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Nevada – Area 51 Air Force Base

“Why aren’t you using my people?” Anna Frazier asked the moment Malcolm Locklear entered her office.

“You think I’ll just let strangers into all of my labs right away?” Malcolm responded, aghast. “I’ve got my own people to think about. Aren’t you happy with my intel that I’ve given you. You’re people need to first learn my theories and practices, not to mention the tech that I’m using and schematics before I let them touch anything like the ART-Grave device with their hands.”

Malcolm could see the features in the Lieutenant’s Colonel’s face hardened at his response. Good, he thought, keeping a firm but neutral expression on his own face. He had gone through and done his own background checks on all the scientists, and Engineer’s she had included in her team to be sent to his lab. Most of them were as he expected them to be with military training or some leading genius in one of their particular and specialized fields of study. There had been one though, that had stood out.

Rhel Valentine had a rap sheet taller than his building it seemed. Hacker, mercenary, smuggler… it had been hard tracking down all of his aliases, but that was one reason why Locklear created his own security system in the first place, to find the things military and official authorities missed. It was also the reason why he wanted to surprise Anna in her headquarters based in Nevada.  Area 51, to be precise. A long withstanding mystery to the greater part of the world, with a number of conspiracy theories that seemed to keep the theorists busy, while never answer a single one of it’s many secrets.

This was Malcolm’s second time at the high security Air Force base, and in all those years, nothing has changed. The same number of buildings were still there, and in the same condition. You would think they would spend some money in repainting, or updating some of the front buildings. But, it seemed they kept their focus the real prize held within. An alien ship that crashed to the planet nearly sixteen years ago. How could Malcolm forget that experienced? It changed his perception of what technology was, his goals in life, not to mention his success was all due to the intel he managed to sneak away with. Anna’s office was the same too. With a longer title like Lieutenant Colonel, you’d think it would come with a larger office. He was basically shoved down into the chair by his escorted soldiers.

“Fine… it is your lab, your rules. But we are on a tight deadline here and I will need to be seeing results soon. My people are there to speed things along, not to mention learn your ‘unique’ technology so we can finally get it integrate into the larger project. Everything needs to be compatible and we need backup technicians to fix it if something goes wrong.” Anna said.

“Right, of course. We don’t want another Apollo 13… do we?”

“Is there some other reason why you’re here?” Anna said with a heavy tone. Malcolm watched a she raised her index finger and thumb to the bridge of her nose as if pushing back an oncoming headache.

“Rhel Valentine.” Malcolm said, his eyes focusing in on Anna’s. “I want him off your team list.”

“Why, has he been a bad boy?” Anna asked, a coy smile on her face. So, she did know his past, Malcolm Locklear concluded by her tone and reaction. Which meant, he was her mole.

“No… it’s not that. He doesn’t seem to play well with the others. Teams are meant to work off each other, not each alone.” Malcolm said. If Anna had sent him a mole, he wasn’t about to call her out on it. But it did mean a closer watch on the man’s activities while inside the building.

“Seriously Locklear? If you had just put my people to work, you wouldn’t be focused on one person’s lack of social skills. If that’s it, you wasted a trip.”

“No, that’s not all. I want to see where you’re going to place my device on the ship.” Locklear said.

“The schematics and layout data was already sent to you Locklear a week ago.”

“That’s not the same Lieutenant Colonel. With your permission I want to take a walk through.”

“Oh, so that’s it. You just wanted to walk through an extra terrestrial ship again.” Anna said, a frown on her face. There was a moment’s pause, Malcolm knew she was weighing her options and that every inch of her wanted to say no. But like she had already stated, she needed results for her own bosses. “Fine whatever, but you’re not to be alone. I’ll get Walters to guide you.”

Locklear gave Anna a soft smile and flimsy salute before heading out of her office and towards the main hanger were the greater project stood. Walters was already waiting for him at the doors. He was older, close to retirement by his greyish-white hair. But had all the signs of someone who had worked with his hands his entire life. Nobody would stay this long with the Air Force unless they really did love what they did. His overalls were worn, and thin, covered in dark grease and patched up from past tears.

“What sort of changes has Frazier done to the ship?” Malcolm asked, as Walters lead up on the loading ramp. Already there was an itch, an excitement playing over Maloclm’s face as they entered the craft. Memories of his first visit here played over in his head one by one. Touching the craft for the first time, knowing that it wasn’t human made, and marvelling over the design, the technological advantages, the mechanic advantages that had made the thing fly through space. Scenes of this hanger came back too, of the soldiers unloading the crates inside, and of a red-haired young woman who seemed to pop out of the blue. Nyria.

“Not much actually… mostly just the core of the ship, the engines and power supply as they were the most injured in the crash. She’d had us take other stuff apart, and put it back together, you know try to solve the mysteries of it all.” Walters said with a small chuckle. “Here’s were you’re device will be going.”

Walters had led Locklear towards the rear of the ship, a room or so away from the power centre and engines that he remembered seeing with another mechanic. He remembered how bad the right engine had been, practically blown to pieces, of which many believed to be part of the crash, but to Locklear it meant an attack from something outside of the ship. The energy core had been something else too, crystals were used instead of gas, or oil, or any of the other fuel they on earth were used to. The crystals had all be broken, shattered and useless, but there had been one missing. There had been flack at the time, searches to locate it. Malcolm knew that was part of the reason they came after him after he was let go, though thankfully he wasn’t completely stupid enough to take a crystal that large with him.

“We believe this is the original anti gravity device the aliens used.” Walters said, pulling back some wall panels to reveal some circuitry, and other electrical components.

“Not much room…” Locklear mused, poking his head in. His original wouldn’t fit… as expected. But he was curious in the original that Walters pointed at.

“What are you going to do with it?” Locklear asked.

“Junk it. Most of this stuff we can’t understand, and if it’s burnt or damage there’s now way to get anything out of it, we toss it.” Walters shrugged his shoulders.

“That’s a shame…”

“No kidding… did manage to sneak a few things off, though it’s mostly just something to look at.”

Locklear smiled. “You’re my kind of guy. Do you mind if I take this?”

“I don’t… but the Lieutenant Colonel might.” Walters said, sounding uneasy. “How long are you around for?”

“I’m heading back after I’m done here.” Locklear said, “But… I wouldn’t mind seeing what you managed to sneak out.”

“If you stay until morning, I can meet up with you in Vegas, and we can do an exchange?”

“You got yourself a deal.” Locklear said with a smile and the two shook on it.

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