God and Aliens: First Contact
by Benjamin L. Reynolds
"Houston, we...we have a problem."
"Go ahead Eagle 1, What is your problem?"
"Tell them Jonas. Tell them what's out here."
Jonas looked at Steve and shook his head.
"Dear God. They're not going to believe this Steve."
"Houston, there's a space ship out here."
"Say again Eagle 1?"
"You heard me. Houston, there's a space ship out here."
Hal Gordon, Flight Director for NASA at the Mission Control Center dropped his coffee. He couldn't believe what he just heard. Jonas Williams was an eighteen year veteran of the space program and had been on two other shuttle missions. He was not one to make things up or joke around. He stood shocked for a few seconds, then composed himself, looked left, then right and saw everyone at mission control staring at him.
"Cut the feed!" he yelled out. "Open a secure channel to our boys up there. Natasha, get the pres..."
Bob Haskins, the Pentagon attaché interrupted him as he came running into the room.
"Hal, we got NORAD on the line. They want to know what that is up there. They just went to DEFCOM 2."
Hal looked up and rubbed his mouth with his right hand and let out a deep breath. He walked over to Ian McCollum's desk, reached in the drawer and pulled out a cigarette and lighter. He lit the cigarette and took a long deep drag.
"Sir, you know there's no smoking in here." Maureen Thompson gently whispered behind him.
He turned around, took a another long deep drag, looked her strait in the eyes, then exhaled.
"Maureen, I haven't so much as smoked a cigarette or had a drop of liquor in 15 years. Haven't missed one AA meeting since then either. Now today, I've got ALIENS NEXT TO MY.." He paused, rubbed his forehead and lowered his voice.
"I've got and alien ship next to my shuttle. Give me a break will you.
He threw the cigarette down, put it out with his foot and turned around.
"Bob, let the Pentagon know that...that we are aware if it and our boys are...they're looking into it
. We'll contact them in five minutes."
"Sir, they want to know if whatever's up there is hostile."
Hal let out a brief laugh. "Let's pray to God it's not."
"Jonas, what the heck are we going to do?"
"What can we do Steve? Houston cut the transmission. They're probably going to a secure line For now, just wait."
"Yeah well, that thing out there aint waiting. It looks like the door is opening."
"Jonas, Steve, are you guys OK up there?"
"Yeah Hal. Well, as good as we can be staring at an alien ship."
"What do you see Jonas?"
"Well, its a large ship of some kind. It's big, circular and flat. Silver. Metallic silver. About the size of five city blocks I guess. White lights all around it...well mostly white. Some other colors too. It's about a mile or so away from us I guess. Wait, there is a door opening in the front of it.
OK. Something's coming out. It's...another small ship, like a shuttle."
"It's coming right at us Hal!
"Calm down Steve. There nothing we can do now but wait."
"Steve, Jonas...can you make it back to the shuttle?"
"That's a negative Houston. It's too far. We're still next to the satellite.
Hal rubbed his head and looked around the control room. There was dead silence. No one knew what to do.
Candace Miller slowly walked over to Hal. "Sir, we've got the president on the line. He wants to know what's going on."
"Tell him I'll let him know as soon as I figure it out.
The small ship traveled for a minute and came to within twenty five feet of Steve and Jonas, then stopped. It was the longest minute of their lives.
"Houston, the ship is here in front of us now.
"What do you see Jonas" Hal nervously asked.
"Well, it's some kind of small shuttle. Its about twenty five feet away. Its has strange writing and markings around it. The front is facing us, it looks like there is a screen covering up what is probably the window. It has....wait...it..."
"Jonas!" Steve yelled out.
"What's going on up there boys!" Hal yelled out.
"The screen is opening. It's sliding open.
"What do you see. What's in there?" Hal excitedly asked.
"Dear God in heaven" Jonas slowly mumbled.
"What? What's going on?" Hal kept asking.
Steve and Jonas looked at each, then back again inside the small ship.
"You tell them Jonas cause I don't believe it."
"Houston. They....they look like us."
There was pandemonium at the Mission Control Center. People were laughing, crying and frantically talking to each other. A good number of people just sat quietly, stunned, not knowing what to do or say.
Hal had a big grin on his face. He was a large man at six feet four inches with a deep commanding voice. He was normally a stern and imposing figure not given to emotion during space missions. Now, even he had a big grin on his face while he stood with his hands on his hips shaking his head. Suddenly, he realized he needed to take control again and keep attuned to what was happening.
