posted on 12-Oct-2001 7:21:07 AM

Was It A Dream? Part 24

At 8:55 a.m., on Monday, September 16th, three vehicles drove down the road towards the tunnel entrance of Airatan, New Mexico. Max, Mason and Eric Petersen were behind the wheel of each. As they drew up to the entrance and stopped, they could see seven people standing outside the town gates. At precisely nine o’clock, Max opened the gates and let the reporters in.

“Good morning, welcome to Airatan, New Mexico. I am Max Evans, mayor of this town and these are my friends, Mason Blair and Eric Petersen.” Four of the seven reporters were taking still pictures or videos.

“Mr. Evans, I’m Niko Giuliani and these are my associates; Mr. Hudson, Mr. Target, Ms. Sears, Mr. Marshall, Mr. McDonald and Mrs. Penny.”

He gave the name of each person’s newspaper and mentioned at that time that he did not actually know Mr. Hudson, as he had been sent by his supervisor, whom Niko had called, asking for help. Eric was checking them all out on his palm-unit and confirmed that they were who they said they were and that all of their newspapers were small and local, rather than large and national.

“Do you always lock your citizens in, within these gates and barbed-wire fences, Mr. Evans?” One reporter asked right away, sticking her mike into Max’s face. He gently pushed it away before answering.

“Our gates can be opened by anyone on the inside, Ms. Sears. It is certain people on the outside, we wish to keep out. Mr. Giuliani has not been following the rules and has been trying to trespass on our private property, to sneak into our town, for a week now.”

“Maybe you wouldn’t call it sneaking if you didn’t have something to hide.” Ms. Sears persisted.

“I define sneaking as trying to gain access to this town through any other means than walking through the open gates, Ms. Sears. The military left behind their fences and barbed wire, Mr. Giuliani has tried going through them, over them and under them. I call that sneaking and if I weren’t the generous and patient man that I am, he would no longer be a part of your little press-corps. He gets one more chance and then he’s out.” Max said sternly, looking directly at Niko.

“If you’ll all put your equipment into the back of our vehicles and take places yourselves, we’ll drive you over to the clinic, where the blood tests will be run.” Mason said, as he stepped forward to stand next to Max.

The reporters did as they were told and they were soon on their way to the clinic. When they arrived at the medical facility, Max gave the reporters a quick tour. He was proud of the small, yet well equipped and staffed dispensary. Antarians couldn’t heal or cure everything and sometimes they required medical help, as well. They ended their tour in the laboratory, where the blood samples would be drawn and the tests would be run. Max let Ruth, the medical technologist show the reporters how all of the equipment had been sterilized and that they were all empty and waiting to process Mason and Max’s blood.

“If you two gentlemen will have a seat, I’ll draw your blood.” Ruth said.

“Hey I thought your wives were going to have their blood tested as well.” Niko said.

“We were hoping that by showing you that Mason and I are not related, you would believe us when we say that our wives are also not related to each other.” Max said.

“It’s not that we don’t believe you, Mr. Evans, but that we would like to see proof.” Mr. Hudson said, apologetically.

“Very well, I’ll give them a call and ask them to come here; it will only take a few minutes for them to arrive.” Max went to a phone on the counter and called Liz and Cheryl. A few minutes later, the ladies walked into the lab.

“Why don’t we draw the blood by couples; Mr. and Mrs. Evans, if you would sit in these chairs, please, I’ll draw yours first.” Ruth said.

To the reporters, the whole procedure was pretty boring. The blood was drawn and placed into the various pieces of lab equipment. A while later, the results were finished and Ruth and Dr. Wang; the chief physician on staff, explained them.

“These tests show conclusively that Max Evans and Mason Blair; and Liz Evans and Cheryl Blair are in no way related. Their identical appearances are just chance.”

“Thank you, Ruth and Dr. Wang.” Max said and then turned back to the reporters, who all had copies of the reports in their hands. “Ladies and gentlemen, do you accept these reports and the word of these medical practitioners?” All of the reporters nodded their heads, reluctantly. They had watched everything carefully and they couldn’t see how any of the results could have been falsified.

