Of all the descriptions that TV made in that period this is the one that General Somervel of the New United Nations liked best, without all those useless hyperboles and sensationalism that the press used to include in any news lately.
But this wasn't just any news. It was the First Contact.
“Will Taylor was a lad of few words and this allowed him to pass the advanced Marine training without any major problems - silence was always appreciated among the military ranks. He had never been to Venezuela before and certainly it was not a place he would ever visit with his girlfriend: indeed, he hated everything concerning South America. However, the future of the Earth seemed to be germinating ironically within that federal republic.
«Of all the absurdities of the last few days, what I really can't understand is why we can't see anything with our fucking and expensive satellites». Inside the truck Alejandro was unable to keep quiet for more than ten minutes.
«It's useless you hold on to your bullshit, Alex; I can't hear you well with all this noise and, honestly, and I don't even care to listen to you at all». Will's gaze was almost blank; he couldn't figure out what would wait for them down there.
Will and Alejandro were sitting side by side in the military jeep running. They landed on the coasts of Caracas just four hours ago and since then they had not stopped moving through the impervious unpaved roads crossing the forest. Their Military Tactics Machines - or MTMs, as they were more commonly called now - vibrated continuously, downloading an endless flow of data. Dozens of tactical information kept appearing on their screen; that was no surprise, though: General Somervel had repeatedly assured that all the military troops would be conveniently coordinated for the whole duration of the "Discovery" operation.
«Will, come down to Earth and listen to me for a sec», said Alejandro excitedly. «Did you try to connect the MTM signal to the meeting point? Can you tell me why the bloody thing doesn’t work? Why does everyone here pretend it's all fucking normal?».
Will sighed, trying to hide the anxiety that was growing inside. «For the thousandth time, listen to me, Alex: there are things we don't know and we can't know. Be a soldier for once and follow the orders. Stop playing with your MTM and brush up the infiltration plan. It shouldn’t take long yet».
«Sir, yes sir!», said Alejandro, bringing his right hand to the head sarcastically. He kept his mouth shut for some instants, but after a while he spoke again: «I just don't understand how you can do without wondering what happened to the fighters that left two hours ago. Bloody hell, we are entering the lion's pit and we don't even have meat with sleeping pills to sedate it. Besides, we do not even know if it is a lion or a dragon!».
Will tried to remain calm. Training makes you used to this: ask few questions, manage the unknown, act quickly. However he couldn’t suppress the awkward feeling that what was waiting for them - the famous target X - was something that would change the way of thinking forever.”
No one was really ready and nobody would ever be.
It was a bubble. Huge. Semi-transparent. Illogical. Alien. It was over everything.
The military truck tried to penetrate the bubble, but it went out as soon as the two front wheels passed the semi-transparent barrier.
Will stepped out of the jeep, and his gaze scanned the horizon that stretched before his eyes. All his muscles stiffened in unison and a sense of deep and atavistic restlessness spread from the inside of his stomach to the brain.
In front of him dozens of military fighters still smoked from the earth, crashing to the ground like windless kites.
Alejandro immediately put his hand to the MTM, discovering that he gave no signs of functioning. He raised his M16 rifle as if by instinct, unhooked the safety but noticed that the trigger was soft. He tried to press aiming the weapon upwards but nothing. Neither the M16 nor the Beretta fired.
In the distance you could see the shadow of what fell from the sky: huge, imperious, alien. It was the First Contact.
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[Photo © faaiq ackmerd]