Yet another silly story : LUSENET : FRL friends : One Thread

This story, as with all of the author's previous related stories, is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used in a fictitious way. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

It was Julie’s first night back in her own bed in almost three months. But the young member of the Advanced Defense Research Organization (ADRO) couldn’t sleep - too much was going through her mind. She looked at the clock again: 1:50 in the morning. Might as well get up and have a cup of tea. Pat, her golden retriever, followed her into the kitchen.

Tomorrow she would take the short flight out of Newark International into D.C. to meet with her boss; the head of ADRO, Helen Bee Mebs. There was something big going on, that much was certain. Not many people had the clout to pull her out of the government’s secret ‘continuity program’ before their ‘tour’ was completed, but Helen did just that.

Julie was grateful for the change. She thought back to the day 3 months ago when her pager displayed a very special message, and the non-descript van that picked her up soon afterwards and drove to the ‘site’. She remembered how the site itself was entirely unremarkable – by design. The fake trees looked real even from a relatively short distance, yet they bristled with the most sophisticated antennas and other communications gear. They also all but hid from view the ‘shack’ where the elevator was housed – an elevator that could withstand the blast from a nuclear bomb, and descended farther than one would gave guessed possible. She remembered having to sign the ‘guest book’, and her first glimpses of where she would be living for the next four months; her cot, her computer, the stored water, the dried food, the special colored light bulbs on the wall and their ominous meanings- - -

Here in the comfort of her own kitchen, thinking back on all of these things, she shuddered, then sipped her tea. Yes, she was relieved that she was home now, and glad that the ‘special assignment’ was over. Best of all, she could go back to work for ADRO tomorrow.

Julie reached down to stroke Pat’s head. “Well pooch, it looks like we’re going to start another adventure soon. Are you ready?”


-- (, May 18, 2002


to the new answers page.......

Now carry on storyteller. (It's about time we saw you back here!)

-- Lon Frank (, May 19, 2002.


-- helen breaks out the snacks (and@pulls.up.a.chair), May 19, 2002.

Helen Bee Mebs, Director of the Advanced Defense Research Organization (ADRO), knew that Julie had just cleared the Pentagon’s final security checkpoint and was due momentarily in her office. She looked out of her office window at the Potomac River and sighed. It quietly rolled along without a care in the world; sunlight glistened serenely on the water’s rippled surface.

Helen had to pull a few strings to get Julie out of ‘shadow government’ duty before the young agent’s ‘tour’ was up, but there really was no choice. Something big was up and only Julie could help her. Actually, she wasn’t even sure that Julie could help, but if the young agent couldn’t do it, then nobody could. No choice, she thought to herself.

The Director of ADRO sat down behind her desk and gazed at the latest NORAD Flash Alert and corresponding ‘Top Secret – Eyes Only’ report. Helen shook her head as she tried to think of a way to explain this all to Julie, who would be here any minute.

But there wasn’t any easy explanation, and Helen knew it. Helen sighed again. Everyone was talking about threats these days. How ironic, that the greatest threat didn’t come from any radicals or extremists, nor any other groups. In fact, the threat did not come from any group of people at all. Indeed, this threat was different.

It did not originate here on Earth.

-- (, May 25, 2002.


Huh, what. Is the story back on. AWRIGHT!

Helen, hand me some of those Juju's willya? And I don't want the licorice ones that you've been holdin' till they're all fuzzy, either!

-- Lon Frank (, May 25, 2002.

Wow!!! A story!!

Hey, helen and Lon... don't block the view here, please :-)

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.ent), May 27, 2002.

Yeah - Quick, move Lon.

Helen is flashing NORAD and I want to see her ..... uhm. Er. Them. Uhm.... Both of them. Er. All of them.

Oh heck, jest move over, you're in the way.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (, May 28, 2002.

Julie walked into her boss’s office, followed by Pat. She couldn’t wait to find out what was going on. Helen saw them both entering, stood up, walked around her desk, and gave her young agent a welcoming embrace and warm smile, then stooped down to pat Pat ;-)

Julie smiled back at Helen, who’s motherly affection for both her and the very special golden retriever was obvious. Helen sat down at a small wooden oval table and silently motioned Julie to join her. Pat stretched out by Julie’s feet, yawned, and looked up at Helen expectantly.

“It’s great to have you and Pat back here at the Pentagon’s E-Ring, Julie.”

Julie shifted slightly in her chair. “Thanks for getting my tour shortened, Helen. This must be really important.”