"OK listen up everybody" he yelled out.
"We still got a job to do. Get it together now! I need every piece of info we can get on that thing up there. Size, pictures, trajectory, ASAP! Let's get to work people."
"Steve, Jonas, what's that ship doing?"
"Nothing." Jonas said with surprise.
"They're just staring at us."
"How many do you see?"
"Well, it looks like three of them in there. They're not wearing suits either. They have...wait...The ship is turning to its right."
"What!" Hal shouted.
"It turned right. Wait a minute. Now, it's...what the heck? It's moving towards us again!"
Everyone at the Mission Control Center stopped talking and nervously listened to the transmission again. No one knew what to expect now.
"Jonas, Steve, get out of there. Try to get back to the shuttle."
Jonas looked at Steve, who shook his head. "Jonas, we aint gonna make it. Might as well wait it out."
"I agree. Let's see what happens."
The ship slowly came closer and closer until it stopped about ten feet away. A door in the middle of the ship slowly opened.
Steve looked at Jonas. "You gotta be kidding me right?"
Jonas took a deep breath. "Houston, the ship is right next to us and a door just opened. We're...I'm going in."
Steve grabbed Jonas by the arm. "We're what? We don't know what's in there. You can't just go in there."
"Steve! We're miles above the earth dangling on a hundred foot line from the shuttle. If they wanted to hurt us, we'd be dead. Stay here if you want. I'm going in."
Steve shook his head. "I knew you were going to get me killed one day."
Jonas pushed off of the communications satellite and slowly floated over to the door on the ship. He caught the edge of the door, pulled himself inside and disconnected the line to their shuttle. Steve pushed off the satellite and followed Jonas over to the ship. The two of them were inside an eight by eight foot room. The door closed behind them and locked in place. They heard the noise of gas and felt the pressure inside change., then their felt their feet and bodies slowly begin to feel heavier."
Jonas smiled at Steve. "Artificial gravity. Nice."
Another door in front of them slowly opened and in came a woman, about six foot two, with tan skin and long black hair down to her shoulder. She was wearing an all white uniform with a black belt and small silver neck plate hat had a small square device with strange writing on it. She stared at them with no expression on here face for about ten seconds.
"Nák at ju" she said, seeming to ask a question.
Steve looked at Jonas. "What in the world is she asking us?"
"I've got no idea Steve."
"Nák at ju" she said again, confused that they did not understand her.
Both of the men looked at each other, then at her and shook their heads.
She turned to her right and made a gesture as if motioning for someone else to come to where she was.
A tall man, with tan skin and short black hair came walking out. He tilted his head to the side and looked at Steve and Jonas, then at the woman.
"Jâk nat se a prasč ö" he said to her, tapping the square device around his neck.
The woman nodded her head in affirmation, looked down and pressed some of the symbols on the small square device on her neck plate.
"Ho...How are you?' She said in, in a voice with radio static in it.
Steve and Jonas looked at each other, shocked.
"She's gorgeous and she speaks English!" Steve said.
"Knock it off Steve, this is first contact with another alien species."
"Are we that alien?" the woman asked slow and deliberately, with a slight grin on her face. The static was now gone from her voice
"You...you understand us?" Jonas asked.
"Yes. We speak your language. English. It is the most popular language on your planet."
"How? How do you know English?"
"We have studied your planet for some time" she said and then pointed to the device around her neck.
"This is a translation device. It takes my words and translates them to your language. You can understand us and we can understand you. We will talk more about this later. Would you like to take your suits off. They appear...uncomfortable.
Jonas and Steve took their space suits off as the man and woman watched, expressionless. When they were finished, the woman motioned for them to follow her into the next room. The room was all white, except for lights, buttons and symbols on the control section. Another man who was seated in the middle of three seats at the ship's controls turned around in his chair, smiled and then turned back around.
The inside of this room was about three times the size of the first room and had two rows of seats along each side.
"Please take a seat. We are going back to the mother ship now" the woman politely told them.
Steve and Jonas sat down next to each other on the closest seats to the left side of the ship. They felt an invisible force pull their backs and shoulders closer to the wall and their feet closer to the floor.
"Don't worry, it will only last until we land" the woman told them, sensing they were uneasy.
