Cover image for Operation Roswell
Operation Roswell
Randle, Kevin D., 1949-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Tor, 2002.
Physical Description:
432 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy

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From the bestselling author of UFO: Crash at Roswell
Roswell, New Mexico-1947
It is the troubled period just after World War II, and America has asserted its power across the globe, but problems still remain. With the ever-present threat of atomic weapons in enemy hands, the country has begun a race for military supremacy. Every inch of sky is monitored by radar, and every eye is open.
The face of America's enemy seemed very clear, until reports of an unidentified aircraft flying over the New Mexico desert arrived in Washington. The reports state that the ship is impossibly light, with the ability to hover in place, then speed away at more than one thousand miles an hour-and it looks like no other aircraft the country has ever seen.
While President Truman does his best to maintain plausible denials, the situation is placed in the hands of Major General Curtis LeMay, a military zealot whose only concern is securing America's dominance in the arms race. When his men shoot the craft down, it becomes obvious that this was no Russian vessel-and that it may not be from this planet at all. An examination of the crew proves this to be all too true . . . and one of them has survived.
As the army rushes to defend the country, as the government attempts to erase an event from public view, humanity prepares to witness an event so powerful that it could mean a change in life as we know it.
Nothing you believe will ever be the same . . . .

Author Notes

Kevin D. Randle is a captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and an authority on alien abduction. He has been a guest on many televisions programs focusing on extraterrestrial activity including, Unsolved Mysteries, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Alien Autopsy and Maury Povich. He co-authored the bestselling UFO: Crash at Roswell , which later became a popular Showtime movie, and The Abduction Enigma.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Well-known UFOlogist Randle is further qualified to write this thriller about the notorious Roswell, New Mexico, incident by the fact that he once was an air force intelligence officer. He knows the kind of context in which the 1947 possible encounter of the first kind occurred. In his take, behind the cover story of weather-balloon debris lay not merely a crashed spaceship but an attempted alien invasion. The hostile visitors were planning to grow a bioengineered army on the spot. When this became obvious, the air force had to take action, and General Curtis E. LeMay had no compunctions about using the atomic bomb with only minimal authorization from President Truman. From what we know of LeMay, this scenario seems quite plausible. Randle's realization of LeMay is only one of many exceedingly well-done aspects of a novel that should please a crowd of readers--indeed, virtually anyone who can't suspend disbelief that something peculiar happened at Roswell in 1947. Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

With its by-the-numbers plot and stock characters, ufologist Randle's first novel is strictly for readers who can't get enough of the many permutations of the Roswell legend. On June 30, 1947, scientists meet at the Pentagon with Major General Curtis LeMay of Army Air Force Research and Development to view top secret photos of a strange "flying disk" taken by a pilot on a training flight over Arizona. Faced with the possibility of arousing aliens with superior technology, President Truman warns LeMay to leave the UFOs alone, but LeMay is more concerned with gaining that technology to use against the Russians in the escalating Cold War. On July 4, one of LeMay's pilots manages to shoot down a UFO outside the small town of Roswell, N.Mex., and the race is on to learn as much as possible about the craft and its crew before the news leaks to the rest of the world. The sole survivor of the crash is taken to "Over the Rainbow," a secret Army laboratory in the Nevada desert, to be studied by scientists. Little do they know that LeMay has authorized the use of an atomic bomb to destroy the facility and everyone inside it if anything goes wrong. Of course, things do go wrong, allowing Randle to push this thin-but-brisk suspense story into overdrive for an explosive climax. SF readers are unlikely to be impressed by this Roswell rehash, but fans of fast-paced thrillers should enjoy the ride. (Sept. 24) FYI: Randle is also the author of the bestselling UFO Crash at Roswell and other nonfiction titles on alien abduction. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In 1947, a mysterious aircraft crash-landed near Roswell, NM. When investigators at the scene discovered evidence that suggested an extraterrestrial origin of the vessel, the military and the government launch a massive security effort to determine the implications of the alien ship and its crew-and to prevent the rest of the country from panicking at the thought of an alien invasion. Drawing his information from personal research and other evidence, the author of The Abduction Enigma and UFO Crash at Roswell presents a fictionalized account of one of the 20th century's most controversial topics. UFO fans as well as historical fiction buffs and the open-minded should enjoy this novelization. For most sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



