Look, what do you care? All you want is the gory details."

"I'm just getting as much information out of you so you don't wake up with a hangover in the morning and another days work is lost to the bottle."

David looked at him then the glass and moved over to the sink and emptied the rest of the glass into it.

"Satisfied? He said looking at Steve.

Steve looked at his glass and swallowed it.

"Hmm, yeah."

David looked down and sighed.

"She would have been my wife. We'd, we'd set the date and she…" He now looked away.

"What's her name?"

"Joanne. Joanne Turner. She was the catch at my college and everyone thought that I had caught her, even me for a time. But, but I woke up one day and she was gone. No note, no phone call, nothing. I found out about six weeks later that she had moved away with her parents to Michigan."

"So, what's she now doing in Utah?"

"Relaxing after a messy divorce."

"Di,. She's divorced?"

"So it would seem, yes."

"Well, what are you waiting for? Make her an offer."

"I beg your pardon."

"Your both still young, five or so years down the line isn't going to make that much of a difference."

"Your forgetting one thing, Claira."

"Does she like kids?"

"I haven't asked her and I'm not about to, Jesus Steve, what do you take me for?"

"A fool! If that was me I would have jumped at the chance to, my childhood sweetheart, hmm, how romantic."

David stared at him.

"Out!"

"Hurh?"

"You have a house down the road. Don't de-value mine with your cheap talk."

"Cheap talk? What? David, what are you trying to say? I'm serious here. Have you got her number?"

"Why?"

"Well, if your not interested. What about me? Would she be interested in an adopted brother?"

"Go!" David said closing the door after him. He looked back and thought to himself for a while then went to bed.

The following Saturday the Vincent's all went out shopping and then stopped of at a local café. David watched the cars pulling in to the shopping centre then recognised Joanne driving up to a bay near to where they were sitting.

"Are we all finished?"

"Hurh?" Claira said looking round.

"With our drinks?"

"David, we've just ordered. What's the matter with you all of a sudden?" Steve said looking on.

"Nothing." He said then noticed that Joanne was heading towards them. "Erm, excuse me for a minute."

Steve jumped up.

"What is wrong with you? We're here having a nice drink and…"

"Hello David." Joanne said behind them.

Steve looked over to her.

"Erm, hello Joanne."

"Hmm, well now I understand. Please, excuse me." Steve said sitting back down.

Joanne looked at David then the family.

"Oh, am I interrupting something?"
"No! We were just out shopping."

"Really?"

Steve now coughed.

"Yeah, erm. Joanne, this is my brother, Steven with his two children, Sarah and Annette."

"Hello, nice to meet you."

"The pleasure is all mine, Joanne. My brother was only talking about you the other day." Steve said standing back up to shake her hand.

"Well, is that so?" She said looking at David now looking to his feet.

"He wasn't talking to me about her, Uncle Steve." Claira said looking at Joanne.

"Erm, darling. Claira, this is Joanne, erm." David said fumberling for words.

"She's an old friend of your fathers, right David?"

"Yeah, right, thank you Steve."

"Old friend? I don't remember her dad, how old is old?"

"Erm, look if you two want to talk some more, I could just take the kids round the mall for, say an hour or so." Steve said grabbing the children.

"No, no. It's all right Steve. David and I haven't much in common any way. We never did." Joanne said walking away.

"Wait, Joanne." David said following after her.

"Come on kids. Maybe that walk would be a good idea. I might just grab a cab for us too, as I don't think my brother will be following in the near future."

Steve walked away but Claira looked back wondering what was going on.

Joanne started to window shop and David moved up to her.

"I think we need to talk."

"Oh really, what about?" She said turning to look at him.

David stared at her.

"I thought so. You know, that's why I left you five years ago. You have changed David, but not in that department. You have a nice family, now why don't you just go home, play daddy and leave the relationships to the big boys and girls, ha?" She said attempting to move away.

He now grabbed her hand and pushed her up against a wall and started to kiss her. At first she resisted but then as she remembered the time that she had spent with him she allowed him to carry on.

Claira spent the evening at Steve's house playing games on the X box. She had a break in the game and looked at the time.

"It's getting to late."

"Hurh? Oh yeah, I hadn't noticed the time." Steve said adjusting himself in his seat.

"I meant regarding my dad."

"Oh, so you're the parent now. Well, when he arrives home you can ground him for the rest of the week, ha? No pocket money till he tells you what he's been up to all evening."

"Well, it would only be fair." Claira said turning off the game and moving up to him.

"Only be fair? Claira, your father is old enough and big enough to look after himself. Whatever he is doing tonight is of no concern to you or to me." Steve said picking her up and placing her on his lap.

"Five dollars says that you'll wean it out of him the minute he walks through that door."

"Claira Vincent, what do you take me for? Ten!" He said looking at her.

"Deal." She said shaking his hand just as the cars headlights lit up the living room.

Claira jumped down and ran out to the porch way to see David getting out of his car.

"Daddy!" She said running to him.

He quickly picked her up as he noticed Steve standing by the door checking his watch. He slowly moved up to him.

"Another minute more an I would have called out the search guards."

"Yeah, I know. I'm sorry Steve, I just lost track of time."

"Is that not all you lost track of?"

"Look, I better get this one home."

"It is late. You can sleep it off in the den, if you want."

"Ah, so you want the details, ha?"

"No. I'm on a promise."

"Hurh?"

"Claira bet me ten dollars I would get all the information about why you were late this evening out of you within one minute of you walking through the door. So, get talking kid, time is money."

"Ten dollars? Where has my kid got ten dollars?"

"I don't know. Keep talking." He said checking his watch.

"Let me put her to bed first."

David moved back out to the living room from the den when he had put Claira to bed. He focused in on Steve in the kitchen.

"Have you had dinner?"

"Erm, yeah." He said moving up to him.

"Alright, scotch?"

"Thanks." He said watching him pour.

"What did Joanne fix you?"

"Hurh, oh erm, steak!"

"Steak? Hmm, that means she was expecting you."

"She was not. She just had it in the freezer and never used it."

Steve watched him then moved past him to sit of the sofa.

"Well, what was that look for?"

"Nothing." He said sipping at his drink.

David moved in to the living room and hovered around the sofa looking in to his drink.

"You know, back there, it was like I was a kid again. No ties, no responsibility…"

"No family."

"Yeah, no family." David said now moving back to the bottle sitting on the worktop and poured out another glass. He brought the bottle in and placed it on the coffee table in front of Steve.

He sat down on the sofa and looked towards the den when Claira slept.

"How far did you take it tonight?"

He now looked at him.

"You sure you want to be asking me this?"

"I'm your brother, who else are you going to tell? Claira?"

He looked down and shook his head.

"Well then." He said grabbing the bottle.

"I want her Steven, I want her so badly. You know, I nearly didn't leave her tonight, but I knew that Claira would have been upset."

"I would have covered for you. I mean you've been late from work before where you've took a hotel for the night."

"Claira knew that I wasn't at work. The whole family were there when we met Joanne in the café."

"Do you want to tell Claira the truth? Sorry kid, but I was shafting my college sweetheart while you played games on the families X box? How would that sound, she's nine years old for Christ sake!"

"Thank you brother, but I do know how old my own kid is."