The ship turned slowly and began moving.
Jonas was surprised by how smooth the ride was. For a space ship, it maneuvered nicely. They watched out the front window like excited school children as they got closer to the large ship. At about a half mile away, the woman bean speaking.
"Mother ship, we are arriving with two earth visitors on board. Repeat two earth visitors on board."
"Proceed shuttle 1, you are clear for landing on deck 2" a voice called back.
This built Steve and Jonas' excitement even more. As they move closer, Steve and Jonas could see windows on the outside of the large ship, which appeared to have people inside staring out at them. The ship glided inside, hovered for about five seconds, then lowered down to the ground. The woman got up first, then the two men followed behind her.
"OK. Please follow us" she politely asked.
Steve and Jonas had no idea what to expect. They did not know if they were being abducted or welcomed.
"Jonas, what do we do?" Steve nervously asked.
"We follow them. Let's see how this plays out. Besides, what else can we do?"
They got up and followed the three people out of the shuttle and down the stairs. They were in a large shuttle bay the size of a soccer field. Jonas could see about fifteen other shuttles in the bay. Everything there seemed to be grey and metallic. There were about one thousand people in two columns of people, all dressed in white uniforms lined up to meet them as they exited the shuttle. This put Jonas at ease a bit since he felt they were being welcomed. Then Jonas wondered why they were expecting him. "How could they have known he would be on spacewalk fixing a satellite today? Had all this been planned?" he wondered.
"This is our captain, Urshala." the woman said as she introduced the man.
"It is nice to me you. What are your names?" the captain asked.
"I'm Jonas Williams and this is Steve Chou. We have so many questions for you. How did you know we would be out there? Where are you from. What..." Jonas stopped as he saw the man appearing to get confused.
"You have to speak slowly Jonas" the woman said. Our translation device is fast, but not that fast. It interprets what you say and then sends it to our earpiece. You are speaking too fast for it. Please try to speak slower."
"Oh...I'm sorry. I'm Jonas Williams and this is Steve Chou."
The man smiled slightly and nodded.
"Yes. Jo-nas. Ste-vee. Welcome to our ship. I know you have a lot of questions. We will answer as much as we can. First, do you need to contact your people. They are probably wondering how you are."
"Yes." Jonas said with a sign of relief. "The last we heard, they were going on alert. We need to call them, but how."
The man turned and looked at the woman. "Bethná. . Please take them over to the Communications section to contact their superiors."
The woman motioned for them to follow her and they walked through the middle of the people who were standing there to welcome them and back to what appeared to be a communications center. There was a man and woman with in white uniforms and metallic earpieces in their ears seated in front of a console.
"Bring up the communications signal from their shuttle" Bethná ordered the two people.
The two people began rapidly pressing buttons on a clear glass panel with blue symbols and shapes on it.
"We have it officer Bethná. He channel is open" the woman who was seated answered.
"You can speak now" Bethná told Jonas.
"Houston. Houston this is astronaut Jonas Williams. Can you hear me?"
"Jonas. Is that you?" What the he..."
"Hal we're OK up here. We are on board their mother ship now. They sent a shuttle and brought us over. It's...well, it's magnificent!
Two weeks had passed and media outlets around the world were broadcasting stories that NASA had encountered a UFO during one of their missions and was secretly in contact with them. The truth was that after the first contact, there were five more meetings between the aliens and the US government. After Steve and Jonas were brought onboard, they were given a tour of the ship and talked with ships command staff for several hours before being flown back down to mission control at Houston and left there. They were given instructions that NASA would be contacted to setup further meetings and that they wished to address the United Nations in a secret meeting before revealing themselves to the world. The UN meeting occurred a week after first contact and twenty delegates from each continent were selected to go onboard and tour the ship. Bethná's job as head communications officer for the ship made it necessary for her to learn the earth's major language, which was English and teach it to a selected group of crew members. She requested that NASA assign Jonas to assist her. This caused them get to know each other better of the past two weeks. The American government wanted to send a government linguist with more credentials to assist her, but she refused, saying that she felt comfortable with Jonas. Her excuse was that she wanted to learn how everyday people spoke that a trained professional. She proved to be a quick study and nearly mastered the English language in only two weeks. Tonight she was scheduled to give a press conference to the world at the White House announcing their arrival and she was determined to make the speech in English, rather than using the translation device. Jonas was worried , but she assured him that everything would be fine and she would make him proud. They were at the White House Press room waiting for Bethná to make the historic announcement.
