Fifty One

This scifi-themed piece is 996 words long and was submitted to a competition, but sadly got rejected.

I hope that you enjoy it!


 

“Sir, please put down the weapon.” The soldier said.

My hands trembled with adrenaline. I could hardly hear him speak through the thrumming of my heartbeat in my ears. A bead of sweat traced its way down my brow making me twitch with anxiousness.

“Sir, please!” he cried. “Please, just put it down.”

“Move back!” I ordered.

He complied with slow and deliberate steps away from the control console, his hands in the air.

“Put the gun down. Slowly. And get out.” I said.

With measured movements he placed his pistol, which he drew too slowly when I barged into the room, onto the floor. I trained the barrel of my weapon on him as he backed toward the doorway. At the threshold of the door was a cohort of soldiers, scientists, and officials who all looked at me with trepidation.

When he reached the doorframe I yelled at him again “Shut the door!”

No sooner than it slammed shut, I raced towards it, twisting the lock and dragging a desk across its breadth, sealing myself in the room.

At last, I removed the alien weapon from my forearm. Whatever servos or hydraulics that powered the device hissed in an other-worldly manner as it unclamped from my body. The firing turret swiveled a full revolution in each direction like a tank cannon before retreating into the weapons confines. 

When I placed it on the table, I thought back to where I found it. A whole rack of them somewhere in B-10. I couldn’t believe we had such exotic weaponry in this base, nor in such abundance!

Nothing in this facility was as I expected. 

In all my years stationed here I knew there was something else at play. The rumour mill was intentional, we presumed. UFO sightings and abductions were to cover a matter of national security. The Blackbird SR71, B52 Stealth Bomber, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – Area 51 was the testing ground for all of them! What better way to cover up the superlative of human technology than with our own wild imagination?

But that wasn’t the whole story and I knew it. Not even the government could’ve kept a secret this big. I thought I was crazy but it was hiding in plain sight, you just had to look between the cracks.

I was an electrical engineer diverting power around the Area 51 facility as Command required. I’ve been in the service for a long while but too often there were… anomalies, in some of my directives. Namely, the huge power surges sent to this particular room in this particular floor. The power requirements were immense. Inconceivable for a single facility, let alone a single room.

It took some sleuthing, some filling the gaps, and storming my way through eight basement levels of the most secret military facility in the USA, but I was right about my hunch! Stood in the middle of the room was an orb about the size of an SUV. A laptop, linked to it via a single cable, didn’t seem any more complex than what I could buy at the store. I was wholly surprised by the picture I was seeing.

THUNK! THUNK! Rattled the desk as the men behind it attempted to force their way in. Claxons blared and weapons cocked the other side of the door. It was all the prompt that I need.

Remarkably, the laptop was on and unlocked (and the OpSec part of my mind died a little). The interface on the screen was like nothing I’ve seen before. It took some unsuccessful stabs at some nonsensical glyphs until something happened. 

Lightning, like from a tesla coil, weaved along the surface of the orb. It grew wilder and more frequent until the glass structure glowed with a violet hue. At this time I noticed that the surface of the orb wasn’t solid like glass but actually liquid, like a jelly.

Crashing steel clamoured behind me.

“Hey! Freeze!”

The soldiers were too late. If they fired then I couldn’t tell. I already jumped inside the orb.

 

Colours and shapes stretched around me in a violent ether. My body dissolved, hardened, separated, and conjoined simultaneously. Everything was spinning but I wasn’t dizzy. It lasted an instant that lasted an eternity before I felt my feet touch solid ground.

 

Gasps met my ears. Hushed whispers in a language that didn’t seem human.

“You are not scheduled.” a voice said, in an accent that sounded distorted.

I opened my eyes. 

I was inside the orb except somewhere else; outside in some lush tropical jungle. The wildlife was spectacular in a way I’ve never seen outside of an acid trip. Taking in the sight, my eyes finally found living beings. They were humanoid. Squatter than us, but bipedal and of otherwise similar stature. Their dark skin glistened, like it was covered in a glittery, rouge slime. I couldn’t say for sure what their expressions were, but I took them to be shocked.

“What is the purpose?” A being said with the same voice as before.

“Errr, where- what is this place?” I asked.

“It doesn’t know.”

“This one is uninformed.”

“Being.” The first creature said to me. “You from Fifty One. Do you comprehend?”

“What? No, I am a human. From Earth.” I said.

The creatures murmured among themselves before agreeing on something – assuming that a nod meant the same thing to them as it did for us, at least. One being passed a bag to the one in front of me. They held it aloft.

It seemed at first to be a simple black bag until I saw that the black was liquid and there were loose balls floating in it. The creature pulled a ball from the bag and showed me. It was the size of a marble and similarly pretty. It was beautifully coloured blue, green, and with a blot of white on each end.

My heart dropped.

The creature looked me knowingly.

“Fifty One”. It said.

 

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