Unnamed Journal Volume 3, Issue 3 - Page 12

Ulysses and the Fugitive 8 "Well, fuck it," he said, and began picking his way toward the site. Approaching an incident site like this without being able to identify himself was incredibly dangerous. If someone saw him before he could identify himself, they might just shoot him and figure out who he was later. O'Flannery felt like he had swallowed a cinder block. He kept moving slowly through the desert heat toward the nearest jeep, scanning constantly for someone who might spot him. As he neared the jeep he could hear it's engine idling, and the thrum of the nearest tank engine. Noticeably absent was the sound of voices, either live or broadcast over a radio. He could feel the hairs on his arms standing up and his sweat turned cold. Something was very wrong. O'Flannery looked into the driver-side window of the jeep: empty. He looked around. Nobody was posted or patrolling to watch the perimeter. No one seemed to be inside the humvee nearby which was the next closest vehicle. Twenty yards away a soldier stood next to a tank, facing away from him. What the fuck is going on? What kind of operation is this? He thought to himself, walking over to the service man. "Excuse me, soldier?" He said it tapping the man on the shoulder. "I'm special agent Jonathon O'Flannery. Can you tell me where your CO is? I need to be briefed on the situation here." O'Flannery had his badge in hand to show the grunt, but he didn't turn or acknowledge the special agent. O'Flannery stepped around to face the serviceman and saw the gaze of a man who was alive but not present. "Soldier?" O'Flannery snapped his fingers in front of the man's face. He blinked, yet his eyes remained vacant. "What the hell is going on?" He said softly, looking at the soldier with concern. He looked to the tank. Whoever was inside was probably in the same state as the soldier outside. O'Flannery reached for his phone and saw that he still didn't have any service. He tried making a few calls anyway but none connected. He checked the serviceman for a radio but found nothing. He went back to the jeep and got inside. There, he found a radio handset. Static crackled when he turned it on. The keys were in the ignition, so he turned it over and punched the AC. He began dialing through the channels on the radio, trying to find anything resembling chatter. Several minutes of searching yielded only uniform static. "This is fucking Twilight Zone bullshit," O'Flannery mumbled under his breath. He glanced around the site from inside the jeep, but the scene outside was exactly as he had found it scant minutes ago. He looked around the interior of the vehicle for anything useful: notes, phones, guns, a flak jacket, but couldn't find anything worth commandeering. He killed the engine. Something in his gut was telling him to leave. He could go back to his rental and drive until he had signal, then call for backup. Yeah, but you can't call for backup without more intel, O'Flannery thought. He wasn't an indecisive man nor one that scared easily, yet Jonathon O'Flannery stood frozen in fear in the heat of the desert. After a few heart beats in the eerie silence of the crash site, O'Flannery decided he'd use the jeep to do a quick drive around the edge of the site. He promised himself solemnly he'd get right the fuck out of dodge after his little recon drive. He turned the key in the ignition. O'Flannery backed the jeep up and began driving the jeep around the perimeter of the site. He saw a soldier here and there standing by a tank or Jeep, each seemingly frozen in place like the one he tried to talk to. Close to halfway around the site he could see the crash a bit better. Hopefully the pilot ejected, he thought, looking at the burning debris. Frightened as he was, O'Flannery knew he couldn't risk crossing the debris field; he'd have to double back to check the other side of the perimeter. Hanging a slow U-turn, he got a better look at the UFOs from