Helen’s smile faded as she handed Julie the Flash Alert. “It is. To be honest, I’m not sure what to make out of this, and neither is anyone else. We, the President and I, are hoping you and Pat can help.”

Julie blinked. What did Helen say? The President? Julie looked up from the Alert to see if Helen was joking. Her boss’s face was serious. Dead serious. “Uh, did you say the President, Helen?”

A single gentle woof escaped Pat’s mouth.

Helen looked at Pat and smiled again. “Looks like Pat has answered for me. Yes, this particular Cheyenne Mountain Flash Alert was included in the President’s Daily Brief – a ten page top-secret document that he gets every morning. Well, it used to be about ten pages, now it’s a bit longer due to a separately attached ‘threat matrix.’ As you’ll soon see, this information was not only in the briefing report, but it was prioritized as ‘highest confidence’ within threat matrix.”

Julie gulped, and with eyes wider than they were before, returned to reading the classified Flash Alert. It was a notification from NORAD’s commander in chief to the Joint Military Command Center. As always, it was short and without the slightest hint that it was actually written by someone with a pulse---

"On 24 May, 2002, orbital analysts from the North American Space Command Surveillance Group began tracking four identical objects in the Space directly above Earth. None of these four objects have ever been previously inventoried. Further, none of the objects can be classified into any of the usual four categories. They are 5,750 miles apart from each other, in equidistant non-decaying geo- synchronous orbit. Each object is of unknown origin, has been assigned an interim identification number, and continues to be tracked. Space Shuttle Eagle was tasked for multiple-pass high- resolution photos of each object in separate recon fly-bys. These photos were immediately provided to NASCS photo-intelligence analysts, whose initial findings indicate the objects are of extraterrestrial origin. Intent remains unknown. Detailed analysis is ongoing."

Julie looked up after reading the terse report. “Wow. What the hell is up there, Helen?”

Helen sighed. “That’s what we need you and Pat to find out. Until we know, we have to assume certain things.”

Julie frowned slightly “Assume what?”

Helen looked down at the floor. “We have to assume hostile intent.”

-- (p@t.pat), May 28, 2002.

ominous music swells ...

-- helen (sits@totally.enthralled), May 29, 2002.

OH NO! It's Alexander bin Lawless! ;-)

What was Julie doing underground? Why was she part of the shadow government? What were the special colored light bulbs and what did they mean?

Did she watch that new movie "The Sum of All Fears"? YIKES!

-- Gayla (happy to see@nother. story- carry on Rob), May 29, 2002.

Helen is entralled while flashing NORAD. ... It must be much like being entrolled, but without the bridge overhead.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (, May 29, 2002.

Geeze, Robert, pay attention! Helen isn't flashing - Norad is flashing her. I'm not sure who Norad is, but ain't he Norman and Nelda Neiderhoffer's nutsy kid. You know, the one that wore the raincoat to school everday in the fourth grade when we were 18. He wore the thing right up to graduation night, then opened it up to put his diploma in the pocket and the old librarian, Miss Clarice Guilbeau, fainted dead away and it took 8 men just to carry her out to her peroux, where she whimpered and cried like a baby all night.

(You better hurry, storyteller, the crowd is restless tonight!)

-- Lon Frank (, May 30, 2002.

Julie cleared her throat. “This may take a while to figure out, Helen. But now I can see why you pulled me off the tour.”

Helen nodded in agreement. “I had no choice. Many government organizations have been directed to participate in the various continuity programs that now constitute the so-called shadow government. That includes us here at ADRO. You’ll probably have to rotate back into the schedule for another tour this Fall, but at least we’ll have you until then. Poor Brooks. He is filling in for you, completing your tour. I’ve heard that it is a tough duty to pull.”

Julie’s brow wrinkled. “It’s monotonous duty but at the same time there is a lot of pressure. I know that sounds like a contradiction but it’s true. Just being in the underground facility is like being locked in a cave. And some of the equipment is so antiquated. The computers, especially. Most of them are so old they don’t even have a mouse! I asked about it but was told that the older equipment is there for a reason – something to do with electro-magnetic pulse threats or something. And forget about Internet access, it’s extremely limited, and monitored in every possible way. No surfing zone. Anyway, you never forget where you are, or why you’re there, and yet it’s so tiresome. And almost every hallway intersection has those ominous status lights. I remember my first day, when they explained what the different colored light bulbs meant. I still get nervous just thinking about it--- if the yellow one is lit, it would be bad enough, but if the red one ever lights up, well, we would only have two and a half minutes to safely evacuate. It’s no fun living in an ‘undisclosed location’ for three months. I don’t envy Brooks having to finish my tour. Guess I’ll have to buy him a couple of cold ones when he comes out.”

