Day 24. Grave and Imminent Danger
“He is, cheap but why can’t you approach him yourselves?”
“We tried. He didn’t believe us.”
“So you need me to convince him.”
“OK, cough hold my hand, we’ll go now,” he said, extending his hand.
“Wait. You can’t just appear in the Oval Office. We might get shot before we utter a word.”
“Right. So what do you suggest?”
“Take me back to my cabin, I’ll call him first,” she explained.
He reached out and held her hand and they disappeared. At that very instant, there was a flash of blue light in the woods surrounding Colleen’s parents’ cabin.
“Wait out here, I’ll just be a moment,” she instructed. She walked off toward the cabin. It took her about ten minutes before she returned, phone in hand. “I had to change. It’s bad enough I traveled to another planet in my pyjamas.” She dialled the White House switchboard. “Yes, this is Colleen Banks for President Banks. Yes, I realize the President is sleeping. It’s extremely important. Please wake him.”
“One moment please,” the operator responded.
She listened to muzak for a good ten minutes until finally, someone came back on the line.
“Colleen, is that you?” It wasn’t her brother.
“Yes, it’s me. Heather?”
“Yes,” It was Heather Milbank, the President’s Chief of Staff. “Colleen, it’s three o’clock in the morning. Can’t this wait? The President, your brother, needs his sleep.”
“Listen, I’m not a child and don’t appreciate being ‘handled.’ Put my brother on the phone, now,” she said sternly.
“Alright, but it’s your hide.”
The line clicked and began ringing. It took a few rings, but finally someone picked up.
“Yes?” came the groggy voice of her brother.
“Eric, it’s me.”
“Colleen, what’s wrong? Are mom and dad alright?”
“Yes, yes, they’re fine. I need to talk to you right away. It’s a matter of life and death.”
“Col, what is it?”
“Not over the phone, face to face. But I needed to call you first before showing up, otherwise the Secret Service might get spooked.”
“Yeah, yeah, okay. I’ll tell them to expect you at the gate. But you’re at the cabin, you won’t be here till tomorrow anyway.”
“No, not the gate, and no, not tomorrow. Right now.”
“Col, what the hell are you talking about?”
“Trust me, just go down to your office and make sure your security detail doesn’t open fire when I show up.”
“Alright, alright, I’m going. But if you’re messing with me, that’s it for three AM calls.”
“You won’t be disappointed, Eric. I’ll see you in a couple of minutes.” She hung up the phone. “It’ll take him a couple of minutes to walk from the Executive Residence to the Oval Office. Let’s just be safe and give him five. She kept an eye on the time readout on her phone. When the time had elapsed, she reached for her friend’s hand and they vanished.
Eric Banks was in the Oval office wearing his silk pyjamas and a robe with the President’s seal on it. A skeptic, he’d decided to humor Colleen only because she was his sister. Maybe she was just working through the trauma of losing her husband. He didn’t know. But he figured kid gloves was the best way to deal with her for now. He’d told his detail that no matter what happened in the next five minutes, to keep their sidearms holstered. That only made them nervous and more alert. They tenuously agreed, but when it came to the safety of the Commander in Chief, sometimes you just had to lie in order to keep him safe.
He was about to head back to bed when out of nowhere the room lit up with a bright blueish light. As soon as that happened the doors to the Oval Office flew open and in poured half a dozen Secret Service agents, guns drawn. They rushed the President and began evacuating him from the room when a voice yelled out, “wait!”
It was Colleen. She was standing in the middle of the room with a man. The agents didn’t stop evacuating POTUS until he’d given the order. Three times. Evacuating the President was one of their most rigorously rehearsed procedures. You didn’t stop for anyone or anything until the President was secured. His repeated orders however, paused the procedure. For now. At this point there were another ten agents in the room and the number seemed to be growing.
“Eric, it’s me, Colleen! Please, my friend just wants to talk,” she said, her voice trembling. Staring down a couple dozen SIG Sauer 229s in the hands of trained professionals will do that to a person. She knew to expect some show of force, but the raw energy of the Secret Service in action had shaken her. For his part, her friend seemed pretty unaffected by it all.
“Col, how the hell did you… appear there!?” the President asked from behind a phalanx of agents.
“My friend. He’s able to travel anywhere in the blink of an eye. That’s why I called you first. I didn’t want to alarm your detail.” She paused. “Guess it didn’t work.”
“What the hell’s going on Colleen?” her brother asked.
“Sir, if I may?” asked the stranger standing next to his sister.
The President nodded.
“Well, sir, there’s no way to say this without sounding crazy, but your planet is in grave and imminent danger.”