CHAPTER 1 June 30, 1947 The Pentagon Washington, D. C. It was a strange meeting, held in a conference room in the bowels of one of the inner rings of the Pentagon that had only a single entrance with a vault-like door and no external windows. It was a plush conference room with high-backed leather chairs, a carefully polished table of the finest mahogany that held a shining sterling silver tea service, and carefully created metal nameplates for all the participants. There was a thick, light blue carpeting on the floor that showed no trace of dirt or wear. The room was paneled in rich, dark wood, and original oil paintings in ornate frames hung on the wall. These were not the mass-produced lithographic prints that graced so many other offices and conference rooms at the Pentagon but authentic, original paintings of military heroes and famous battles. Although there were chairs for twenty around the table, there were only a half dozen people seated in the room. The door was guarded, on the outside, by an armed, burly MP, his khaki uniform immaculate, and unlike military guards in similar circumstances, his role was not ceremonial. His weapon was fully loaded and he was authorized to use deadly force. Although the man seated in one of those side chairs, an Army Air Forces major general, thought he should be seated at the head of the table, he was not. Instead, sitting there, wearing a thousand-dollar Saville Row suit, thick glasses with dark frames, and a gleaming white shirt, was a balding man. The hair that remained was salt and pepper. He had a large nose, thin, bloodless lips, and an unhappy look. He toyed with a fountain pen that had a solid gold clip, a gold band around the edge of the cap, and a golden point. In front of him was a thick leather folder. There was no nameplate at his place and even if he revealed his name, none of the others would have recognized it. Dr. Jonathan David Moore was not well known outside his scientific speciality of psychology and was virtually unknown in Washington or the Pentagon. It was the way that he, and his superiors, liked it. He looked from person to person, as if taking a silent roll, and asked, "Does everyone here know everyone else?" The Army Air Forces major general, his eyes on Moore, shook his head slowly. He was a stocky man with a thick, unruly clump of black wavy hair and bulldog features. The ribbons denoting his combat and service decorations climbed from the top of the left breast pocket to nearly his shoulder. They were topped by the silver wings of a command pilot. He was leaning back in his chair, eyeing the lone woman at the table as he idly unwrapped a thick cigar. He pointed with his cigar. "I don't know her." "Ah. That is Dr. Danni Hackett." Moore glanced at the woman who nodded once, slightly, at the introduction. She was a young woman, no more than twenty-five or thirty, with light brown hair, blue eyes, and thin features. She sat leaning forward, as if interested in everything that was going on around her. She wore a severe suit of charcoal gray that had wide lapels. There was a small brooch on one of them that looked for all the world like a deformed golden spider with three bright ruby-colored eyes. The general asked, "Why is she here?" Moore rocked back in his chair and touched his pen to his lips. "You have a problem with her, General?" "Is she properly cleared?" "I would think that you would realize that if she is in this room, at this time, with me sitting here, fully cognizant of each of the others in here and of the reasons for us to be here, that she is properly cleared." "That means nothing to me. Is she cleared?" There was a hint of annoyance in the general's voice. "She has a top secret clearance. She has been working at Los Alamos as a biologist. Because of that work, which is of no concern to you, the proper background investigations and appropriate clearances have long ago been completed, granted, and are on file here and with the Army. That makes her position unique and important to us. You may review her clearances later, at your convenience, if you feel that my verbal assurance is somehow inadequate." The general stared at Moore. There was anger in his eyes, but he kept his voice quiet. Calm. "I'm not sure if that is good enough because I don't know you." Moore grinned broadly. "Wouldn't you assume that since I am sitting at the head of the table, and we are deep in the Pentagon, that I have both the sufficient clearances and that I can vouch for the others in the