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Authors: Neal Wooten

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BOOK: Pit Bulls vs Aliens
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The general looked again. It was clear the area of the distortion was growing in size as the diameter seemed to be continually expanding. Then it dawned on him. “No, son, not larger; it’s getting lower.”

The circular area in the sky descended until it hit the forest, breaking and flattening trees as it met the earth in an area approximately the size of a football field. The camera crew moved in. It looked as if you could see through it, albeit not clearly.

“What is that?” the general asked again, out loud to anyone.

The video feed started breaking up, and it was clear that the people of the news crew were seriously scared. Some turned and fled. Others seemed frozen, unable to move. One walked close enough to throw a rock at the semitransparent area. It flew through the air and suddenly bounced off an invisible object. After seeing that, a few others turned to flee.

“What in God’s name?” the general asked. He turned to face the rest of the crew in NORAD. “We need answers, people. Keep searching the skies for any other projectiles anywhere else in the world. Okay, since we don’t have facts, I want your thoughts. What are the columns for and why did they precede this . . . this . . . other thing?”

“Maybe they’re there to mark the landing zone,” a female airman said.

“Very good,” the general said with a nod. “So we’re already assuming it’s a spaceship? Is that the general consensus in this room?”

Silence.

“What else? Anyone?” The general slowly turned to take in the entire populated area of the room.

“Maybe they’re there to protect it,” Airman Rodriguez offered.

“Son, you should be an officer. I’m going to recommend you for OCS.” The general paced back and forth. “If your theory is correct, Airman, we have some serious problems. For one thing, how will they protect the ship and why? Are they weapons? And if they’re already prepared for us to possibly attack them, then what are their intentions?”

“Sir, it’s the president.”

General Nickerson walked over and took the phone from a young airman. “Nickerson here.”

“What have we learned, General?” the president asked.

“Not much I’m afraid, sir. Have you seen the footage of the object?”

“Yes, we’re looking at it now,” came the president’s reply. “What do you make of it, General?”

“We actually believe it’s a ship, sir, as crazy as that seems.” The general thought about how farfetched his own words were sounding right now. “We think the larger columns that fell before it are to either mark the landing area or are perhaps here to protect the ship.”

“Protect it?” the president asked. “Protect it from what?”

“From us, sir.”

There were several seconds of silence before the president spoke again. “What do you suggest, General?”

“I don’t think we should hesitate, sir. Let’s take it out before it has a chance to take us out.”

“What if their intentions are benign?” the president asked.

“Sir, if they were here on a friendly visit, I think they could have made that clear.” The general stared at the fuzzy screen showing the distorted area. “I mean, they snuck up on our planet; they sent six huge projectiles at us without so much as a warning, and they have actually landed in a stealth-capable ship, sir. If you put two and two together, it’s always going to be four. I say we get the country of Panama to give an evacuation order and we nuke the hell out of them . . . sir.”

Another several seconds passed before President Patterson spoke. “No, we cannot attack without provocation.”

The general shook his head. “Then at least let us position most of our ships and subs just off the shore there.”

“No,” the president said. “That could be construed as confrontational. I don’t want to give them any reason to believe our actions are hostile. We will keep monitoring them until we know more. Good-bye, General.”

The general mumbled under his breath as he hung up the phone.

Hours passed with no changes. A garrison of Panamanian soldiers was deployed to set up camp around the unknown object. There were a few skirmishes between the soldiers and the news crews, but they allowed them to stay on scene.

Lunch was brought into the NORAD command center and the general sat down to eat.

“Something’s happening!” someone yelled.

The general dropped his fork and rushed to the railing to stare at the screen. “Holy Mary Mother of God,” the general whispered.

What happened next ignited his spine with tingles. Everyone in the room gasped as the screen flashed and went blank.

The general turned away from the screen and began barking orders. “Send this to the president. Contact the Panama government and see if we can avert this video from hitting the Internet. Ground or reroute all flights going through this area. Let’s see if we can close the canal and pull our ships out until we know what’s going on. And someone get me SETI on the phone.”

Chapter Ten

“This city has really grown,” Dr. McNair said, looking out the window.

