The aroma of freshly brewed coffee captivated my taste buds, but with Rufford
around, and barking I couldn’t concentrate, and practically stumbled over the
round table that blocked my passage to the back door.
I pushed the table to the side and let Rufford out the backdoor.
“Have a nice sniff boy, and stay away from Mrs. Henderson’s cat.” Rufford hated that old Tomcat Mr. Bo jangles. He looked like a cross between Garfield, and a Pug. Ugly cat to say the least, but Rufford enjoyed terrorizing Mr. Bo jangles every chance he got.
Rufford took off like a bullet, heading towards his favorite oak tree, the one that separates my yard¸ and grumpy Bill Olson. If there was anything I hated about this neighborhood where all the crotchety people that lived in it. Bill claims caring for the oak tree is my responsibility since the majority of it drapes down over in my yard. “It’s just the way the roots are growing.” I’ve tried telling him, but he’s an unreasonable human being.
During the beginning of the space program when the first Astronauts were going to go into space, old Bill was trained, and while in an air chamber, the power shut down unexpectedly for more than eight minutes and he lost oxygen. Bill suffered minor brain damage, and was given a desk job. His commander asked him to oversee the mission when Apollo 7 went into space. I was told he never fully recovered from the letdown, because he was told he might suffer from complications while during takeoff.
I stood watching, peeking out from behind the drapes at Rufford. He normally danced around, sniffing the ground before every poop after at which he took his time sniffing at each blade of grass as if smelling the ground for the first time.
“Whatever possessed me to own such a large dog is beyond me,” I said, and smirked when Rufford spotted Mr. Bo Jangles. As I predicted, Rufford was in high pursuit, after that furry orange tabby up the tree.
The neighborhood was quiet for the most part, considering mostly everyone was either retired from the Air force, worked at NASA, or simple moved here to have a more tranquil lifestyle. Whatever the case, it has been my home for nearly eight years.
While listening to Rufford barking loudly, I forced my curiosity away to the fate of Mr. Bo Jangles and went after that cup of java my body desperately craved.
I approached the counter finding my favorite mug next to the coffee maker. The mug is a Jack Skeleton mug that my daughter Lucy bought for me last summer at Disney world. I can thank Alice my housekeeper for leaving it on the counter. She’s an older woman, very sweet and old fashioned. Alice is from Guatemala. She reminds me of my grandmother, and I love her dearly.
My daughter, Lucy is seven, and a complete delight to be around. She lives with her mother in Miami, and with my busy schedule, I hardly have a chance to see her. It’s the price I’ve paid since the divorce three summers ago when I told Virginia I didn’t think it would be fair to have any more children not when I barely had time being a husband and father. Virginia and I parted shortly after our heated discussion, and she moved to Miami, where she lives with her mother Elisabeth.
That’s life, I guess, but my old man warned me not to get married, being involved in the Air Force and being accepted into NASA.
“Alimony, child support- it’s a racket,” he tried to convince me, but I would not listen. Stubborn I guess. After the divorce, the words he drove into my head got to me, and nearly drove me crazy but only for a short time. The words of “I do,” seem to have a tainted taste in my mouth now a day.
Life is not that bad. I do make enough money to support a small third world country, an ex-wife, and to still have more money than I’ll ever need in a lifetime left over. But not having any time to enjoy the income, I dread. There’s always waiting for retirement. That is, if our world lasts that long before, we decide to blow ourselves up in some nuclear war fighting for that precious substance, liquid gold to some but here in America we call it oil.
Just when I swallowed my first taste of Columbia brewed coffee the damned phone range. Yes, I still own a landline, and I cannot seem to figure out why I still have an ancient beast in the house. I’m old school and some things I haven’t changed yet.
“Hello,” I said, slurping down a quick swallow. “What? Okay, slow down. Mrs. Henderson you’re talking too fast. The what? Oh, you mean Rufford. No Mrs. Henderson, he does not have rabies. Yes, ma’am, I’m quite sure. Well, if you keep your cat on a leash, then he wouldn’t be over in my yard teasing Rufford. Yes, teasing Rufford. You what? I can’t hear you, your
braking up. Good-bye Mrs. Henderson.
Senile old bat.”
I hurried and drank the coffee down and yelled at Rufford to come inside. Just when I thought I had this morning licked, the phone rang, yet again.