“Julie, you and Brooks are the only ADRO staff qualified for the duty. But now you are needed here even more. The President wants answers: What are those four objects? Who (or what) put them there? And what should our response be? He’s under increasing pressure. There are those, especially in the military, who want us to initiate hostile action against the objects, ‘just to be safe.’ The president has agreed to hold them off for a while, at least until we are given a chance to get some answers. But we don’t have very long. The pressure to ‘do something’ is still there. Where do you think we should start?”

Julie thought for a second, looked down at Pat, and then had an idea. “Get me the photos, Helen. I think Pat and I will start there.”


Helen looked at Pat and smiled. “Pat likes the idea. Ok, Julie, you got it.”

-- just answering Gayla's questions (crowd@is.restless), May 30, 2002.

Sorry Rob! It's the journalist in me. :-)

-- Gayla (, May 30, 2002.

It's a story, a story; I love to read a story...

-- Tricia the Canuck (Thanks@the.storyteller), May 30, 2002.

Helen handed the photos of the four unidentified objects over to Julie, who studied them for any clue as to what the mysterious objects might be. After a few minutes, Julie looked up with a frustrated expression on her pretty face and shook her head.

Next, the young agent bent down and showed Pat the photo of the first unknown object. Helen and Julie exchanged worried glances, knowing that this was it. Either they would get a break, or Helen would have to inform the President that they had failed. Pat was there last hope. The head of ADRO held her breath.

Pat looked at the photo of the first object, sniffed it, and then looked at Julie expectantly. Julie waited a moment, thinking that the special pooch would send her a ‘vision’ message, but nothing happened. Julie looked up at Helen and frowned slightly. Helen made an attempt at smiling and directed her gaze to the other photos. Julie took the cue, picked up the other photos, and one by one, showed them to Pat. After seeing the last of the pictures, Pat became somewhat excited and, with tail wagging, stood up on all fours and barked softly.

Julie smiled at Helen and nodded her head as the vision began to come to her from Pat. She quickly sat down and closed her eyes. Helen walked over to be by her side, and waited. She wouldn’t have to wait long for Julie to start speaking.

I’m seeing, I’m, uh, Pat is showing me a face, but it’s indistinct, I can’t make it, wait, wait, it’s becoming , OH! It’s him! Helen, I see him now! Clearly, and OH! It’s HIM!

With that last exclamation, Julie fainted. But it wouldn’t be long before she revived, and told the Director who it was that she had seen; none other than the previous Director of ADRO, the person who had threatened the entire planet, the person who was deemed so dangerous that he was removed to safety from Earth by the Aliens; the one, the only, Alexander Bin Lawless ;-)

-- (he', June 03, 2002.

shrill scream!

-- helen (back@oh.he's.back!), June 03, 2002.

Now poor Alex is accused of having bin lawless? ;-)

Well, what do you expect when you make me wait whole weeks between installments???

My poor nails are down to the quicks again and of course it has nothing to do with anything else in my life than just the story here!

-- Tricia teh Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.ent), June 03, 2002.

Helen gave Julie a glass of water. The young agent sat upright and took a sip, smiling weakly in gratitude to her boss. Helen waited a moment before starting to ask the questions that were suddenly on her mind.

The Head of ADRO cleared her throat. “Evidently, our old nemesis Alexander Lawless has something to do with those mysterious objects. But what?”

“Well, Helen, I got the strong feeling that he somehow put them there,” Julie said, “and that he is up to something again. Something dangerous.”


Both of them looked at Pat with surprise. One bark always meant ‘yes’, so they were on to something finally! Julie exchanged a quick glance with Helen and then turned to Pat.

“Ok pooch, Alexander put those objects up there and is up to something. Can you help us find out more?”


Helen and Julie looked at each other and smiled. Helen couldn’t wait any longer to ask the question that was most on her mind. “Last we knew, the Aliens had Alexander in their safe-keeping. Is Alexander back here, among us again?”

“Woof, woof.”

Hmm. Two barks meant ’no’. Helen frowned. “Well if he isn’t here, then is he still with the Aliens?”

Pat growled softly to indicate that the question was one she really couldn’t answer properly with just a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, but then followed with a gentle “Woof, woof.”

