As humans, we try to make sense of what the world around us is doing. Some use religion, some use science and some use both. But religion itself is a form of science, since it’s literal definition is; the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. If you don’t think there is a science behind someone going into the same building during the same day of the week to meditate for the same two hours, we likely have different definitions of it. Whether or not there is an all powerful being or beings is beyond me. All I can say about it is if I were a god, I sure as hell wouldn’t be holding our hands right now trying to make things better, this is our plane of existence, we need to make it right.

I work in northern Arizona defending a city that people forget exists. It’s almost as if its been erased off of the map or like someone just made it all up. Monsters, boogey men, ghosts, omniscient tacos you name it and we deal. There is a division known to take on this hellish place and has been named for the town of Twin Hills, we are known as agents of T.H. and this our story.

Agent Ritter 9:00 PM Twin Hills, Arizona Twin Hills Headquarters

The boss told me that I need another partner. I am not sure I am ready for that kind of responsibility again. In a regular situation maybe this other person would be carrying half the load, but with what we handle here in Twin Hills you either retire early or check out completely. I have been here a few years, and every time I get a partner something happens to them. But it is what it is.

My name is Scott Ritter and I am an agent for a federally funded organization who’s main purpose is to study the unknown. We’re the FBI but with an asterisk, we deal with fringe science, xenology, cryptozoology and the like. Most everyone at this facility likes their job, it comes with benefits and knowledge not freely given to the world, and a decent cup of coffee.

I was recruited here to be the onsite doctor and field medic. That is a lot of responsibility that comes with rough territory. You’d think anyone partnered up with me would have the safest gig since I have medical training. Unfortunately for my past cohorts we also get the most dangerous missions. Since I am the medic I have had to push myself to be as physically capable as possible, that in turn makes me best suited to be on the field at all times.

I am also the forensic sketch artist. Luckily I get the salary of a doctor so I can afford a nice little apartment for myself and eat the way I want. Some of these nights are a little too long though, especially when it comes to being a solo agent. Doing it this way keeps others out of harms way though, so I’m good with it.

Not many people will go through the boring stuff with you about physicality, but staying one hundred percent on top of your game in a field where injury and death are waiting to stick their foot out at any corner is key. Staying consistently physical is more important than just looking like a jacked super hero. Most of us train ourselves mentally and physically on top of our jobs here six times a week. We have an onsite gym and fighting studio, we also have cryo, red light and pulsed electromagnetic field therapies besides the conventional medical facilities. Food is provided but not everyone eats it.

What we have might seem like overkill, but we try everything we can to get our agents back in the field as soon as possible after an injury which there are plenty of. We have guidelines but not strict rules of what you should eat or how you should maintain yourself after you are recruited so if you let yourself slide its on you. From what I’ve heard about this new girl is that she already knows how to handle herself.

I was leaning on my former partner’s desk and staring out the window. On the old brown desk was a formal welcome letter I had written. While gazing at the moonlit-cloudy night I was going over the information the boss gave me about the new recruit in my head. She said she has previous experience with the unkown which is good because knowing is half the battle. She said that she is physically the toughest new recruit we’ve had for years, and I already stressed the mind and body part. She’s a professor, that’s new because we haven’t worked someone like that before, if she gets attacked which she will, is she just going to lecture them to death?

Her name was striking to me as well, Agent Nell “Scully” Williams. “Are you shitting me, I thought you were serious about a new partner.” I told the boss over the phone, “It’s just a nickname, kind of like how everyone calls Wells Kooky.” she replied. “Listen, she is on her way and I would like for you to make a good first impression. Lets not let her get possessed or have any close encounters of any kind.” the boss told me, “Yeah, Hynek’s scale keeps getting added to and its getting disturbing so we’ll try to keep that from happening.” I said back. “Ok, if anything comes up I will call you. Until then wait for her at the office so you can show her to her desk.” “Okay, have a good night.” I told her, “Goodnight.” she replied before she hung up.

The knock at the door pulled me from my almost meditative gaze out the window. I walked over and opened it up to reveal a woman in a pink form fitting dress suit and red sunglasses. She had red hair past her shoulders and pink lipstick. She was short but imposing and loosely wore a black leather jacket over the shoulder of her suit which was more revealing than I was expecting. Her legs were heavily muscled and made her slacks look like skinny jeans. She wore black tactical boots with pink toes, heels and soles. “Hello.” I said as I stopped scanning her like a neanderthal glaring at a Rubik’s cube. I noticed her doing the same; many humans do this to gauge the caliber of what could be an ally or a threat. My outfit was as form fitting as a pair of suit pants and a dress shirt could be, most of the fabric was built for flexibility and formality, after the first few years of working here I had realized that cheap, poorly fitting suits could get you killed, she likely felt the same way.

