Ty chewed a cigar and grinned as the grunts put the final touch on the camouflage, his black duster flapping in the breeze, his black hat tilted just right. This could be the Men in Black’s crowning achievement.
Next to him, Will held his hat down as he searched the sky. Doc supervised the camo.
“You sure this is the place?” asked Will.
“Harold worked it out,” said Ty. “Makes sense. Close to town, but isolated. He reckons the Grays took ten or so from here.”
“Can you count on them coming?”
Will was a can-do sort of feller, so Ty understood he was picking at the plan to look for weaknesses and opportunities. “They ain’t the railroad, Will. I suspect they’ll be along.”
Ty had always reckoned that lead in the form of bullets would be an arbiter between man and off-worlders, but Harold discovered that lead rendered them invisible to the invaders, and the game changed.
The bunker on the slope held a platoon of soldiers, elite forces chosen just for this occasion. Eleven weeks to build it, hiding their activity from the sky with ingenious methods of concealment and pretense. Amazing what the U.S. government could accomplish when devoting the resources and the right men.
An even larger bunker to hold a captured space ship had been built next to town.
A short ways down the slope they would set up camp.
“How’s our bait?” asked Will.
“A little skittish,” said Ty. “He’s solid, though. The commander says he’s the man.”
A flap on the camouflage opened, and Commander Harding climbed out, followed by the volunteer, Sergeant Cosgrove, a lean feller who strode up to them with confidence and purpose. Hard as nails.
“That’s skittish?” whispered Will.
“You shoulda seen him before we told him why he was here. Wilted my eyebrows.” Ty shook hands with the commander and extended it to the sergeant. “How are you, Sergeant?”
“Ready to take down some off-worlders, sir.”
“Time to set up camp,” said Ty.
“Yes, sir.” The sergeant trotted back to the camouflage and pulled out a large bag, then humped down the slope.
“We’re ready when you are,” said Commander Harding. “My men have been briefed, and all equipment has been checked. If they come, we’ll ground them. One way or another.”
Ty grinned. “What do you think, Will?”
“If’n they come, I reckon we’ll disrupt their calm.”
Nothing happened the first day, or the next. After a week, the men grew impatient. After two months the commander approached Ty while he was working on a straight flush against some corporals.
“General Rath has ordered a replacement platoon,” he said. “Says he doesn’t want his elite troops losing their edge, and he’s right. They’ll be coming in tomorrow.”
Disappointment flashed on the corporals’ faces.
“You’ll be missing out on history,” said Ty. “Some fights are worth waiting for.”
The skepticism in Harding’s eyes would break the most accomplished liar. “Nonetheless, those are our orders.”
“What about Cosgrove?” asked Will.
“There isn’t a general in the Union that could pull him away.” Harding winked.
The new platoon came in like a parade in the capital, while Commander Harding’s slipped out as discreetly and efficiently as they’d come.
Ty scolded the commander, a big, round man with a golden beard. “Didn’t they inform you regarding the secrecy of this operation?”
Commander Jensen growled a response. “Isn’t a soul for miles to see us.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about. Get your men assembled inside the bunker immediately for a briefing.” Ty stormed off to find his Men in Black.
Inside the solders were orderly enough, the main chamber just big enough to hold them all with some room to present in front of them.
Ty explained the happenings, at least three different kinds of off-worlders landing on earth, abducting people, and fighting between them. He introduced Doc, Will, and Harold, drawing upon them for embellishments. He described the operation to storm the ship and do everything they can to hold it down using ropes, clamps, and various other doodads. When he finished talking, the bunker was dead quiet, a slight breeze whistling outside.
Commander Jensen chuckled, a deep gurgling sound. “You hear that, boys? We’ve been called to contend with fairy tails.” His men laughed. “In fact, I’m renaming y’all. Instead of Men in Black, I’m ordering my men to call you the Fairy Tail Boys. Got that men?”
“Yes, sir!” They said in unison.
“Ty! Ty! Ty!” Harold charged into the room. “They’re here. The off-worlders are here!”
Ty strode up to the general and leaned down until his face was inches away. “There’s a real soldier out there that needs our help. Assemble your men for the attack. Now.”
“I don’t take kindly to insults,” said the commander.
Will stood up, his hand on his pistol. “Commander Jensen, if yer too yeller to lead your men, I’ll lead them fer you.”
The commander snarled. “Let’s go, men.”