room?" "No, sir, I would not. It simply doesn't work that way." Moore reached into the inside pocket of his suit and pulled a white envelope from it. He slid it across the table so that it stopped in front of the general. "Open it." The general did as told. He pulled out the paper and unfolded it. The White House Washington, D.C. 27 June 1947 Dr. Jonathan Moore, special Scientific Advisor to the President, has been directed to investigate scientific questions for the President. United States military forces, as well as all elements of the executive branch of the federal government, will provide such support as he may request. Dr. Moore has an unrestricted top secret security clearance. All questions concerning his clearances and/or authority should be directed to the Chief of Staff at the White House. The letter was signed by the President. The general had seen enough documents signed by the President to recognize the signature as authentic. Moore waited while the general examined the paper and when he glanced up, Moore asked, "Will that be sufficient?" "Certainly, Doctor." The general shrugged. "You must understand..." "Of course, General. If we may continue?" Major General Curtis LeMay knew that he had lost the test of will, but cared little. The battle had been meaningless other than establishing his authority for those others in the conference room. They would know that he was important enough that even the president's personal representative had to acknowledge, and respond to, his questions and criticisms. LeMay knew that it was important to establish the lines of authority early on so that questions about who held what power would not develop later. This all provided him with an added edge if he found it necessary to deal with any of these people, individually, at a later date because these people probably didn't know who he was. To them, LeMay was just another Army general, no more important than the hundreds of others who had fought the Second World War. They wouldn't know that he had survived the reduction in force after the war that saw many generals reduced in grade to captains or majors, and in a few extreme cases, to master sergeants. He was responsible for designing the air campaign against the Japanese that saw the fire bombing of their cities in which tens of thousands of civilians were killed. LeMay's attitude had been one of total war and total destruction. Destroy everything that the Japanese had. Burn their factories, bomb their farms, destroy their capability to manufacture war materiel, obliterate their cities and kill everyone who was part of the Japanese war machine whether they were military men or just civilians who allowed the military to attack. Complete and utter destruction until enough of the country was a smoking waste and enough civilians had been killed that they would surrender unconditionally. He didn't care how it was done, as long as it was done. This concept of total war was one that he would carry on later, when he was elevated to command of SAC. He would implement rules and regulations that demanded total obedience and keep families apart for so long that they disintegrated. He wouldn't care because his job was to ensure that the American bomber force was ready to take off in fifteen minutes, and that his job would be the total annihilation of the Soviet Union. His attitude was one of complete and total victory or one of complete and total defeat. There were no half measures anywhere and he would do all that was necessary to obtain his goals, no matter what those goals might be, or who might be standing in the way. He knew of only one way to operate and that was full-out, balls to wall. Sitting next to LeMay was a fairly young man who dressed like a graduate student. A poor graduate student. He was not wearing a suit and tie, but a light green shirt open at that neck. His pocket held a number of pens and pencils. He had long hair that had been heavily greased before it was combed back, dark eyes, and a look that suggested he was half asleep. Jacob Wheeler had been selected from Georgetown University because his father had a high, important role in the Pentagon, and because of that, they believed he, the younger Wheeler, understood the need for government secrecy. His father's background investigations had revealed nothing that would suggest that Wheeler couldn't be trusted. It was a clearance by inheritance. It hadn't hurt that Wheeler, who looked much younger than his actual age, was himself a veteran of the Second World War and had held a low level clearance during the war. The process of checking his background had been rapid, completed in a matter of hours rather than weeks or months. Next to Hackett, on the other side of the table, was another nondescript man in a gray suit that looked expensive but not as expensive as that of their leader. His name, according to the metal plate in front of him, was Johnson. His red hair was combed and his blue eyes sparkled. He looked as if he was excited by the meeting, but if they had met him in the hall, they