She stared vacantly up at one of
the four security cameras trained on her, her mind miles away, atop a snowy
peak stained with blood and ash. Despite trying to keep them open, her eyes
closed and she rubbed them. The endless assault of the fluorescent lamps
overhead was taking its toll. The jittery light hammered down on her, making
her eyes burn like a pair of sizzling meatballs sunken into her skull.
This su-ucks! How’d I survive
She looked down at her
At least they’ve stopped
A streak of dried blood on
her wrist peeked out from beneath the cuff of her shirt. Somehow she’d missed
washing it off in the shower and during all the medical exams. Tears stung her
eyes, but the door opened at that moment and she hurried to hide her emotion.
She caught a glimpse of a stark hallway and military police officers flanking
An Air Force officer
stepped in, looking almost absurdly clean in his light blue shirt, dark pants,
and rows of colorful ribbons on his chest. The name placard on his breast read “Tarver.”
He was dark-skinned, tall, muscular and exotically handsome with a broad nose
and strong jawline. His hair was little more than black fuzz beneath his dopey
flat-sided cap. The poster child for Air Force recruitment.
Blinking her unshed tears
away, she snuck her hand into her pocket. She groped blindly for the button to
start the app recording and felt a tiny buzz beneath her finger as she found it.
I hope this works.
Tarver sat down across from
her, the silver leaf insignia on his collar flashing.
What is that? Major? Colonel?
Something like that.
The officer paged through a
blue leather folio thick with papers. Cl-click!
went the silver pen in his hand. The officer looked up and gave a brief smile.
It was thin, tense, an apology.
“I’m Lieutenant Colonel Tarver
with US Northern Command. I’m here to debrief you.”
“Am I under arrest?”
“No, miss,” he said. “As I
said, I’m here to debrief you.”
“So the guards outside
aren’t meant to keep me here?”
Tarver’s gaze flicked to
the door. “They’re here for our safety.”
“Right,” she said, drawing
out the word sarcastically. “Look, Lieutenant Colonel Whatever, I didn’t ask to
talk to anyone from Northern Command. I asked to see my sister.”
“I’m aware. And we’ll let
you, just as soon as you’re debriefed. Let’s start at the beginning of all
this, shall we?”
Tarver licked his lips, a
quick nervous movement that suddenly made him seem less confident. He looked
back down at the documents in front of him. “The events leading up to the
incident,” he said.
“What are you talking
about?” she asked, rolling her eyes. Military jargon was so annoying. “Do you
mean blowing up everything? Or the alien invasion? Or something else?”
Tarver licked his lips
again. “The invasion.” The Air Force officer seemed uncomfortable with the
She sighed. Gotta be careful. Can’t give him too much, but I can’t give him too
little either. She tried to think back to find some point in time
that would require the least explanation. Ugh! This is
going to take a lot of lying.