Now both women were confused.

“Let me try again,” said Julie.

“Pat, if Alexander isn’t here on Earth, and he isn’t with the Aliens, then we need to know where he is, so we can begin to find out what he’s up to with these strange objects. Can you help us? Do you know where he is?”

Pat wagged his tail. “Woof!”

Julie felt another vision coming on and sat down. Once again Helen went over to her young agent's side.

The pictures formed quickly in Julie’s mind, one after the other. Julie was in a deep trance as Pat telepathically showed her pictures that would answer their questions. It was over in only a few minutes. Julie opened her eyes and shook her head as if to clear it. Then she looked at Helen and Pat as if she just suddenly realized where she was. She shook her head again, this time more violently, as if to shake off the images that had just flooded her brain.

Now Julie knew where Alexander was and what the four objects in Earth orbit were for. Her expression immediately changed to one of fear and horror.

“Helen, I think you’re going to need to call the President- - -



-- (goingf@ster.nowSweet Princess), June 04, 2002.

Thanks, Rob!!!

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.ent), June 04, 2002.

Julie wiped the sweat off her brow. “Ok, Helen, I feel better now. I think I can tell you what’s happened.” Julie paused while Helen wisely sat down in anticipation. Pat remained standing on all fours by Julie, who gently caressed the dog on its head.

"Remember we found out that the Aliens were either going to destroy Alexander or try to rehabilitate him? Well, they opted for rehabilitation. It involved doing some kind of mind transfer to erase the bad thoughts and memories and replace them with normal benign ones. But something went horribly wrong.”

A soft “woof” echoed in the office.

Julie stopped petting Pat as she continued relating what she had been shown in the telepathic visions. “All of the visions took place on the Alien ship. That’s where Alexander is, but he’s not with the Aliens anymore. I mean he got rid of them. There were only three Aliens in the ship to begin with. Pat showed me how he overpowered two Alien technicians. They were responsible for performing the rehab thought transference. After overpowering them, Alexander put one of the Aliens into the thought-transference sending-module, reversed the programming, and stepped into the receiving-module. In other words, his brain has been updated with that Alien’s thoughts and knowledge. But the transfer was interrupted before completion--- a third Alien was on the ship. This Alien was able to stop the transfer, but Alexander overpowered it also. The bad news is that now Alexander Lawless is alone up there with full command of an Alien vessel. The even worse news is that his thoughts are partially human and partially Alien. In other words, he’s quite insane.”

Another single “woof” echoed in the office.

Helen had turned progressively paler as she listened to Julie’s account of what was going on. She was almost afraid to ask the next question, but it had to be asked. “What about these four Alien objects, Julie? You said you knew what they were for. What is Alexander going to do with them?”

Julie took a deep breath, looked at Pat, then at her boss, and started crying. It would be a while before Helen could get anything else out of the stressed young agent.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

After several long minutes, Julie had regained enough of her composure to continue. Once again, she rubbed Pat’s head affectionately before beginning. “I need to backtrack a bit, Helen. Remember I told you that Alexander was on the receiving end of a thought transfer from an Alien technician?”

Helen nodded silently.

“Well, this technician’s main responsibility was to study certain things here on Earth that the Aliens are basically unfamiliar with. Those thoughts are now jumbled up in Alexander’s head, and part of what he thinks his mission is.”


Helen shifted in her chair impatiently. “But Julie, what does that have to do with the four objects?”

“The objects are collectors, Helen. And there are 12 of them. Even now, Alexander is getting ready to deploy the next four. Then there will be 8 of them in orbit. Last, he plans on deploying the remaining four for a total of twelve. Once all twelve are in place, he can initiate the collection sequence.”

Now Helen was really getting nervous. “Collect what, Julie?”

Julie sighed. “That brings us back to the Alien technician. This particular Alien’s job was to study two separate and completely unrelated things: serial killers and chocolate. On their home planet, they have neither. As I said before, the transfer process was stopped by the third Alien before its completion, leaving Alexander with only a mixture of his old thoughts plus the new thoughts that the Alien technician had.”

Helen sighed loudly with exasperation. “I must be particularly dense today dear, but I still don’t get what all this has to do with the objects – uh, I mean collectors.”

Julie frowned. “Alexander’s brain is all mixed up. He has confused 'serial' killer with chocolate 'cereal'! He thinks his mission is to be a cereal killer--- a chocolate cereal killer! He intends to collect all of the chocolate cereal from here on Earth and ‘kill’ it. Do you understand now?”

