“So you’re saying that the Armed Forces is hiding aliens from us and you think that there are aliens hidden on Cantun on the Mantou Islands?” Duke narrowed his eyes and leaned forward as if he was examining Hans. “Do you really expect me to believe that?”“No, but I hope you will because it’s the truth.” Hans busied himself for a few seconds doing a double check on the autopilot system. Everything was going smoothly which was more than he could say about this conversation. He had no idea how to go forward from this point, but he had to say something to get Duke to believe or, at the very least, not tell anyone else what Hans was telling him now.
“I wasn’t sure what I would find when I went to the Mantou Islands. I knew there were tunnels and caverns there and I knew that was where I had to look. So that what I did when I went there, I went underground and I found something. An artefact, but I couldn’t see anything else because there was a light there that was so bright it hurt my eyes. I thought it would blind me and that’s why I need the special equipment to go back and see this time. I know there is more to it then what I found and I am determined to know for sure.”Duke tapped his fingers on the console, carefully avoiding hitting any buttons or sensitive areas. Hans watched a range of emotions play across his face in quick succession. He tried not to hold his breath waiting for the response that was slow in coming.
“Okay, this thing you found, can I see it?” Duke spoke slowly as if he wasn’t sure of what he was saying.“It’s at my place, but, yes, you can see it.” Hans smiled weakly, relieved that Duke was deciding to give him the benefit of the doubt in this matter.
“And that’s why you’ve been acting so strange?” Duke was scratching at his chin in thought again. “Because I’m thinking there is more to this than what you’ve said.”“There kind of is, but that was the short version of events.” Hans ran a hand through his hair and looked back at the console. He couldn’t put off this part of the conversation and this was what had worried him the most. “I got a call a bit ago from an old friend in the service. It was more of a check up on what I was doing sort of call. I think someone has been keeping a close eye on what I’ve doing and if they know that I’ve found something then I don’t think it will end well for me.”
“Conspiracy now?” Duke frowned. “So there is an element of risk and danger involved in this endeavour?”“You could say that. I won’t out right call it a conspiracy, but I’m pretty sure someone doesn’t want me to be looking into certain things to do with what happened back then. I’ve been a little cagey because of that. I don’t want anyone to catch on to what I’ve discovered until I’m ready for them to know.”
“You know you should have started with that. Much better than the alien angle to get my attention.” Duke smiled. “I’ve never had much use for the government or the Armed Forces. Might be why I wasn’t so quick to warm up to you. If it’s something the government doesn’t want people to know then I want to know that thing. No matter what it might be.”Hans grinned. “I can guarantee that they do not want people to find out what I’m trying to learn about.”
Duke laughed and stuck his hand out. “You’ve got yourself a partner in this little investigation of yours and I promise to keep mum on everything. I might even be able to find a few things out that might work out in your favour. I know a lot of people that operate on the fringe of society. They could be very useful.”“What do you mean by fringes of society? You don’t mean….” Hans wasn’t even willing to say it out loud for fear that anyone might over hear. It was silly because he knew no one was listening in, but he couldn’t help himself. He had been a member of the Armed Forces for too long to not be hesitant to say it.
“Yes, the Dregs. I know a good few of them and those people know more than I do. I bet we can get someone to hook us up with someone sympathetic to what we’re doing. Someone who might be able to get us certain knowledge and items that would be hard to get our hands on otherwise.” Duke was grinning like a man who had just gotten away with murder.“I don’t think so. I don’t think I can resort to that. They’re dangerous people, the Dregs. They live outside the law, outside the government. They’re renegades and revolutionists. There is no way we can trust them.” Hans tried not to let on how much the idea scared him, but he wasn’t sure that he could actually hide it from Duke.
“I think your head has been filled with a little too much propaganda. Trust me, most of these people are not what you think they are. They are no different from you and I, they are only just more extreme in their distrust of our government. So much so, that they are willing to become ghosts, non-entities or criminals.” Duke frowned. “Some of them really are as dangerous as they say, but mostly it’s just lies that the government uses to keep people in line.”
Hans stood up and began to pace a little. He couldn’t take just sitting there any longer when he was so worked up, he had to move. He could never have imagined the conversation taking a turn like this. He had always been under the belief that the Dregs were dangerous people, untrustworthy and here was someone that he wanted to trust suggesting they go these very people. It went against everything he believed in, everything he used to uphold as a member of the Armed Forces.“Can I think about this before you tell anyone or ask for help from any of these people?” Hans stopped pacing to look at Duke directly. “Can you promise me that for now? It was a big enough risk for me to tell you what I have told you; I’m not sure I’m ready to do what you’ve suggested. Not yet, anyway.”
“Fair enough.” Duke nodded as he spoke. “Let me know when you have decided. And if you want, you never have to meet any of these people. I can handle all the contact and no one will even know who you are.”Hans gave the suggestion fair consideration and then shook his head. “If we go that way, then I want to be there. I’m the one who brought you into this and I’m not willing for you to take on all the danger.”
Duke held up a hand. “It’s not dangerous for me. Trust me on this.”“Just give me time to consider it.” Hans took his seat as a soft beeping called for their attention. It was enough to end the conversation for the moment.
“Mayday signal.” Duke said as he checked a few inputs on the console. “Bringing it up on the screen now. There is a video component.”