would have thought that he was excited by being in the hall. He had never lost his childhood sense of wonder. Everything interested and excited him. Especially that which was new. LeMay watched as Moore glanced at each of the people in the room, as if to confirm their identity. Without preamble, Moore began the meeting by pointing to the leather folders sitting in front of each of them. "That is a summary of the flying disk incidents we have collected over the last two years." He waited for a reaction. Most of the people looked surprised. Johnson, without opening his folder, said, "I thought all this began about a week ago." Moore ignored the comment. "If you'll turn to page three, you'll see that there have been similar reports made for about the last decade. Our pilots called them foo fighters during the war. Last year, over Sweden and later, over Europe, they were called the ghost rockets. Now they're called flying disks and flying saucers. It all seems to be related in some fashion, which frankly, we don't understand." "These are real objects?" asked Wheeler. "Not some sort of hallucination or delusion?" He was flipping through the pages of the reports, but he was not reading anything. He just scanned the information. As Moore opened his mouth, LeMay held up a hand. "We've gotten some very good reports from our pilots in the last couple of days. I asked the unit commanders, colonels, to interrogate these boys carefully. I wanted to know as much as I could about this so that I could develop some sort of a plan of action." The general finally opened his folder and flipped through it quickly. "On page fifty-three is the beginning of a transcript of one of those interrogations. The man was looking at something solid. He couldn't catch it. It was faster than he was. No hallucination because others saw it too including half a dozen officers on the ground." "Radar?" asked Wheeler. "We have some radar reports," said LeMay nodding, "but I'm not confident in them." "That's only because you are not well versed in radar operations," Moore said. "You'll notice that the last tab contains four radar cases. Object seen on the scope, seen by people on the ground, and seen by scrambled aircraft. When we have multiple witnesses with radar confirmation, we can rule out some kind of delusion or hallucination." LeMay glanced at Moore, the anger evident on his face, but said nothing more about it. LeMay didn't like to be corrected by civilians and he didn't like it implied that he was not fully aware of the technical details of radar, or of anything else for that matter. Moore seemed to be going out of his way to assert his authority over LeMay. Johnson, unaware of the struggle for power, said, "I'm confused. What are we doing here?" "I'm confused too," said Hackett. She pointed at the wings on LeMay's uniform. "I can understand why he would be here. I don't know the area of expertise of the others, but I don't understand why I'm here. I know nothing about these...flying disks, aviation or the military." "You have a top clearance. You have a very high clearance. You have a medical degree, and you are a qualified biologist," said Moore, his voice tight. "That explains nothing," said Hackett, evenly. Moore leaned forward, elbows on the highly polished table. He cut off the discussion about who had been invited because such a discussion would be counterproductive. Instead, he said: "We're going to take a look at some gun-camera film taken yesterday in Arizona. So far only twelve people have seen it. The pilot, of course, saw the thing personally, but he has not seen the film. He was told that no image was visible and the film of no value. Photo lab people who developed the film saw it, the base commander saw it, and a few people here, in Washington, have seen it. This is why we are here today." He looked at each of those at the table. His instructions had been to show them the film cold. Get their gut reactions to the information that was visible on the film. All others, from the pilot of the fighter, to the base commander, to the government officials in Washington, had some idea of what they would see. This would be the first time that a group of citizens, very bright citizens, would see something so extraordinary. Moore was actually looking forward to their reactions. It would be interesting to see how each of them handled information that could be explosive and for which they were unprepared. Now Moore did something that was unprecedented in Washington and the Pentagon. He stood up, walked to the small projector that was sitting on a table. He glanced at it, crouched at the side so that his eyes were level with it, flipped a switch, and then moved to the right to turn off the lights. Such a menial task was normally reserved for a low ranking enlisted man, not a man who had the ear of the President, who could tell generals what to do, and who was obviously quite rich and important. The film played through the projector with a vibrating sound. The screen flickered as the markings on the film flashed by. The