“The entire continent from what I’ve heard,” Sally added.

After leaving the hotel, Sally maneuvered the rental car through the streets of Nouakchott. It was a blistering hot day, worse even than the abnormally hot days that had become the norm in the United States. She wore khaki pants and shirt with hiking boots. Dr. McNair was dressed similarly, sitting in the passenger side. Thomas sat in the back wearing a tank top, shorts, and sandals, looking more like a guy on vacation, his muscular body on full display.

Thomas pointed out the back window. “Hey, there’s a casino. Let’s hit the blackjack tables when we get back.”

“I prefer to hold on to my money,” Sally said. “I can think of many more things I could use it for besides giving it all away.”

Thomas grinned toward her eyes in the rearview mirror. “I understand. You must know I have a birthday coming up.”

“You are incorrigible,” Sally shot back. “And roll up your window; the air conditioning is on.”

“Are you sure?” Thomas held his arm out the window to direct the flow of air to his face. “I can’t tell it’s on.”

“Me either,” Dr. McNair said and rolled down his window.

Sally gave in and did the same. She navigated the car through the busy streets and followed the signs toward the public beach area and parked. As she opened the trunk, Thomas volunteered to carry her scuba gear.

They walked past the few people swimming and playing on the beach. The beach area was stunning, with beautiful light-brown sand and crystal clear blue-green waters. But the heat was relentless, so very few were taking advantage of such an awesome beach, and most stayed under huge umbrellas. From the light color of their skin, they all appeared to be tourists.

“How do people live in this heat day to day?” Sally asked, looking back toward the city.

“I guess it’s just what you get used to,” Dr. McNair said, wiping the perspiration from his forehead.

Thomas tugged at the front of his tank top. “I can work on my tan while I’m here.”

“Good idea,” Sally said. “You’re only two shades darker than the natives as it is.” Her eyes glanced at Thomas’s chest. She quickly looked away, but it did not go unnoticed.

“That’s okay, honey bunny,” Thomas said with a twinkle in his eyes. “You can stare all you like. I don’t charge for that.”

“That’s good,” Dr. McNair said. “I was getting ready to stick a dollar in your shorts.”

They all laughed.

At the end of the beach was a wooden dock that ran parallel to the beach where the water was a little deeper. Here’s where the boats were tied up, some for fishing, some for fun. Like at the beach, very few people were out in the heat. The trio walked over the wooden planks until they found the boat they had been instructed to look for.

“Hello,” Dr. McNair said.

Erique Sarpong stopped working on his nets and looked up. He wore shorts and an unbuttoned top, and a huge straw hat to provide shade. He stared at the trio with stern eyes, especially at the scuba equipment. He nodded.

“I’m Stephen McNair with the US government. This is Sally and Thomas. We were told you could take us out diving.”

Erique shook his head. “I’m sorry, I don’t do charters anymore. I’m a fisherman.”

Dr. McNair looked confused. He looked at Sally and Thomas, then back to Erique. “I can pay you well.”

Erique looked at his son, Emmanuel, then back to Dr. McNair. “Where do you want to go?”

“No, Papa,” Emmanuel said.

Dr. McNair handed him the charts.

Erique stared at the paper. His breathing escalated. “No. I’m sorry. I cannot take you there.”

“Why not?” Sally asked.

Erique looked each one of them in the eye before coming back to Sally. “There is something under the water. Something evil.”

Dr. McNair turned to look at his companions. He had been so happy, looking forward to doing some fieldwork, but this was certainly putting a damper on it. He looked back at Erique. “I can pay you two thousand dollars for just a few hours of your time.”

Erique stood fast and quiet.

“Four thousand?” Dr. McNair pleaded.

Thomas walked up to Erique and extended his hand. “I’m Thomas Freeman. Perhaps you’ve read my books.”

Erique shook his hand but his brow furrowed with confusion. “Your books?”

“Never mind him,” Sally said. “We’re needing to go here for the same reason you don’t want us to. We know there’s something wrong out there. We have to find out what it is so no one else will get hurt.”

Erique searched her eyes as if deciding if she was being honest. He apparently was not convinced. “I am sorry.” He turned his attention back to his nets.