"Then just think for a moment about your kid and leave Joanne on the back burner."

David looked at him and sighed.

"It's like nothing has changed between us. It's like I'm still in Chicago and…"

"No, you didn't? You didn't talk about marriage to her?"

"We talked about it. It was all too fast. She's probably forgotten about it by now."

"You asked her to marry you? I don't believe this."

"I asked her to consider it."

"Well, you don't waste time, do you?"

"After the last performance, would you?"

"It's not me we're talking about here. If and when a nice alien walks past my door I might think twice, but that might be a cold day in hell for a town like Huntington, Utah!"

David now grabbed for the whisky bottle but Steve pulled it away and made sure he looked at him.

"Talk to Claira before you do anything else." He said now allowing him to take the bottle.

"I will." He said looking at him then put the bottle down and went to bed.

The next morning the kids were running amok in the kitchen making breakfast. Steve kept a close eye on the proceedings just as David walked in.

"Well, it's about time you surfaced. Claira is making you fried toast, she says it's daddies favourite." He said directing his voice over to her.

"Hi daddy." Claira said looking up as Sarah tried to push in.

"Hey, Sarah, that's enough." Steve said pulling her away.

"Dad, she's not making it right."

"Just leave her to it, darling. She wont be long. You carry on Claira." He said turning back to see David sitting down.

Eventually they were all having breakfast.

"Is it alright if I leave my car here today? I fancy the walk up to the farmhouse."

"Sure. I can get the hose out on it. The farmers been up the track again and turfed up the road. Both our cars could do with a wash."

"Thanks. I'll let the breakfast settle then we can be on our way, okay Claira?"

She nodded as she tucked in to breakfast.

"See, my food is too good for words." Steve said looking on.

A while later Claira and David were walking up the winding track to the farmhouse.

"Did you enjoy your evening with Steve and the family?"

"Yeah, uncle let me play with the X box."

"Good."

"But, I missed you being around. It's not half as funny when your not there."

"Yeah, I know. I'll make it up to you, I promise."

"You better."

They walked on. David now stopped her and took her hands to pull her in front of him.

"Do you want to know where I was last night?"

"Working?"

He smiled.

"No, not working. I try to make it a rule never to work on Saturdays. You remember that lady we all met at the café, yesterday?"

"A-ha, Joanne, I remember."

"Well, I spent the evening with her."

"What for?"

"Does there have to be a reason? I just spent some time with her, alone."

"Alone? Oh, alone." She said looking away.

"Now what does that supposed to mean?" He said turning her face back to look at him.

"Well, what would you be doing with her alone that you couldn't do with, say uncle Steve or myself around?"

"Ask me in two or three years time." He said then walked on.

They soon reached the farmhouse and went in.

Claira moved past the answer phone and noticed a message on it. She pressed the button as Joanne's voice came back.

"Hello David, I just thought that I'd call you to see if you had a nice night and that you got home safely. I really enjoyed myself this evening and I hope that you did too. Call me, when you get this message, please."

The phone went dead.

Claira looked back at David watching her.

"You gave her our number?"

"Well, I'm not exactly ex-directory. She could have called me at any time." He said going to the machine and pressing the erase button.

"Do, do you like her?" She said looking to her feet.

"Yeah, yes I like her. Joanne was my college… I was engaged to be married to her before I ever met you."

"Married?"

"Yes, married." He said then moved away.

"Well, what happened?"

"It's a long story." He said sighing.

Claira made sure that his eyes followed her moving around the sofa to sit down. She crossed her arms waiting for him to join her.

He looked away, shook his head then moved in to sit down next to Claira and pulled her into him.

"I guess that you need to hear this as your involved in it somewhere, too."

Claira looked up to him looking down then got comfortable on his chest.

"I first met Joanne when I was at college in Chicago. I was half way through my architect degree. We hit it off immediately; everyone told us that we were right for each other. We dated for some years. I came out of college with my degree, she came out with a new slant of the world." He said looking away.

"Hurh?"

"Her parents offered her a new life in Michigan, away from me. I still can't understand why she took it, but she did. Then she tells me she gets married and moves to Montana of all places."

"That's just one state away from here."

"Yeah, like Michigan was one state away from Illinois, but we are talking a good few hundred miles within each state, and I didn't even know where in Michigan she had settled."

"Well, now she's in Huntington, Utah, exactly where you live, with me." She said looking at him.

"Yes." He said now looking at her.

"Well, she knows I exist, thanks to our meeting with uncle Steve and my cousins at the local café. Is there any chance that when you make the next appointment to meet her that I can come too?"

"I wouldn't have it any other way." He said pulling her into him and kissing her.

David soon contacted Joanne and she agreed to meet him at their farmhouse the following evening.

David met Joanne in town and drove her out to the farmhouse.

"You see that house over there?"

"A-ha. Are they your neighbours?"

"My neighbours and my brother, Steven, remember?

"Yes, mi, you are a close family."

"I wouldn't have it any other way."

He pulled up in the courtyard and Claira slowly opened the door and moved out to them.

"Hello darling." He said kissing her.

"Hi."

"Claira, you've already met Joanne at the café."

"Yeah, nice to meet you again, Joanne."

"The feeling is mutual, Claira."

"Shall we go in? The dinner should be all ready for us by now."

They slowly went in and had their dinner.

"Your father was explaining to me how you two met, Claira."

"Was he?" She said now looking at David pouring out some wine into Joanne's glass then filling up his own. She lent over the table towards her. "I bet he didn't tell you about my parents."

"Claira!" He said stopping half way through filling his glass.

"Well, you want everything to be open between us, yes?"

"Not that open."

"Erm, have I come in here between a family feud?"

"No!" He said looking at Claira then turned to Joanne. "It's just an in joke she shares with people about her parents and why I adopted her in the first place, right Claira?"

"Whatever you say dad, but, I just thought that it would only be fair that you told her about…"

"Later, much later, say, when you've gone to bed so that we don't confuse the issue any further."

"Alright." She said then looked away.

Joanne looked at them wondering what was going on, but decided not to push it until David was in the mood to tell her everything.

Later that evening David put Claira to bed and he moved back to the living room where Joanne was reading some magazines that were lying around.

"Who's are these? Aliens, do they exist? Don't tell me, Claira's. One of her many phases in life, hurh?"

David focused in on the magazine then took it from her and threw it to the other end of the couch.

"As a matter of fact, we both read them. But, not tonight."

"Come again."

"Well, it has something to do with what Claira was talking about over dinner. Her parents, why I adopted her."

"Go on, I'm listening."

David looked at her, sighed and moved to the kitchen for a fag. Joanne looked around then moved out to him.

"Now who doesn't want to be open with me?"

"It's not a case of being open or closed with this situation, Joanne, it's whether you believe me enough to stick with me over this or just walk out that door the second I tell you that I spend most of my time now searching for aliens from another planet."

She looked at him.

"Your serious, aren't you?"

"Deadly serious. I've seen them Joanne, Steven, my brother you met the other day, he's one of them. So is his youngest daughter, Annette."

"And I guess so is Claira, right?"

"No, her parents were aliens, well not her real parents of course."

"Oh, of course not, her real parents are from Mars!"

David took a drag from his fag and moved out the back door in to the courtyard.