screen turned a blood red and the words Top Secret appeared. They held there for a solid minute and then a hand-labeled sign appeared. It said simply, "29 June 1947. Tucson Army Air Field, Arizona." They saw a cloudless blue sky with a pinpoint of light in the distance. It stayed there, as if moving away from the fighter aircraft as fast as the plane was approaching. It grew no larger or brighter, and it took on no shape. The only sign of motion was the dancing of the object in the distance caused by the vibration of the aircraft. "This is shit," said LeMay, disgusted. "Just wait." The aircraft turned to the right, and the object slid from view. They saw a flash of the ground, some dull brown mountains, and then the blue, cloudless sky. "I don't know what the pilot was thinking at this point," said Moore, speaking over the noise of the projector's electric motor and fan. The object reappeared in the center of the screen. It was still just a bright, silver light, but it looked a little larger. Now it seemed to have a shape, or rather the illusion of a shape. It no longer seemed to be receding into the distance. "Pilot claimed that it was a disk," said Moore. "He couldn't see any details at this point." There was a gasp from both Wheeler and Hackett. The object was suddenly much closer, as if it was challenging for control of the sky. The object was clearly disk shaped with a slight dome on the top of it. There was a thin black streak on one side that showed the object was not rotating. Or rotating so fast it seemed the streak didn't move. "My God," said Johnson. The object tilted up on one side and dived to the right. The aircraft followed it and the ground was suddenly visible. They had a good view of a highway and a ranch house. Two people were standing on the ground, watching. "We have estimated the object at fifty feet in diameter. It is traveling here at only about three hundred miles an hour. But watch." "Those people?" said Hackett. Misunderstanding her question, Moore said, "They have been interviewed extensively. They will not talk about what they have seen to anyone other than the proper authorities. We told them it was a matter of national security and they seemed happy to comply with our request that they keep the sighting to themselves." The object began a gentle climb, as did the aircraft. Now only the sky and a few scattered clouds were visible. The aircraft was getting closer when a series of red spots appeared, bouncing through the sky, moving rapidly toward the flying saucer. "The dumb son of a bitch fired on it?" asked LeMay. "He had been on his way to a live fire exercise on one of the target ranges when he was diverted to this intercept." The machine gun rounds hit the saucer and bounced from it, tumbling away. "No damage?" asked the General. "None that we could see." The firing stopped and it looked as if the plane was catching the saucer when it vanished. It just disappeared. "What the hell..." Moore turned off the projector, turned on the lights and sat down. "It accelerated. In one frame it was there and in the next it barely registered and in the third it was gone. We estimate that it accelerated from three hundred miles an hour to approximately two thousand miles an hour in a fraction of a second. The gun camera was shooting at eighteen frames a second." "Well, it's definitely not ours," said LeMay. "Hell, it's not anyone's," said Wheeler without thinking. "If the Russians had anything like that..." "They wouldn't be flying it over our territory," interrupted LeMay. "Could we shoot one down?" asked Johnson. He was thinking of the scene in which the bullets bounced off it. LeMay sat quietly for a moment thinking. This was not unlike a problem presented at the beginning of the war. Both Japan and Germany had developed fighters that were more maneuverable, faster, and more heavily armed than anything the Americans had. Yet, in aerial combat, American pilots had made up for the deficiencies of their aircraft with skill, determination and courage. LeMay wasn't sure that such a combination would work here, but if anyone could knock one down, it would be an American pilot who did it. Finally, he shook his head. "It would be faster than machine gun bullets. You open fire and it just vanishes. No, we couldn't unless we caught it by surprise and you saw what happened when the rounds struck it. Maybe with something heavier than fifty caliber, like twenty millimeter with explosive heads. Maybe rockets, or heavy anti-aircraft could do it." Hackett finally spoke up. "I would think the g-forces in those turns and accelerations would crash whoever was piloting that thing." "Except that you would protect the crew," said Moore. "We could fire people into space in a rocket, but that would surely kill them unless we can develop a way of protecting them from those forces, then..." "There isn't a technology on Earth that could do what we just saw," said Hackett, thinking aloud. Moore grinned at her as if she was a very bright student. He said, casually, "That's why we don't believe