“Doctor Ritter I presume?” Agent Williams said as she met my eyes, “Yes, and you must be Professor Williams.” I responded, she nodded and smiled. She looked to her left and threw the jacket from her shoulder to the coat rack. “Everyone has one title or another here so we all mostly just go by ‘agent’ if that makes it easier for you.” I told her, “Okay Doctor Agent, you can just call me Nell. I don’t care for formalities, but respect your tutelage.” Nell chimed and smirked, “This is your desk.” I said as I pointed to the back of the room, “You will find all of the necessities; paper, pens and maybe leftover desk candy, I wouldn’t eat it though.” and there sat an old brown desk with a single piece of paper sat in the middle. Behind it was a filing cabinet and a poster of a flying saucer hitting a pair of mountains with what appeared to be a purple tractor beam.

Nell walked over and looked at the poster, “This is pretty rad, what movie is it from?” she asked, “That’s not from a movie, I took that picture two months ago.” I responded and she gave me the most ‘don’t shit me’ look I’ve ever seen, “You have a high resolution picture of a genuine alien craft and no one in this city is flipping out?” Nell asked, “No, they didn’t see it, we were able to disrupt its cloaking device momentarily and I got the picture out of a split second decision. Otherwise standard optics wouldn’t have picked it up at all. This thing didn’t cast a shadow or a silhouette.” I said as I mimed an oval shape with my index finger, “Then how did you know it was there?” Nell asked, “Agent Wells was in the area and had a ‘funny feeling’ so I got called in to help investigate.” I responded, “So we operate with ‘funny feelings’ now?” Nell asked with a quizzical look, “We’ve worked off of his hunches before and it has worked so we go with it just in case it’s correct.” “There’s times where it isn’t?” she asked, “Oh, yeah.” I said with tight lips and a nod.

Nell picked up the paper that was sitting on her desk.

welcome Professor Nell Williams,

I am you new partner Agent Ritter and I will be instructing you on the basics until you get the gist of things around here then we will share equal responsibility for the tasks and assignments we are given. As you are a professor I am sure you have more experience teaching than I do so if I am not communicating something effectively don’t hesitate to correct me. In the next couple of weeks we will likely get our first official assignment and I look forward to our partnership. If you have not already toured the city then I can be your guide until you are comfortable getting around on your own. There is a lot to see here and the locals are very friendly. We can grab a coffee or some other beverages to get to know each other better. Partners also train together here often so if you want to do that we have onsite facilities I am sure you have already been made aware of. If you have any questions please do not hesitate, this is what I am here for.

Professionally, Doctor Scott Ritter”

“Well I know some of this is bullshit, word around here is that you didn’t want a new partner.” Nell said to me, “Well, its not that I don’t want a partner.” Nell tilted her head with a raised eyebrow so I continued, “I don’t think you want me as a partner.” I paused but she kept giving me the look so on I went, “My partners haven’t lasted too long here in the past. I am not comfortable with people getting hurt on my watch, and as a professor I am sure you understand that sentiment.” I said, “Well you aren’t babysitting anyone,” Nell said, “the cliche ‘I can handle myself’ routine doesn’t need to be repeated but I am your equal here, so show a little professional respect and assume I know my shit.” Nell continued, I looked dumbly at her for a moment and nodded, “I’m sorry about that, I am working on not being a brooding loner. I truly did mean that I would like to get to know you better, it helps us professionally.” I said, “There is a place that has the best cold brew in town . .” I started, “Wait, what’s this?” Nell interrupted and flipped the letter over. In terrible hand written red penmanship a note said, “Fud Sit-E needs to be shut down, the eagle croaks at midnight” Nell looked at it then back at me, “Looks like we’ve already gotten our first assignment.” she said smiling, “Well I,” I started then looked at the half scowl forming on her face, “You know what, I trust you.” I said stopping myself, “Let’s check it out, they are open til midnight so its worth a look.” I said as I grabbed my jacket off of the chair behind the black desk, Nell went back to her smirk and said, “Great, I’ll drive.”