Joanne slowly appeared by the door and watched him.

He turned back and looked at her.

"Now you can see why I wanted to tell you first before Claira just came out with her fantasy version of it."

She moved out to him.

"Are you sure that your not just making a fantasy version out of it?"

"You of all people, I thought that you would believe me, understand."

"Oh, I understand alright. I know that you never got over me leaving you on the night before we were set to get married, but I wasn't ready and looking at you now, I know that I was right."

"That was over five years ago…"

"And nothing has changed, David, can't you see that?"

"You think that I'd make all this alien thing up just to get you back?"

"I know that your desperate to keep hold of me now that I've walked back in to your life."

"You want proof?"

"David, I don't need proof. I have my proof, now and that night I left. I'm leaving now to stop this happening all over again."

"Wait, five minutes."

"For my cab that I have just called, yes."

"What?" He said then ran into the house and grabbed the extension phone. "Steven would you mind coming up here for a minute, yeah and forget your ring." He said looking at Joanne walking back in. "Now we'll see who is so desperate."

Joanne looked at him then her watch.

A few minutes later Steven walked up to the farmhouse and knocked on the half open door.

"Anyone home?"

"Steve, come in here." David said from the kitchen.

"Oh, hi bro. Hello Joanne." He said walking in.

"Steven. I was just telling Joanne about my job other than being an architect."

"Erm, okay. Oh, that explains the ring you asked me to leave at home. She doesn't believe you, yeah?"

"Yes, so, if you wouldn't mind."

"Sure. Erm, Joanne, as I am sure that my brother has tried to tell you, I am an alien. My current generation have a flaw with our hands. Some aliens really detest this flaw, but it helps them, I mean humans to find out that we are aliens and not from the planet." He said closing his hand as his little finger stayed erect for all to see.

"And that's it? That's how you know that your brother is an alien?" She said looking at him.

"Physically, yes. There are other ways but this is the only one I can show you at the moment."

Joanne's cab now sounded its horn outside.

"Please, wait! Agree to fly over to Los Angeles with us in the morning. I'll introduce you to the bureau's director, Ed Scoville."

"A bureau? Don't tell me that there are more of you out there?"

"Many more and its growing by the week. Please Joanne, I want you to decide for yourself."

"I have, excuse me. See you around some time David, Steven."

They watched her go and jump into her cab and watched it leave.

"You know, I was wondering if you would tell her. You can understand her reaction."

"Yeah, only too well." He said moving away.

A few days later Joanne was working in some local offices in town when a group of men walked in. She watched one of the men approach the front desk and talk to the receptionist. She now noticed that this man's hand was exactly the same as Steven's. She stayed back watching them for a while. A young executive from her building went over to the group and led them through the building to an adjoining office. She went back to her desk but could not get the man's hand out of her head. She checked the Internet for Steven's number and dialled it.

"Steve Vincent, hello?"

She looked at the phone for a second.

"Erm Steve, Steve this is Joanne Turner."

"Oh hi, Joanne."

She paused again.

"Something wrong?"

"I'm not sure. Could I meet you somewhere? Please don't tell David about this."

"About what, exactly?"

"I don't know yet. Look, I take my lunch at one, can I meet you in the square?"

"Okay. I guess I could drive in to town."

"Thank you." She said then noticed the group of men now moving past her office door.

Joanne moved in to the town square in Huntington and looked around.

"Nice day." Steve said behind her.

"Hurh?" She said spinning round.

Steve grabbed her.

"Hey, easy. Are you alright?"

"Yeah, look erm, come with me for a minute."

"Are you sure you're not mistaking me for my brother here? I don't go for your type, I mean, well maybe you don't know what I mean." He said looking away.

"You mean aliens, yes?"

Steve looked at her.

"Yes Steve, I believe that I have seen them." She said watching him now standing uneasy in front of her.

"Arh, now I understand why you didn't want to speak to my brother. Well, you do know that I have every right to tell him and make no doubt about it Joanne, I will contact him as soon as we have finished this conversation."

"That's what I'm counting on."

Steve looked at her now slightly confused.

Joanne explained to him what she could and Steve contacted David as soon as possible.

David drove out to the town that afternoon and met with Steve.

"When you told me that Joanne was still here, at first I didn't believe you, I mean after last time."

"Well, maybe she found her government job too precious to give up just over an old flame."

David looked at him then noticed a van pulling into the back entrance of the building.

"We've got alien activity." Steve said grabbing his trusty camera.

They looked at the aliens jump out of the back and enter the building.

"We need to get in to that building."

"Wait a minute, that's a government building in our home town. With our governments high security rating at the moment we couldn't even get in there as janitors. The only one who can help us at the moment is your would be girlfriend."

"Your enjoying this, aren't you?" David said looking at him.

"I'm only telling you the truth."

"Sometimes the truth hurts. Have you ever heard that expression?"

"On Earth no but, then again I haven't been here that long."

"They're leaving."

"Copy that, bro. I'll fax these prints off to Scoville in time for his morning coffee." He said then noticed Joanne. "Why don't you work on getting us some passes to that place." He said pointing.

"Hurh?" David said looking round.

"Your ex."

David noticed her then looked at Steve and slowly got out.

Joanne looked at him and stopped. He moved up to her.

"Good evening."

She looked down.

"I guess your just itching to tell me that you told me so, ha?" She said looking back up.

"Over dinner at my place? Well, maybe."

She looked at him then Steve in the car and slowly nodded.

The whole family had dinner at David's where the conversation soon turned to the onset of the aliens on the Earth.

"At first I was sick to the stomach to realise that these aliens were among us." Claira said playing with her food.

"Well, I can definitely vouch for the same towards the humans at first, Claira. I didn't know what to make of you and how we could ever survive living with you, let alone having them as my family." Steve said now laughing.

"You tell em dad, they are just so…" Annette stopped and realised that they were all looking at her.

"Do you want to finish that sentence, darling?"

"Erm, no daddy, no thank you." She said looking away.

The adults started to laugh as the children looked on.

David noticed that Joanne was now playing with her food.

They soon finished their dinner and David made sure that Steve collected the children to make them wash up while David and Joanne had a quiet talk in the living room.

Joanne watched Steve with the children then noticed that David was watching her.

She gave him a worried smile then looked away.

"I thought that you would be half way across another state by now."

"I have some work to do in town yet."

"Yeah, I realised that. Government work, I didn't know that you was in to that line of work."

"I wasn't, my ex husband was. I just couldn't shake the image after I shook him."

"Oh, alright."

David now looked at Steve and the children.

"To be honest with you. I'm glad you stuck around. I mean, not just for my sake, well, mainly for my sake…"

"What do you normally do with these aliens once you find out about them?"

"We usually kill them." Steve said walking back in holding a tray of drinks.

Joanne looked at him then David looking on.

"I hope those drinks are for us." David said changing the subject.

"They are. The kids have theirs in the kitchen as they have decided to stay out of the way."

"Wise choice." David said taking two glasses from the tray and handing one to Joanne.

She looked at him and slowly took the glass from him and sipped it.

"Those pictures I took should be in the computer by now. Do you want me to do the honours and alert our glorious leader in LA?" Steve said looking at David and winking.

"Alright, thanks." He said watching him leave the room.

Joanne watched him then looked at David.

