Type A - The Situation

Contributor: Anthony Mullinix

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“General, Sir, I believe we may have a problem,” he said.

“What kind of problem, Lieutenant?” I asked.

“The kind that will need some sort of clean-up crew, Sir.”

What a smart-ass. Why else would my Command and Control center call me at this hour? Looking up at the monitors revealed the truth to his statements. The man that found it looked pudgy and unkempt. Our instruments are light-years ahead of his, but that didn’t really matter since he somehow managed to find it.

This isn’t the kind of wake-up I expected.

“Who do we have available?”

“I asked who was available, not who wasn’t. Don’t waste my time. Understood?”

“Understood Sir. We only have one team,” he said, stacking his initial set of papers off to side leaving a singular piece for me to view.

No. Not the kind of wake-up call I expected.

“Not much of a team is it?” I asked.

“Not at all Sir. Despite him being a singular person, it appears he is able to perform jobs that normally require teams, at roughly the same output,” the Lieutenant responded.

“I’m aware of him son. We’ve worked together before. Call him up,” I said.

Watching the Lieutenant was like watching a baby learn how to walk. He had no idea who he was calling, and less of an idea as to why. His uniform was crisp and clean; his demeanor was soft and malleable. I don’t expect this to be anything less than amusing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t going to be standing around listening to it.

The pudgy man on the screen found one of our favorite toys, and we need to do something about it.

“Captain Jacobsen, with me,” I said to one of the other officers in the room. She nodded and grabbed her cover.

“No, you won’t need that. You will, however, need a paper and pencil. Or pen, if you so choose,” I said.

She nodded again and grabbed the nearest pad and pen as we left the room. I needed to have someone in control of the situation. Someone who could command the clean-up crew, while still keeping their cool. Captain Jacobsen was exactly that. Her uniform was natural on her; no crispness, because it didn’t need that. Her attitude was firm, stern, and immovable. Exactly what we needed.

“Captain, I assume you are aware of the importance with this situation. I feel you may have been misled on exactly how important it is, and how it plays into our mission here. Do you know how it plays into our mission here?” I asked.

“Sir, our mission is to study any artifact, foreign or domestic, for the purposes of science, economic growth and military superiority,” she responded. A little too rehearsed.

“Do you believe in that mission statement?” I asked.

“I do Sir.”

“I’m not asking if you want its hand in marriage. I’m asking if you believe in it. Do you believe in it?” I asked again.

“I believe we should be researching and applying what we learn for defense, but more so for prosperity. Having the upper hand doesn’t mean we win. Sir.”

“Well said. That’s why you and I are stopping here,” I said, motioning for her to step through the door.

The other side of the door held a myriad of diplomats’ aids; protocol when this sort of thing happens. They ranged from Chinese to Saudi, and from South American to the Congo. They were all sitting, or standing, around a large circular table. They all stood as I entered.

“Please. Formalities aside for now. What do we have?” I asked the group.

An aid in a heavy British accent answered first, “A big damn problem General. Type A wasn’t supposed to be found. We could handle any of the others’ locations being forfeit. But this bullocks is beyond what we anticipated.”

“I asked what we have, not what the issue is,” I answered back. Looking to the Captain I said, “Is there a rash of stubbornness going through the facility?”

I could tell she had no idea how to react. Candidness isn’t something Officer Candidate School teaches when dealing with superiors. I’ll have a talk with her, and the rest of the officers, tonight at chow about that.

“One of my guys is already on the phone with a team. My question now is exactly what do we want that team doing? What type of clean-up is needed here?” I asked.

They all looked around like I was out of my mind. Could I have asked the dumbest question? To them, most likely. That is why, however, I brought my Ace.

“Sir…” she said, forcing everyone to turn and stare at her, “we need divers. We need divers, underwater welding tools, and roughly three days.”

“What do you have in mind, Captain?” I asked.

“Divers can be used to remove certain pieces of Type A, then bring them back here for safe keeping and further study. The trail left by the craft can be positioned to look more like sediment residue from underwater rivers moving against the object. Once the divers come back with the pieces, we wait.”

Some of the aids didn’t really like this idea at first. A stare from me quieted them down. Still, one got through, “What of the rest of Type A? Exactly how would we explain that, Captain?” he said.

I wasn’t too keen on his tone there.

“That is the easiest part. We let the public find it. It’s too far down for their equipment to really reach anyway. Not in any suitable fashion at least. What’s the harm in letting them discover something new? We will have all the important parts. Let someone else have some fun for a change. Sir.”

I had to chuckle. Simplicity. I knew she was the one I would need.

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Spent nine years in the military and am finally able to pursue the field of my dreams. I enjoy writing, video games, commentaries, and the fantasy (or science fiction) world. I have a loving, supportive wife, and a son on the way.
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