Agent Ritter 9:35 PM Twin Hills, Fud Sit-E

We pulled up to an almost empty lot in Nell’s car. She drove a pink Delta 88 that she had nick named ‘The Homage”, it was old enough for me to consider questioning why she would drive an out of date car but not old enough to grant a historical license plate, I decided to keep my mouth shut about it. The parking lot was almost empty, “Slow night.” Nell said as she parked the car, “Yeah, this should make the process a little easier.” I said, “And what process is that?” Nell asked, “I really don’t know, we are working off of one sentence written in chicken scratch. Who knows what we will find.” I said, “Maybe we will find a society of chicken people.” she said, “Funny, Nell.” I replied as we unbuckled and stepped out of the car. She grabbed a satchel from the trunk and I eyeballed it for a second, “Protection. In case of fowl play.” she said looking over her glasses. She slung it over her shoulders like a small backpack, “Do you have the chicken jokes out of your system yet?” “Look at cock of the walk over here, loosen up a bit.” I stopped for a second considering my last partner, “You’re right, I’m sorry.” “Glad you listened to my nugget of truth.” she said with a wry smile.

As we walked up I saw a large banner hanging under the red Fud Sit-E sign, “Be Welcome” it read in blue lettering on a white background, “Gross.” Nell said, “Agreed.” I replied as we walked through the automatic sliding doors. The second the doors shut and a gangly sandy haired teenager quickly and silently strolled up which caused the hair on my arm to rise a little from being flanked, “Howdy and be welcome! How can I help you today?” he said. He wore kakhi shorts, a red vest over a blue shirt and a name tag that read “Be Welcome, I’m Dunston”. Nell and I looked at each other then looked back at him with nods accompanied by tight smiles and walked by without verbally acknowledging him.

The store was massive on the inside, it was built like any standard grocery store. There was a liquor section, a pharmacy and photo department to go along with the basic groceries and nick-knacks. As we strolled by the candy aisle I grimaced, “Something wrong, Ritter?” Nell asked me, “Just had a bad past experience. We can talk about it later.” Nell paused for a moment then continued on. “Do you see that bald man standing in the liquor department?” I looked to my right to see a well dressed man in light brown slacks, pair of loafers, lime green dress shirt with a loosened tie with pineapples on it, he was grinning like a mad man. We exchanged nods and walked over to the well dressed man.

The smell of vodka was apparent only after we got to him, “Heyyyyy! Youuuuuu!” the bald man said as he pointed at me. “Um, yes I am me. Sir, can we have a moment of your time?” I asked, “You’re the guy, man!” he replied, Nell ignored the response the man was having to me and asked, “Do you mind if we ask you a few questions?” and the bald man stopped to look at her then back at me, “But you’ve got the guy right here!” he responded so she purposefully took the bait to see if we could get more information out, “Who have I got right here?” Nell asked, “It’s David Duchovny!” he exclaimed, Nell and I exchanged glances, “Sir, I think you are mistaken, I look nothing like David Duchovny.” I responded to him while gesturing at my face, “No, its you David, I never forget a face! Or that coat!” the bald man replied so I tried a different approach, “Okay, you got me but we have a few questions to ask if you don’t mind.” I said as I pulled out my work phone to use as a recorder, “Sure thing Dave, nah its David isn’t it? David sounds better. Go ahead and shoot but I’m going to need a picture with you when you’re done.” the bald man said so I nodded, “What is your name?” I asked, “Yes! Ahem, its Keanu.” he replied, “Keanu?” “Yes, Keanu. All one word.” he said squinting, “Okay Keanu, have you experienced any feelings of unusually high or low energy since coming in here?” I asked as I gestured around my head, “Not particularly.” he said, “His senses might be compromised from the,” Nell said as she mimed drinking, “he might not be the best first witness.” she continued, “Hold on, I’m the best witness and number one fan of David here.” the bald man interrupted. “Have you observed anything unusual in or around Fud Sit-E?” I asked, “Um, not particularly but I did see an ugly green kid with a big head tromping down aisle three looking for something earlier, you should ask him.” the bald man responded as Nell and I exchanged glances, “Was he bald and possibly naked?” Nell asked, “Hey that’s the one!” the bald man said as he snapped his fingers and pointed at Nell, “Ritter, I can question him if you want to go look around aisle three.”Nell said.

As I started to move the bald man grabbed the arm of my coat and the hair on my neck rose, “Whoa wait, I still need a picture.” he said, “You can get your girlfriend in the picture too.” he said, “We are partners.” Nell said, “Yeah, everyone has their word for it, come on we can get the green kid to snag the pic of us.” the bald man sad, “What?” I asked, “Yeah, he’s right over there!” the man said as he pointed to the end of the liquor department. We both turned our heads to see a bottle of tequila fall of the end cap of the the aisle shattering on the floor, and instinct drove both of us to start running in that direction, “Okay, rain check then on that picture David!” I could see the bald man looking back at the bottle in his hands squinting.