"I think that I should be going. It's getting late."

"Nonsense. Look, if you want to play it safe, I have a spare bed in my den back at the cottage." Steve said watching her reaction.

"Or, to play it even safer, you can borrow the bed in my den." David said looking at her.

"Scouts honour?" Steve said holding up his hand.

"Of course." David said laughing then realised that Joanne was looking at his finger. He now coughed.

"Spare room it is then." He said standing up and pulling Steve's hand down.

"Oh yeah, sorry. I can never remember where I put that damn ring sometimes." He said then went back to the kitchen to grab his children and leave them to it.

"Look, erm, I'll sort Claira out. You just relax for a while. I'll get the spare room ready."

"No. I might as well make myself useful. You sort your daughter out, I'll make the bed up." She said rising to her feet.

David realised that they were standing face to face. He now reached for her and they kissed.

A high-pitched cough could be heard behind them.

"Erm, daddy."

Joanne pulled away and David looked down.

"Claira, erm, yeah sorry, erm, lets get you to bed ha?" He said turning back and pulled her in to the back.

David made Claira's bed, as she got undressed. She nervously watched him, as she got ready.

"There you go."

"Thanks." She said then got in. "Dad?"

"Hmm?" He said tucking her in.

"When you kissed Joanne back there…" She said watching her father's reaction to the leading question poised on her lips.

"Yes!" He said uneasy with his daughters questioning.

"It was like when I remembered my mum and dad kissing."

"Was it?"

"Because they loved each other."

"A-ha." He said checking that she was tightly tucked in.

"Do you love Joanne like my mum and dad loved each other?"

He looked at her then moved around her bed and sat down on the corner and turned back to face her.

"You want to know, kid?"

She slightly nodded as she lent over and grabbed his hand.

"Part of me has never stopped loving her. So, in a sense, yeah I guess I do love her like your mum and dad loved each other."

"Does that mean I'm going to have a mummy before my tenth birthday?"

He stared at her.

"Claira Vincent, really!" He said now standing up. "Bed, now!"

She hit the pillow with a thud.

David laughed and then moved up to her and kissed her.

"Goodnight darling."

"Night. Tell Joanne I said goodnight."

"Oh I will, don't you worry." He said then turned out the light and closed the door and headed back to Joanne who was in the den fixing up the bed.

"Claira says goodnight by the way."

"Oh, alright."

He looked back and laughed.

"Something funny in that?"

"Hurh, no. It was Claira, back there. She was asking if she'll have a mummy before her tenth birthday."

Joanne looked at him.

"Is that so? Well, when's her birthday?"

"Oh not until the fall."

"Well, then, there's still hope for her."

David looked at her as Joanne started to laugh. He slowly moved up to her and they started to kiss.

The next morning Claira was making herself an orange juice when she heard Joanne laughing as she watched her being chased in to the kitchen by David. They stopped as they noticed her.

"Erm, morning." Joanne said moving past her to grab a cereal bowl from the cupboard.

"Hi." She said turning around.

David moved in front of her to stop her leaving the kitchen.

"Morning darling. Did you have a nice sleep?" He said kissing her.

"Yeah. Did you?" She said as she dodged past him to head back to her room noticing that the den bed had not been slept in.

David now looked at Joanne who was looking at him.

"Maybe I should get dressed and make a quick exit."

"What is it with her? Can't I have a relationship with her around? Last night she was all for it."

"She's daddies girl, she'll grow out of it."

"When? When I'm dead and buried?"

"Hopefully not that long." She said moving up to him for a kiss.

The phone now started to ring. David looked at it ringing away to itself on the wall at the other end of the kitchen.

"Is someone going to get that?" Claira said from her bedroom.

"The voice of reasoning in my head." He said stealing one more kiss from Joanne as he moved over to the phone and picked it up. "Hello?"

"David, Steve!"

"Oh, hi bro. What's up?"

"I just got an email from Scoville. Have you checked you're in box lately?"

"Not yet, no. I've been otherwise, engaged." He said looking at Joanne who now walked out of the kitchen to leave it to him.

Claira now walked in with the email and waved it in front of him.

"Have you been listening on the other line?"

"Of course. You better read this dad." She said handing the letter to him.

David stared at her then took the letter and slowly read it.

"Are you still there, bro?"

"I'm here, I'm just reading this letter. Scoville's layed up in LA all week. He's requested us to deal with this on his behalf." He said putting the page down on the worktop.

"Have you got any ideas on how we're going to handle this?"

"Not at the moment, no. I haven't even had breakfast yet. Look, give me an hour then get yourself over here and we'll sort something out."

"Sure. See you later."

David put the receiver back on the phone and looked at Claira.

"Go and get yourself dressed. I'll make us all some breakfast."

"The den wasn't slept in last night."

He looked at her.

"No, no it wasn't." He said then looked at Joanne keeping her head down.

"Figures." She said looking away.

"Will you go and get dressed, please."

She turned round and went to her room.

David looked at Joanne and let out a loud rush of air.

"I could call a cab."

"No. Steve will be over after breakfast. We have to sort out this problem in town."

"What about this problem at home?"

"That's for me to deal with. I can handle her, I have many times before." He said looking towards Claira's room.

Steve was soon at the farmhouse and they started to sort out arrangements for getting into the government offices.

"One thing I do know that goes on in that building is the planning of military installation deployments in the North America."

"Yeah, we would be interested in those. I've heard talk before about trying to get some area under alien control and they would involve military installations."

"And with our current crisis these installations would be less of an eye sore if they were done quickly and quietly. Exactly what they are good at. The governors must be glad of the help." David said looking at him.

"Glad of alien help? You mean that they would actually go out there and look for their help?"

"It's what their capable of Joanne because they can act so much like us. The army wouldn't think twice with the technology they have. They can make it look and even match our needs and at this moment in time the present government would be glad with any help they could get on their own doorstep."

"We need to get a plan of what installations they are planning and where." Steve said looking at David.

"Yes, agreed." He said then looked at Joanne.

"I guess that you need my help then?"

"You work there. You have business in there. We would stick out like a sore thumb."

"Or finger, in my case."

Joanne looked at them.

That morning Joanne went to work and moved through the offices. She entered a room that the aliens were using and moved over to the files and looked through them. She grabbed her mobile phone and quickly took a few snap shots of the pages.

That lunchtime David waited for Joanne in the square. He moved up to her they kissed.

"How did it go?"

"Okay, I think. They aren't using that office today so I managed to get a few shots on my mobile, look." She said going through the list.

"You didn't get stopped at the gate? Being a government listed building I would have thought that these things would be banned."

"Their getting so small now, you can even slip these in your garter belt. They only scan you on a security off day now, anyway."

"I'm just checking. I don't want your cover blown before you start to get anywhere."

"Will you relax? Everything went off okay; take a look at these pictures, will you."

She said handing him the phone.

"That's an area in Nevada." He said checking the spec.

"Yes, and there was also a listing for Nebraska."

"Their heading east. Next they'll be in Washington DC!"

"Having lunch with the President, that would be rich." Joanne said looking away.

David watched her.

"You better get back."

"I do have an hour Mr Vincent. Erm, any idea on how I could waste it?"

"Around here?" He said looking at the local crowd in the town.