“Very well then, let me take you on a tour of the rest of our town.”

Max, Liz, Mason, Cheryl and Eric herded the reporters out of the lab and out of the clinic. A few moments later, when they were sure that the coast was clear, all of the rest of their friends and family, who had been watching from the back of the lab, popped back into visibility. Everyone was talking and laughing at once.

“Alex, my wonderful, loving, sweet and sexy husband; if you had gotten us caught with your clowning around, I would have killed you there on the spot!” Isabel yelled at her beloved mate, while at the same time, trying not to laugh hysterically.

**Flashback**

All of the gang, including Liz, Cheryl and Dour Maisels, were waiting around in the lab for the reporters to arrive.

“All right everyone, they are on their way. Step into the back of the lab, I don’t want any of them, bumping into any of you, while I give them a tour.” Ruth said.

“Doug, do you have a good view of the room?” Liz asked their resident mind-warper.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine, Mrs. Evans; especially since I won’t be mind-warping Miss Ruth and she can see for herself where she is sticking those needles. I just have to make the reporters see what we want them to see and that will be easy.”

“What are you going to do about their cameras and video recorders?” Cheryl asked.

“All of their equipment has been malfunctioning on and off, all morning. Through mechanical or electronic breakdown, none of them will get pictures of this procedure; too bad that the equipment failures won’t be discovered until later.” Michael said, grinning.

“They are in the building.” Ruth warned. “Doug, mind-warp me first, so I know what they will see when they come in and then take it off, so I can see what I am really doing.”

“Yes ma’am.” Doug said. “I have isolated all of the reporters and Miss Ruth. What do you see now?”

“I see my empty lab.” Ruth told him. ‘Alright, everyone communicates sub-vocally from now on. Don’t make a sound. Doug, take the mind-warp off me…thank you.’

Ruth showed the reporters how all of the equipment had been sterilized and that they were all empty and waiting to process Mason and Max’s blood.

‘Alex, you come forward now and sit in the right chair; Mr. Blair knows to sit in the left one.’ Ruth instructed, silently.

“If you two gentlemen will have a seat, I’ll draw your blood.” Ruth said, out loud.

“Hey I thought your wives were going to have their blood tested as well.” Niko said.

“We were hoping that by showing you that Mason and I are not related, you would believe us when we say our wives are also not related to each other.” Max said.

“It’s not that we don’t believe you, Mr. Evans, but that we would like to see proof.” Mr. Hudson said, apologetically.

“Very well, I’ll give them a call and ask them to come here; it will only take a few minutes for them to arrive.”

Max called Liz’s cell phone so that he would actually be speaking to her, should any of the reporters try to listen in. Doug was easily able to keep the mind-warp.

‘Liz and Cheryl, walk out into the hall, wait three minutes and then walk back in as though you just arrived.’ Max told Liz, sub-vocally and Cheryl heard through the connection she had with Liz, through their joined hands.

The two ladies did this, threading their way past the reporters, who were wondering around, looking at everything, unseen. One reporter was poking in the drawers, beside where Alex was sitting. Alex waved his hands in front of the reporter, but he didn’t see Alex.

‘I feel like a ghost. This is so spooky, they are looking right through me.’ Alex said, silently. ‘Hey guys, if I die and come back as a ghost, promise that you’ll see me, don’t look right through me, okay?’

‘Alex!’ Isabel screamed in a stage whisper. ‘Please be quiet. Don’t say things about your dying or coming back as a ghost.’

‘Sorry Sweetheart.’ Alex whispered across the room, to Isabel. ‘What if I do this, you big, fat creep?’ Alex whispered and then he brought his right hand up, perpendicular to his face, touched his thumb to his nose and wiggled his fingers at the oblivious reporter, as he also stuck out his tongue at the man. The whole group at the back of the lab cracked up with laughter and Doug started to struggle with his mind-warp.

‘Would all of you please be quiet?’ Max yelled, silently, while keeping a bland expression on his face. ‘We are going to lose our mind-warp.’