"So, you're ready for your speech Bethná? " Jonas asked
"Yes. You were a good teacher."
"Hah! You were a better student. You mastered English in two weeks! How did you do it?"
"Our race prizes study and knowledge above all things. As a result, we spend much of our time in study and seeking knew knowledge. From before I was born, I was bred to excel in the area of communications. Like most children, my body was infused with additional vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the time that I was born to increase strength, endurance and intelligence. In addition, any potential physical defects are identified and eliminated before we are born so that we can achieve perfection. This continues as we grow older."
"Hold up. Did you say that you were bred?"
"Yes. I believe that is the right word. My parents, education and training were specifically chosen so that I would excel in one area of expertise. "
"So, you had no choice what you wanted to do?"
"Choice?" Bethná seemed confused by the question.
"You couldn't choose what you wanted to do with your life."
"Why would I do that?"
"So that you could be happy Bethná."
"I am happy. We are all happy. If we are not happy, we are given something to make us happier."
"Drugs? You mean they drug you if you aren't happy with your life?"
"No. They eliminate the unhappiness. You do that here as well, correct? You have doctors called therapist and psychologist right? They give medicine to the unhappy."
"Yeah, well, that's something different, like those who can't control their feelings. I mean, you should have a choice of what you want to do in life,"
"Jonas, a long time ago, about three hundred of your years, there were terrible wars on our planet. We used to have a large population and beautiful planet like yours, but the wars destroyed almost everything Our weapons were more powerful than yours. Fusion bombs were used, space weapons...the entire planet was devastated. The few scientist who survived were those who saw the wars coming and built shelters deep underground and archived the vast knowledge of our technology. These archives were staffed with the world's best and brightest minds and it was they who rebuilt our civilization. Unfortunately, there are still only about one hundred million of us on our planet. With very few resources, everyone must sacrifice their life for the greater good. We live our lives to serve one another, not just our selves."
"I'm sorry to hear that Bethná. I guess I really didn't understand your culture. Tell me, do you love what you do? Your job? I mean"
Bethná looked confused. "I do not understand. My duty is communications. I do my best at all times."
"Bethná, do you know what love is?"
"You call that what you feel for your mates. Am I correct Jonas?"
"Well, that's one kind of love. I mean, do you feel passion and excitement about what you do."
"I don't understand Jonas. We do what we do. We make sure that we do not fail."
"OK Bethná, you need more teaching and I'm not talking about language. Tonight. My place. We're going to have dinner, watch some movies and talk about love."
"Why? do you love me Jonas?"
Jonas was embarrassed and surprised. "No!" He yelled out. "I mean, you're OK and all, but I didn't mean it that way."
"Yes, but you asked me on a date right?"
"This is just friendship, so you can see what our culture is like. Call it...cultural exchange so that you can see how humans feel passion and excitement. From what I've e seen from your people so far, you don't show much emotion."
"Perhaps your people show too much Jonas."
"Maybe we do. Let's talk about it tonight. You have a speech to do right now."
"Ladies and gentlemen of the world, I give you Officer Bethná of the Berú Hiní people" President Obama said as he introduced Bethná.
"Thank you president Obama. People of earth, this is a historic day. We have come a long way on a specially built craft to visit you. We are a race of explorers in search of a new home. We have come here because our planet is dying. Many years ago, war and neglect destroyed our once beautiful planet and people. We were forced to rebuild. Through technology and determination we have advanced greatly, but when it was evident that we could not save our planet, we sent many probes through space looking for habitable words. Yours was the first that we found. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that we were not alone in the universe and how close to you in so many ways!. We come from what would be called Orion Spur on your galaxy map. Our planet is fourth from our Sun and is called Berú Hiní. The temperature is much the same as earth's, but we have four hundred and twenty days in our year. We need your help. Our resources are low and we are running out of food and water. Most of our soil and water is poisoned and no longer sustainable. The majority of our power is generated by hydrogen fusion, which we take from the few remaining clean sources of water. You are fortunate to have soil and water in abundance on your planet. For your generous help, we will provide you with advanced technology in medicine, agriculture, fuel and other areas. We mean the people of earth no harm. We are a peaceful people now. We will work with all of the major governments, on this planet who will in turn work with smaller nations to implement the technological advances that we will give you. Further announcements will be made in the next few weeks. Thank you for you understanding and cooperation."