"Hmm, maybe."

"Lunch?"

She nodded as he led her away to a local café.

"Do you have any idea yet what they might be planning?"

"Not yet, but with those installations in their control, it's going to be something big. We have to stop them at any cost Joanne."

"At any cost? Does that include loosing me to them?"

"No! If and when it comes down to it, I'll protect you, like I have always protected my family." He said taking her hand and looking at her.

Joanne smiled and felt comforted by his words.

They soon walked back to the square. David pulled her in front of her and stared at her.

"I need you to find out as much information about this site in Nevada. This seems the one that is almost complete. The more information you can get the more prepared we will be to attack them."

"I'll do my best."

"I know you will."

"I better go."

He stopped her turning away and touched her face.

"I love you." He said then kissed her.

"I love you too." She said then moved away and headed in to the building and out of David's sight.

The building was now a little busier. The aliens had returned and were now occupying the office that Joanne had been using. She slowly entered the room but was soon stopped by a security guard.

"I'm afraid that this area is out of bounds to all non commissioned staff, mam."

"Oh, really? Sorry, I was not told of this."

"Where are you stationed?"

"Well, I believed that it was here, but if you say that I am not allowed…" She noticed that the guard was an alien. "Erm, I'm sorry, excuse me." She said then left.

She moved back to her own offices and went up to her desk and called David on his mobile.

"David, the whole wing is crawling with aliens. They have a guard who is an alien. He's just stopped me entering their offices again."

"Alright, well, you can't push it, they'll start to suspect something is up, if you do. Look, leave it for today. You will have to try early tomorrow before anyone is around. I'll talk with Steve to see if he has come up with anything. Are you alright there for now?"

"I'll be fine. I'm sorry that I couldn't be of any more help."

"You've been fine. I couldn't have done better myself. I'll pick you up tonight, okay?"

"Alright, goodbye David." She said then replaced the receiver and looked around the office.

That evening Joanne walked out of the building and noticed the security guard who had stopped her earlier. She stared at him as David pulled up. She quickly moved up to the car and got in.

"Are you alright?" He said noticing that she was uneasy.

"That guard, he was the one that stopped me earlier. I think he suspects something."

"Well, lets allay his suspicions, kiss me."

"Hurh?"

"If he believes that I'm your husband just picking you up from work it might put him off the scent."

She looked at David then kissed him.

The guard watched their body language then walked away.

"He's gone." David said looking on.

"Do you think he believed us?"

"If he didn't, I sure did." He said looking at her.

Joanne stared at him then faced forward. He soon got the message and drove off back to the farmhouse.

Steve was waiting for them with the children.

"You two get settled in. I'm cooking tonight."

"Alright." David said making sure Joanne was okay.

They were soon having dinner.

"The base in Nevada is nearly six months in to construction and the one in Nebraska is ear marked for completion early next year. I called Ed for some information on the site in Nevada. He has two of his men working at the site and as far as they can tell they have two regenerating plants in full working order. I'm waiting for a call from one of them tonight in regards to joining up with them and destroying the base."

"Can you really destroy a base that is government funded?" Joanne asked.

"We can certainly try. Ed is working on the legal side, we deal with the practicalities." David said finishing his meal.

"It just seems so much to take in at the moment. I mean only the other day I didn't even believe that they…" She looked at David watching her. "Well, I guess you know that after what happened."

David took her hand.

"But you believe now and that's all that counts, and, your helping us. That's all I ever wanted from you."

Claira watched her father's hand clamped in Joanne's.

"Dad?"

"Hurh?" He said as his concentration was distracted away from Joanne.

"Can I be excused?"

"Have you finished your dinner?"

"Yes."

"Alright."

With that all the children jumped off their seats and ran into the back.

"Hey, that didn't mean…Ah, forget it!" Steve said looking on. "Hey David, I'm going to check the computer in the den, okay?"

"Sure."

"I'll leave you two to, to whatever humans get up to, hurh?" He said moving away.

"I think that we better clear this table." Joanne said trying to break David's concentration.

"Hmm, what oh erm, yeah. We seem to have been left to it." He said getting up and going to the kitchen with Joanne helping to carry the plates in.

As soon as they were finished David and Joanne had a water fight and chased each other into the back bedroom.

The children watched them run in then looked at Claira.

"So, do we get to be the bridesmaids?" Annette said grabbing a bag of crisps from the night table.

"Annette, shut up will you." Sarah said looking on.

"I only asked. They look so, so…" She said nudging Claira.

"Hey, you two!" Steve said by the doorway.

They all looked up.

"Are you staying her the night with your cousin or are you coming back to the cottage?"

Claira jumped up and went to him.

"Uncle Steve, could you please take them back to your place? I know that there family, but…" She looked back then looked down.

"Hey, cous, do we get a say in this?" Annette said looking on.

"No you don't! Coats, now." Steve said as he watched them go out. He looked at Claira. "Are you going to be alright here?"

"Sure."

"Okay. If you want to talk, you know my number." He said kissing her.

"Thanks uncle Steve."

"My pleasure sweetheart. Okay kids, march!"

Claira watched him leave then looked back at her fathers closed bedroom door. She went back in to her room and closed the door behind her.

The next morning Joanne made breakfast for them. Claira walked out of her bedroom in her school clothes to see David with her. He noticed her and moved away.

"Good morning darling."

"Hi." She said placing her schoolbooks on the worktop and moving in to the kitchen.

"Joanne has decided to make us all breakfast. Full English sound okay to you?"

"Full? Erm, yeah okay."

"I thought that that would wake you up." He said kissing her then going back to Joanne to help.

They soon had breakfast and they pilled into David's car to drive down the lane to see Steve waiting for him with his children.

"Morning, Steve." David said looking over to him.

"Hello. Hi Joanne."

"Hello Steve."
"I'm driving Joanne straight to work. Do you mind dropping Claira off at school this morning?"

"No, I don't mind." He said opening the back door to allow Claira to jump out.

Claira moved round to David and kissed him.

"Right, we'll see you tonight?"

Claira looked at Joanne.

"Okay."

"Goodbye Claira." She said looking on.

"Bye."

David now drove off and Claira went to Steve.

"Okay, well you better all climb in the back then." He said grabbing her school bag and watching her get in with his kids.

David pulled up outside Joanne's workplace.

"Pretty quiet. You might be able to get in to that office without any trouble today."

"I hope so. I'm not sure that I've already been found out, though. That security guard yesterday…"

"Look, just keep out of his way. If he's like any average security man he'd have probably forgotten you by now."

"Hey, are you saying that aliens are average now?"

"If their like my brother, yes." He said laughing then looked at her. "Well, you better get in there."

"Yes." She said opening the door.

He stopped her and she looked back.

"I'll be here at lunchtime." He said kissing her.

"Do you mind Mr Vincent, people are beginning to notice."

"I don't mind. This is my town, let them notice."

"Bye" She said giving him another kiss then leaving.

David watched her go then pulled into the car park to do a little window-shopping at the jewellers.

That evening the whole Vincent family met at David's farmhouse to discuss the information Joanne had managed to find out.

Steve watched the children playing their games on the Playstation as David made contact with Ed to find out what he had planned.

He soon finished his conversation and made them all drink and moved back out to them, sitting down next to Joanne and taking her hand.

