Professor Stoneham woke suddenly as one of his grad student assistants, Kathy Ellis, flicked on the light to the back room. “Oh, I’m sorry Dr.
Stoneham. I didn’t know for sure if you were still here. It’s after midnight you know.”
Dexter Stoneham sat up and rubbed his eyes and the clammy sweat from his forehead. He had been dreaming. He didn’t remember what the dream was
about, but his ears were ringing, and he didn’t think the dream was very pleasant. “Hey, Kath – what are you doing here this late?”
“I was in the lab,” she replied. “There are some people here looking for you. I told them you sometimes stayed late and I would check your
office. They’re downstairs. They look important. You know - serious government types. I don’t think they’re from anywhere around here. Dr.
Stoneham - is everything all right?”
Stoneham followed his assistant to the stairway. As they climbed down the steps he looked through the window to see a black helicopter on the roof of
the parking garage. Maybe it’s the media, thought Stoneham. What the hell do they want? He looked at his watch. 12:45 a.m. News folk? At this
hour? The morons can wait. I don’t have time for them. Who said they can park their dumb helicopter up there anyway?
In the lobby of the Agricultural Sciences building stood a man in a plain dark suit. He had a small, black coiled wire over his left ear that
disappeared down inside his collar at the back of his neck. Two tall gents in grey jumpsuits stood a few feet behind him. As Stoneham approached, he
held out his right hand. In his other hand he held up an official looking badge of some sort before deftly tucking it back into his vest pocket.
“Good evening, Dr. Stoneham. I’m Colonel Jason Rubeaux. I must say, you come highly recommended - I have a matter of urgency to discuss with
Dexter Stoneham took the Colonel’s hand but only held it limply it as he looked him over suspiciously. “What’s this all about, son?”
Jason looked over Stoneham’s shoulder to Kathy Ellis, and bent closer to Stoneham, speaking softly, “It’s a matter of international importance,
Dr. Stoneham. Perhaps we can speak somewhere in private?”
Stoneham turned around to look at Kathy, and then back to Rubeaux. “This is my assistant, Ms. Kathy Ellis. If you need my help, Colonel, I’ll
need hers, so let’s cut the crap and why don’t you just tell me what’s on your mind?”
“Very well, Dr. Stoneham,” Jason sighed, “I’m with a branch of the government that is investigating a recent spate of unusual aerial
phenomena. We have reason to believe that there is connection to the agricultural industry, to the disappearance of bees to be precise, and we’d
like to enlist your help in getting to the bottom of it.”
“I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Stoneham lied. “Besides, I know nothing of aircraft other than the fact that I hate
flying in them.”
Jason looked impatiently behind him and then momentarily put a finger to his ear – the one with the wire coming out of it. “Look, Stoneham, Jason
continued, “we know that you know more than you’re admitting. We also know that you know more about bee pollination than anyone else on this side
of the world, so if we’re going to “cut the crap”, let’s play fair, shall we? I’m curious, Dr. You’ve made a lifetime of studying our
little buzzing bees, right? What are your theories about where they’ve gone?”
Stoneham looked pensive, and a pained look creased his face. “The truth is, I really don’t know, Colonel. None of us do. They’ve been
disappearing all over the world – not just here. Canada, Europe, Asia. Beekeepers all over are becoming quite exasperated at the loss. And, of
course, the dependant agricultural industry is in a quandary. A few colleagues have voiced their suspicion that there may be a connection to the
aerial vehicles you’ve alluded to, but so far no one has any empirical evidence we can test. My guess is that we have more sightings here of these
craft simply because our urban and agricultural areas are so intermingled and because of the rich growing environment in California. We merely have
more urban observers throughout a huge, year-round growing area. The odds are more in favor of a sighting or two around here. But I still don’t
know what to make of it.”
Jason appeared only half-satisfied with the answer. “Dr. Stoneham, we have several first-hand accounts of these craft swooping into an area,
typically at night when the bees are in their hives, and then, systematically and by some means we don’t yet understand, are able to siphon the
entire bee content of the hives up to their vehicles. What really has us puzzled is; what happens to the bees after that? There doesn’t seem to be
any place to store them on the craft, and we find no bees, dead or alive, anywhere in the vicinity once the craft leave the area.” Rubeaux reached
behind him and held his hand out to one of the grey jumpsuits behind him. He was handed a folder, from which he removed several photographs and
handed them to Dr. Stoneham.