Max casually walked across the room, until he stood by the invisible Doug. Then he put out his hand to touch the younger man’s arm and transferred some of his energy to him. The group at the back had clamed down with only a trembling of their lips, or a sparkle in their eyes, to show that they were still laughing inside.

‘Thanks, Mr. Evans.’ Doug said. ‘I’ve got everything under control now.’

Just then, Liz and Cheryl walked into the lab. They had their facial expressions under control, but it was clear to Max and Mason, that they must have also seen what had just happened.

‘Mr. Evans, just stay where you are, I’ll make these people see what they need to see.’ Doug instructed him, as Ruth told Max and Liz to sit in the chairs, first.

‘I’m going to have to stick Max anyway, so that he looks like his blood has been drawn.’ Ruth warned Doug, while the tests were being run. ‘Cover me.’ She said and Doug nodded.

She had Max sit down and quickly poked him with a small needle and then put a band-aid over the puncture.

‘Thanks for remembering that detail, Ruth.’ Max praised her.

‘Glad to help.’ Ruth smiled at her king.

A while later the results were finished and Ruth and Dr. Wang explained them.

“These tests show conclusively that Max Evans and Mason Blair; and Liz Evans and Cheryl Blair are in no way related. Their identical appearances are just chance.”

“Thank you, Ruth and Dr. Wang.” Max said and then turned back to the reporters, who all had copies of the reports in their hands. “Ladies and gentlemen, do you accept these reports and the word of these medical practitioners?” All of the reporters nodded their heads, reluctantly. They had watched everything carefully and they couldn’t see how any of the results could have been falsified.

“Very well then, let me take you on a tour of the rest of our town.”

Max, Liz, Mason, Cheryl and Eric herded the reporters out of the lab and out of the clinic.

**End Flashback**

Max, Liz, Mason, Cheryl and Eric took the reporters on a tour of the rest of the town, for the rest of the day. They had answered questions over lunch, pointed out their non-denominational church, the school, the library and the public pool. They took them by Olaus Petersen’s office and the mostly retired architect showed them his plans for the town buildings and houses. Finally, the reporters were taken down into the underground facility. They were shown the hydroponics and mushroom farms, the community’s classrooms and the artist studios, which had been built into some of the missile silos. Last, but not least, they took the reporters through one of the many small tunnels, which were cut through the mountain walls and gave access to the outside slopes and showed them the community’s stone quarry. From there they were taken back to the small hotel, near the entrance tunnel and given rooms for the night.

“That’s all there is to see in Airatan, New Mexico, ladies and gentlemen.” Max said. “You are welcome to stay overnight in our hotel and then if you have any questions you can ask them over breakfast, tomorrow morning. I can’t imagine that anything you’ve seen today is worth writing about, but I hope you have enjoyed your tour of our little town and don’t feel as though your time has been wasted. You might like to come back next summer for our art fair. With that, I’ll say goodnight.” Max and his friends left the reporters in the capable hands of the hotel owner and his wife.

“Have them watched.” Max told Michael and the rest of their volunteer security team, who had met him outside of the tourist area of town. “Don’t intercept unless they get too close to someone’s home.”

Max turned to Isabel and the group with her.

“I need you all to dream-walk those reporters; find out what they really thought of the tour and blood tests. Thanks a lot for all of your help, everyone.” Max called out to the two groups.

At two o’clock that morning, Max and Liz were woken up by a call from Isabel.

‘Max, something interesting has happened. Mr. Hudson, the proxy reporter for one of Niko’s friends, is packing up and getting ready to leave, now, in the middle of the night. He’s totally disgusted with Niko’s idea and thinks this whole thing has been a waste of time.’

‘This is great, Isabel!’ Max exclaimed. ‘We were waiting for just such an opening. Will you call Doug Maisels for me? Liz and I are on our way to his house.’

‘Why do I have to be the one to wake him up?’ Isabel cried, silently.

‘He won’t mind being woken up so much, if it is his lovely princess who’s doing it.’ Max answered, as he and Liz jumped out of bed and put some clothes on.

‘Oh you!’ Isabel exclaimed, before she broke the link.

A few minutes later, Max and Liz walked up to Doug’s front door, which was already open for them.