"Well, what's the word from our illustrious leader?" Steve said sipping at his whisky.

"We deal with the site in Nevada by the end of the week."

"That soon? Has he got his men in the area?"

"Yes, and they are trying to get passes for us. We'll drive over to Nevada in the morning. We should be at the site just after lunch. The roads should be empty around there. Ed is faxing over some information about a motel near the site. We can stay there for a few days, check out the area and see where we go from there."

"Great. Can't wait." Steve said looking on.

"It all seems so easy. I mean, you told me what they are capable of, and those specs I've seen. Isn't this all a little dangerous?"

"We know what we're doing." David said looking at her.

"I say. We've been at this long enough."

Joanne looked at him then David and rested her head on him.

Steve soon collected the children and they left David and Joanne getting warm by the fire with Claira reading her magazine.

"I'm glad he left early." David said sighing.

"Oh, why?" Joanne asked looking at him.

He looked at her then reached in to his pocket and took out a small case.

"I wanted us to share this moment together. I went to the jewellers today and picked out this ring that I would like you to wear for me." He said opening the case and showing her the ring inside.

"My word, it's, it's lovely."

"I hoped that you would like it. It erm, also comes with a question." He said as he took the ring out of its case and lifted her left hand.

"A, a question?" She said watching him put the ring on her third finger.

"Will you marry me?" He said making sure the ring was all right then looked at her.

Claira now looked up from her magazine and then jumped on to the sofa next to them.

"Wow, marriage." She said looking on.

David chose not to look at her and waited patiently for Joanne to say something.

Joanne looked at Claira watching them then looked at David.

She smiled and nodded.

"Yes, yes. I will marry you." She said as they kissed.

Claira now jumped up.

"You wait till I tell Uncle Steve, he's going to flip!"

"No time like the present then." David said looking at her.

"Yeah, right!" She said about to run off then stopped and looked back. "This is great! I've got a mum and a dad again." She said hugging them and running off.

They watched her go then looked at each other.

"Well, she seems happy with the idea." Joanne said watching him.

"All she's wanted is parents and a secure home. We can easily give her that." He said then kissed her. "I love you, Mrs Vincent."

"Oooh, not yet, Mr Vincent. We haven't even begun to think about marriage."

"With Claira telling my brother at this precise moment we'll have the caterers in by next week. Just after we deal with that site in Nevada."

The next morning they were all driving out in to Nevada. Steve took the children in his car so that David and Joanne could have a break.

They reached the motel that afternoon to see a convoy of army trucks speeding by.

"When they want to make a presence they make it look official." Steve said watching the dust fly into the air.

"The problem is, that it is." David said they headed to their rooms.

"Hey, David, wait up a minute." Steve said moving up to him.

"Do you want to spend some time alone with Joanne?"

"Come again."
"You know. Look, I can easily take Claira in my room. She gets on great with my two."

"Thanks for the offer bro, but I think that we'll be fine."

"Well, okay. The offer is there though, you know, if…"

"I'll remember it, thanks." He said laughing.

Joanne walked up to him.

"What's so funny?"

"Steve. He just offered to usher Claira out of the way while we were here."

"Is that so? You should have taken him up on the offer. Well, you don't know what might be around the corner, do you?" She said kissing him then went in.

David watched her go then quickly followed.

That night they met the men from the site.

"The whole area is one big security operation. Nobody goes in or out without being searched first. Sometimes strip searched."

"Well, if there are ladies involved I'm game." Steve said trying to look all excited.

"Easy, stud! Do you have our passes?"

"Yeah, but we had some trouble getting them."

"What kind of trouble?"

"Trouble in as if they ask who you got these from we don't exist kind of trouble."

"Meaning you wont if they do find out." Steve said looking at them.

"You've got it."

"Alright, well you better get out of here. We've been seeing the so called army around here all day." David said letting them go. He now looks at Steve checking the passes.

"Do you want a drink while we're here?"

"Hurh, erm, yeah." He said putting the pass in his top pocket.

"What's the matter with you?"

"I don't know. I guess I'm just wondering how guys like that managed to get jobs in an army base."

"Their Scoville's men and you know as well as I do, that's not an army base."

"Exactly. With the current security situation in the United States those guys couldn't have got a job as a rent a cop."

David looked at his brother as he handed him his drink. Something in the back of his mind couldn't help agreeing with his brother, but they were too involved now to pull out.

"Maybe its worth calling Ed before we head in there tomorrow, to find out if he's heard anything new since we arrived here."

"He's laid up with his back."

"Do you want to go in there blind?"

"Aren't we already? David, we don't know what they have on that base. We saw specs, but a base that size."

"What do you suggest?"

"That we do our own research first. We just look around the base, then report back here tomorrow night and take it from there."

"We're wasting time. The other base is going to be accepted any day now. If we can get in there and disrupt this site, even put the aliens back a few months, let the real army find out what they are doing then it would be a start."

"And evidently the end for the bureau. Do you want that after all the work you've put in to it? Is Ed going to be at the other end of this with a pat on the back for all the good work that you've done placing your ass on the line again?"

David finished his drink and left Steve to it.

He went back to Joanne checking that Claira was asleep.

"Well, it's about time. How did your meeting go?"

"Fine. We got the passes." He said jumping down on the sofa.

She moved in to him.

"That's it? You've got the passes?"

"Yeah. We go to the base in the morning. I better grab some sleep." He said attempting to stand up.

"Hold on." Joanne said stopping him.

"You don't seem so pleased at receiving them."

He looked down and sighed.

"Something happen in the meantime?" She said touching him.

"It's nothing. Steve just has a way of getting to me, that's all. I guess it's the alien inside him."

"Regarding what, exactly?"

"Nothing, forget it." He said kissing her and getting up to head in to the bedroom.

She watched him go then thought to herself.

The next morning they had an early breakfast and then met Steve at the door.

"Are you all ready?"

"As ready as I'll ever be."

"Right. I'll erm, wait for you in the car." He said moving away.

David looked back at Joanne and Claira waiting patiently.

"I'll see you tonight. If Ed calls."

"I know, I'll tell him you've entered the lions den. Good luck." She said kissing him.

"That's goes from me too, daddy." Claira said hugging him.

He looked at them.

"I love you two, remember that." He said then got in and Steve drove away.

They soon arrived at the base. They were routinely searched then made to go to a waiting area.

"Strange." Steve said looking around

"What?" David said turning to look at him.
"Those gate guards were human."

"All part of the ploy, I guess. Don't forget, I'm not your brother here. Okay?"

"Brother, who?"

David smirked just as two aliens walked in.

"We weren't told of your arrival today. Do you have your passes with you?"

"Yes. We were told to attend this base for future information regarding the new site in Nebraska."

The alien checked the passes. He then looked at David and Steve.

"Did the government send you over here?"

"Well of course. Don't we all work for the government around here?" Steve said grabbing his briefcase. "I want you to take a look at these specs…"

David watched the alien getting involved with the work that Steve had collected so far.

"Alright. You've got clearance, but as your new, I insist that one of my men follow you around the base today."

"That's quite reasonable. I'd be glad to accept the offer, thank you." Steve said placing the specs back in his case.

The alien allowed them to leave the room then move around the base.