“Take a look at this, “Jason continued, “Here are a few enlargements. We don’t have many good sightings relative to the number of blips we
register, but this is what we’ve got so far. You’ll notice these things are mostly of simple construction. A little winglet thing here, a probe
thing there, a few pieces of wire and a basket thing on top. Where do the bees go, Dr. Stoneham?”
Dexter Stoneham rarely is frightened or nervous about anything, but he was starting to feel his heart pounding in his chest, and he didn’t like it.
He didn’t like it at all. He handed the pictures back to Jason. “I’m sorry, Colonel,” he said. “I don’t know what to make of these
pictures. I don’t see how they could store anything, certainly not thousands of bees at a time. And I’m no airman or engineer, but I can’t see
how such a thing could fly in the first place!”
“Don’t worry about the flying part, Dr. “, Jason answered, “We have that one almost figured out. Just focus on the bees, will you? If they
are not stored on board this thing, and they are not found in the area and never return, then what else could have happened to them?”
Stoneham detected the frustration in Jason’s voice. “Look, Colonel, it’s late, and I’m tired,” he said, “can’t we take this up again at
“I’m afraid not, Dr. Stoneham. You see, we have pictures of maybe half a dozen of these craft, but we’ve seen that over the last few weeks
several hundred have entered our airspace on a nightly basis. A few, rarely, are seen during the day, but they manage to zip away before we can
intercept them. Dr. Stoneham, if we don’t figure this out soon you won’t have an agricultural or bee industry left to study.”
Dexter Stoneham gazed down to the floor. “Alright. What can I do?” Stoneham responded.
“We’d like you to come with us, review what we’ve learned thus far and help us figure out where the bees have gone. If we can do that, we
believe we may find some answers we need regarding these strange craft.”
Stoneham glanced over his shoulder. Kathy had the pleading look of a puppy in her eyes. “Colonel, I’ll need the help of my assistant, Ms Ellis
here,” he said.
Jason furrowed his brow, held his finger to his ear again, and nodded slowly. “Ok, get your things, we leave in fifteen minutes.”
It was 3:00 am and the phone in Martin Lew’s apartment rang again. He let it go to his answering service the first few times, but this was getting
ridiculous. He finally flung off his bed covers and stalked over to his desk, yelling into the mouthpiece, “Yes, this is Lew – now who the hell
do you think you are calling me over and over in the middle of the night?!”
“Martin, it’s me, Dexter,” Stoneham stammered, “I’m with the feds. That thing you called me about yesterday – it’s true. All of it.
They’ve brought me to a lab here in San Jose. You’re not going to believe this, Marty: It’s real. Alien craft. They’re sure these things
are not from here. The bee connection has them stumped. Has me stumped too, frankly. I need your help to figure it out. Can you come and give me a
hand with this?”
“I don’t know, Dex,” Dr. Lew replied cautiously, “I never liked those cloak and dagger types. They give me the creeps. Besides, you know
I’m expected in London next week – their bees are disappearing too, you know.”
“Look, Marty, it’s bigger than that,” Stoneham begged, “these things are all over the world now and the pace of activity has increased
exponentially. Trust me – this is the most important thing you’ll ever be a part of.”
“OK, Dex,” Lew answered. “Give me half an hour to get some things in order.”
“That’s great, Marty,” said Stoneham. “There’s already a car and driver waiting outside your apartment. Oh – and thanks.”
Martin Lew hung up the phone, and peeked through the curtains to the street below. A black SUV sat idling at the curb. A man in a grey jumpsuit was
leaning against the car and looking up toward the building. Martin packed his laptop and a few essentials in a quick bag. His mind was flooded with
conflict. Did he just hear his friend correctly? Did Stoneham really say it’s all real? Aliens? UFOs? Maybe he’s mistaken. There could
still be a more logical explanation. Well – one thing’s for sure: he was going to get to the bottom of it.