Helen Bee Mebs gasped audibly and covered her face in shock. She had heard of many serious treats in her day, but nothing like this. The planet’s entire chocolate cereal supply was at stake! What could be more horrifying than that? She started crying, and seeing her boss cry, Julie started again crying too.

-- (chocol@te.cerealkiller), June 05, 2002.


-- helen (hides@her.chocolate.cereal), June 05, 2002.

Call out the National Guard! The FBI! The CIA! The Rednecks! ;-)

We can't let this happen!

Rob, you're funny! :-)

-- Gayla (, June 05, 2002.

Oh man!

This nearly Kix the bucket.

Hope they figure out its Trix before its too latte...

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (, June 05, 2002.


Thanks, Rob! I needed a giggle today :-D

-- Tricia teh Cancuk (jayles@telusplanet.ent), June 05, 2002.

Morning sunlight streamed into Helen’s office as she arrived for another day of work at the Pentagon. She sat down behind her desk with a cup of coffee and went through all of her interoffice mail--- nothing Earth-shattering today so far, thank God.

Helen thought back to last evening’s conversation with the President. In a nutshell, he didn’t believe what they told him, and said he needed some proof in order to have any confidence in such a crazy story. Unfortunately for Julie and Pat, and Helen too, there was no proof.

As a result, the President was one step closer to letting the military try and blast the collectors out of Earth orbit. Little did anyone know what the consequences of initiating hostility against the Alien objects might be, especially with an insane Alexander Lawless running the show up there.

Helen and Julie were really on the spot. The President of the United States of America wanted proof, and they had to get it somehow. Julie was due here in the office with Pat in less than an hour. Hopefully, they would come up with something. They didn’t have much time.

Little did Helen realize that proof would be coming, and coming so soon ---

even before Julie and Pat arrived---

and from the most unlikely of sources---

-- Alexander Lawless, himself. (thePrezw@ants.proof), June 06, 2002.

The President of the United States was alone in the oval office, with the exception of his dog “Cookie”—a two-year old male charcoal-gray Yorkshire terrier. The ever-present members of the Secret Service were only a ‘stones throw’ away however, including one very serious looking dude posted just outside the door to the famous office.

The President was reading his Daily Morning Brief while eating his favorite breakfast: a steaming cup of black coffee, a tall glass of pulp-free OJ, and a bowl of his favorite chocolate cereal--‘Poopie Puffs’, with a small amount of skim milk. The manufacturer’s musical slogan ran through his mind unbidden as he bit into the great-tasting cereal: I’m ku-ku for Poopie Puffs, ku-ku for Poopie Puffs!

Actually, he had two favorite cereals; the other was called ‘Poopie Loops’, famous for that “same great chocolaty taste, but in a new, exciting shape.”

He was almost at the end of the last page of the brief, on the very last paragraph in fact, when he took his first mouthful of the yummy chocolate cereal and started chewing. He had only chewed two or three times when what he read made him gasp---his mouth dropped wide open in surprise. A particularly large Poopie Puff got caught in his windpipe, cutting off his air supply unexpectedly and startled him to such an extent that as he quickly rose to try and draw a breath, he momentarily lost his balance and fell--—hitting his head on the edge of the desk on the way down and subsequently knocking himself out and the bowl of cereal over.

The whole thing happened in only an instant. Not even the secret service man just outside the room new that anything was wrong. But Cookie did. The terrier leaped over his master’s body and went straight for the cereal now spread out over the oval office carpeting.

Luckily the President was only ‘out of it’ for a moment. He came to, shook his head, and realized that he was on the floor – was, in fact, eye-level with Cookie, who licking his lips, came over to the President of the United States, his master, and burped contentedly.

It was the burp that brought the President back to his senses. He rubbed at the sore spot on his head, sure that it must have left an awful looking bruise that would have to be ‘explained’ to everyone, including the public. It was then, at that instant, that it came back to him with complete clarity---that last paragraph in the Daily Brief that made him choke---

On 6 June 2002, orbital analysts from the North American Space Command Surveillance Group identified and subsequently began tracking four new objects of unknown origin within Earth orbit. Preliminary recon has confirmed that these objects appear to be identical to the previously identified four objects. There are now a total of 8 of these objects orbiting Earth. The placement of these new objects indicates that there will be yet another four objects in the future – for a total of twelve, to complete the encircling of the Earth with equal distances between each of the objects---

The President had his proof. Within minutes, the Secure Telephone Unit on the Desk of Helen Bee Mebs was ringing insistently.

