The Incident and the Author
The incident was messy. The conical spinner was parked in the side of a centuries old cottage. The lone alien was subdued and restrained, but not dead. Aside from the property damage, the outlook for SHADO was good. An intact spinner and alien were not things they normally had. The catch was the lone occupant of the cottage who survived the incident.
"We have a problem, Commander." For once, the syllable caressing voice of Doug Jackson wrapped the words in suitable menace.
"Yes?" Straker contemplated anything from the alien was dead to the ship had self destructed. He wasn't quite expecting Jackson's next words.
"Our guest is a resistor."
Oh, Hell. Those words were anathema to SHADO's commanding officer. Resistors could not be given the amnesia drug either because of potentially damaging reactions or a complete lack of reaction. The alternatives were to quietly dispose of the individual, not something Straker enjoyed doing; or recruiting them. He stared at the sheet of information on his desk. Recruit and this person did not exactly fit together, at all.
"You're telling me that she can't be …"
"Her blood work is inconsistent with success, Commander," Jackson confirmed.
"And her age is inconsistent with recruitment," Straker continued.
"And her occupation will make any other decision … difficult at best."
Straker frowned. What had he missed? He looked over the sheet again. Oh, there it was, almost an afterthought at the end: Occupation: Writer. Pseudonym: Kelly Dragonhaven. Dragonhaven? Where had he heard that name … He wished he was accustomed to cursing. They were renting the entire back lot to Sony/Paramount while they filmed one of Ms. Dragonhaven's books. She wasn't just an author, she was a world famous author known to be in the UK while the film was shooting.
Somewhat like JK Rowling, Ms. Dragonhaven had turned stories spun to keep a granddaughter happy into a lucrative young adult series of books. Unlike Ms. Rowling, she had turned out a book every six months for the last five years and looked to be happily continuing to do so for the foreseeable future. He'd have to go talk to her before making a decision.
The very pale haired woman turned to face him as he spoke. Her face was unremarkable except, perhaps, for its generally friendly demeanor. Her eyebrows rose in curiosity, yet she looked remarkably unshaken for a woman who had discovered aliens and spaceships in the wee hours of the morning.
"Hello," she got out before a yawn over took her. She clapped a hand over her mouth and apologized as the yawn tapered off. "I'm a night owl by nature, but this is a bit late even for me," she admitted. "And you are?"
"Straker. Ed Straker."
That got one eyebrow cocking upwards under her bangs, her dark blue eyes looking thoughtful. "As in Harlington-Straker studios," she concluded. "Somehow, that begins to make sense out of the studio."
He tried to keep his face friendly, neutral. "I beg your pardon?"
"Granted. " She chuckled at his nonplussed look. "Never mind. Look, when can I go find a hotel room to get some sleep?"
"Do you have any idea what you became involved in tonight?" Her complete lack of flap over the incident was throwing him.
"I decked an ET and said apparently unfriendly parked his flying saucer in the side of a very nice six-hundred year old farmer's cottage I was staying in." She chuckled again. "You did notice I live in New Mexico, right?"
What did that have to do with anything? New Mexico was a southwestern US state that was low on population and had issues with migrant workers. What did that have to do with taking a UFO incident in stride as this woman was apparently doing?
She apparently followed at least a part of this train of thought. "New Mexico. Home of the Roswell crash, the Socorro Incident and the Tucumcari secret alien base?" she followed up. Her laugh was becoming contagious. "OK, not convinced about the Tucumcari base, of course, although I have friends who swear they've seen organized flights of light coming and going."
"Flying in formation? Yeah, I find that one a bit much as the rest of the theory says the actual base is out of phase with local time and is either in the distant past or the far future. Frankly, if you don't have a close encounter story, you're not really a resident of the state. So, while I was disturbed by the abrupt intrusion, it's not really that far-fetched. "
"You thought tying the intruder up was a good idea?"
She grinned at that, the skin at the corners of her eyes crinkling as though she did this a lot. "I understand they frown on shooting people out of hand in this country, so I didn't bring a gun. Besides, the subtlety of the safety tends to slow me down. Bats, on the other hand, easy to grip and as deadly or not as you want. " She laughed at that. "You should hear the funny sound that helmet makes when you hit it. Made him stumble. Went for the shoulders after that. He'd dropped the gun already. Mind you, when I called for help I was sort of expecting the cops, not some military bunch."
"And that brings us to the problem."
Her eyes searched his face for a moment as she sobered. "Oh, dear. Let me guess, this is all a big secret because the general populace would panic?"
"I could promise not to tell anyone. Wasn't there, didn't see anything, couldn't prove it anyway?" She looked hopeful, her mouth starting to curve into a smile again.
"You're an author," he pointed out.
"I'm a kid's author. I'm not gonna start writing about things that are that dark," she countered. "Besides, fiction is fiction, regardless of some of the more entertaining conspiracy theories going around." She tried her best to sound level headed and sat on the imp that was pointing out how funny this could be. Faced with believing her or not taking a chance, she really wanted this astonishingly attractive man with the serious face to believe her. Disappearing for the greater good did not appeal.
"I'm going to take a chance on you," Straker decided. "You're old enough to understand the score, and apparently intelligent enough. Usually we recruit people we can't handle any other way …"
"I get the message. Old authors are not prime candidates for sci-fi skullduggery," she answered. "I promise, I won't breathe a word. Not that anyone would believe me. Didn't take picture one, although I was sorely tempted. So, why did it crash? Isn't that a wasteful way to go about business?"
A smile tugged at the corners of Straker's mouth. He quelled the impulse and admitted they did not know why the alien did what he did. "Let's find you a place to sleep. We'll settle the rest in the morning."
Author Kelly Dragonhaven was late for taping an interview the next morning. Her publicist called and let the appointment know that there had been an accident over night and that while Ms. Dragonhaven was uninjured, she was somewhat shaken up and would be delayed.
"What happened?" the interviewer gushed?
"This lorry comes crashing through the side of the house about three a.m.! I'm all alone, taking some time to soak up this gorgeous ancient farm house and wham! Crash! I thought it was an earthquake; only England doesn't have earthquakes … well, not that I've heard of anyway. So, I go check things out and there's this huge guy stumbling around waving a shotgun and shouting something entirely incomprehensible."
"What did you do?" the interviewer prompted.
"Whacked him in the back of the head with a cricket bat. Those things are heavy …"
Fade to black.