As we turned the corner we saw a small naked creature running through the beer aisle throwing things to the ground as if it would impede its pursuers. “After that pickle!” I yelled running carefully as not to step on the beer bottles that had smashed into the floor. Nell was running just as carefully. She reached behind her back and pulled out her “sidearm” a sawed off 12 gauge double barreled Remington. “That’s a lot of protection.” I said raising an eyebrow, “Look who’s talking.” Nell replied glancing at the fifty caliber Smith and Wesson revolver in my hands, I didn’t even remember pulling it out. We both had proper trigger discipline so there wasn’t a chance of one of us firing accidentally, in a pursuit the point was to apprehend and question, not maim and kill. “Stop!” I yelled at the creature out of habit, “Do you think it understands us?” Nell asked, the creature looked back and gave us the finger, “Yeah, I think it does.”

The creature took a hard right out of the aisle and when we got there we didn’t see it. “If people see that thing they are going to freak out.” I said, “I have a cover story.” Nell replied. We saw Dunston near the front of the store just to the side of the sliding doors. I ran up to him, “Howdy, and Be welcome!” he chimed, “Yeah sure welcome thanks, uh, did you see something run through here just now?” I asked him, “I’m not sure of what you are talking about.” he replied, “Did you see a diseased orangutan hobble through here just now?” Nell asked. She then noticed his neck and prodded me to look. A long needle with prongs stuck six inches out of the back of the kid’s head and was making a humming noise, “Ritter we have to leave now!” she said pointing to the front door and I followed, “How can I help you today” I could hear as we headed back out of the entrance, “Shut up Dunston!” I hollered back as the sliding doors closed behind us. I pulled out my phone and dialed the first number in my professional contacts list, “We are going to need backup! Send whoever is available to the desert field behind Fud Sit-E!” I said and hit the “end” button.

We could see the creature running over a hill to the right side of Fud Sit-E. The thing was faster and more agile than we would have expected for something so small and thin. We pursued and were able to gain some ground on the creature when it tried to run over the hill past some barrel cacti. “I know you can understand us, I will put my weapon away if you will please just stop!” I said and it looked back again and closed its bottom fingers and extended its index finger to make a gun shape, the kind a child would make while playing cops and robbers. “Oh shit, really?” Nell said. Bvoop bvoop its wrists kicked back as the creature whipped around and haphazardly fired two green concussive blasts out of its index finger that missed both of us by a foot or two. Bakoom bakoom I heard behind us as we kept moving forward, “He’s not a very good shot.” Nell huffed. I looked back to see a large hole in the ground and one of the cacti had been blown to smithereens, “I don’t think he has to be.” I grunted back.

The creature stopped at the top of the hill and pointed more carefully this time and it all happened in an instant, Nell dropped to one knee and aimed he shotgun directly at the creature, ker-pow! She tagged the top left side of the creatures head where it popped and deflated like a hot air balloon and the creature toppled over. We jogged up to it to look a little closer. It was lime green, had large black eyes, a small mouth, nostrils where a nose on a human would be and the same went for where the ears would be, we found the classic description of a little green man.

“I didn’t mean to do a kill shot.” Nell said as she bent over to investigate the purple fluid coming out of the wound of the creature. “It’s okay, it was either him or us. We can have this little guy analyzed at the lab to see whats going on.” I could hear the rev of a familiar engine from a distance, “Looks like we are getting the backup a little later than we needed it but sooner I thought.” I said, eyeing the creature. Even though headquarters wasn’t that far away, it really seemed like whoever they sent was already heading in our direction.

The night sky was starting to get more cloudy “Bleh.” I turned to look in the direction of the humming engine, “What was that Nell?” “I didn’t say anything.” I looked over to her then back at the creature, “Bleeeeeeeeeeee!” it squealed and jumped up like a little marionette with a flat head, “Bah!” I screamed and pulled out my revolver as lights from behind came closer and the engine’s rev got louder. The creature pointed his little digit at us. I turned and jumped to push Nell as a 1981 Dodge Diplomat sped by slamming right into the alien throwing the creature fifteen feet resulting in it rolling like a little green tumbleweed stopping face down thirty feet away in a cloud of dust. I was on top of Nell and we were both looking at the alien, “You think its dead now?” she asked, “Nope.” I said, “Neither do I.” she replied and we ran over the to creature with our weapons drawn.