After several seconds of silence, the three turned around to leave. “We’ll find another boat,” Thomas said.

As they got about twenty feet away, Erique called out. “Wait.”

“No, Papa,” Emmanuel said again.

“I cannot let them go out there with someone else,” he said to his son. “I could not live with myself.” He looked back to Dr. McNair, who had walked back to him along with Sally and Thomas. “I will do it, but you must promise me that you will all do as I say. If I say it’s time to come back, we come back. Agreed?”

Dr. McNair shook his hand. “Agreed.”

They boarded the boat and Erique headed slowly out to sea. He left his son at the dock. As he cleared the beach area, he opened up the throttle and the boat sped toward its destination. An hour and a half later, he stopped the boat. “We are here.”

Sally took a depth finder from her gear and mounted it by the controls of the boat. “Can you go back and forth toward the south? We’re trying to find something under the water.”

Erique nodded and headed south, crisscrossing as he went. About twenty minutes later, the depth finder beeped.

“Stop the boat,” Sally said. As he stopped, Sally took out her scuba gear.

“You’re going in the water?” Erique asked. “That was not part of the deal. I beg you not to do that.”

“I do this all the time,” she said.

“I’m telling you,” Erique said with a dark harshness to his tone. “There is evil down there. Would you die today?”

Sally looked to Thomas and Dr. McNair.

“Maybe we should come back with submersibles,” Dr. McNair said.

Sally scoffed. “I’m going. I don’t believe in evil . . . or aliens.” She gave Thomas a quick look with that word.

Erique pushed the throttle and the boat started moving. “Let me get you right on top of it. Then promise me you will only go down for five minutes. And be very careful. The current is very strong here.”

“Yes,” Thomas said. “Watch out for the current, Xie. Get it—currency?”

Sally ignored Thomas and nodded to Erique. “I promise. Thank you.” She took off her clothes to reveal a black bikini underneath. As she sat and started gathering her gear, she looked up at Thomas. “You can stop staring anytime.”

Thomas smiled. “I’ll try, but you are a beautiful woman.”

She put on her gear and sat on the edge of the boat. The ocean was very calm as she looked over the edge.

“Remember,” Erique said, “five minutes.”

She gave him a thumbs-up, checked her regulator, and fell backward into the water.

Erique leaned over the boat and watched.

The gentle rocking of the boat and cool breeze felt good to Dr. McNair.
This is what I’ve been needing
, he thought.

Erique kept checking his watch every fifteen seconds. He got up and started pacing back and forth.

Thomas walked over and sat by Dr. McNair. “This guy is making me nervous.”

Dr. McNair nodded in agreement.

A few minutes later, Sally emerged and swam to the back platform. Thomas helped her into the boat.

“Well?” Dr. McNair asked. “What did you see?”

Sally removed her mask and looked around at the other three. “You’re not going to believe this. About two hundred feet down, there is a wall of giant rocks. Must be half a mile high. It is a reef now, but these are not natural formations. They have been placed there over several years, possibly three or more.”

“How can that be?” Dr. McNair asked. “How could someone build a wall over a long period of time without anyone knowing? And why would they do it?” He looked over at Thomas, who was nodding as if this verified his theory. “Could it be?”

“Can we go now?” Erique asked.

“No,” Sally said. “I want to get a sample of the algae growth to determine how old this wall is.” She opened her case and took out a sample bag and positioned herself on the edge of the boat again.

“Five minutes,” Erique said once more.

She nodded and fell back into the water.

Erique sat on the side of the boat and breathed deeply.

A few minutes later, Sally emerged with her bag and climbed into the boat.

“That’s it?” Erique asked. “We go home now?”

“No,” Sally answered. “I want to see the southern end of this thing. Judging by the satellite views, it runs about a hundred miles.”

Erique didn’t move.

“I can pay you more,” Dr. McNair said.

“It is not the money,” Erique said, still looking at Sally. Finally, he returned to the controls, started the boat, and followed the signals of the depth finder for hours until it no longer reported the wall. He traveled back to the area where they picked up the last signal. They decided this must be the southern end of the wall.

BOOK: Pit Bulls vs Aliens
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