An Old Memory and an Odd Interview by Rich
Mark Brainerd, for the first time in weeks, had not eaten lunch at his desk. Instead, he'd found himself with a little time to kill, and eaten in the commissary (roast beef, and for a wonder it wasn't overcooked). He'd left the office locked, and so was a little surprised to find someone waiting in it when he returned.
"Excuse me," he asked, "But how did you get in here ?"
"It's where I need to be, so I let myself in." the grey clad man responded. Which was no answer at all, and Mark should have called Security right then, but the man didn't seem dangerous. Mark considered his "guest". The man wore a grey, three-piece suit, but it had an odd look to it. Mark looked closer, and the suit seemed to be made of ...fur ?
He blinked in surprise, and when he looked again the suit looked perfectly ordinary. The man grinned, and somehow that reminded him of something. "I'm sorry," Mark said, "but have we met ? You seem familiar, somehow."
"We have, as a matter of fact," the man replied. "But it was a long time ago, and I didn't exactly look like this. You were in the Boy Scouts, and it was in New Mexico. You'd just gotten up to shave, and I guess you would have been about fourteen, so you probably hadn't been doing that for very long..."
Suddenly, Mark remembered it all. He'd gone down to the stream to get water to shave with, forgetting that the stream was fed by snowmelt. The shock of the icy water hitting his face made him drop the razor, and when he bent to pick it up his foot slipped on a wet rock. He'd gone into the stream head first, and come up sputtering, stuttering, and freezing.
There hadn't been anyone else there. He looked up at the stranger, and only then noticed that the man had yellow eyes.
He glanced as surreptitiously as possible at the ring on his left hand. The stone in the ring was supposed to flash red in the presence of a demon. Sure enough, the stone was red. Then it faded orange, then yellow, ... green...blue. So, he thought, if "red" means "demon", what does the entire freaking spectrum mean ?
"It means that Miss Rosenberg is very
good, but that there are things that she doesn't know yet." the stranger said, and Mark knew
that he hadn't spoken aloud. Just as he knew that no one had witnessed his "shaving incident" at camp. There hadn't been a single person there. When he'd staggered out of the water, the only witness had been an emaciated-looking...coyote.
When he looked up, there was a coyote sitting in his office. More specifically, there was a coyote sitting in a chair
in his office, and grinning at him. Somehow, Mark wasn't at all surprised when the animal opened it's mouth and spoke.
"It's like this," the creature said, "Personally, I'm not a fan of rules, or records, or procedures. In fact, they give me a rash. But someone pointed out to me that you people care about those things, so as a courtesy I'm here to officially inform you that I'm on your side. Along with some of my friends."
Finally, thought Mark, something I now how to respond to. He reached for a form and said "That's excellent. And who are your friends, and how many of them are joining up ?"
The coyote was a man again, except for his ears. "As for how many, that depends on which ones I can talk into it, and I don't know how many that is because some of them don't exactly like you people very much. But I'm pretty sure that the Big Bird will be on board, and some of the others will follow his lead. As for 'joining up', I didn't exactly say that. I said we're on your side, not that we'll be taking any orders. We don't work that way."
"I see." said Mark.
"No you don't, Mark" replied the coyote/man. "But you will. Just pass on the story of this conversation, and Jackson or O'Neill should be able to figure it out."
"General O'Neill ?" asked Brainerd.
"I've met him
before, too." the creature responded. "In fact, he may be a descendant, although I tend to lose track of those after a few generations."
"Now," the man said as he stood up, "I've said my say, and you've heard it, so I guess I'm done. I'll show myself out."
With that, he morphed into the biggest raven Mark had ever seen, and flew out of the open window. 'That explains how he got in here', thought Mark, and it was comforting to be able to explain something
, even if the explanation was 'changed into a bird and flew away'.
He spent a few minutes organizing his thoughts, and decided to follow the stranger's advice; he'd just report the conversation, as close to word-for-word as possible, and hope that someone else could make sense of it.
But what did the stranger mean about O'Neill being a descendant ? And who in the name of Jim Henson was "Big Bird" ?