The door of the Diplomat opened up and out walked a tall man in a dress shirt and tie, flip flops and a pair of red surf shorts wearing sunglasses complimented by an enormous brown duster jacket. It was agent Mercury Wells. At the office we call him “Kooky Merc” but Nell hadn’t met him yet. Wells strolled over with a calm demeanor, “What do we have here?” he said raising his left eyebrow. “Looks to be an extra-terrestrial.” Nell replied, “Thanks for the assist. I am Agent Nell Williams.” she continued as Wells looked down over his sunglasses at her outstretched hand then shook it, “Butt stuff.” he replied. “I am sorry?” she asked, “Don’t be, it hasn’t happened to me, yet!” Wells replied. Nell looked over to me with a confused look and Wells continued, “These little bastards are the butt stuff aliens, as in they do stuff to your butt. We at the bureau call them B.S.E.T.’s or B-sets for short.” I saw Nell’s eyes narrow, she likely started to recollect the conversations she heard about a weird guy that worked in the Twin Hills division.

Wells stood over the creature and spat, “Serves you right.” he exclaimed and turned to look at us. “So what’s with the shorts and flip flops agent Wells?” Nell asked as she pointed to his feet, “I was heading on vacation, but I heard your call on my scanner.” he said, “Wait, why do you scan your own agency’s phone feed?” Nell asked, “I can’t get left in the dust on this one.” The hair on the back of my neck rose again, “Wait, something’s wrong.” I said as purple light from above blinded us for a moment. I looked down to see the creature standing back up, “Later, probe warmers!” it said in a goblin like tone and it started to rise into the sky towards a large silver disc. “It’s a tractor beam! Don’t let him get away!” Nell yelled, I reacted by grabbing the creature’s foot and it kicked me in the face with the other continuing its ascent. Nell narrowed her eyes and lept upwards grabbing the alien by both feet, “Jump upwards into the focused part of the beam!” Nell screamed back so I closed my eyes and focused all of my momentum upwards in a leap that would have astounded Olympians had I not been given an assist by alien technology.

With my eyes shut I clung to the first thing I could grab onto in complete darkness trying not to get blinded by the bright purple light, “EEEEEEEEK!” I heard as I gripped tighter and felt something, no somethings and they were big, wet and slippery, “Wait, what the?” I said and looked down to see I had grasped onto the eyeballs of the alien creature, “Aww sick!” I screamed as my grip loosened and I slipped off of the alien’s ocular orbs. I fell fast and closed my eyes again out of anticipation of impact and still avoiding that bright light. Then I stopped in mid air, “I felt like there should be more of a thud happening after a fall like that.” I said aloud and opened my eyes to see Nell had let go of one of the alien’s feet to grab my ankle, “You’re welcome.” she said, “Where did you learn that trick?” I asked, “Being an agent wasn’t my first job.” she said maintaining perfect balance between me and the alien. “Wells, go call for help!” Nell said, “Oh no, I already said you aren’t cracking this one without me.” Wells replied and lept upwards with his hands outstretched, “Grab my hand!” I yelled as I extended my right hand. He went right past it and jammed one hand into the back of my neck and the other into my nose and mouth. “Thank you for the assistance Ritter, but your tie is in my face and I find it rather annoying.”

Agent Ritter 9:51 PM Alien Craft above Twin Hills

There was a large chandelier-like machine above us with many bulbous lenses that pulsed when we came up through the hatch. It hummed loudly then we were suspended upright in mid air with our hair and clothes flowing like they were under water, the creature called out and five more of them showed up with hands outstretched. I pulled out my revolver and aimed it at them, “Don’t move.” I said, they all looked between one another and started to laugh, “Try it.” the one in front said. I pulled the trigger, the gun kicked back as it always did but the bullet slowed down before it got more than three inches out of the barrel. It twirled and spun like a small fish in the ocean then popped out of the tractor beam falling safely to the floor. “Nuts.” I said.

The head creature put out its hand and did the ‘give it to me’ gesture, we handed over our sidearms, my revolver, Nell’s shotgun and Wells’s MP5. The aliens looked at the guns and back at us, “Such aggressive weapons for FBI agents.” the lead alien squawked. Two of the other creatures came to the aid of the one Nell had shot in the head, they put him on a table and started working making clanking and sloshing noises. “And your little finger guns aren’t?” I asked, “Yes, specially modified cybernetic implants hidden under the skin. We have many.” the creature replied while smiling, “What happened to balloon head over there? I popped him like a zit, why is he still moving?” Nell asked while looking in the direction of the limp creature on the surgery table, “You hit him in the gas bladder. He will be fine momentarily.” the leader said turning away and motioning with his hand toward us. “So wait, you creatures are all a bunch of airheads? Are those big empty noggins just for show?” Nell called back and the leader turned back with a scowl, “They are not just for show, it increases the oxygen to our brains, which are huge.” the other two creatures grabbed each of us one by one starting with Wells. They put us on metal tables with straps locking our wrists and ankles. The material of these straps looked like woven spider webs that tightened automatically when our limbs were inserted.

