I apologize to anyone trying to follow this story. I just discovered myself that Chapter Four was never posted. (I blame the aliens)
The Absence of an Alien – Chapter Four
The crowd was anything but calm today. Those reporters who attended the last meeting with the aliens were largely missing today. One could hardly argue with their absence, having witnesses the alien explode like a thick milkshake bursting through a thin membrane of plastic and facial tissue. It spattered across the faces of nearly everyone who was facing him at the time, and it wasn’t the most pleasant odor, even after the upheaval of several stomachs shortly afterward. Who could blame them for calling in sick.
In their place were the substitutes, the lesser of the reporters that had to strive hard to remain on the coattails of the best of them. It was a mixture of back-stabbing and intrigue that they all had used to stay within reach of those who had better financial backing, or political clout. To say that their morals and ethics were above reproach had long since been asking the wrong questions intentionally.
Now they had their chance to outwork the others of the same ilk, the same lack of redeeming qualities, those who would do anything for the story. They were not on top, and weren’t likely to give up the position without a very dirty fight. A little vomit and alien brain matter wouldn’t be a deterrent to them.
The third speaker calmly explained that the last speaker, number two, had simply terminated himself rather than return to an outer secluded area near the outside of their ship where it could be done out of sight. It was inevitable as he couldn’t return to the body of the ship without further contamination of the whole crew and visiting aliens.
The first speaker had nearly ended them all in a single breath. Only his relative isolation within the entrance and detoxification stage of the ship had kept deaths down to only a hundred or so. These were mostly engineers, body suit handlers, and nearly the whole hospital within the ship. Only off duty medical personnel had escaped death and remained the only medically skilled aliens not on their planet.
The second speaker had just picked the wrong time to initiate his demise. As soon as he determined that his effectiveness had ended, indicated by the chaos of the Earthlings, he ended his term as representative, and his life. His timing couldn’t have been worse for the Earthmen present. It wouldn’t happen again, not in public anyway.
Talking was rampant between the field of reporters and observers before the latest alien appeared. Decorum was absent as they talked loudly, even raising the level of their voices to near shouts as they argued between themselves. I could only wonder what the effect on the alien representative when he witnessed the chaos before he even began talking. I worried that we would have another explosion long before words were actually spoken. We hadn’t been told why the last speaker had blown up yet, other than myself because of my necessity to set up the next discussion.
I overheard various bits of the discussion as the words flew rapidly around the room. Of most interest was the intention to call the aliens liars right to their face. It seems that after the doubts about their ship having the ability to outmaneuver all of our detecting devices, including telescopes that could see clearly across the universe, much money and time had been spent to dispel this possibility.
“Our company has indisputable proof that their ship is not where they say it is. It cannot be, period!” he spoke to a group of men with black suits and white shirts on, their ties flying in the air as they gestured their arms towards others, then into the air where supposedly the alien ship was staged. They pointed at the ceiling as though everyone didn’t know where space was already.
“What gives your associates any degree of credibility over anyone else’s research?” a particularly red-faced man said very firmly. His hand was nearly in a fist as his hand swung around in front of his the other’s face.
“Reflective proximality.” He spoke with affirmation, obviously putting a smug face on as he was asked. His hair never moved as he turned his head to give a better view of his profile. It was important to him since cameras were everywhere and everything he did would be reflected in pay, and more importantly, future opportunities as a newsman. It could even have political repercussions should he make a large enough commotion beneficial to himself.
“Explain what that gibberish is to us laymen.” Another man in the group asked calmly, never indicating that any news could ever bother him or deter him from doing the job. His mask was as solid as the hair of the other man.
“We bounce different wavelengths off the moon and catch them again to determine if they have been altered, slowed, or modified any other possible way.” He stood by while the second man considered what he had been told. It was obvious by his expression that he still didn’t understand what he was having explained to him. The speaker could see the lack of understanding easily.
“We bounced them off of every hill and mountain on the surface of the moon, deflecting them in every direction and re-gathering them into our receivers and sensors.” The stone face of the listener told him that he still couldn’t comprehend.
“IT’S NOT THERE!” he finally yelled, his face and ears reddened. “The Planet of the Aliens does not exist. It is nowhere in the space between us and the moon!” he paused for a breath. “They have been lying to us!” He finally revealed in a shout. He had told the secret that he hadn’t wanted exposed until he was facing the alien directly in front of him. He was equally angry at himself as he was at the ignorant man in front of him. His staging of the even had failed and he would have to pick up the pieces now to make himself look better once again.
“Then they must live on the planet?” another suggested. Several of the men gasped and looked to the other two for answers.
“Maybe they transported themselves here?”
“You imbecile. Are you really that stuck into television?” he chastised the ignorant man quickly. “Besides, we saw their landing craft.” He added with a shaking of his head in disbelief.
“Or maybe they are on the moon?” another suggestion was given.
Soon alternate ideas were being flung back and forth like tennis balls across the small room with an empty chair. As if on a signal, the crowd fell silent and stared at the seat without an alien sitting in it. They had emptied themselves of all their speculation and were still absent of any quality answers. They could only wait until another alien appeared. This would be the roughest crowd any alien had ever faced. After the few fights between each other, the angry media had a common enemy, and enemy that they couldn’t wait to pounce upon.
“All this benevolence is Bullshit!” someone declared. “They have been selling us crap and expecting us to roll in it.” He continued. Deep voices rattled their agreement with loud calls of “Yeah!, Right.” “They have been filling our ears up with noise. “ he kept yelling to talk himself into a higher state of excitement, finally standing up on his chair, unable to contain himself any longer. His acting was becoming extreme.
“They probably have a standing army all around us, just waiting until we give them the signal to move it!” He proclaimed. The crowd roared and aimed their fists at the ceiling.
“Yeah!! Yeah”!!, Down with the aliens!!” became the loudest of the shouts. Everyone was standing up and dancing with themselves, turning back and forth to face everyone else to make sure they were all in agreement. Sweat was rolling off the excited media, shirts were opened and ties pulled down but not taken off. It was a small mob, but it was a mob nonetheless.
An alien was never added to this mixture, which would have blown up like a case of plastic explosives. At the very least the alien would have exploded within his shell, as they had done before. Instead the room worked itself into a frenzy, became a very angry mob when they realized that the time had passed when the alien was supposed to appear, and got hysterical when they were told that the alien was not going to appear at all that day. At least it appeared this way to the cameras, as it was intentioned.
Eventually they calmed down when there was nothing for them to vent their anger on and the camera had been shut down. They peeled off separately, or sometimes in groups, headed for the nearest tavern where they could carry on their bombastic displays for a while longer, and the alcohol was plentiful. All of them intended to return for the show the next day.
They didn’t know that they would no longer be welcome in the press room. They would be told while they were a long ways distance from the room, and hopefully they would all be separated as well. All the acting up in the world wasn’t going to change the opinion of the government. They were beyond the acting phase of cause and effect. They were the seasoned professionals.