-- (gotcere@l.?), June 07, 2002.


How do Julie and Pat save the day?????

Enquiring minds want to know ;-)

-- Tricia the Canuck (, June 07, 2002.

“Well, since our prediction to the President about Alexander’s additional objects has come true, he believes us now,” Helen said, with a tone of relief in her voice.

Julie looked at Pat, who was by her side, and then looked at her boss. “Ok, now what?”

Helen looked uncomfortable, sat up straighter, and gazed out of her office window for a few seconds before answering. She lowered her voice. “The President wants to know how long we’ve got before the collection starts, and what we can do to stop Alexander. We need to come up with a plan. If we don’t, then he’s going to ‘have them blasted right out of orbit,’ and he’ll worry about any potential repercussions later.”

Julie turned to Pat. “The President wants some answers, pooch. Are you ready?”

Pat stood up on all fours and looked directly at Julie. “Woof.”

“Ok Pat, how long do we have before the collection sequencebegins?”

Helen cleared her throat. “Uh, Julie, I thought Pat could only answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions."

Julie smiled, “No, he can count too. I found that out when we went to a fast food place down South and he insisted on having several orders of popcorn shrimp!”

Helen laughed out loud, breaking the tension in the Head of ADRO’s office. Pat barked once to show her agreement and then started tapping her front paw slowly as Julie counted each tap. One, two, three, four, five, six. Pat stopped tapping and looked at Julie, expectantly.

“Six what? Days?”

“Woof, woof.”


“Woof, woof”

Julie hesitated and felt slightly confused. In almost a whisper, she asked “hours?”


Helen frowned. “My God, we only have six hours? Not much time, but it will have to be enough.”

Julie rubbed Pat gently on her head. “Ok, now we need a plan. This is going to be tougher. Pat, what we can do to stop Alexander?”

Pat issued a low growl and refused to bark.

“Sorry, pooch. Let’s try a yes/no question.”


“Do you know what we can do to stop Alexander?”

A very soft “woof, woof” came out of the golden retriever’s mouth.

Julie’s brow wrinkled. “Pat, there must be something we can do!”

“Woof, woof.”

Helen and Julie looked at each other. Both were thinking the same thing. They knew what was going to happen, and when it was going to happen---

but they couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it.

Helen Bee Mebs reached for the Secure Telephone Unit.

-- (Pat@ndJuliecan', June 09, 2002.


-- helen (what@next.for.pat.and.julie?), June 09, 2002.


-- Robert A. Cook, PE (, June 09, 2002.

There must be SOMETHING they can do!!! Just think of a world with no chocolate cereals! How horrible! How 19th century! How doomerish! ;-)

-- Tricia the Canuck (, June 11, 2002.

The White House Map Room - Four hours until collection

The briefing had just concluded. Only the President and his Secretary of Defense (SecDef) remained behind to make the final determination. They had listened to the various options. Everyone from the Secretary of State (SecState) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff offered an opinion. Unfortunately, there weren’t many options.

The SecDef was standing still, looking intently at the 1775 French version of a map charted by colonial surveyors---one of them being Peter Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson’s father---which hung on the east wall of this famous room. He heard the President clear his throat and turned to face him.

The President looked his SecDef right in the eyes and smiled sympathetically. “I’ve decided against a coordinated attack with our allies. There just isn’t enough time. You get the unenviable job of telling the SecState I’ve decided against his proposal. The Russians and Brits are going to be pissed off. He’ll have to smooth it over as best he can. But that’s why he’s Secretary of State---he’s great at that.”

The SecDef smiled back. This was how the game was played. Then his smile faded as his thoughts turned to the situation at hand. With joint action ruled out, the President had decided the U.S. was going to try and handle it alone. It was the U.S. Military against the Alien objects. Period. He looked at his watch. There were only four hours left, and they still had a big decision to make.

“Ok,” the SecDef said, “but we still have to choose how to take the objects out. From what I gathered at the briefing, there are only two ways available to us.”

The President nodded in thoughtful agreement as he looked up at the glittering cut-glass 1765 chandelier with its rare star-shaped pendants. “You know, this room---the Map Room---was used by Franklin D. Roosevelt as a situation room. He actually followed the events of the entire war right here. Sometimes--- hell, many times---he didn’t even have two options, as we do now.”