The tables glided on the ground as if there wasn’t any friction. “Where are you taking us?” I asked, “The first thing most people ask is how we know their language, you don’t seem to care.” the leader responded, “You’ve been studying us for generations, you have an automatic translator, you ate peoples brains; probably one of those, right?” I said back, “No Nell, these guys learn everything they need from our butts.” Wells chimed in. “What?” the leader responded, “Yeah you are the butt stuff aliens people freak out about, you B-sets are all the same, you fly in you grab some people and you tickle their butts.” he said in a flat tone, “We aren’t ‘butt stuff aliens’.” the creature replied. They slid us into a room with many machines that had sharp edges and prongs hanging from the ceiling. “Ritter, I think they plan to give us the same neck surgery that goofy kid underwent.” Nell said, “You will all be under our beck and call when we are through with you.” the leader cackled, “You seem less ethereal and ominous than the aliens I was expecting.” I said trying to buy time as I noticed a tiny imperfection in the strap holding my left hand down, “Yeah, you guys aren’t scary at all. If I weren’t tied down I’d bop you one!” Nell added. “That’s because you got to know what we were from movies and TV shows.” the leader said as he walked over to Nell with a large scalpel, “I will get to know each of you personally starting from the inside out.”

“Sick, I knew these little green shits were into butt stuff. Ritter, you owe me five big ones.” Wells called out, the alien looked at him in disgust, “No, I meant I was going to cut you open.” the alien replied while wiggling the scalpel in its fingers, “Yeah right weirdo.” Wells replied and the creature walked over to him. “I’m not here for your butt.” the alien said face to face with Wells, “You know what I see when I look in your eyes? Butts, big juicy butts!” Wells said, “You’re getting cut open first!” the creature said with his face one inch away from Wells’s.

Wells lunged forward in his table and bit the alien on the side of the face, “Romnomnom!” came from Wells as he bit down, “EEEEEEEEE!” The creature screamed and swung his large scalpel down. Wells caught the wrist as the arm arced down towards his face, and the creature stopped screaming and looked, “Huh!?” it said as it tried to break free, “You’re not going anywhere pencil neck,” Wells said, “You can have all the technology in the world but you still have the arms of a telephone tough-guy.” he continued as he forced the scalpel over the strap on his wrist cutting it free. The creature turned to run but Wells had the alien’s left hand in his right and it spun back around. Wells smashed it in the right eye with his fist toppling it over. Wells sawed through the rest of the straps. The leader got back up and pointed both index fingers at us and hit a button on the console next to him, “Get in here everyone, these guys are trying to get out.” he hollered and the door we came through opened with five aliens walking in, one of them with a large bandage on his newly re-inflated head. They started walking over to us with their little gross hands outstretched.

Boom! The whole craft shook throwing the five aliens into each other like bowling pins. Bwoop bwoop bwoop an alarm rang as Wells fell forward face first onto the cold metal floor, “What is going on here!? What did you do?” the leader bellowed towards Wells as he tried to gain purchase on the floor, “Why don’t you check my butt!?” Wells replied as he stood up and punched the alien in the other eye swelling it shut like its twin and the creature fell back over clutching its face.

Wells ran over to us and quickly cut away the straps. “Do you know whats going on outside, Wells?” I asked, “Yeah I called for backup, the boss should be outside now and reinforcements are on their way.” Wells replied and pulled a cellphone out of the back of his shorts, “That was a clever move.” I replied eyeballing the phone, “They don’t call me Smart and Handsome Merc at the office for nothing. I pinged us with our GPS location to HQ and hid it on our way up the tractor beam, you can have it back.” He said as he tossed the phone back into my hands. I looked at the phone a little closer, “Ritter,” Nell said, “those shorts of his don’t have pockets.” she continued and my full grip turned into a thumb and index fingers hold. I lowered it into a plastic bag I pulled from my jacket pocket.

The leader started to stand, “Oh, no you don’t” Nell said as she ran over grabbing a silver tray off of the platform near the leader. Kapang! The tray rang as it stopped on the leader’s forehead and crumpling him to the floor like a bag of rotten cabbage.