All of the reporters jumped to their feet and began shouting to get her attention. Jeffry Morales, the White House Press Secretary stepped forward.
"Please be seated everyone, We can't answer all of your questions, but we will allow a few. Chase Anderson, we ask that you go first."
Chase stood up, surprised that he was the first. "Bethná, how long did it take for you to get here and how long do you plan to stay?"
"It took us about three of your months. We hope to say a few months to learn about your people and culture. We also hope to establish diplomatic relations with the people of earth through your United Nations."
"Sandy Meir" Jeffry Morales yelled out.
"Bethná, how long have you been on our planet?"
Bethná looked at the president, who nodded to say it was OK to answer.
"Wow, that long? You probably have a Facebook account by now."
Everyone in the room chuckled.
"Yes, Sandy. My current city is space."
Everyone laughed again.
"So what's your relationship status?" Sandy asked.
Bethná paused for a second. "It's complicated."
The crowd let out a roar of laughter. Suddenly, these aliens were not so alien anymore.
Bethná arrived at Jonas' house at 7:00 PM with a motorcade of four secret service vehicles. Rosa, Jonas' Filipino nanny went to open the door, but Jonas stopped her, saying he wanted welcome Bethná in himself.
"Wow. Bethná, you look great. You're really fitting in on earth."
She had on a long red dress with a large decorative red flower on the right shoulder, red shoes and black belt. Her hair was tied upwards.
"Yes, Jonas, the president's wife gave me some of her clothing and lent me her hair stylist for today. Do you like it?"
"Of course, you look great. Come on in."
"By the way Jonas, this is Michael, my son."
"Son! When did...how? OK. Come on in Michael.
Jonas was bit surprised and didn't expect Bethná to have a son.
"I have a surprise for you too. Jordan? Bethná is here."
"Who is Jordan?" she asked.
Jordan came running downstairs. "Dad, why did you use up all the hot water? I had to shower in cold water! Look at my hair. It's so....uh....Oh...Hi Bethná. I'm Jordan."
"Pleased to meet you Jordan. How old are you?"
"Sixteen. So young and pretty. You look just like your mother. I'm sorry to hear about what happened to her. Growing up without your mother must have been hard."
"Yeah, but I had a great dad."
"He is pretty great isn't he?"
"Whose is this with you Bethná?"
"This is my son Michael."
"Michael? That's an earth name"
"We are taking earth names now to make it easier on you." Michael answered.
"Yes, you can call me Beth from now on" Bethná added.
Jonas jumped in. "OK, let's have dinner everyone before it gets cold."
Dinner went smoothly and everyone seemed to have a great time. It was a bit awkward at first because Bethná and Michael had a hard time using forks and knives. Eventually, got the hang of it. The four of them bonded well as Jordan helped Michael and Jonas helped Bethná using their utensils. Bethná raved about how good the baked chicken and vegetables were. Jordan kept everyone laughing by making jokes about how everything in the universe tasted like chicken. After dinner, Jonas suggested they go into the living room to watch some movies and learn about American culture.
"Dad, that's so lame. Michael and I are going upstairs and listen to some music OK"
"Jordan. I thought we'd..."
"Thanks dad. Don't wait up."
Jordan grabbed Michael's and pulled him up the stairs.
Jonas walked to the staircase. "Jordan, no kissing any aliens!"
"That goes for you too Michael" Bethná yelled upstairs.
Jonas turned around and looked at Bethná, who was smiling at him.
"My daughter is really taking to Michael. He seems like a great kid"
"Yes, they seem to get along great together."
"What happened to his father Beth?"
"He was killed in a shuttle accident right after Michael was born. Because I was so busy training, Michel was sent away to spend more time at training centers so that he could be prepared to be a Communications officer like me."
"After my wife Melanie died Yeah, it was pretty tough. I was in the shuttle program and Jordan was three years old at the time. I had no idea what to do. Luckily, my sister recommended Rosa to help me. That made it a lot easier. Plus, a lot of people at our church really helped out by taking turns to cook and baby-sit. Hey, here's an idea. If you really want to learn what American culture is like, why don't you come to church with us tomorrow morning? It's another part of humans you should get to know. Do you guys have religion? Do you even believe in God?"