“Mrs. Henderson, I told you, Rufford- oh, sorry sir, I thought you were my neighbor. I’ll be down at the office in less than an hour,” I said screeching my face. Then a relieved sigh passed my lips. “I just said I’ll be at the office as soon as I can. Slow down sir, I can hardly understand what you are saying. Marshall Law, are you sure? Are we under attack? Not a drill, I understand Sir. A what? Sir, you’re not making any sense. What? Spacecraft’s, what kind of spacecraft’s did you say sir? Hello, hello…”
The phone went dead. I slowly placed the phone on the receiver.
I knew something wasn’t right. This wasn’t proper protocol. All military personnel were grounded to the base without anyone leaving and entering. My Commander, Major Marvin Turner said, “Marshall Law was going to be implemented effective immediately, along with something about unknown spacecraft’s spotted off the Atlantic Coast just 25 miles out.”
The Major sounded frantic, desperate, and hostile. I knew he was a little hot headed and melodramatic, but Marshall Law implemented was another issue. I guess the powers that be are just taking precautions. They’re not taking another chance of another 9/11 happening.
I sat at my computer checking email; something I have not done in nearly two weeks.
Four hundred and twenty-eight messages, mostly forwarded emails. Figures, I couldn’t believe I had so many forwarded emails, mostly from spam mail I never signed up for. Damned hackers. Just when I was about to close up the email, a 911 email popped up, from my best friend Tom Bradford. It reads, URGENT MESSAGE, WHAT EVER YOU DO, DO NOT DELETE THIS, BUT READ IMMEDIATELY.
That’s it, that’s all it said.
“What the f…” I said, loudly. I was sure my eyes just popped out of their socket.
Something was going on and if there was a secret mission happening, good old Tom was the man who knew. Quickly, I emailed him back, and waited passionately for his response, or a phone call.
I continued looking down at my Rolex watching the time as if I was watching a pot of water to boil. Time seemed as if it stood still.
I was growing impatient. My eye started to twitch rapidly. I rubbed the eye with the palm of my hand, and looked at the time again. He should have called or emailed by now. I looked at my watch; five minutes had pasted, and with Rufford staring his big brown eyes at me.
“C’mon boy, I’ll fix you breakfast.” And off we went into the kitchen to the pantry. “Hmmm, kibbles. We like kibbles don’t we boy.”
After pouring Rufford a large bowl of food, I was almost going bald. Not exactly, but I felt like pulling my hair out, waiting for some type of phone call.
“Okay, here’s the deal, if I don’t hear from Tom in two minutes, I’m calling,” I said nervously. I glided both of my hands through my hair, pushing my hair upwards. With the right amount of hair gel, I’d resemble a punk rocker.
Rufford ignored me, chomping away at his food. What should I expect; he’s a dog, and one big dog with a mighty dog's appetite.
“One more minute, I mean it, one more…” and the cell phone rang. “Shit, where’s my phone? Damn, damn. It’s upstairs.”
After sprinting up the staircase and nearly breaking my legs, I leaped over the mound of covers, mixed with pillows diving after my cell phone laying on the bed, only for the blasted thing to stop ringing.
“It’s going to be one of those days, I know, I can feel it.
I immediately hit the redial button on the cell phone. As I suspected, it was Tom calling. I tossed the phone down on the floor after I heard a busy sound. I tore off my clothes and jumped into the shower. Well, I stepped into the shower, but it felt like a jump. The next eight minutes seemed like an eternity. I ran down the stairs, grabbed my keys from the candy dish that’s on the buffet next to the door and drove off in my BMW.
When I reached a traffic jam on interstate 520, I dialed Tom again. This time the phone rang.
“Cameron, thank God you called. I’ve been trying to reach you for hours,” Tom, shouted, his voice sounded rushed and desperate.
“Calm down, Tom, and what do you mean you’ve been trying to call for hours? I just received a call from you less than an hour ago.”
I tried peering around the big truck in front of me to see if I could spot the problem in traffic.
“Maybe I dialed the wrong number or something, I don’t know, but you’ve got to hurry and get to the base. It’s crazy here, everyone is rushing around and-”
“Tom, I’m on my way now, but there seems to be an accident or something on the road. I’ll get there as soon as I can.”