“Doug, sorry to wake you up in the middle of the night, but something’s come up and we have the perfect opportunity to take advantage of it, if we act quickly.”

“What’s happened, sir?” Doug asked.

“One of the reporters, Mr. Hudson, is leaving. What we would like you to do is take his place. We need someone on the inside so that we can find out what Niko and the others are up to. Here’s a new cell-phone. Give the others the number to this phone, so they call you and not the real Mr. Hudson. Will you do this for us, Doug?” Max asked. Doug only thought for a moment.

“Yes, sir, I can do that, I’ll be happy to.” Doug said. “I just wait for them to call me?”

“For the time being.” Max said. “You know the plan our son, Phillip came up with and what we want to do to Niko in the end.”

“Yes sir!” Doug said, grinning.

“Then just keep us informed of any developments, okay?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good man. We’ll let you get back to sleep, now.” Max said and he took Liz by the hand and they left Doug’s house.

The next morning, the reporters met in private, over breakfast. Unknown to them, Doug was there, mind-warping them and playing the part of Mr. Hudson.

“This whole exercise has been a waste of time, Giuliani.” Ms. Sears complained. “You promised us that we would come away from this meeting with a huge story, but all we got was a boring tour of a simple artist community.”

All of these reporters, except for the real Mr. Hudson, had been desperate enough for a big scoop to believe Niko Giuliani, when he called them and claimed to have found an entire town of aliens. They all wanted to leave their small, local papers for the large, national papers or international news agencies. Niko was also desperate to write a big story, which would bring him fame and fortune and shot-put him out of his dumpy job with the tabloid.

“Is that all you think we have here, just another small town?” Niko asked, sarcastically. “No, that whole act they put on yesterday was just that; a play, put on for our benefit so that we wouldn’t find out what they are hiding here. Well, I don’t buy it and I am going to prove it one way or another.”

“What’s your plan?” Mr. McDonald asked, getting sucked into Niko’s schemes again.

“Three of us should stay in town, at this hotel, right out in the open. You can say that you are writing stories, featuring their local artists for your paper’s art section. Maybe someone will relax and let something slip. The rest of us will keep trying to sneak in during the night. There are 13,000 and 15,000 foot high peaks nearby; we can set up long range equipment on top of them, maybe get a good enough vantage-point to see inside these mountain walls.” Niko explained.

“They seemed in a rush to have us come out here. I bet that they are planning to do something, pretty soon, that they don’t want anyone to see.” McDonald said, optimistically.

“I could be one who stays.” Mrs. Penny said. “I’ve actually worked for the art section of my paper, so at least I’ll be able to ask the right questions.”

“Me too.” Ms. Sears said. “Which of you guys are going to stay?”

All of the men looked reluctant. Doug waited a moment more and then in his guise as Mr. Hudson, reluctantly agreed to stay as well, saying that he had covered fashion for his paper.

“But the rest of you had better keep the three of us informed.” Mr. Hudson said.

“And vice-versa.” Niko said. “Here, let’s give each other our cards with our cell-phone numbers on them.” He suggested, bringing out his business cards and passing them around. The other reporters did the same. Doug blew out a quiet sigh of relief that someone else had suggested swapping numbers.

“So, Hudson, Penny and Sears, you make arrangements to stay longer and the rest of us will get out of here.” Mr. Marshall said.

“We know what to do, but let’s make sure that we cover different artists and separate parts of the valley, so that it all looks above-board and innocent.” Ms. Sears suggested.

“We can meet here for dinner each night and fill each other in.” Mrs. Penny agreed.

Doug nodded, agreeably, happy that he could do his real job, managing his parent’s fabric business during the day and would only have to mind-warp his two “colleagues” in the evening.

“Well, let’s get cracking. It’ll take time to find an artist willing to talk to us.” Doug said and the group broke up. ‘The next two weeks were going to be interesting in deed.’ He thought.

TBC Feedback Please, oh please! Thank you, jane
I will post all parts to this story, on one string, on the Repost Board!
f=repost-fan-fiction&t=405



posted on 13-Oct-2001 10:44:40 AM
bump