Malcolm Locklear poured himself a glass of whisky from the makeshift bar set up in the empty conference room, it was’t cheap either. He had to smile, the Air Force did know how to entertain. With the full glass in his right hand, the dark-haired man walked along the conference table; dark wood, oval shape, able to fit a good dozen plus people; an gazed out of the massive wall of windows that over looked this nation’s capitol. He had been brought to the room two hours ago, with no notice, or idea why. That was their government, the last time they did this, it was sixteen years ago.
That brought a frown to the middle-aged man. It was sixteen years ago he met Nyria, sixteen years old when he managed to ‘borrow’ the knowledge he needed to get him this far ahead. It now seemed karma was rearing it’s ugly head on him. He had an illegitimate daughter waiting for him back in New York, and he was starting to get a wave of deja vu with this situation. He had only came down the Washington to meet up with a few of his share holders. His demonstration of the anti-grave device had both worried and excited a few of them and he was required to settle and organize them down.
Just as he was leaving the meeting, a black Rolls Royce pulled up, an airman, in uniform escorted him into it. Damn, just like before. Malcolm thought, half expecting them to drive him out in the middle of nowhere, to take a look at another crashed spaceship of alien design. Instead, they dropped him off near the congress building where another escort took over and lead him to this room. Why here, and why him were a few questions that went through his mind, but Malcolm knew this was coming. McIntyer and pretty much warned him this day was coming, he just thought he could produce a few more anti-grave devices before then. At least leave a reasonable high standard of brilliance to keep future scientists, inventors and engineers striving towards. He also wouldn’t have minded seeing his daughter for the first time either. He wondered if she had her mothers red hair… such red hair that he always thought it was on fire.
“Mr. Locklear.” Came a feminine voice from behind. Malcolm turned and his steel blue eyes locked onto the woman officer. He knew her, that long framed face, dark brown eyes. Her blonde hair had grown since they last saw each other, she now had it pulled back into a tight bun to fit the uniform. “Enjoying the liquor already?”
“Major Fraser.” Malcolm said, though there was no endearment in his tone. “Not bad, for my last drink.” He added melodramatically. “I got the feeling the last time we saw each other that you didn’t want to see my face again.” This time his lips moved up into a smirk. He saw that his tease hit home as Frasier’s lips thinned, as her eyes glared at him in rooted anger.
“It’s Lieutenant Colonel now, and if it was up to me, I wouldn’t.” She replied back, taking a seat at the table. She had a few files in hand, and Malcolm, being as curious as he was moved closer to the table to try to catch a few bits of classified information.
“What’s this about then? A new UFO crash?” He teased again, taking a seat across from Anna. “You know, the last time the military wanted my expertise, they did pretty much the same thing as they did today. At least this time I wasn’t in the middle of some drunken party… and I wasn’t driven out in the middle of the Nevada desert. Thank you for that.”
“Don’t get a head of yourself, there’s still time.” Anna Fraser said, her eyes keeping a steady watch on him. “Next time I’ll order them to leave you out there to walk back.”
Malcolm laughed. “Still got the humour I see.” His eyes drifted down to the files on her desk again. “Aren’t you going to share?”
“Not until you sign this.” She pushed a piece of paper with a pen across the table. Malcolm sighed, knowing what it was before he even read the first line on the page. A gag order. Whatever she was to reveal to him, he had to pretend he didn’t know about it once it was done. Of course he signed something similar years ago.
“You can’t really be serious?” Malcolm asked, bewildered that the Air Force was coming him for a second time, even though they knew the chances of him doing something like the anti-grave device was high, if not higher now that he had NASA on his side. “You think I’m going to be as good as my word this time?”
“No, I don’t.” Fraser said, and the look made Malcolm’s smile leave his face in a heartbeat. “Did you think we were going to forget about your little demonstration a week ago? It’s obvious where you got the specs for a device like that.”
“But I used all earth technology to reproduce the effect.” Malcolm pointed out. Anna frowned, he knew he just scored a point, and was pretty much the reason he wasn’t in some solitary confined cell right now. “Which is what you’ve been trying to do for the past two decades, right? How’s that going?”
The tension grew in the conference room, as a chill ran down Malcolm’s neck. Had he crossed the line? Anna Frasier stared down her nose at him and he swore she was close to pulling out her gun. She didn’t, thank god, but Malcolm knew he had to watch his tongue from here on out. Whatever the reason was for this spontaneous meeting, Lt. Colonel Fraser was taking her sweet time. It only gave Malcolm more theories, all of them coming down to the fact that they needed his help. It made him grin on the inside, but he made sure not to show any of this outwardly to her.
“Sign.” Fraser said in a low stern voice. Malcolm held her stare and reluctantly signed the papers, already trying to come up with some loophole around what could be a new bit of alien technology he could manipulate for his use. Once Fraser seemed satisfied, she pushed the file towards him. “Thanks to your demonstration, our project’s deadline has been bumped up. Our superiors believe if a private developer could design and create an artificial gravity simulator in less than sixteen years, we should have no problem finishing our project.”
“And what project would that be? You’re not still working on that crystal engine-turbine thing?” Malcolm asked, his lips curled up into a half smile.
“Read.” Fraser ordered. “We want your Art-GRAV device.”
“Excuse me?” Malcolm said, his eyes tearing up from the files in front of him. “You know that’s a prototype? And I already made an agreement with NASA that our first working one is their’s to put on the space station.”
“Not anymore. It’s in those documents I just had you sign.” This time it was Anna’s turn to smile as Malcolm’s galavant, sly smile turned into a cold blooded sneer. Damn-it, why couldn’t he read things through before signing? “Either you break your contract with NASA, or reorganize your prototype to our demands.”
There wasn’t much room to wiggle through her demands, Malcolm ignored her victory smile and began to read the files. This was more than just some energy efficient turbine engine, these files related to a ship. A space ship that seemed familiar to the middle aged man. “You’re taking the shell from the crash sixteen years ago?” He asked puzzled and surprised it had taken them this long to reconstruct everything to make it work.
“With some modifications. All of our understanding and knowledge we have on those beings have been placed on that ship. Given that it wasn’t as gravely destroyed as the others, we had a better opportunity at learning from it over these past years. All we need is your Art-GRAV, and some assistance on the engine and mechanics.” Fraser said in a monotone voice. “Locklear, you’re the last person I want on the team, but my superiors want you and nobody else. You’re job is simple, give us the device, and help us get this piece of metal into space.”
“That’s all?” Malcolm asked, it was not small task, and given what he knew of their group behind this project the last time he was part of it, he was sure to find more holes in their plan and ship than they could ever guess. So the question in his mind was how to gain the most out of this experience. He had signed papers, technically he was part of their team, no matter what project Frasier put him on. She couldn’t lose him, and he would have that access to classified information again. But this wasn’t going to be like before, he had to be more careful how he went around them. He doubted the next time the American Military caught him stealing he would get off with a light tap on the wrist.
“That’s it.” Anna said with a curt nod.
“Count me in.” Malcolm said, standing to his feet and stretched out his hand towards Anna. “I think we have a deal.” He could tell she was reluctant to take his hand, but in the end they shook.
“I’ll have you escorted back to your hotel.”
“Airport.” Malcolm clarified. “I’m due in New York, there’s a parcel waiting for me.”