"We believe in science. Many years ago, during the wars there were those some who believed in religion. We do not have a need for that anymore"
"Wow, I can't imagine life without believing in God. Do you want to come with us and see what its like?"
"Sure. I think it will be interesting."
Jordan was showing Michael her music collection. He seemed fascinated by everything she had in her room. He could not understand why she had so many posters and cutouts of people on her walls.
"They're celebrities. Don't you have celebrities on your planet?"
"What are celebrities."
"You know, famous people."
"What are they famous for?"
"It depends. Music, movies, all kinds of stuff."
"We do not have those things. We work, we study, we live our lives. Someone may become known for a discovery or invention, but everyone shares in what they do. They would not take the credit for themselves alone."
Michael picked up a CD and looked strangely at it.
"Why does this man have metal in his teeth and around his neck? Is he part machine?"
Jordan laughed. No silly, he's a rapper...a musician. Put that away. My dad would kill me if he knew I had this. He hates rap music. Pretty much anything that isn't church music, he hates it."
Michael looked surprised "You listen to this and your father forbids it."
Jordan smiled. "Of course silly. That's what makes it so much fun."
"You are interesting Jordan. Can I talk to you more?"
"Of course. I saw your mom's Facebook joke on TV. Why don't you friend me on there? Are you on Facebook?" Do you have any cute alien girls trying to hook up with you?"
"No, we don't use that." Michael said as he smiled and reached into his pocket and pulled out a small phone like device. "We have these."
"You guys use phones?"
"More like a video phone. See."
He pressed a button and a small three dimensional color image or himself appeared above them.
"That is so cool!" Jordan screamed out.
"Here, you take this one and I can call you any time so that we can see each other. and talk Just press this button when to call me and the one below when I call you. After it beeps, you will be able to see me. Press the other one for sound and no picture."
She gave him a hug. "Thanks Michael. This is so cool. Wait, are you even allowed to give me this?"
Michael smiled. "No, but I like you."
"Michael! You're a such a bad alien."
Jonas attended Bethsaida Missionary church. It was a medium sized church of about three people. The next day, they were escorted to the church by a secret service motorcade. When they arrived, the members were surprised by all the fanfare and media attention. Jonas was a embarrassed by all the attention their arrival had made, but was put at ease when Pastor Thomas stood on the platform and told everyone to calm down and just act like this was any other Sunday. The choir sang a few beautiful songs and after a while, everything seemed to get back to normal. People were worshipping with their hands raised, clapping and giving praises. Jonas looked over at Bethná, who seemed to be in shock. Her son Michael appeared to be fascinated by everything and pulled out a small device and started recording what he was seeing. Jordan looked bored and was still tired from spending half the night talking to Michael on the device he gave her.
"Aren't you tired Michael?" she asked.
"No. This is fascinating. Do you do this every week?"
"Unfortunately, yes. On Wedsday and Friday nights too. My dad says its good for us. I don't know. I'm starting to get tired of it all and don't come as much as I used to."
Michael gave her a blank look and went back to filming.
Jonas noticed that Bethná seemed uncomfortable. "We don't have to stay. We can leave if you want."
"No, it's not that Jonas. I am wondering why they are so...excited. The person they sing about, God, Jesus, he is dead right?
"Well...yes and no."
Bethná gave Jonas a confused look.
"He's....Why don't I just let you listen to the sermon.
Pastor Thomas preached about how Jesus fed five thousand people from a few fish and a loaf of bread. After the service was over, Bethná asked Jonas how this was possible and what technology he used.
"You see, that's just it. He was, is God. It was a miracle. There was no technology."
"And you believe he did that using nothing?"
"Yes Bethná. It's called faith. That's why we go to church, to have faith in God and be better people."
"Jonas, how can you have faith in someone who is not here. You believe in someone you cannot see or touch?"
"Yes. Even though we can't see or touch him, he touches us."
"How is that possible?"
"Through his Spirit. He touches and blesses you in ways that you cannot imagine."
Bethná just stared blankly at Jonas.
It was at that moment that Pastor Thomas came over to greet them. The four secret service agents looked at him warily, but Jonas gave them a nod to let them know it was OK.
"Well hello Jonas and Beth-nay....Beth-na...I'm sorry, how do I pronounce your name?"