Click! “Hello, hello, Tom…”
I released a sigh. The phone call was odd and not like Tom to sound panicky. He never caved under any pressure so I’m sure whatever is going on must be bigger than he is and Tom stands six feet and three inches.
After driving through base security, I parked my car in the designated parking space Col C. Parker and rushed towards the building. I hurried into the office. Everyone seemed to be in a flustered state, rushing around, bumping into each other as they passed. Their faces in shock and fear on every face I passed.
The phone lines were ringing off every phone in all directions, and no one at their desk to answer the calls. Don’t get me wrong, there were many people in this large room, but no one seemed interested to answer the phones. When I passed the cubicles, I spotted a wall of military personnel that lined the large bay window.
“Can someone tell me what the hell is going on?” I shouted. No one seemed to pay attention to my commanding voice. I was starting to wonder what was going on. The fear of a sudden attack crossed my mind as repeated events from 9/11 scattered my vision.
A large hand grabbed my shoulder, startling me. I quickly swung around, nearly knocking Tom on the floor with a punch in midair. Thankfully, he ducked just in time as my fist was in the center
to his face.
“Sorry to have startled you, Cameron. Better yet, thank God you’re here.” His voice still sounded rushed. Perspiration filled a nice circle under his armpits. His blondish hair looked worse than a train wreck.
“What’s going on, Tom? Are we under attack or something?” I placed both my hands on my hips gazing in the direction of the rest of the military personnel staring out the window. With all of them lined at the window, I was unable to view what they were watching.
“Follow me, Cameron, we're trying not to cause a panic.”
Tom took off down the hall towards his office, walking at a fast pace. I followed close behind him.
“I think not wanting to cause a panic has already started. Have you seen the look on everyone’s face? And the traffic jam wasn’t an accident ether. It was more like everyone was trying to get out of town, and in a quick hurry.”
Tom kept silent. For a minute, I thought I was talking to my former wife. She was always good at ignoring everything I said.
We arrived in Tom’s office. Papers were scattered all over his desk, file cabinet open, blue files with the words TOP SECRET scattered in all sorts of directions lying on the floor. This was not like Tom at all. His behavior was erratic. He ripped open his blue uniform shirt, tossing it to the ground and pulled out a newly pressed shirt from his middle desk drawer.
“Tom, can you please explain what the hell is going on? You’re starting to worry me,” I said, trying not to panic myself, but with the erratic behavior going on it was difficult.
I sat down on the chair next to the office door. I took in a large, deep breath, slowly exhaling. I reached into my jacket pocket, pulling out the embroider handkerchief and wiped across my brow.
“Sounds like you’re having one of your anxiety attacks again. Are you going to be alight?” His voice rushed.
“Give me a minute, Tom,” I said in slow spurts. “I’ll be just fine.”
Tom gazed towards me with a frightened, and incredulous expression all rolled up into one. I folded the handkerchief neatly, returning it to the inside of my coat pocket.
Tom buttoned his dress blue jacket and gazed towards me as if I’m the one with answers to my own questions. He bent down a grabbed the blue TOP SECRET envelope from the floor and handed it to me.
“Here, read what’s in this,” he said, firmly. “You’re not going to believe it, I don’t believe it, but it’s true, Tom, it’s all true.”
I quickly opened up the envelope and pulled out the sheets of paper. They were reported from the Astronauts from the Apollo 11 Space Craft Mission dated 1969. These were the reported statements from Buzz Aldrin, and Neil A. Armstrong. It was their account of the unknown spacecraft’s they reported to NASA on their return to Earth at their debriefing. Each Astronaut gave a full account and under lie detector test, in separate rooms on what they saw a few days after landing on the moon. The report contained their sworn testimony that each of them saw and recorded three unidentified spacecraft’s while on the moon. And the alien beings, they saw and made contact with.
I looked up at Tom, meeting his puzzled expression.
“Oh come on, what kind of joke are they playing. This can’t be real!” I said, returning the reports inside the envelope, holding them tightly in my hand. My left eye started twitching again.
Tom’s eyebrows lifted. “It’s no joke, Cameron. I wish it were, buddy.”
We returned to the outer offices all the military personnel were still staring out the large bay window. Major Turner turned around with the same puzzled stair the rest of us had.
“Cameron, Tom,” he said in his deep, authoritative voice. “Follow me; we need to talk, privately.”
