The face of a US soldier was on the monitor, in various shades of green showing it was via an infrared camera. Glistening trails of sweat could be seen running down his cheeks, and he was breathing hard. He spoke quietly but intensely into the camera.
“We’ve been following the targets as ordered and have them under observation. You need to see this…” He gestured with his head to his left, and the picture changed as the cameraman moved the camera to focus on what looked like 2 men kneeling in a clearing, a couple hundred yards away. They were wearing head dress and clothing typical for Arabs, but were also lit up in what looked like a beam of light. The camera zoomed in on them, refocusing, and they could be seen looking up into the light. The cameraman zoomed back out and followed the light up, showing that it disappeared into the clouds. The view came back down to the two kneeling men, who seemed to be looking straight into the camera. The light disappeared, and the men stood up, holding AK47s.
“Get down,” whispered someone, presumably the soldier holding the camera. “I think they’ve seen us.”
The view shook as the cameraman crouched down, pulling the zoom back and jerking the camera around, showing four soldiers moving into defensive positions. Suddenly they were all lit up by a light, just like the two Arabs had been, and everything seemed to freeze. The camera was completely still, and the three men in view were all frozen in the position they were in, apparently along with the cameraman. It was quiet. Not even breathing could be heard.
After a couple of minutes with the view looking like a photo instead of a video feed, the sound of boots stepping onto the nearby ground could be heard, getting closer. There was the loud sound of gunfire and bullets could be seen striking the frozen men, blood and flesh splashing from the exit wounds. But the men still seemed to be frozen. The camera jerked again and fell, maybe hit by a bullet, and the screen turned to static for a moment as it hit the ground, before returning to normal. The boots of the two Arabs could be seen walking amongst the frozen US soldiers, applying head shots to each of them, blood streaming from their various wounds onto the ground.
Suddenly the light disappeared, and each of the soldiers who had been shot collapsed to the ground, splashing into their own pools of blood. None of them moved beyond that. One of the Arabs approached the camera and the screen turned to static, presumably as the camera had been shot or trampled by a boot.
“Jesus…” Mike exclaimed, and sat back, watching the static on the screen. There was silence in the room, as the two others watched him. “What was that, some kind of weapon?”
“We have no idea,” Alex replied, turning off the monitor annd sitting back down. Mike knew him as Deputy Director of the National Security Agency. “All we know is what you’ve just seen, which happened only 2 days ago. It seems to physically freeze the muscles of the body but not objects external to the body, like the camera or the bullets, or their blood. It’s also the first time something like this has been observed via a recording.”
“The light, whatever it is… Evidence of these aliens you were talking about?” Mike asked.
“Evidence of something,” Alex replied. “We’re only assuming aliens, ’cause the technology is unknown. It’s possible that it’s tech used by some other country, but….” He shrugged.
“But… you don’t really believe that, do you.” Mike was making a statement rather than a question, and was answered by the other person in the room, Alex’s assistant, Lisa.
“The US has some of the most advanced technology in the world,” she said. “We know that many of the UFO sightings around the world are our own experimental aircraft. But then there are the sightings that are unexplained, and from those we know we’re not alone. The ‘light that freezes’ has been mentioned often enough in other UFO sightings, where time seems to have stopped for those caught in the light. It was a UFO sighting in that area of Afghanistan that caused the patrol in that video to be ordered to investigate. It confirms, to an extent, something we’ve suspected for a while.”
“And that is…?” Mike asked.
Alex answered his question, leading Mike to believe that teamwork between Alex and Lisa was one of their strong points. “Some of the leadership of terrorist cells seem to be either answering to the occupants of those UFO’s, or… are occupants themselves. We believe some people who come into contact with that light are enhanced in some ways… Stronger and faster… We don’t know if the light changes them, or if it just ‘awakens’ them.”
Mike slowly nodded. “You’ve engaged them in combat then?”
“On occasions, yes,” Alex replied. “The reason you’ve been brought in is because our previous Head of Security turned out to be one of them, and yet you found and neutralised him.”
Mike frowned. “What?”
“Yesterday, when you chased down that terrorist suspect,” Lisa replied.
“I don’t understand,” Mike said, looking at her. “Why was I told he was a terrorist suspect?”
“When he betrayed the US, he became one,” Alex frowned. “We found out two days ago, only a few hours after he viewed that tape, that he had been in the vicinity of an apparent UFO sighting. We asked him about it, but he first tried to deny it, then he tried to escape… I lost 4 men trying to stop him.”
Mike nodded. “So you called me in.”
“You were in town, and we needed the best,” Alex replied, smiling grimly. “You’ve successfully replaced him, and now that you know what we’re about, I hope you’ll be staying.”
Mike looked at him and Lisa carefully. “I suspect I don’t have much of a choice, now that you’ve told me all this.”
“We all have choices,” Alex said. “Some of them are good choices, some are bad.” He smiled again, briefly.
“Well, I’d be stupid to pass this up,” Mike said, smiling back. “Stupid in more ways than one… I’d be happy to take on the job.”
“Welcome to Night Watch,” Alex said, opening his briefcase and then passing a card across to Mike.
“Night Watch?” Mike asked, curious about the name.
“We thought it was appropriate,” Lisa said, smiling. “We watch the night, staying alert, being protective…”
“Very poetic,” Mike said.
“You’re in charge of security now,” Alex stated, interrupting. “I know you understand the responsibilities. You’ll have access to whatever you need to do your job. No questions asked.”
Mike nodded, looking at his new security card, but not really seeing it. He was already planning in his head the best way to get started. “Thank you sir,” he said, formally addressing his new boss. He stood up. “If you’ll show me my office, I’ll get started immediately.”
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