This "archival" story was inspired by a few of my dreams which I linked together.
By William Markiewicz
(continued from last issue)
The President more than ever felt the burden of his responsibility. The secret which would finally be revealed today had for him a bigger than national dimension. He, as well as his two assistants, realised that the new visitor, third in the series, came above all to state his conditions, whose gravity could be guessed from the audacity of their sacrifices. After all, they killed themselves only to gain attention. Who were they? What would the conditions be? The struggle to come would be tough, and at first glance, quite unequal.
The new visitor bore the same strange lack of expression as his predecessor.
-- " With your permission I will come right to the point," he said. "You have already seen some aspects of our power: we are indifferent to death for reasons you cannot even suspect. We can do anything we want to you, even annihilate you. But we are not interested in your destruction so I came here to negotiate. Our conditions will be negligible, so negligible that they will go unnoticed and life will continue almost as if we didn't exist."
-- "Don't you believe that our human duty is to resist and take the risks rather than bow down before some threat, perhaps a fictitious one?" said the President.
-- "You want proof of course," said the visitor. "You understand that we couldn't announce ourselves with a blare of trumpets because it's in your interest as well as ours to keep the secret."
-- "Why do you, with all your power, find it necessary to keep secrets?" asked the President.
-- "We want your collaboration, not your annihilation," answered the visitor. "This should reduce your worries about your fate and encourage you to accept our conditions."
-- "What are they?"
-- "We need manpower. The people will be paid -- and well paid -- and they will not know that they work for us. They wont even know that we exist. The work will be directed and financed by you and that is the extent of your collaboration. So, your sacrifice will be purely financial and after all, only theoretical because it will circulate your abundant capital, frozen in the bank, and at the same time your unemployment problems will be resolved."
-- "What kind of work are you talking about? Who are you and why did you choose us?"
-- "You are dealing with an interplanetary federation," said the visitor with a grimace that was an attempt at a smile. "The time will come when you will be full members of our federation, but for the moment the conditions are those I have outlined. The work program will, after all, not have much significance for you. It consists of melting and mixing certain materials which have no value to you but which are very useful to us, like silicone, granite, clay, some iron ... And I can assure you that you are not the only ones we have contacted here. We directed ourselves, at more or less the same time, to all important world leaders on various pretexts. You can inquire. They all know the agreement on keeping the secret. So, on the whole earth there are perhaps 100 people who know of our existence. Their common secret forms a kind of planetary collaboration never achieved until now. This also will allow you to free money from the arms race -- it means guaranteed peace for the planet! So you see, by all criteria, there is no sacrifice for you. On the contrary."
-- "Was it necessary to start our relationship with a bloodbath?" asked the President.
-- "There were other ways but the one used was the most efficient. You realise what a delicate mission this was for unknown people like us, lacking references, to contact a government without alarming the masses. Our sign of recognition, the living head, is too unbelievable to be accepted by the public. Only those who saw it believe it. We succeeded and that's what is important. If you need proof of our power you will have it. It will be given in one predetermined place and will have the attention of the whole world, but only those who are informed will understand."
-- "So, you promise destruction of one area!?"
-- "There will be proof impressive enough to give you an idea of our power," repeated the visitor flatly. "Then we will contact you again. Now I leave and I warn you, don't try to stop me or follow me because, my mission achieved, I will disappear as my predecessor did."
The unknown man left and nobody moved to stop him. His interlocutors remained plunged in respectful silence until the President pressed the buzzer and a man dressed in white entered through a side door. It was the same doctor who had previously assisted at the meeting with the Prefect.
-- "Our devices show that the visitor's heartbeat and blood pressure are normal. The x-rays showed a normally constructed human body. The cerebral waves make me wonder a bit because alpha waves were predominant as you find in very relaxed people."
-- "A relaxed person who will die soon!" somebody remarked.
A thought struck everyone -- this man could be under hypnosis.
-- "If it is a case of hypnotism, who is directing it?"
-- "And the speaking head -- also the result of hypnotism?" threw in another.
--"Why not?" somebody answered, half-joking.
The President remained engrossed in thought; for him nothing in the situation could be accepted or rejected.
-- "I will communicate with Washington and Moscow," he concluded. "Let's see how they stand."
(Continued in the next issue)