it was built on Earth." That put, into words, what many were thinking, or beginning to think. There was a stunned silence in the conference room as each tried to grasp the concept. No one moved. They couldn't breathe. They couldn't even think. They had just been shown movie footage that answered the question about life on other planets. Their world had suddenly, radically changed. It had been turned upside down by a short, poorly photographed movie that came from an airbase in Arizona. Their world had been altered by a sudden, new knowledge: they were no longer alone in the universe. Something alien had entered their lives. No one had a clue about their motivations yet. Everything had changed in the space of that--five minute--gun-camera movie. "But," said LeMay. "But..." He couldn't think of the questions he wanted to ask, or the statements he wanted to make. He was so overwhelmed that he didn't realize that the film had been made by an Army Air Forces pilot, but no one had told him it existed. He had seen it for the first time just moments earlier. He wasn't angry about being out of that loop because he hadn't thought of it yet. When he did, there would be hell to pay. But even as he sat there, stunned, his mind was spinning. He saw this not as a great chance to advance science, that the human race would be able to step to the stars because others had done it, but as a threat. It was an alien presence that had invaded American airspace, played a silly game of cat and mouse with one of the most advanced, modern fighters, and when tired of the game, vanished. These creatures, these beings, were now on his turf and he wasn't sure what he could do about it. All he knew for certain was that he, and the United States Army Air Forces, needed to prove that they were more formidable than this first encounter suggested. "I know the feeling," Moore said finally. "I've had twelve hours to digest this. It's unbelievable. We now know that travel in outer space, interstellar flight, is a reality. We now know that there is life, intelligent life, in the universe. It tells us that..." "My God," said Hackett. "The implications..." Her voice was filled with awe. Her face was pale and her eyes slightly unfocused. She looked as if she was about to faint. "We don't know the implications. This is unprecedented," said Moore. "It's like Columbus discovering the new world," said Johnson but his voice was subdued, and like Hackett his face was pale, drained of blood. He too, looked as if he was about to faint. "No," said Moore. "It's not like Columbus at all. He found other humans and believed he was in India. He didn't radically alter the way people thought." "He proved the Earth was round," said Wheeler. "No he didn't," said Moore. "The educated of the time knew the Earth was round. The ancient Greeks had even calculated the circumference to a reasonable number." "What I meant," said Johnson, "about Columbus, is to look at it from the view of the Indians. Their world was suddenly altered by the mysterious and strange men from the East. Their societies were not prepared for it, for the hostility, for the change or the implications." But Johnson didn't really care about any of that. He was just trying to find a way of understanding what they had just seen. He was trying to get his mind working again. Moore sat quietly, enjoying the reactions of those in the room, knowing that they needed time to understand the movie. He had been a part of a similar scene played out when he had first seen the film. It caught everyone flatfooted. The mind reeled as they tried to understand what it meant for them. They saw, with their eyes, the evidence, but the mind couldn't handle it. At least here no one had asked if the film was real. They all seemed to accept its reality and that was a little disturbing in its own right. "I just can't think," said Wheeler. "I know what you mean," said Hackett. "Rational thought vanishes. The questions to be asked." "What is the first question that comes to mind?" asked Moore. "Are they hostile?" asked LeMay. "That, to me, is the critical question. Nothing else is important until we know if they are hostile or not." "Where are they from?" asked Wheeler. "What's this going to mean to our society?" asked Hackett. Moore pointed at her. "That's the important question. How is the man in the street going to react to this information?" Hackett said, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. We had a practical demonstration of that a couple of years ago. What was that radio show? The one about the invasion from Mars?" Moore nodded as if he was pleased with the answer. "Orson Welles and his 'War of the Worlds' broadcast. People around the country panicked thinking the Martians were here." "That is all trivia until we make a few determinations about their motives," said LeMay. "You all are beginning to sound like Neville Chamberlain. He thought that he had achieved peace with Hitler and in a year they were in a war. Our first consideration is their mission. What do they want?" "What we're