The rain was pounding on the windscreen as I waited for him, I lit another cigarette – I'd been told they were bad for me but it seemed to help in these situations.
Again I looked at the clock on the dashboard of the car, he was late ... but then he was always late, I think he took the time to scout out the area, making sure that nobody else was waiting for him.
I sighed, this was going to be a waste of time, I debated just driving off and sod the bloke, but then even losers like this would be a line or two in the rag.
Oh, sorry I haven't even introduced myself. My name is Paul Morrow, I work as an editor for ... let's just say a popular newspaper, national readership so we have an impact on people's lives – even if it's only wrapped around fish and chips (well they're not anymore but it still rings bell with some readers)
I turned on the radio, but there's only static ... must be in a blind spot for the transmitters, I would try getting one of those new DAB car radio's but then it would cost more than my car did!
I turned off the radio and glared at the rain on the windscreen, where was he?
I thought back to the call I had several days ago.
"Morrow!" I said into the phone.
"Did you get the papers I sent you?" The man's voice was muffled, as if he was trying to hide his identity – although my phone displayed his number, a cell-phone but still traceable.
"This is a newspaper office, you'd be surprised at the number of papers I see, can't you narrow it down a bit." I said.
"The transcripts, did you get the transcripts I sent you." He said although his voice was sounding peeved.
"Oh them, sorry this is for news stories, not fiction. Have you tried to find a publisher?" I said before hanging up although the voice sounded just before the handset hit the cradle, I brought it back to my ear, "What was that?" I asked.
"I said it was real, those are transcripts of transmissions from aliens. I have proof." He sounded annoyed now.
"Aliens? Oh come on man, we're not the Star; we don't go into the 'Elvis found on the moon' stories that they print. Why didn't you try them?"
"You didn't hear me, this is real. I found them!" The man was very insistent.
I was interested now, "You have ... where are they? Maybe I can get a reporter there..."
"No! I want you to publish this, it's too important to alert them. I thought with your paper you'd be able to get the Government involved ... but I think they have spies in the Government anyway." The man's voice died off as he said this as if he had thought of something. "You're line isn't bugged is it?" he asked.
"Buggered if I know, but normally it's the other papers who listen in on the calls, we haven't got onto that bandwagon just yet." I said with a laugh.
"I'm being serious! If anyone else found out about this, then I don't know what's going to happen." And he did sound serious. "Listen, I've spent too long on this phone, I'm going to hang up, I'll call again tomorrow when you've had time to think about this." And then I was left with a silent phone as he disconnected.
I placed the receiver onto the cradle and began reading the transcripts, it seemed to be communications from a plane to an airport tower, but I didn't recognise the locations, and then I re-read them, it could have been a space-ship landing in a remote place, but it was purely a long reach to describe it as such.
I bagged up the papers and took it to my superiors, they went through the information and then shook their heads, "If this is true then we may have serious problems ... go ahead and see what else you can find out, you have full authority to act on this." I was told.
That next day when he called again I said that the paper was interested, as long as he could prove what he had given us, I told him that I would be the only contact he would have with the paper and would decide how much we would pay him ... if the information was correct, of course.
"Hey I didn't do this for the money." He protested ... weakly I noticed.
"But it doesn't hurt to get something for your efforts." I retorted.
"Well, the equipment is expensive, I could upgrade it." He said sounding excited about the prospect.
"There you are then. Now where and when shall we meet?" I was sounding like Macbeth's witches now.
"Wait for me in Epping Forest, there's a parking area in the Great Monks Wood conservation centre. Be there at Eight p.m. don't worry if you can't see me at first, I want to ensure that you're not followed." He said and hung up. I gave a smile as I saw he was using the same cell-phone number.
I used the computer to find out how to get to the centre, I didn't want to get lost, like a certain film unit did (Most Haunted, they had to call a ranger to find them and get them out of Epping Forest)
And so that was how I ended up sitting in my car, in the rain without a radio for a man who was a conspiracy freak and paranoid, I had done some checking up using his cell-phone as a start and found out everything about him.
There was a knock on my window, I opened it a crack and a breathless voice spoke to me, "Are you Morrow?"