We dragged the blinded and unconscious leader with us back to the main room of the ship. Wells walked up to the impressive console and started clacking at the buttons, “Hey Wells, do you think you should not do that if you aren’t familiar?” Nell asked, “I can’t get familiar if I don’t try.” Wells replied and went back to work. “We need to retrieve our gear before the others get in here.” Nell said to me, “Yeah, we can start checking this room then..” the door to the main hall opened and Head Wound with his four friends walked through, “You’re not going anywhere.” He said smirking, “Wait.” I said, I grabbed the hand of the unconscious leader, curled it up into a gun shape and pointed it at the five aliens, Nell did the same. The creatures stopped in mid stride and looked at one another, “That’s not how it works.” Head Wound said with a smirk. Nell and I squeezed the hands bvoop bvoop in quick succession as the aliens on the far right and left exploded into purple marshmallow fluff. Nell and I looked at each other, then the remaining aliens and pointed the leader’s fingers at them.

The leader had to have had some form of override hidden on him somewhere. With all of this technology built inside of him I needed to search to see if there was a key or something hidden in those hands. “I am checking in case there is anything on the leader that can help us figure that console out.” I said, Nell kept her aim on the creatures, “Okay.” I tried different finger combinations on the hand to see if anything different would happen. The only different combination that worked was all fingers extended with a thumb out the way a traffic controller would stop you. A viscous liquid shot into the palm of the hand from the wrist and I dropped it wiping my hands on the jacket I was wearing, “Heh heh” I heard a small laugh. I put on a set of medical gloves and picked the hand back up and aimed it at the grinning aliens, “You think that was funny you intergalactic perverts?” I asked and they nodded back with tiny toothy smiles.

Wells continued to flap furiously at the knobs and touch screen of the console. “Can you please tell us how to land this?” I asked motioning towards Wells. Head Wound spoke up, “No!” feeling like he had the upper ground since we literally had no ground to stand on. Wells turned around, “No, you will tell us or I call them to shoot us out of the air, Pickle Dick. What do you think hit this thing before, a seagull?” Wells said. The creature looked to its live counterparts and they waived him on. “Well we have the console on screen lock when we aren’t using it in case the ship gets overtaken or a giant dumb baby in a brown jacket waddles up to it.” the creature said as Wells glanced back, “Okay, how do we unlock it?” I asked, “The screen on the right, there is a pad with ten different patterns.” the creature responded. Wells walked over with his hand hovering over the console that had ten alien symbols arranged in a nine grid with one extra on the bottom middle, “In this order; top left, top middle, top right then middle left buttons.” the alien instructed, Wells started then stopped, “If this does anything other than what you say, Nell is going to kick you in the Brussels sprouts.” Wells said nodding to Nell who returned it. “Yes, just get on with it, this feels like an eternity.” Head Wound responded.

After hitting the buttons in succession Wells turned back to Head Wound, “Now what, spaceman?” he said, “Hit the symbol that looks like a cow’s head, then you see symbols in a nine grid next to that, hit the one in shape of a cat puking.” Head Wound said, “You’ve been on this planet a while haven’t you?” Wells asked, “Just hit the buttons you dirty ape.” the creature responded. Wells touched it and the ship jerked forward throwing Wells to the floor and toppled me over the leader alien and Nell, who rolled after me. The creatures were prepared for this and were gripping the intricate railing near the bottom hatch. With no one at the console the ship slowed to a stop. The aliens pointed their fingers at us, “No more tricks this time.” Head Wound said as he stood over Wells, “Actually, just one.” Wells replied boom boom! The starlit sky appeared above as a hole in the room appeared above as the ship was thrown sideways. One of the aliens was launched up and forward right out of the ship, “Eeeeeee!” while the other just went straight forward flying headfirst into the console showering Wells with purple goo. Head Wound was too close to the console to be thrown but close enough to smack his melon against it and get knocked out in the process.

I could see the night sky spinning around us through the hole in the ceiling. “Grab on to something!” I said as I clutched at the intricate railing closing my eyes. The ship slowed and with a heavy thud landed on something solid. “That was less violent than I thought.” I said aloud, “These ships have built in safety thrusters to keep them from turning the inside of the ship into purple guacamole.” Wells said smiling as he found his sunglasses. “Well, we have one, possibly two live ones here. Lets find a way out.” I said and Nell pointed to the hole in the roof, I shrugged and nodded.

Agent Ritter 10:10 Twin Hills desert just outside Fud Sit-E

After crawling out of the gaping hole we stood at the top of the enormous craft. Wells hoisted up the tiny leader creature and held it like a watermelon. He then walked into the side of the ship and stood there while motioning to to ground below, “We can slide down this” he said looking down. His sunglasses slipped off of his entrail-lubricated ears smacking the unconscious alien in the face and it’s eyes bugged out as they opened, “Reaaaaaa!” the creature screamed as it flailed violently, “Ewww!” Wells screamed as he threw his arms into the air dropping the extra-terrestrial. The creature rolled down the side of the ship like a giant lumpy gord. They heard a thump about a second after it disappeared off of the side of the ship. Wells stood there for a moment not making eye contact with Nell.

