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The Unveiling Dennis Gilmour
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The Unveiling

Fiction by Dennis Gilmour

11.22.05 |

Part 1 | Part 2

The Unveiling: Dennis Gilmour

It was almost four o'clock, the time scheduled for the special telecast.
Valerie Saunderson and her children, Nick and Stephanie, clung to each other on the sofa and watched the TV. They were as still as statues, as their senses of sight and hearing strained to funnel every bit of information into their minds and make sense of it, as if they tried hard enough they'd come up with an answer for all of this madness.

When Valerie had first heard the news several hours ago, she almost fainted with terror and disbelief. She'd since reclaimed some composure for the sake of the children, but didn't feel much better. The knot in her stomach clenched tighter. She tried to be strong and reassured Nick and Stephanie with words of comfort but all the while struggled to control her own emotions.

The latest count put the number of people who had vanished in the millions. Some experts were speculating a time distortion might have flung people into a different space-time continuum; some had other theories, but nobody knew for sure. The affected people were from every country on earth--young, old, rich, poor, famous, unknown, black, white. The reports kept pouring in so fast they couldn't tally accurate figures fast enough. One reporter speculated that by the time they were done counting the world's population, perhaps as many as a half a billion would be reported as missing.

Valerie had spent the afternoon on the phone with anxious relatives, but had grabbed the first opportunity she could to check on her husband, Jeff. She called the drugstore where he worked as a pharmacist, and was very glad to hear his voice, quaking though it was, presumably from the enormity of everything that was happening. Jeff said he was coming home early to be with them, and she hoped he'd make it in time for the telecast from the leaders of the world.

Valerie held her children tightly, not saying much, waiting. She clenched her teeth in a vain attempt to remain patient and willed the time to pass quicker. Stay calm, she reminded herself. All her questions would soon be answered. They'd promised.

It was all she could do to contain herself, but finally, it occurred.

The TV screen suddenly went blank.

After a few seconds, the picture came back. It showed the president sitting at a long table with various world leaders from Canada, Russia, Europe, and other nations. A being--semi-transparent, whitish-yellow, taller than any of the humans, with skinny extremities and long fingers--sat in the center. Its head was narrow and the face, though similar to a human's, had stumps for ears, slightly larger eyes, and no hair.
"Wow," Nick said and turned to his younger sister. "Sort of looks like ET from the movie."

"Yea," Stephanie agreed. "Except it's a lot taller and you can kind'a see through it."

Mesmerized by the TV screen, they watched the President of the United States get up and stand behind a podium filled with clusters of microphones and wires. The camera zoomed in on him.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of the world," the president said. Flashes of light and clicking noises danced around his head as reporters took pictures. "While I speak, this message is being simultaneously broadcast world-wide on all channels and translated into all languages." There was a slight pause before he continued. "As most of you undoubtedly know, we are here to discuss a very strange event that has occurred. We won't explain it ourselves, for our special guest is far more capable. We only ask that you try to listen to everything with an open mind before you react."

There were several seconds of silence as he looked at his prepared speech, presumably reading a line or two, and shuffled some papers around. Then he looked up. "Ladies and gentlemen of the world, for many years mankind has seriously pondered the possibility of intelligent beings, other than humans, in the universe. But today we have undeniable proof of the existence of extraterrestrial life."

The president turned slightly and faced the being at the center of the table. "I--along with the rest of these world leaders as representatives of the governments of earth and the human race--would like to formally introduce you, the citizens of the world, to Khur-ak, the Balazon, and leader of the Balazon race of beings."

A gasp of incredulity filled the press room as crowds of reporters jockeyed for position in front of Khur-ak. Random clicking noises filled the air as camera flashes streaked across Khur-ak's face like strobe-lights.

Nick turned from the TV to look at his mother. "Far out, man," he said.
At fourteen, Nick thought everything different was far out. But Valerie couldn't help worrying that the aliens were intent on conquering the world and the broadcast was to formally declare earth's surrender. On the other hand, the president didn't seem to be apprehensive about Khur-ak's presence. His speech, tone of voice, and manner seemed to convey a positive outlook.

The president began again after a suitable moment of silence. He explained that he and many other world leaders had been in contact with the aliens for several years but hadn't revealed their presence right away for fear of mass hysteria and panic at the knowledge of an outer world presence. In addition, the aliens had a message to bring humans about God many might not welcome--perhaps even causing world-wide uncertainty about everything people thought they had known, to the point where humans might collapse as a race of intelligent beings.
However, after much deliberation, the leaders had decided the world needed to know. He talked for a few minutes about the Balazons and the benefits to mankind of contact with them, such as enormous leaps forward in science, technology, and medicine. As he started to close, a reporter jumped in with a question.

"We will answer all questions in due time," the president said. "Please be patient. There are many things we would like to say, but we have agreed to limit ourselves so Khur-ak himself can give a special introduction. I would like to close by assuring everyone listening that the Balazons are a benevolent race of beings who have my utmost trust. They are not--I repeat--are not out to harm anyone, and there is absolutely no reason to fear or mistrust them. Please stay calm. We will soon address all of your questions."

When it looked as if the president were about to sit down, another reporter started to ask questions, but the president insisted on patience until the end of the session. He sat down, and for the next forty minutes each member of the international delegation got up and said a few words at the podium. Mostly they acknowledged their awareness of the aliens' presence and affirmed their belief in the good-will of the Balazons.

"This is boring," Nick sighed as he rolled his eyes. "I want to see the ET talk. How much longer are these politicians gonna keep babbling?"
Valerie wasn't so eager. The longer the leaders talked, the safer she felt. As long as humans were directing and controlling the program, the aliens could not be thought of as bad. If the creatures willingly submitted to a well-controlled, well-thought-out human plan of revealing themselves on a familiar household device, they must be courteous enough to allow humans freedom in other areas of life. Right?
Stephanie didn't seem too optimistic either. She turned to her mother and asked, "Mom, are the aliens friendly?"

Part 2 -->




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