Down the hallway at the very end of the elevator was Major Turner’s office. He had a large office, a corner office with an ocean view. His office was plush with a large oak desk, two brown leather chairs in front of his desk, brown leather couch with matching chairs facing across each other. A
red Prussian rug
complemented the oak carved coffee table that rested on top. There was even a
wet bar off in the corner fully stocked.
He deserved all the luxuries after serving in the Vietnam War. He led his platoon out of danger and all. None of us knows very much about all he did while in Vietnam, only that he rescued a few of our men, and captured a ranking officer to get information. He was promoted with honors from Captain to Major moving up in the ranks to Major General. President Johnson awarded him the Purple Heart and held a special presidential dinner for him and his surviving platoon.
Tom and I sat down on the chairs in front of his desk. He thumbed through the papers on his desk, glancing to the folder I was holding.
He raised his gray brow, cleared his throat, and held out his hand towards mine. “If you please, Colonel,” he said, his voice was commanding.
He reminded me of the General from I Dream of Jeannie. There I go, dating myself, but I shamefully admit I grew up watching the series. I thought it was great, and watching Major Nelson is what prompt me to join the Air Force and get into the space program when I grew up. I was overjoyed when I was accepted at NASA and the Space Program. Serving here has been the thirty years of my life.
Major Turner pulled out the papers inside the TOP SECRET envelops, and glanced through the papers. I sat back, crossed my leg over my knee, and waited. Major Turner grumbled and returned the papers back into the envelope, setting them aside.
His eyes peered up at us both. “Gentlemen, forget everything you’ve ever known, everything you’ve ever believed, what you were taught in history and anything period.” He folded his hands together and leaned forward. “All except the good book, maybe not some of the stories like that of Noah building a large boat filling it with every animal on the planet, or Mosses parting the Red Sea, or angels descending from heaven matting with humans, etc.
all of that is more
than likely fillers.” He waved his hands to the side with every statement. I
steadied his expressions. After a short pause, he moved his lips around. “Men,
we’re about to debark on one of the most important missions ever dreamed.”
Major Turner looked serious, and too serious. What exactly was he saying? I wanted to say, forget the formalities and just spit it out, but Major Turner always had to go into a rendition.
Someone get him a soapbox, please. I looked around the room for a platform. Without realizing, a silly smirk escaped through my lips. Major Turner cleared his throat deeply.
“Tom, what do you find so amusing? Didn’t you hear me, we’re about to embark on one of the most important missions in history and you seem to find this amusing.”
I quickly sat up in my chair.
“No, Sir, I don’t find anything amusing at all. I just want to know what’s going on. When you phoned my house, forgive me, sir, but you sounded mad.”
He breathed a sigh. “About that, Tom things were a bit crazy here at the time, and still are. I had just gotten off the phone with the president.”
I placed both feet on the ground, and sat up. “Sir, again forgive me, but you mentioned Marshal Law. Only the president of the United States can give such order.” My brows folded together. I turned towards Tom; he turned up both hands and continued to remain silent. “Major Turner, are we being invaded? And when I mean invaded I mean by Aliens, the ones that fly UFO’s?”
There, I said it and feel much better for getting those words out from my mouth. I never doubted anything that Buzz Aldrin, or Neil Armstrong said, in fact, both men were my role models. I still remember watching Apollo 11 taking off into orbit. I was eight years old and fascinated when the spacecraft landed on the moon on July 21st, 1969. My eyes were glued to the television set every waking moment. During dinner, my family watched the telecast of the astronauts. Each night my dreams seemed to be filled with me being in space, I could not wait to grow up and become an astronaut. After college and getting my master’s degree in engineering is when I enlisted into the Air Force.
Tom turned towards me with raised brows. “It appears that way, Cameron.”
My jaw dropped. I looked over at Major Turner in disbelief. “Sir, you mean everything that has been reported by civilians have eye-witnessed, the cover-ups of area 51, the reports that are in the file Tom handed me are all true?” Major Turner stared blankly. “You’ve got to be kidding me? Everything the government has been hiding from the public and covering up UFO sightings are all true, every single one... TRUE,” my voice raised a few octaves to a high tenor.
My legs and arms seemed to be out of control for a minute, and I was unable to sit still. I tapped my index finger rapidly on the arm of the chair to the point that I needed to stand up. I walked to the window, and gazed. What I saw was incredulous. I nearly froze in place. Triangular spacecraft’s were hovering in formation in the far distance over the ocean.
