You’re finally here. After a strange invitation received through back channels and much cloak and dagger, you are escorted to a remote, heavily guarded and shielded room in the subbasements of the Hamburg Airport. The metal lined room in which you sit with 4 other equally quiet people. Your instructions are clear: no talking and, most important, no names.
Whatever this is, it’s important. The number of heavily armed (and quite paranoid) guards was very telling. The Polizei seemed half disappointed they didn’t get to shoot you once you proved to them you were who you said you were. They even did a quick blood test and examined you under UV light. You’ve never seen such precautions.
After about 5 minutes, two men walk in. Both are wearing uniforms you’ve never seen before; dark green with shoulder patches in gold. The patches are a large X over a globe with the words “Vigilo Confido”.
Trust in our vigilance ?
You’ve never heard of an organization with that motto.
The two men couldn’t be any more different. The younger one, white with short hair in his late thirties, is obviously military. The haircut, the quiet arrogance and the general bearing all point to it. The older man seems out of place in the uniform. He’s Asian, late fifties, grey hair. He takes the seat to the left of the podium and looks expectantly to the military man.
The younger man takes the podium and introduces himself.
“Hello everyone. I am Central Officer John Bradford. For the sake of convenience, this briefing will be held in English, a language you all speak.”
Bradford pauses a moment and looks up for a moment:
“As per the agreements with each of your governments, this briefing is classified at the highest possible levels in all your respective countries. It is protected by your national equivalent of the National Secrets Act and anybody who speaks of this outside this room will be punished by the heaviest legal penalties.
That being said, I am permitted to tell you that if you remain for the briefing, the threat of jail time becomes irrelevant. From this point on, the only penalty for violating security of this briefing is summary execution, even for countries that officially have no capital punishment. All your governments have agreed to this, legally or otherwise.
I want to stress this: you can leave now and there will be no repercussions. You have your tickets to your final destination and can simply carry on with your trip if you wish. If you remain for the briefing, you are signing on for this. In all likelihood, you will be dead by the year’s end anyways. However, if you remain, you have a chance to make a significant difference in history of mankind. No exaggeration. It’s that big. So, speak up now or forever hold your peace."
Bradford sweeps the room for a moment and nods “I thought so. You were each chosen for a reason. You are the best there is in your respective areas of expertise. Let us continue.”
Bradford activates the screen behind him and a larger version of his shoulder patch appears behind him.
“Welcome to Xcom. Xcom is an international organization dedicated to fighting the threat posed by extraterrestrials currently present on the planet. Before you scoff, hear me out. Xcom was created in 1949 after the Roswell incident. The irony is that the conspiracy theorists are actually pretty close to the truth about Roswell: we did shoot down a UFO and we did capture a number of aliens. What they don’t know is that shooting down that one UFO took everything the US Army Air Force had at that time and they only barely managed it”.
Bradford changes the image behind him. A picture of a classic disk shaped UFO appears behind him with several people working on the obviously damaged craft. He changes the image again and a black and white video, obviously dated, shown a small, greyish alien with an oversized head and large eyes, being escorted down a hallway by two Marines.
“This craft was quite small and only had a crew of 6 and yet we needed massive firepower to shoot it down. Once the preliminary analysis was done, President Truman recognized the threat we faced and the importance of mobilizing all resources in case they came back. Xcom was formed from 16 countries across the globe, some of them surprising, others less so: Canada, the US and Mexico in North America. Argentina and Brazil in South America. The UK, France, Germany and Russia in Europe. Australia, China, India and Japan in Asia. Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa in Africa.
Understand the importance of those countries: the US told the Soviet Union and China about this. In 1949. That’s how scared they were. They also needed to cover the whole globe. Some of those countries were still part of the British Empire at the time, others were still under occupation by the Allies. They still told them.
Anyways, the point is that Xcom is a global organization in existence since the last World War. We have successfully cooperated in fighting this threat, partially because everyone realized what was at stake and partially because no one in their government knew enough to oppose it.
Since the War, we have fought the aliens twice: their initial incursion at Roswell and a few like in that same year and in 1965 when they attacked one of our bases in the United States and actually caused the Great Northeast power outage. They are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of soldiers and agents since the war and are responsible for the death of J.Edgar Hoover in 1965 during their attack. We arranged for Hoover to be seen to be alive until 1972 to cover our tracks and disassociate his death from a series of strange events in 1965.
Since then, we have been researching what little of their technology we have captured and have been preparing for the inevitable attack. We now believe the attack is imminent."
Bradford changes the image behind him again. This time, it shows a world map with hundreds of red dots all across the world, mostly concentrated in Third World countries around major city centres. In the corner of the map is a graph that shows an exponential growth pattern in the last two years.
“This is the locations of all known alien abductions in the last 40 years. That graph clearly shown that the number of abductions has increased massively in the last two years. The aliens typically abducted people in low tech countries, where the risks were the lowest but that pattern has now changed. They are getting more brazen every day. They are also now increasingly targeting First World countries for the first time.
All this is background information so you understand the context of what is happening. We have specially trained troops and equipment ready to go to fight the aliens when we can find them. This is where you come in. The aliens have been infiltrating the planet for years now. Their agents can be found on every country on every continent. When they strike, we will need to know fast enough to mobilize a strike team to respond. Your job is not to fight the aliens directly, your job is to find them. To locate their agents, human or otherwise, and get as much intel as possible.
This brings me to my last point: the aliens have collaborators on Earth. You will need to identify them, to find out where they are, to intercept their communications if you can, to interdict their supplies and any thing else that will hinder them.
One more thing: the general population must not find out if we can help it. Eventually, the alien attacks will not be a secret anymore, but until that time, we need to keep a lid on this to avoid general panic, but also to help us find the infiltrators and collaborators. For now, the media is under control but it won’t last."
Bradford motions to the other man beside him: " Dr.Raymond Chen will brief you quickly on what we know about the aliens. He will also provide you with instructions on how to use some of the equipment we will be equipping you with. We only have an hour, so please play attention. Once we are done here, you will all go on your way to your separate destinations. We will arrange for all of you to meet in about a week via the communication equipment we will provide you in a moment. That is the time you have to get your affairs in order. You will drop out of life for the foreseeable future, so plan accordingly."
Dr.Chen takes over the podium and the next hour is spent presenting the different types of aliens, their physiology, their methods and means. The video evidence is pretty clear, included the lenghty autopsies. Chen then goes on the explain in broad outlines what is known about their technology and demonstrates some of the artifacts that Xcom has recovered over the years. Lastly, Chen hands out what appear to be high-end cell phones and laptops. These devices are, in fact, advanced technological devices used by Xcom for their field agents. He explains their use and how their security works.
Before you leave, the members of your briefly introduce themselves to each other but the introductions are kept short as most of you have a connecting flight to catch. You are escorted out of the room, get your belongings back and are guided back to the terminal through various roundabout routes. Now, you wait for the call from Xcom.