There is a knock on Tenisha’s apartment door. In response to it she simply sighs, her head back as she looks to the ceiling. All she wants to do is rest and spend some time alone now that she is back, and has been for only a few hours, on Earth.
It’s the first time she’s had to herself since before the Blink-001 launch. Seeing as following the successful flight she, Wendy and Nick have been on a whirlwind tour of debriefs, interviews and photo shoots. But the knocking is persistent and after a few wraps she is sure whoever is on the other side of her door is not going away until she answers. So she climbs off her grey cotton sofa and crosses the studio apartments small floor space to the front door. She opens the door without pause and casts her judging green eyes over the pair of UnSA suits, the agencies insignia emblazoned clearly on their lapels.
“Tenisha Faulkner?” One of the agents, a male, asks.
“You know I am. Now what is this about? This is the first rest I’ve had in weeks, so come in and let’s get this over with.” Tenisha replies impatiently as she steps aside to allow the two UnSA agents into her apartment.
The pair of agents exchange confused looks. They clearly expected the conversation would go differently to how it actually has.
“Come on. I don’t have all week.” Tenisha then exclaims no longer able to hide her impatience as they continue to waste her precious time.
“Now! Or I’ll close this door and I won’t answer again no matter how much you knock.” Tenisha concludes chastising the two agents who immediately jump at the woman’s words and shuffle into her apartment.
“What’s this about?” Tenisha asks as she closes her door and turns round to see the twin agents, almost identical save for a height difference, standing in the middle of her apartment, awkwardly.
“Oh come on, take a seat.” Tenisha exclaims as she rolls her eyes.
The twin agents nervously glance around as though they are waiting to be told where to sit.
“While you work that out, can I offer you drinks?” Tenisha says as the pair, who are clearly used to being told what to do every second of their lives, manage, just about, to take seats.
“No ma’am.” The other, shorter agent, replies on behalf of the pair.
Tenisha changes direction mid stride as she spins round to face the pair again. Both of them, she notes look uncomfortable sat on her sofa, at opposite ends. Even before the awkward indecision and formal words she knew they were former military now serving as members of UnSA security. They always look and act the exact same, Tenisha thinks as she folds her arms across the front of her loose fitting oversized t-shirt. She cocks her head to one side as she does. It’s a clear sign that the agents need to get to the point and fast. After all, she has already told them as much, and just because they are now in her apartment it doesn’t mean she is any less adamant about them not wasting her time.
“Is this apartment secure ma’am?” The taller agent soon asks. Though his question didn’t come soon enough to avoid there having been a short and uncomfortable silence that hung in the air.
“If you’re asking if anyone else is here, I’m alone.” Tenisha replies succinctly as her long curly black hair hangs down to her folded elbows.
“Is…” The agent then begins but never finishes.
“If you’re gonna ask if this apartment is tech secure then don’t bother, of course it’s not. This is an apartment block not a UnSA building.” Tenisha interjects as she stares at them.
With the question answered before even being completed, one of the agents, the shorter of the pair, pulls a small circular disk from inside his jacket pocket. He sets it down on the sofa cushion between him and his partner. Tenisha knows what the disk is and waits as a beam of light, cone shaped, erupts from the surface and sweeps across the room before chiming several seconds later. It means that Tenisha’s apartment is now secured against any tech that could be being used to surveil her in any way. Most people are being surveilled in some way, usually by tech companies wanting more and more data on their customers, purely so they can force more advertising on them in hopes of making them spend greater and greater sums of their money.
“Can we access your monitor ma’am?” The taller agent then asks.
“Just get on with it, please.” Tenisha replies throwing her head back in frustration. She knows they’re only doing their jobs but she can’t put up with their endless delays. She just wants them to get on with whatever UnSA have sent them here to do.
“Is that a yes?” The agent then asks moments before Tenisha locks her eyes on him and stares angrily as way of response to the clearly dumb question. Surprisingly, the agent understands her non-verbal response as he forces a smile, as means of an apology, while he pulls out a data pad out of an inside pocket. He flicks his middle finger across the surface of the data pad sending the recording to Tenisha’s eighty five inch nanoscreen. The millimetre thin display springs to life as the video immediately begins playback. The video is of Doctor Alistair Wells’ face, beyond which Tenisha can see another face, which is of grubby female with something she can’t make out in the background.
“Ms Faulkner, I hope this finds you well.” Alistair offers sincerely.
“I’m sorry to bother your rest. And I hope the agents and myself haven’t inconvenienced you too greatly.” Doctor Wells continues calmly.
“Can’t we speed this along a little and get to the point.” Tenisha says looking to the taller agent.
“This isn’t a recording, Ms Faulkner.” Alistair replies much to Tenisha’s shock, who physically recoils in response as her focus shifts back to the screen on her wall.
“Apologies Doctor, I didn’t know. But can I ask what this is about?” Tenisha asks now feeling flushed with embarrassment at her impatience. Her body continuing to struggle with fatigue as she stands in her apartment. She knows she needs rest, but is sure it isn’t coming anytime soon as she uses all her energy to focus on the conversation.
“I have something to show you. It’ll only be for but a moment, for…security reasons.” Doctor Wells offers as he steps aside to show the screen that Tenisha had seen behind him, which is a video that begins to play. The sound is muted as the grubby female face moves aside to reveal a black cuboid shape sitting on what she is sure is ice. She has no idea where but that is of no importance, as she focuses on the cuboid mass speechless. She is lost for words even as Alistair comes back into the frame with a chuckle. He imagines his own face looked much like Tenisha’s does now and it humours him to see another so shocked.
“That was much my response as well Tenisha.”
“What…” Tenisha begins unable to find the words for the question she’s trying to ask.
“We don’t know, and we can’t talk about it here. All I want to know is whether you’re in?” Doctor Wells asks casually.
“Why me?” Tenisha asks, surprised not only by the offer but also that she has managed to get her words out.
“You’re a biologist, but I confess there are other factors. Am I to take that as a yes, Ms Faulkner?” Alistair answers formally, with a slight smile across his face.
“Yes…yes it is Doctor Wells.” Tenisha confirms without having to think about it for even a second.
“Good. These gentlemen will act as your security. You leave at once. Apologies for the shot notice but I’m sure you can understand…”
“I can.” Tenisha says cutting Alistair off. He doesn’t mind though as he smiles broadly in response in the moments before the video feed cuts, ending the transmission.
Tenisha continues to stand in her apartment shocked by the sight that showed her only a few seconds of video footage of the clearly alien ship. She guesses it’s a ship, but she doesn’t really know.
“The possibilities…” She says to herself as the agents busy themselves, clearing their footprint from the room before they can leave.