“What the hell?” Arms to the side, my legs stiffened.
Aurora lights shined down onto the ocean, moving around in all sorts of directions. Was I dreaming? I did not think I was and could not believe my eyes. Tom came to stand next to me; Major Turner exercised his right to pour a glass of whiskey and not just one, but several.
Tom placed his hand on my shoulder. “I didn’t believe the news ether until I saw the spacecraft’s for my own eyes, and you know what a UFO buff I am.”
I was speechless and probably for the first time in my life except in my sleep, and even then I talk in my sleep. My former wife often would sleep downstairs in the study because talking in my sleep kept her awake.
Major Turner must have been in shock as much as we were. I continued to hear the lid to the carafe cling. After several minutes that seemed like an eternity, Major Turner approached the window.
Crystal glass in hand, his hand shook nervously, nearly spilling the whiskey to the floor. Everyone at the base knew what was wrong, but had too much respect for Major Turner to say anything, no one wanted to embarrass him. He was given the news last spring that he was diagnosed with the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease. A large surprise retirement party was planned for the winter, and right on the day of his 68th Birthday. He was granted a defer from the President four years prior during the war in Iraqi and the capture of Osama bin Laden for the reasons that the United States might be attacked again. Plus, he and President Daniels are friends.
“I need your help, Cameron,” he said, nervously hand shaking as the glass touched his lips. “Tom, Nicholas, and Logan will be included in this mission.”
Mission I asked myself. What did Major Turner want from the four of us? What could we possibly do, save the planet from a hostile takeover from hundreds, possibly millions of aliens that were right off our coast, hovering and waiting to invade? Major Turner did not have a clue what he was saying, or suggesting. I was certain we had enough military to defeat any situation, along with all ten nations backing us. Had he had gone mad?
I continued to gaze out the window, and in dead shock. Images from the movie ‘Alien, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ came into focus. I thought a moment, my head still spinning from the triangle spacecraft’s now circling, and cascading their lights down on the ocean. Seeing them from the distance, the bright lights continued to glow.
Major Turner drank the whiskey down all in one swallow and turned to face us both. “We have Navy aircraft carriers out in the Atlantic now monitoring the spacecraft’s. All of our borders are secure, all airlines and the aircraft's are grounded, everyone except ours. The Army and Marines are headed out across the country to basses to be trained in special defense and combat. This will be the first time in history that our military will join together to fight for our nation.”
Shit! I shook my head in disbelief. I found it difficult to peer my eyes away from watching the spacecraft’s. I swallowed hard.
“Why were the four of us chosen?” I blinked a few times. I forced myself to walk away for a moment from the window in order to think sensibly. Then it dawned on me the reason.
Major Turner gave me that knowing look. The look I know too well. My father gave the same look me when he knew I was holding something back, and knew that I could take on a challenge.
“Sir, that was many years ago, and we were much younger then,” I said, sounding disheartened.
During the Gulf War, Tom, Logan, Nicholas, and I rescued eight of our captured men when their planes were shot down. The planes were a two-man crew and they were captured by the Iraqis and held prisoner in an underground cave. We were told of their whereabouts when the captives contacted our government and demanded ransom for their return. We met their demands and held a peace talk with the commanding officer. After negotiations and a few drinks in the middle of the sandy desert, I handed over the million dollars all in small denominations of twenties, and tens and the eight men were released.
Logan, Tom, and Nichols stood guard under the awning behind me, machine guns fully loaded. Little did the commander know or his men, that we came with backup and just not a handful. The Army was involved and had one hundred boots on the ground less than fifty yards away. The area was surrounded. A chopper waited in the background with artillery pointing at the commander's head. He did not have a choice but to negotiate.
Once we had the eight men safely aboard and lifted in the air, the mission was out of our hands. We did our job and rescued the men. The entire mission took less than an hour. As the chopper flew off, I can still hear the gunfire. It appeared the commander had a few extra men of his own. Our military outsmarted them, and took care of a potential problem. Luckily, we didn’t suffer any casualties.
“The fact remains the four of you did one hell of a job negotiating. Hell, former President Carter could not handle the peace talks better,” he said, his voice soft and deep. He looked at me. Desperation filled his eyes. “We have enough military to fight; we’re just not sure what we’re up against. Their civilization is so far advanced then ours will ever be.”
