Chapter XXXI

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Earth. 3rd Planet from the star, Sol, The United States,

Maryland, Joint Base Andrews,

Eighteen Earth Years Ago

Tower, "Romeo one-niner-one, clear to land."

Pilot, "Roger."

The Grumman C-2 Greyhound's wheels barked as they made contact with the runway, the aircraft touching down at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Gary Schmidt poked his head into the cockpit and scanned the runway to verify his V.I.P. guest was not facing a large-scale military welcoming committee in anticipation of her arrival. Any show of force would only result in the unnecessary deaths of military personnel, including his and everyone on the aircraft. He exhaled, relieved there was going to be no red-carpet treatment today.

The agent turned and began walking back to his seat next to the Arcturan. She smiled as he approached.

"I am still surprised no one has tried to kill me at this point," she said. "There have been so many opportunities."

"No, Ms. Arcturis, that won't happen."

"This is all so very interesting."

"The world's scientists just want to talk."

"More talking, huh?" The redhead glanced out of the small window examining the various aircraft littered across the airport. "I see you were not lying about this United States and their advanced technology. Compared to the other side of the world, this place is very similar to the Homeland in that regard and that massive, um, fightercraft carrier? Yes, that was very impressive, indeed."

"Homeland?" Gary inquired. "I have heard you mention it several times."

"That is the name of the government and the collection of Regions on Cenerea. The place I am from."

"We have a defense department in the U.S. called the Homeland Security Administration."

Elle continued to stare out of the window. "Hmmm, you sims continue to amaze me with the similarities...," she said, her voice fading as she noticed several armored vehicles carrying uniformed men with weapons ripping through the grass toward the plane. They skidded onto the tarmac leaving grass, mud, and tire marks on its smooth paved surface. One of the transports matched the aircraft's speed and pulled up beside it, the occupants looking at her intently. They swung the barrel of a strange black weapon at her window.

"What is this?" Elle asked, pointing angrily out of the window. She tapped her finger against the glass.

Gary stood and began excitedly fishing for his phone in his pockets, nearly dropping the device once it was located. He glanced quickly through the small window and scrolled through his contacts eventually pressing his finger intently on its glassy surface. "Fuck! I cannot believe these hardheaded imbeciles! None of them listen!" he said angrily, waiting for someone to answer. "General? Order your troops to stand down right now, goddamn it! No, this is the United States military's base, not yours. No, I really don't give a shit...well, I can tell you what you will be if you don't! I don't care, call your men back, right fucking now! No, you were told to stand down. The President has made it clear our passenger is to be treated like any other foreign dignitary! Call them back, NOW!" the agent shouted loudly into the device. "Dumbass!" he said hanging up the phone.

"We have those types up there as well, but they are usually slaves to my lesser sisters," Elle said, watching the Humvees fall harmlessly behind the taxiing aircraft.

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