The SecDef looked down at the beautiful and vividly colored Heriz Persian rug before answering. “Yes, our choice is between Angelfire and the ASATs. Either should be able to handle the mission. I say we go with the ASATs. It shouldn’t take too long to get them realigned into strike posture, about two hours, maybe a bit more. We’ve got four hours to work with. So that’ll give us a second window of about two hours for any contingency---that is, if the ASATs fail.”

The President looked at the famous portrait of Benjamin Franklin hanging above the Chippendale desk and grunted. “Do it. Let the ASATs at ‘em first. We’ll keep Angelfire ready as a backup.”

The SecDef had his orders. The United States of America was about to initiate hostile action against the Alien objects. And it would all start in about two hours

-- (whatiftheyshootb@c.k?), June 11, 2002.

w-w-what happens next?

-- helen (, June 11, 2002.

Shoot b@c.k???


-- Tricia the Cancuk (, June 11, 2002.

NORAD - Two hours until collection

The orbital analyst in Box 7 had never seen an object disappear right in front of her eyes before, never mind eight objects! She excitedly turned the knobs on her console---making adjustments---but the objects just weren’t there anymore; none of them showed up on the monitor’s green display. It was as if they were never there!

She nervously turned to the Box 7 duty officer. “They’re gone, Sir! All of them! And all at the same exact time!”

The duty officer, a civilian, frowned. He had just arrived on station and already it looked like it wasn’t going to be your routine ‘nice and quiet’ shift. After checking and re-checking everything that could possibly be calibrated, the objects still weren’t there. This had to be reported at once. He cursed, and then did something that he never had to do before; he picked up the Gold Phone.

Within fifteen minutes the President was informed. Smiling, he turned to his SecDef, a congratulatory tone in his voice. “Well done! Looks like the ASATs have taken all of ‘em out.”

The SecDef’s brow wrinkled in confusion. He looked at his watch, and then shook his head. “Uh, Mr. President, I’m afraid that’s impossible... absolutely impossible.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, Sir, the ASATs won’t even reach their strike positions for another 12 minutes!”

“Then what the hell is going on? What happened to those collectors? Where are they?”

The SecDef shrugged his shoulders in consternation. “I don’t know Sir, but we damn well better find out. And soon.”

-- (they@re.gone!), June 12, 2002.

I'd better be careful! I'm getting addicted to this story telling and Rob'll probably go into hibernation again. Then where will I be? Left hanging... again!

-- Tricia teh Canuck (, June 12, 2002.

The Pentagon - ADRO Director’s Office

Minutes later, an Action Message from Cheyenne Mountain was transmitted to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and copied to the usual list of alphabet soup intelligence agencies. One of those agencies was ADRO. Julie read it over and returned it to her boss. “What exactly are ASATs, and what is Angelfire?”

Helen reached over and took the Action Message from Julie. “That’s easy, Julie. ASATs are anti-satellite weaponry. I guess the Brass thought they could be deployed to target the Alien collection objects. Angelfire is an Air Force third generation prototype EHA bird; supposedly it has a radar cross signature smaller than a pelican.”

Julie gave Helen a look that clearly asked and what, in plain old English, is that?

“Sorry, Julie. It’s a new type of very stealthy plane that can operate at extremely high altitudes. It’s mostly used for recon but has some very highly classified weapons capability too. They must have planned on using it too I guess, to neutralize the collectors. But now, it looks like something else completely unexpected has happened. The collectors have all vanished!”

“Woof, woof.”

Helen and Julie turned to Pat at the same time. Then the Head of ADRO turned to Julie with a question on her face; a look that said I wonder if Pat knows what happened up there?

Julie was wondering the same thing. She turned to Pat and suddenly felt faint. The dog was about to answer her with a vision. Julie sat down as Helen regarded her with some alarm, then seemed to realize what was happening. Helen helped ease the young agent comfortably into an office chair. They waited together. Julie closed her eyes. The images came.

“I see the Alien vessel. Wait. It’s not the one Alexander hijacked. It’s another Alien vessel! Bigger. Much Bigger! Hmm. Now I see two ships. One is a lot smaller. The small one is going into the bigger one somehow. Oh! I think I know. The small one is the ship Alexander is on, and now it’s being controlled by the larger one. I don’t see any collectors. I think the big ship picked them all up. The collectors didn’t vanish after all! Yes, the Aliens took them all back. Things are--- the images are fading--- fading fast. That’s it.”

Julie opened her eyes. “Looks like Alexander took control of a small scout-type vessel---or small research ship; and when the Aliens from the Mother Ship finally came back they found out what he was up to. Looks like they stopped him just in time!”