dealing with here is a somewhat more abstract concept," said Hackett. "That was a radio broadcast that talked of alien invasion with the Martians in the streets killing people. Here we're talking only of strange craft, strange lights, seen in the skies and no indication that they will land or that they are hostile. We really know nothing other than they are here. We shouldn't predicate our actions on what happened because of a radio broadcast of Martian invasion." "Granted," said LeMay, waving a hand, because he cared nothing for this discussion. It missed the point, but he expected nothing else from civilians. In military matters they always missed the point. LeMay took out a cigar and studied it carefully, buying himself a little time. The others waited for him. "The second question, after we determine the threat, is whose are they? If the man in the street learns they aren't ours, then they might conclude they belong to the Russians. That's going to cause a big problem. Or as big a problem as Welles caused." "Are you suggesting that we don't say anything?" LeMay looked around the room slowly as if attempting to gauge the reactions of the people there. "What we have now, today, are just reports of strange things in the sky. Nobody knows what they are. Maybe they're illusions. Maybe they're aircraft that have been misidentified. Hell, we've got some of those reports already. We don't have any answers, but we don't have to say that." "You saw the gun camera footage. Those tracers bouncing off the object made it look real enough," said Johnson. "Optical illusion." "Hell, General, you don't believe that." "No, but we can say it and who would know differently?" He looked at Moore. "You said very few people have seen this footage?" "Correct." LeMay smiled broadly. He was beginning to feel he was in control of the situation. "Then we don't have to explain it at all because no one knows it exists. If no one knows it exists, then, in point of fact, it doesn't exist." Moore rocked back in his chair and tapped a front tooth with the tip of his pen again. "You know, we're not obligated to answer this question." He grinned. "We're not obligated to tell anyone anything." LeMay understood even if the others did not. "The people are out there demanding some kind of response, but all we have to say is that it, they, whatever they are, don't belong to us. We are not responsible. We're investigating. And we throw out a couple of explanations, maybe interview a scientist or two to talk of optical illusion." Now Johnson chimed in. "We say that we have fulfilled our requirements under the law. We have investigated and we simply are not responsible for the sightings. It is a scientific problem, not one of defense or for the military." Moore nodded slowly, grinning. "Let the newspapers run wild and we maintain a level of calm reserve. There is no evidence. We have seen nothing to suggest that anything is going on. It's all a big mistake. Mass hysteria. Let the press out there fill in the blanks for us." "Don't we have an obligation to answer the questions?" asked Hackett. "Answer what questions?" snapped LeMay. "There are no questions. There are some sightings by people..." He stopped talking for a moment and his face went blank as if he had suddenly been rendered stupid. Then his eyes brightened and he grinned broadly. "It's not our fault if people who have been drinking see things in the sky. It has been happening for centuries." For a moment there was a silence at the table. Moore looked at the faces that seemed to have relaxed, grinned and said: "Yes. You never know what those drunks are likely to see." "But that doesn't answer the question," protested Hackett. "No, it doesn't. But it gives us a position to use as we study the question. The population does not have to know everything we're doing. There is a national security requirement here. This provides us with some breathing room so that we can make our inquiries without worrying about the panic that you suggested might follow." "So we do nothing," said Hackett. "No, we continue to do our research, but not in a public arena. We do our work quietly and quickly so that we can determine what is happening and if it does pose a threat to the national security." LeMay added, "We gather our data but we don't tell anyone that we're gathering it." "There seems to be something wrong with this," said Hackett. Moore interrupted. "I'll advise the President about our conclusions here. Does anyone have anything else that he or she wants to say?" When no one said a word, he stood up. "A11 right then. That's it. No one talks about this with anyone not cleared to hear it and, at this point, you must assume that no one outside of this room has been cleared. I anticipate another meeting in about five days unless there is a radical change in the situation." Without waiting for a response, he picked up his folder and exited. Copyright © 2002 by Kevin D. Randle Excerpted from Operation Roswell by Kevin D. Randle All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.