"That's what it says on my shorts!" I answered back; I was feeling pissed off at the moment and decided to play games.
"Oh very funny, now are you Morrow?" he asked again.
"Yes, I'm Paul Morrow, now where's the stuff?" I asked.
"I ain't got it here; it's back at my place." He said
I sighed, "So why am I freezing my tits off here? If you wanted to waste my time you could have just told me on the phone." I said and reached to start the car engine.
"I'll take you to it; I wanted to make sure you weren't followed, if this got out..."
"Yeah, I know all hell would break loose, okay will you lead the way or... ?" I asked.
"If you could give me a lift, and make sure you're not followed." He said and got into the passenger seat, but scrunched down to hide himself from people looking in the car.
I started the engine and drove out of the conservation centre car park. Following his instructions we drove to Waltham Abbey (the town, not the ruin), after several turns we arrived at a long country road and then to a small house, I was directed to drive around the back of the house where there was a large garage, after rummaging in his pockets he produced a small box and pressed a button, the doors opened and I drove in.
I switched off the engine and turned off the lights, my passenger opened the door and got out of my car, I followed his example.
The Garage was a triple car sized one, although one end was given over to electronics, some quite sophisticated I gave a whistle. "This is impressive." I had to say looking at the radio and display units, "although I would have expected more lights." I added.
"This is my life's work; I've spent ages on creating this." He said proudly, "I was trying to improve on the digital television systems, but I found I'd stumbled on something else. That's when I found I was listening to aliens." He walked to the computer keyboard and entered a password, I was able to catch it 'parmesan', and then pressed his finger onto a scanner.
"It's got the latest security features, needs both the password and my finger to bring it up, its fool proof." He said with a smile, I nodded my head and looked at the screen.
"So this is where you came across the transmissions of the 'aliens', are you sure it wasn't a television or radio programme, Radio 4 Extra have them all the time." I was referring to the BBC digital radio station.
But he shook his head, "No, I know what I heard and it was being transmitted live, look here's the location of the transmission." He pointed to a representation of the Earth on the computer screen and it showed the locations of all transmitting satellites, but the blip marking his transmission was beyond the geostationary orbits.
I regarded him, "So these aliens are out there talking English to some aliens down here? Is that what you're saying?"
He nodded, "Exactly, from what I've discovered they are trying to blend in so that we don't notice them." He told me
I laughed, "You'd think we'd noticed a green skinned group of people." I said but he wasn't laughing.
"They're not green or grey or anything strange, they look just like you or me ... and they're not alone, there are others here that they are trying to avoid, I think they're at war with them. Because I've pick up a file which gave a report of the battle." He reached back to a binder of printouts, much like the pages he'd sent me earlier.
"That's when I started to trace the others, I found their wavelength and I've been locating them as well as this lot." He looked up at me; "It seems they've been at War for centuries, they've only recently arrived here to continue it!" His face was serious.
I read through the papers and it was all there as he had told me, "How did you manage to get all this?" I asked him.
He gave a smile, "I told you I was interested in this stuff, I'm a genius with electronics, I managed to hack into the first group's system, they seem to know about many things and they have a record that the enemy landed around the turn of the century, the main ship exploded over a part of Russia, but there were escape capsules that landed. The 'people' I suppose you could call them, joined together and approached the major governments for asylum."
I sat down in surprise, "You mean that the governments knew about these aliens, why didn't they just imprison them to get their knowledge?"
He sat down and smiled, "They were clever; they offered to give the information on their terms, in exchange for privileges. They offered this to the entire world."
I was intrigued regardless of the source of the story, "So what went wrong, we had two world wars, why didn't these people stop them?" I asked him.
"They couldn't, they didn't have the technology to build the equipment needed, but they did their best, working in labs to evolve our understanding to help them. In the First World War they developed the tanks in England, while the Germans developed the gases needed later.
"In the second world war, they improved on things and finally Whittle and Messerschmitt developed the jet engine, Von Braun worked on rockets, it should have been the Germans winning the war, except for Oppenheimer and the atomic bomb, you see with all three items mankind could have started on the road to the stars by 1945, but the aliens were so shaken up by what had happened they drew back from direct aid.