“You speak as if you know.” I lowered my eyes to the ground.
Of course, he knows, he was there the day the spacecraft arrived to Area 51 or to some, Paradise Ranch. I remembered now the stories my father would tell us when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I was intrigued as a child believing his stories until one day my mother told us children the stories were all made-up and our father was a storyteller, and had a love for science fiction when he served in the Air Force.
However, this was not a science-fiction story and now I question if those stories my dad told were just stories. I have my doubts.
“All of us are in a state of disbelief, Cameron,” Tom said. He rubbed his eyes and walked away from the window. “I can’t watch anymore. Time is ticking away and we’re still standing here.” Tom turned towards me and then to Major Turner. “What are we expected to do, sir? Whatever the orders, I’m ready.”
I was a little shocked at Tom for chiming in suddenly. Moments ago back in his office, he acted frantic and behaved irrationally. Now he sounded like he wanted to fight and with both fists. By the sound of what Major Turner said, he wanted the four of us to negotiate some type of peace talk with the aliens. Honestly, I was not sure, how that was going to play out or if we could pull that mission off. However, he sounded like we could.
“We don’t have much time. Logan and Nichols will be meeting us on the helipad in twenty minutes. Whatever phone calls you need to make, I suggest you hurry, I’ll give you each two minutes, then when we need to go.”
I did not waste time, I pulled out my cell phone, and called my dad.
“Come on, dad answer the phone.” The time ticked away and my dad was not answering his cell phone. Talk about aggravating. Now I got his voice mail.
Time ran out and we rushed down the hall and outside. It wasn’t long until all of us were up in the air in a presidential chopper. It wasn’t the first time I’ve been on Air Force One and certainly not going to be my last.
After we did our meet and greet with each other, we buckled ourselves in, sat back, and enjoyed the ride. As we flew away from Cape Canaveral, I looked back. The triangular shaped spacecraft’s were predominantly seen. They just hovered in one space as if suspended in animation. I’m not sure how many there were, but what I counted there were at least two dozen.
Logan took pictures with his cell phone of the spacecraft’s while Nicholas was reading the novel by H.G. Wells ‘The War of the Worlds. I suppose that was fitting considering the story that’s in that book. Is it really a war? I surely hope not. Where is Tom Cruise when you need him, right? No pun intended after all he starred in the movie with the same title.
Logan continued to snap pictures; I waited patiently for a cell phone signal.
“Will be landing in five minutes,” the pilot yelled back.
Nicholas puts away his novel in his backpack. There was a dead silence in the chopper until my cell phone rang. I pulled the phone from my pocket. I quickly hit the answer button. It was my dad returning my phone call.
“Hello, dad, can you hear me?”
“I can hear you just fine son, are you okay? Your mother and I have been frantic for hours. We haven’t been able to get a hold of you or your brother, only Alice. Her and the boys are all right and are on their way here. I just hope they get through; the traffic is awful,” his words rushed with trepidation.
“That’s great dad, just great.” I released a small smile. “Listen to me, dad, I don’t have much time.”
“Son, are you in danger? Please don’t tell me those sons of bitches have you,” his voice hurried with dread.
“No, dad nothing like that. Listen, I’m going on a special mission again and we’re about to land, I got to go. Give everyone, my love.”
“You’re about to land where, and what mission, what kind of mission?”
With my father’s bad heart, I knew I should not have said anything about a mission the news was liable to give him a heart attack, but it was quite clear and obvious to me, that everyone seemed to know what was going on, besides me.
“I’m not sure, but everything will be alright, I promise,” I said softly, giving him reassurance so he wouldn’t worry.
“We’re less than a minute away,” the pilot announced.
“Dad, I’ve got to go. We’re about to land at The White House. I love you, kiss mom and tell Alice and the boys, and James if you’re able to get a hold of him I love them all.”
I turned my cell phone off. We touched the landing strip on top of the helipad at The White Hose. Secret service came out in droves to greet us, escorting us inside. We walked at a steady pace down the hallway, and right into the Oval Office.
As we entered, the presidential cabinet was sitting on the couches and chairs drinking coffee. After we were briefed, we were escorted to the main conference room where we met with members of the United Nations. When everyone was seated, President Daniels entered the room and took his seat at the head of the table.