Helen smiled. Now she had some answers. She grabbed Julie’s hand to shake it, and then rubbed Pat affectionately on her head. The President would be pleased. Yet who could even begin to guess what the Aliens might do with Alexander now! She sighed. “Well, at least this latest adventure ended without a major incident.”

Helen rubbed at her stomach. “And all of this excitement has made me hungry.”

Julie laughed. “Me too! Uh, how about some Poopie Puffs?”


Both women looked at Pat and laughed out loud. “Looks like Pat’s hungry too,” Julie said.

-- The End (of this ch@pter.story), June 13, 2002.


Emergency Communications Center - Location "Bravo"

Brooks awoke with a start; bad dreams again. He looked around and realized where he was: deep underground---somewhere in the Northeastern part of the United States---at an undisclosed location. He rolled off his narrow cot and went to the poorly lit room that served as a bathroom for him and all of the other ‘shadows’; a term that the members of the shadow government affectionately called each other. A quick glance at the far wall showed that none of the status bulbs were lit, thank God.

After washing up and shaving, he went into the small galley and sat down for some breakfast, which was always the same: a glass of powdered milk and some boxed cereal.

He was getting short---only three more weeks to finish this tour--- and was looking forward to living above ground again with the rest of humanity. He reached for the cereal and poured it into the bowl. Poopie Puffs, again. Well, it’s only another three more weeks.

And as he took his first bite, he heard in his head the cereal’s familiar old jingle; something so silly, something we all just take for granted, something that is so innocent---yet lends our lives a feeling that everything is ok, and gives us a small sense of constancy and somehow proves that things are normal---at least for a little while--- in a world gone crazy; a simple little jingle that somehow----suddenly, crazily----seemed to mean so much more to him this morning, for no apparent reason.

Brooks smiled for the first time since he woke up. He just couldn’t get the silly jingle out of his head: “I’m ku-ku for Poopie Puffs! Ku- ku for Poopie puffs!”

He shook his head. To think he had to sacrifice and fill in here and do all of this just so Julie could help Helen out on some special assignment at ADRO that he knew nothing about.

He hoped it was all worth it.

-- Rob Michaels (, June 13, 2002.


Love that ironic postlude!

Thanks, Rob. It was great to "see" you again. I hope all is well with you and yours.

-- Tricia the Canuck (, June 14, 2002.

wild applause!

-- helen (and@the.mule), June 14, 2002.

Cool. Well done.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (, June 15, 2002.

Glad youz guyz liked the story. I always look forward to seeing your comments, both during it and afterwards. That's what makes the whole thing worthwhile. Sweet Princess: Looks like I won't be going into hibernation for a while... so i may decide to torture you with more silly stories!

Helen: Your reactions to the 'chapters' really had me LOL!!! Did the mule really like the story too?

Good Sir: Great to see you reading one of the stories. Truth be told, it was you who gave me some early encouragement way back when Pat was just a plain ol' beaver... and so we all have you to blame ;-)

Wonder what happened to our Chief Investigatress and our FRLian Famous Writer... maybe they'll check back in still.

-- (, June 15, 2002.


I just got back, and caught up on the story. Wunnerful!! Keep it up, it's gonna be a long, hot summer.

-- Lon Frank (, June 19, 2002.

Here I am! :-) I have some catching up to do!

-- Gayla (, June 23, 2002.

I think someone should send a link for this story to Bush. Wonder if he would see any similarities to his own life? ;-)

I loved the humor, Rob! :-) What you said about jingles is so true. Obviously advertising works because those little 'buggers' stay in our heads. I was at a seminar once where the speaker gave the first line of a whole list of jingles and we all completed them. It was amazing.

"The best part of waking up is...?"

"American Express, don't....?"

Even OLD ones: "Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce....?"

Thanks for the story! Glad to see you'll be writing more. :-)

-- Gayla (, June 24, 2002.

You know, Gayla, I was LOL when I read your reference to Bush. A friend read this silly story of mine and afterwards I asked if they liked the oval office scene, particularly since it was like what really happened (when Bush passed out after eating the pretzel).

You know what, they didn't GI when reading the story!!! ...Only afterwards when I pointed it out... Once again proving that the Chief Investigatress of this here FRL didn't get that name for nothin ;-)

-- (sonofdust@got.pretzels?), June 25, 2002.

The pretzel reference just kinda tied 'er up in 'nots, I guess.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (, June 26, 2002.

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