"Clever." David said.

"A little homework doesn't hurt no-one." Steve said cleaning his medal then realising that his finger was sticking out for all to see. "Damn!"

"What?"

"My ring. I must have forgotten it this morning."

David stared at him.

"Let me do the pointing, ha?"

They carried on round the base.

Later on they had lunch in the canteen where the aliens had started to gather.

"This is like feeding time at the zoo."

"Hmm, and you seem to be the specimen at the moment, the token human." Steve said grabbing a tray.

They sat down at a table and started to eat.

"Excuse me. I couldn't help noticing that you are from the government. Planners for the new base, am I right?"

"That's correct, yes. David Nicolas." He said shaking hands with the alien.

"Steven Durant." Steve said now shaking his hand.

"Jeff Wood. I am creator of this base. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind meeting me after lunch in my office at the other end of the site."

"Well, we have got a tight schedule. We need to look over the whole base by night fall." David said checking his watch.

"Oh, that is surely going to be boring. Your architects, you've seen these specs on the computers for months. We need to talk about the future, the future for these bases. Nebraska is just another stepping stone, I hear that two other sites are earmarked."

"Two more?"

"Yes, didn't you get my notes?"

"Erm," Steve looked through the specs.

"This is why we need to get together and discuss this further. Meet me later, gentlemen." He said now leaving them to be sick in to their meals.

"Two more sites? I've never known the aliens to be so advantageous." David said looking away.

"Something's wrong."

"I know. This is too easy."

"They must be on to us."

"We better check the other buildings out now."

"What about our invitation? If we don't take him up on the offer their going to know something is up."

"Something already is up, my hackles, come on."

They left the canteen and moved through the buildings.

One of the buildings was restricted but they noticed the electricity cables going in to it.

"Regeneration room."

"We're getting closer to the truth. That waste ground in the back. Did you see the scorch marks?"

"Yeah. They've recently had a landing. The amount of trucks on this base, this must also be another drop off centre. If we can find some dorms or classrooms it would only prove what they want this base for." Steve said checking another area.

They went to another building and looked through the window.

"Something tells me that that's the Nebraska base under construction."

"Lets get in there and get some shots."

They moved around the building then noticed Jeff who was heading straight for them.

"Too late." Steve said pulling David back. "Let me handle this."

"With your slight of hand? Steven watch yourself."

"Don't I always?"

They walked up to him.

"Well gentlemen, glad you could join me." Jeff said walking in to the room.

"I was just saying to David here, I noticed the specs. You're planning something bigger at this base."

"Well of course. This is just a baby compared to the plans for the new base. To tell you the truth, being government funded you have all these undesirables turning up at the front gate for work."

"Undesirables? What, you mean aliens?" David said now looking at Jeff's hand resting on the table.

"I tend to lean towards undesirables, it sounds better, don't you think?"

"Oh, of course. Now, could we talk about this base for a minute?"

"This base? Well, it's fully completed and what this base has is in no way what the Nebraska base will hold."

"What does this base hold that is different to the Nebraska site?" David asked looking at him.

Jeff watched him.

"We are here just to concentrate on the base, Mr erm, Nicolas?" He said checking his paperwork.

"Yes, but as I would be designing this base I would like to know what is going to be housed within it."

"Seeds, so am told."

David looked at Steve who was now looking at him.

"Does this surprise you?"

"Surprise us? Not in the least. Everything needs to grow, in moderation."

Jeff moved to the computer.

"Maybe you'd like a print out of the base, yes?"

"Thank you." David said watching him.

They were allowed to leave the base quite easily and they drove back to their motel.

"I'm calling Ed the minute we get back."

"Seeds? The whole plant is geared for the third generation."

"With two more in the planning."

"They must be concentrating on the last set of Annette's generation at this base."

"The sooner we shut them down the better."

"Agreed."

Steve pulled in to the motel and they got out.

"I'll try the phone in my room."

"No, bro, it might be tapped by now. Best try the pay phone in the bar."

"Yeah, your right. Tell Joanne and the kids not to use the phones in their rooms. I'll be back as soon as I can."

"Right." Steve said going in to his room.

David went to the bar and moved over to the pay phone. He managed to contact Ed.

"David, what have you found out?"

"Everything. The base is used for training and regeneration. I've seen plans for the Nebraska site that is being prepared for third generation aliens. They have seed trays ready for installation."

"I need to get some more men down there."

"This place has to be raided and raided soon. The quicker we can do this the more time we have to concentrate on the Nebraska site and the spores."

"I understand. I'll get right on it and call you back."

"Forget that. The phones are probably tapped. Look, Steven has his notebook with him. Send a wireless message to him by the morning."

"It might take more time than that."

"Ed, we can't let this base grow anymore."

"All right. I'll call you, but try not to move without my say so."

David dropped the phone and noticed that he was not alone. He recognised the men from the base. He slowly moved away and went to his room where Joanne and Claira were waiting.

"What's going on? Steve told us not to use the phones in our rooms."

David moved to the window and noticed a black sedan parked outside with the men he had seen earlier now climbing back in to it.

"David? David, what's going on?"

"Steve must have noticed them by now. I have to take the gamble."

"Gamble, what gamble?"

"We have company out there."

"Hurh?" Claira said rushing forward.

"Claira, easy."

"Black car. Dad, their."

"Correct, and what's your next question?"

She looked at him then moved away.

"Look, stay here. I need to get out there and talk to Steve."

"Are you sure, I mean?"

"It's not going to take them long to put two and two together now is it? I'll be back in a minute." He said then stepped outside and headed to Steve's room.

Steve slowly opened the door and allowed him in.

"Your taking a chance with them sitting on our doorstep, aren't you?"

"Have you got a better idea? I've talked to Scoville about what we've found out. He wants me to put off going back to the base until after he's contacted me, but those aliens out there will not take long to find out our true identities and why we're here."

"What do you suggest we do?"

"Just pray that nothing happens in the meantime for them to get suspicious."

"What about the children, even Joanne? If they see that you're not alone…"

"I have to take that chance."

"Big chance, we're talking about our family here."

David looked at him.

"Stay here. Ed is going to call you via the notebook."

"They saw my notebook at the base. That's another way that they can tap in to us. Wireless connectivity."

"We have no other options at the moment."
"Yes we have. Go home and wait for Scoville to work on them. David, with them on our doorstep we have no choice."

"Close the door behind me."

Steve watched him go then looked at the men in the car from behind the curtain.

David went back in to his room where Joanne and Claira were waiting for him. He checked behind the curtain then looked back.

"I think there here for the night." He said then went to Joanne and Claira in the corner watching him. "You better get some sleep, Claira."

"I want to stay with you."

"I'm going to be right here. We both are."

"Come on Claira, I'll put you to bed."

Claira now hugged David and allowed Joanne to lead her into the bedroom.

David grabbed a glass and poured a whisky into it and swallowed it. Joanne now came back out.

"Does it always get this hairy?"

"Not like this, no. This is the only generation base that we have uncovered."

"Thanks to me." She said sighing and sitting down.

David looked at her and moved in to sit next to her.

"I don't want you to worry. We've been in worse spots than this in the past."

"Putting your family at risk?"

"I've done it before and I'll probably do it again."

"I was sort of hoping that after our wedding that you would concentrate on the family."

