Thursday, October 19, 2023

Microstory 1999: False Targets

Generated by Google Workspace Labs text-to-image AI software
Leonard: Myka, I couldn’t decipher your abbreviated message. What is going on?
Myka: Oh my God, it’s a shitshow. Um, hello? Who is this?
Keziah: Hi, I’m Keziah Miazga. Is this her, Len-Bear? She’s pretty.
Leonard: *uncomfortable* Myka Tennison, this is my ex-wife, Keziah Feldman.
Keziah: It’s nice to meet you. I’ve not yet decided if I’m going to change my name back.
Myka: Okay, well...we have some sensitive information to discuss. Leonard, I’m not sure if she should even be in the building.
Leonard: She’s from another universe, Myka. I think she knows about aliens.
Myka: Still. *waves Henley over* Maybe she could just hang out in the break room while we deal with the mess that’s been made of the day? Hen will show you the way. It’s so lovely to finally meet you, though. Leonard has told me so many great things.
Leonard: That was a little rude, on both of your parts. I do hope that we can be civil about this. I know it’s a complicated—
Myka: I don’t care about that. Reese is missing.
Leonard: What?
Myka: I said that Reese is missing!
Leonard: I heard you. I just don’t understand. How did he go missing? He sent us a group text telling us that he was on his way back from the Capital.
Myka: I know you heard me. I’m just...frustrated. Not only has this happened, but they think that there’s been yet another alien arrival, and the people who have been investigating the whole mole thing all over the government are here, and they say we should be informed of something in that regard. Plus, Navin is having an episode. He’s fine, he’s getting checked out by the medic, but he was trying to repair the broken central heating furnace, which we’re gonna need, because winter is coming. It’s just one thing after the other, and oh my God, Leonard, Reese is missing!
Leonard: Slow down. Let’s take this one at a time, starting with the easiest. I’m here now, so I can take a look at the furnace. I wasn’t always a parole officer. It’s not a priority, though, so let’s move on. As for the internal investigators, they can wait where they are. I don’t know what all that has to do with us. Now. where are the aliens?
Myka: Wyoming again. Pretty much the exact same place that we found the others. My guess is that it’s a second wave. Or really, it’s the real wave, and the few Ochivari we found were just the little advanced team. According to our satellite, the one that just happened is a lot bigger than anything we’ve ever seen before. The scientists still haven’t measured enough instances to come up with a scale, but based on what few experiences they do have, they’re estimating dozens of arrivals. *takes a much-needed breath*
Leonard: Okay, did you send a team?
Myka: I was the only one here, so yes. I had to make an executive decision. Anaïs is leading recontainment. *consults watch* They’re probably taking off from our airbase.
Leonard: Recontainment? What is that? I’ve never heard of that.
Myka: That’s what they’re calling recon plus containment. I thought you were the one who came up with it.
Leonard: No, it’s confusing. It sounds like we’re containing something that was already contained before.
Myka: Okay, whatever, Leonard, Reese is missing!
Leonard: Okay, let’s talk about that. What do we know?
Myka: I’ve been on the phone with the Transportation Regulatory Authority, but of course, they’re still investigating. All they’ll tell me is that the plane was last seen making an emergency landing in St. Louis, and then it deblipped.
Leonard: Deblipped?
Myka: Does your version of Earth even have English? Deblip. It’s a phenomenon where an object appears on radar before suddenly disappearing. It blips away for no apparent reason. It’s usually a false target, like a fast-moving bird. I don’t know how it works.
Leonard: Okay, so if that doesn’t happen normally...
Myka: What?
Leonard: Can we access the satellite data? There was a reading over Wyoming, but...maybe there was one over St. Louis too?
Myka: You think the aliens got him?
Leonard: I think it could be worse than that. *shaking his head* We’re always talking about people coming to this universe, but it’s just as likely that people are taken out of it. It may be a daily occurrence, for all we know. Hell, maybe the satellite doesn’t even know what to look for. Departures could show up as the opposite as arrivals. We should ask them to reverse the polarity, or some shit like that.
Myka: Okay. The new science team started working last week. I’ll see what they know. You need to take homebase command.
Micro: *walking up* That can wait. The away team will still be in the air for the next couple of hours. We have another problem. I just got an email.
Leonard: An email from whom?
Micro: Remember when you and Ophelia needed to get out of Memphis? You asked for help from Anaïs’ criminal contact, Moenia. He said that he would do it for a favor.
Leonard: Crap, he’s collecting on that debt now? Today of all days.
Micro: I don’t think he knows how crazy this day is for us. He didn’t say what he wanted out of us, but it does sound time sensitive.
Leonard: *looks between Myka and Micro* Valentine, I need you to take point on this. He’s right, we owe him. Find out what he wants, and if it turns out it can wait, then make him do just that. Tell him we’re busy, obviously don’t tell him why. Read Timotei into it, and take him as backup if it comes to that. Actually, talk to me again once you find out what the favor is. Then I’ll decide if you and Timotei should go anywhere.
Micro: Timotei? He’s in procurement.
Leonard: He’s in procurement, because he was a smuggler. The two of them speak the same language. I think he can handle himself too. If you need a real fighter, though, you’re free to conscript any of the newer agents who didn’t go on the mission. Tell them whatever they need to know. Again, though, keep me posted. *turns back to Myka*
Myka: We have no idea what the hell we’re doing. We’re just winging it.
Leonard: Myka, I have been to two planets, and if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that everybody is a fraud, and everybody is making it up as they go along. We will get through this. We’ll find Reese, we’ll do whatever needs to be done with the aliens, and we’ll fix the heating. But until then, come here. *takes her in his arms* And somebody call the goddamn president, or whatever he is! I have questions about that jet of his!

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