We slid down the side of the craft to the desert below. Wells dusted off the unconscious creature he dropped like a sack of old potatoes and grabbed it by the wrists this time. We dragged the creatures behind us and saw a car with its lights on in the distance, “There’s our backup.” I said as we headed towards the figure standing next to it. A beautiful woman with brown-red hair in a blue dress suit and brown calf high boots stood next to a modified purple DeLorean.

“Director Squee, thank you for the assist!” I called out as we continued to slide the creatures with us. “You’re welcome.” she said with a half smile. Sitting in the wheel well of the car were FIM-92 rockets and beside them on the ground was the accompanying Stinger rocket launcher. “Interesting choice of sidearm you got there.” Nell said eyeing the rockets, “Gets the job done.” Squee said with a raised eyebrow. As we came to a stop we could hear engines humming in the distance.

“So what’s the status?” Squee asked me, “None of us are seriously hurt, we have two ETs with us that are mostly alive, two inside the ship that are mostly dead, and one that got ejected from the ship when the second rocket hit.” I responded, “Do you think that one might be alive?” Squee asked, “Possibly, these creatures are very resilient to physical trauma.” Nell replied. “Is there a possibility of there being more ETs inside?” Squee asked, “Unlikely, but safe then sorry is a good motto to go by. A sweep of the inside should establish peace of mind.” I said.

Three vans pulled up with a TH logo on the side. Two people stepped out of each van and stepped to the back and opened the doors to pull out giant spacesuits they put on. The six of them walked over after getting dressed to consult with Director Squee. “We are looking for two?” the bulky space suit asked. “Yes, there are likely two or more of them in the craft somewhere. One got ejected and is in the desert somewhere out here. Be wary, as they seem to be very resistant to physical forms of trauma, so shooting them might be a bad idea.” the space suit nodded and walked over to the other suits who constructed a giant sturdy looking ladder to place on the side of the craft.

We placed the two creatures on the ground near the space suit team who walked over with what looked like futuristic dog kennels. I took off my examination gloves and put them in a hazardous wasted bin they had set to the side. The team started towards the creatures, “Wait one moment.” Nell said as she strolled back towards the creature with the large bandage across the top of its head. She kicked it once right in the crotch, then again. Dust swirled in the lights of the vans,”Wells did made a promise.” Nell said so I nodded back and shrugged, “Yeah.” Nell waived the spacesuits on and they proceeded to put the little beings inside of the kennels.

“So who gave you the tip?” Squee asked, “I don’t know.” I replied, “I honestly thought it was Wells until I found out he was on vacation.” I continued. “That was a smart move calling me when you did Wells. But why didn’t you use your phone?” Squee asked, I glared at Wells and grasped the my pockets of my pants and jacket in furious hamboning gestures. He produced a phone from the back of his swim shorts, “Thank Agent Ritter.” he said as he tossed my phone back to me. Instinct took over and thrust my right hand out as I caught the phone, “Ehhh.” I sighed. I repeated the plastic bag process.

  “If you don’t need us at this time, we can go take care of our written reports.” I said. “Sounds like a good idea. Nell, let Ritter show you the filing procedures. We have special cabinets for these files just in case someone gets the idea to try and expose the TH Division to the public. And Wells,”  she called as Wells turned his head expectantly, “you need to take a shower, I don’t know what you are covered in but it looks like trifle and smells like something that died and washed up on a beach.” Wells cocked an eyebrow and sniffed around then nodded.

Squee packed the artillery away in her vehicle and started to get back in the driver seat, “Are you not staying here to oversee this gets resolved.” Nell asked, “I don’t need to. The rest of this job is for the clean up crew now. We have very competent agents,” Squee replied then looked at Wells, “mostly competent agents, if not unique. I have a bubble bath and water damaged books to get back to.” she continued and closed the door. “Okay, Nell I guess its time to go back.” I said motioning back towards the parking lot of Fud Sit-E. “Yeah, can you drive? I want to get a head start on that report on the way back, a bath sounds really good right about now.” Nell said flicking tiny purple bits off of her suit. Wells put his broken sunglasses back on with an indignant look.

Man on the Hill 10:25 On the hill outside of Fud Sit-E

I stood watching the crew going to work on the spacecraft as they threw a large tarp over it. One member was holding a creature he presumably picked up from the desert as he was walking towards the ship and vans from the opposite direction. I smiled and stirred my drink; a vodka soda. after a few moments I took a sip, “Very good.” I said said as I walked away straightening my pineapple tie.