"Hey, I always concentrate on the family. Having a wife and child will not make any difference."

"Maybe they'll make the difference for you."

David looked at her.

When David awoke the next morning he moved out to the window and realised that the car was gone. There was now a knock at his door. He moved to open it.

"David."

"The cars gone."
"Hey, I was just about to say that."

David pulled him in just as Joanne and Claira walked out.

"Erm, hi guys."

"Did you say the car had gone?" Joanne said moving forward.

"Yeah."

"Well, that's great. That must mean they don't suspect anything." Claira said going to him.

He stepped away.

"It means nothing of the sort."

"We have to get back to that base and find out what is going on." Steve said looking at him.

He looked at Joanne then Steve and nodded.

"Have you heard from Scoville yet?"

"No."

"All right, we hold off for now. We'll go back to the base, get the information on the spores we need to keep Ed happy. If he doesn't come up with anything by dinner I'm torching the place, understand."

"Yeah, a nice shade of red." Claira said watching them.

They looked at her.

Steve drove back out to the base and they went through the usual security measures. A jeep pulled up with two more aliens on board. David recognised one of them as the guard who was in Joanne's offices in Utah earlier that week.

David turned away but the guard recognised him. They were allowed on the base.

The guard moved in to the cabin to check the names.

"David Nicolas?"

"Something wrong?"

"Those men, I recognise one of them from the offices in Huntington, Utah. Do you remember I made that report about a female employee who was seen in our offices there."

"I remember, yeah. Wasn't she seen talking to that David Vincent charactor?"

"Yes. I didn't really get a good look at him, but I'd remember that broad anywhere." He said then walked out slowly following Steve and David around the base.

They soon managed to pick up a bit more information about the two bases and drove out early that afternoon.

Steve pulled in to the motel and David jumped out and went to his room.

"You better start packing."

"Packing, why?"

He moved up to her.

"You remember that security guard back home in Huntington?"

"Yeah."

"He's at the base and I think he recognised me. I certainly recognised him."

"But, what about the base?"

"We have enough information now for Ed's men to expose it. Maybe Steve was right. I am putting my family at risk just too often. I have to think for you two now." He said kissing her. "Besides, we have a wedding to plan when we get back."

They all packed up the next day and they drove out that morning under the watchful eye of the security guard.

"Yes, that's her and that's the guy she was with that day in the square."

"David Vincent and his whole family to boot. Make the call, tell the base." The other man said as the cars disappeared from view.

Two days later David was at work when he received a phone call from Ed.

"Oh hi. Say when are you coming over here?

"Not for a week or so, yet."

"A week? Oh I get it. Just in time for my wedding."

"Oh, you fixed the date then?"

"Yeah, next Tuesday. It's going to be a quiet one seeing that my intended has been married before. Just family and friends."

"David. That base in Nevada you visited."

"Oh yeah, I was going to ask you how you got on with exposing it. I haven't heard anything over the radio or the believers website."

"Nothing was posted because when my men got there the place was deserted. They must have found you out after all."

David looked at the phone.

"Found me out?"

"I'm sorry pal. Even the site in Nebraska has been wiped clean. We'll get to the bottom of what went on there, David. We have all that information you obtained. I'll get someone to listen to us. Are you alright?"

"Yeah, erm sure. I'm sorry. I really thought we had them that time."

"Same here. Look, forget about it. You just get yourself married and we'll jump back on to the horse in a few weeks, ha?"

"Erm, okay. I'll see you next week."

"Sure thing."

David put the phone down and carried on with his work, but he couldn't help thinking about the base in Nevada and how he was exposed instead of the site. He drove home back to the farmhouse under the still watchful eye of the aliens.

Joanne walked out of the house to greet him.

"Well, good evening darling." She said kissing him.

The aliens watched him go in.

"That base in Nevada was wiped clean after we left."

"Well, that's good news. One up for us then."

"Wiped clean by the aliens. Someone must have found us out and the only one I can think it could have been was that security guard who recognised you."

"Meaning, what?"

"Meaning this might not be over yet." He said looking at her.

The situation was allowed to lie for a week as they prepared for their wedding.

David was getting ready for his bachelor party that evening when the phone rang.

"Hello."

"Hello Mr Vincent, this is your wife to be speaking."

"Joanne. Have you been hitting the sauce early today?"

"I'm entitled to have a drink or three on my last night of freedom."

"Last night of freedom again, ha? From myself the first time around and then your husband, ha?"

"Hmm, you're my husband, that's all I care about at the moment."

"You know, I shouldn't even be speaking to you, it's bad luck to see or even speak to each other before the big day."
"I needed to hear your voice."

"You'll hear and see me in the morning. Go and enjoy your last night of freedom, Mrs Vincent."

"It's so wonderful to hear you say that. You know, I really do love you." She said then dropped the phone.

David looked at the receiver.

"I love you too, darling." He said then put it back on the hook and carried on.

Joanne walked through her living room and checked on her wedding dress when there was a knock at the door. She went to the door and opened it.

The next day David looked at himself in the bedroom mirror when Steve walked in.

"You know, it's not too late. You can call her. Put the wedding off like she did to you before." He said raising a laugh from his brother.

"Hey, now that was over five years ago. Maybe she was right when she said that we were too young. No, this feels right. Where are the children?"

"In the hallway lining up for the toilet."

"How does Claira seem to you? This is a big thing for her."

"She seemed fine to me. She asked what she was going to do while mummy and daddy would be on their honeymoon."

"Listen to her, mummy and daddy." He said laughing.

There was now a knock on the door.

"Look, could you get that for me. It's got to be Ed, tell him he's late, as usual."

"I'll tell him. You just relax."

"Relax, right?"

Steve disappeared from view.

David sat on the bed to catch his breath.

Steve now reappeared looking at him.

"That was quick, was it Ed?"

"No. Bro, you, you better get out here."

David looked at him then followed him out to the living room where a policeman was waiting for him.

"Mr David Vincent?"

"Yes."

"I'm sorry to tell you this, but, but we found a Miss Joanne Turner dead in her house this morning."

Steve watched for his brother's reaction.

"Dead?" He said looking at the policeman.

Ed now walked in behind them.

"Apparently she suffered some kind of attack yesterday. We are still waiting for a coroners report but we believe it to be a cerebral haemorrhage."

David stared at the policeman then Steve.

"We are truly sorry Mr Vincent. Your brother was just telling us that you were due to be married to Miss Turner today."

"Erm, yeah, yes I was."

The children now came rushing out from the back screaming and shouting.

"Kids, keep it down, will you." Steve said going over to them.

"What's wrong? Why are the police here, daddy?" Claira said going to him.

David looked at her.

"Maybe we should just get out of here, ha?" Ed said moving forward.

"No! Erm, if you wouldn't mind. I would like to tell my daughter on my own."

"Sure. Come on kids, let's get you home."

"But, what about the wedding today?" Sarah asked looking back.

"There will not be a wedding today, darling." David said looking up.

"Why not, daddy?" Claira asked watching him.

David took Claira's hand and led her into his bedroom and closed the door behind him.

Steve stared at the closed door then looked at Ed.

"Well Ed, who won this time, ha?" He said as he pulled the children past him and outside.

To be continued…