"Beth is fine. That is what everyone is calling me now."
"OK. Beth. Did you enjoy our service?"
"I see your son enjoyed it. He was recording everything."
Michael stared at Pastor Thomas with no response.
"Hello Jordan, how are you? We've missed you the past few weeks."
"I'm doing fine pastor" she said, without acknowledging why she had not been attending church.
"Brother Jonas, I was wondering if you had a few minutes to talk in my office. If that's OK?"
"Sure pastor. Beth will you be OK waiting with the agents for just a few more minutes?"
"We will be fine Jonas"
They went to the Pastor Thomas' office and sat down.
"Pastor Thomas, I'm sorry about missing service the past few weeks, but you know how NASA is and with Bethná and her people here now it's just crazy."
"Oh no, don't worry Jonas. I completely understand. I want to know how you are doing. How are you handling all of this?"
"Well, to tell you the truth, It's a bit of a circus. One day, you think you know what the world is like, then the next, you're on an alien ship and everything you know and believe is turned upside down. I don't know what to believe anymore."
"I know how you feel Jonas, but that doesn't mean that you stop having faith."
"Pastor, what are other ministers saying about the arrival of the Berú Hiní people? What do people in the church world think about all of this? I know that people aren't religious are saying this is proof that there never was a God. What do you think?"
"Well Jonas, to tell you the truth, a lot of church people feel the same way. They are confused. Especially by all the diseases that the aliens have been able to cure. There are those who believe that God sent them to us while there are also a lot of people who don't trust them. They think there is something odd about them."
"Odd? Like what?"
"Let me ask you Jonas, what did you feel when you first met them?"
"Well, I was fascinated. Their technology, their..."
Pastor Thomas interrupted him. "No Jonas, I mean what did you feel deep down in your spirit?"
"Honestly pastor, and I've never told anyone this, but I did a strange sense of...fear, I guess."
"That's what a lot of Christian people are saying after spending time around them. I wanted to see what you felt since you have spent more time with them than anyone I know."
"But pastor, they are so nice and welcoming. I mean, they are sharing so much with us. I could be wrong though. Honestly, I hope I'm wrong."
"Jonas, remember what happened when explorers came to the New World for the first time?"
"Yes. I see what you're getting at. It didn't turn out too good for the natives."
"I'm not trying to say they're evil, but Jonas pray."
"Pastor, why do you think that God would let them come here? I mean, isn't there supposed to be a rapture and antichrist and all that? If people are here from another world, how can this be happening? Does their arrive meant that all that stuff in Revelation won't happen now?"
"Well, we know that in 1 Corinthians 15:40-41, the Apostle Paul said that there are different worlds and that each has their own glory and purpose. A lot of times in bible prophecy, things happen before the event is fulfilled that aren't mentioned. I don't know why God would bring people from another world here. I'm sure we are going to find out very soon. One thing I do know is that if God could made us here on earth, why couldn't he make people on other planets as well?"
"Good point pastor. Do you think that he brought them here to for us to teach them about him?"
"Brother Jonas, I sure hope so because the alternative is unthinkable."
When Jonas got back home, he went upstairs to take his suit off and sat on the edge of his bed, thinking about what he and Pastor Thomas had talked about. It just didn't make sense to him that God and aliens could coexist together. He stood up and took off his jacket, then his pants. He checked his pants pocket to make sure there wasn't any loose money in the pockets before he set it aside for Rosa to take to the dry cleaners. There was a note inside, written on one of the church offering envelopes. He remembered that Beth had given him a hug goodbye before she left to go back to her mother ship. This was unusual for her. he smiled, hoping that she might have left something romantic for him in the note. When he read the note, he jumped up off of the bed in shock. The note read:
"Jonas, for the safety of you and this world, do not discus what I am going to say with anyone. Last night, I intercepted coded messages being sent without my knowledge and discovered that a fleet of our ships has been stationed on the edge of your solar system. Before we left our planet, I was told by High Command that our ship was supposed to be the only one sent here. I investigated why they have not come here yet and did not understand reason. This morning, I found out why. In your church, I felt something, a presence and feeling that I have never experienced before. Although we are far superior to you technology, humans possess something we do not have or understand; faith in God. From what I have been able to uncover in secret records, this is the sole reason you and your people are still alive. If you really believe in your God, now would be time to start praying. You will need his help very soon.