Part Three (The End)
By Douglas E. Gogerty
"What is that crack suppose to me?" Ben asked me.
"Oh! Nothing," I replied.
"Do you want to hear the story or not?"
"Yes -- please continue..."
"Because I didn't ask for your help, and I don't need your help."
"I know. I'm sorry."
"So, where was I?"
"You were explaining how the voice seemed like it was trying to tune in your brain."
"Right!" responded Ben. "It went on for weeks, and I was beginning to get the feeling that it would never happen. However, one day it was clear as a bell. The voice and I could finally communicate both ways."
"What did the voice say?"
"Patience my friend -- patience -- I'm getting to it."
"Once again, I apologize."
"Naturally, the voice is not a valid name because it occurs completely in my own brain. Hence, at first I asked fairly mundane questions. Things like 'what is your name?', 'where do you live?', and the like. Simple questions allowed my new friend to get a handle on the technology on his end."
"His?" I asked.
"While I don't know if his or her has any meaning where they are, the voice was male in my brain. Thus, I use the masculine. In any event, the name question was more difficult than either of us thought. I still don't have a handle on what his name is. It just goes to show how much culture has an effect upon names. Thus, I called him 'Hank' and he was okay with that. You may have noticed that I spoke aloud to Hank. We found it easier for him to know what I was trying to say by speaking out loud."
"Why was that?"
"Apparently, the area of the brain used for speaking is easier for their technology to reach than if you just think the words. Once the communications problems were mostly ironed out, it was time to get to the meat of the reason he was reaching out to me.
"Hank is the intelligence officer for a mostly peaceful race, who happen to be at war with a particular nasty race. One of the tactics of this warring race is to take advantage of the peaceful nature of Hank's people and attack a neutral third planet. His department discovered that they were going to use this tactic upon our planet."
"Let me get this straight," I interrupted. "There were two races at war, and one of them was going to attack us."
"Right," Ben replied. "In that way, Hank's race would have to allocate resources to help us out. This tactic would work to his enemy's advantage."
"And you believed him?"
"Of course not, but I heard him out. Their enemy has this technology that allows them to enter a planet via a wormhole type technology. They pick a latitude at random and they have to be half way between the equator and the pole. Thus, they have to enter at 45 degrees north or south at the longitude that they select. It just so happens that my parlor is exactly 45 degrees north. Further, according to Hank, it was at their selected latitude."
"So, these aliens were going to invade through some sort of hole in your parlor?" I asked with a great deal of skepticism, but I tried hard not to sound sarcastic.
"That is about how I felt. However, Hank said there was an easy way to stop them."
"The plates?" I asked.
"Yes. There is something in ceramic plates that blocks their matter transference equipment. Further, if we have our shield enabled, when they enable their transference equipment, Hank's people will be able to knock it out. Thus, we won't have anything to worry about after that."
"So, why were you wearing the aluminum foil hat?"
"The plates also block some of his communication abilities; thus, I need some sort of amplification method."
"I guess that makes sense. I do have a question though."
"What is that?"
"Was this your first psychotic episode?"
"You think I'm crazy..."
"Perhaps it is stress, or something more serious. However, you have to realize that this scenario you have just outlined is impossible."
"So, you think it all happened in my head."
"Yes. No aliens. No invasion. None of it."
"So what happens now?"
"I cannot force you into anything, and it is simply my inexperienced opinion. Perhaps there is something behind this. You should see a doctor and get a checkup. Perhaps it is some sort of toxin localized in that room."
"Your localized toxins is just as crazy."
"Yeah, I know. I was just theorizing, but there must be some logical explanation for this."
"And, you think that what I just outlined is illogical."
"Honestly I can't think of any other way to put it," I said as we walked towards the parlor.
"Do you think it is the first step towards Alzheimer's?"
"I wouldn't think of commenting on that," I said taking a plate off the wall and examining it. "You *should* see a doctor, and he or she should be able to determine what is going on."
"I guess there is no harm in that."
"What?" I asked.
"I said -- I guess there is no harm in that."
"I heard that, I mean the other thing."
"I did not say anything else."
"You clearly said something about the plate."
"That wasn't me."
"Stop with your tricks!"
"I'm telling you -- I'm not doing anything."
"If you don't cut it out," I asserted. "I'll break this plate!"
"Honestly, I'm not doing anything," insisted Ben.
"Okay! Okay! Okay!" I screamed. "I'll put it back!"
I replaced the plate, and it stopped. I looked around, and saw Ben looking at me with great concern.
"Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, and so are you."
"What?" he asked.
"It is my expert opinion that you're fine. It'll be all over soon, and we can go on with our lives. You're fine, and I'm fine."
"You now think I do *not* need to see a doctor..."
"Yes. There is nothing wrong with you. Going to a doctor will probably only make things worse."
"Thanks for your time -- and the coffee -- Ben," I told him. "I think I'll be heading home now."
"Thanks for checking up on -- my animals," he replied. "Come back anytime."
I have gone back to see Ben a few times. The plates are now down, and his parlor has returned to normal. Neither of us speak of the incident, we just talk about his animals. I wonder if he saved the world, or if we both had an episode. In any event, that was one of my most interesting cases -- and days.