On the command deck of the Eagle the Officer of the Watch called the ship to action stations.
Captain Sterling was the first to reach the command deck in response.
“What’s the problem?” He asked the Watch Officer.
“Sir, the CMO is responding to a request for assistance in Dallas, Texas. She’s bringing the alert squad of Rangers along for security on the ground. And there a possible political issue.”
The Watch Officer handed the Captain a printout of the message.
“Very well.” Said the Captain. “Rig ship for ground support.”
As the Eagle shifted from spin to free fall Mission Commander Boatman himself reached the command deck. Captain Sterling updated him on the situation and handed him the printed message from Doctor Boatman.
“This could get interesting.” Said the Captain.
“Given that the male parental unit has a clear and severe problem with reality, it could.”
On the ground Petty Officer Murphy shouted an order.
The ground security team drew their own gauss pistols and aimed them at the cops present. The Dallas cops quickly held their own hands up.
The lead cop spoke up.
“What is this?”
Petty Officer Murphy replied.
“You saw what happened in Minneapolis, we don’t want a repetition of that incident. Do you understand?”
Doctor Boatman then holstered her weapon and spoke.
“Officer, we will evacuate our team and the patient without further incident, do you understand?”
She then spoke to the team members.
The medivac lander and the Ranger squad was on the street in front of the ER entrance. Doctor Goldman watched as Judith was brought aboard and shifted to a bunk in the horizontal position. The bunk was then rotated to an apparently vertical position.
“Why are you doing this?” He asked.
Doctor Boatman replied.
“This isn’t Star Trek, we don’t have artificial gravity any form of inertial compensation. Judith will be laying flat with respect to the axis of acceleration of the lander.”
“I would be remiss if I didn’t offer you a ride under the circumstances.” She said.
“I still have a shift to complete.” He replied.
Once Doctor Goldman was clear of the medivac lander it took off.
At the White House President Nixon was notified of the incident.
After he hung up the phone he dropped his head onto his hands and spoke to himself.
Larry Travis and his team quickly returned to the station and processed their film. And the the contents of the film and audio was quickly transmitted by cable to the network headquarters in New York.
David Brinkley would lead off the NBC Nightly News with a warning about the disturbing images. Millions of American televison viewers would witness the execution of the Reverend William Grant by Doctor Alice Boatman in living color.
In the Soviet Embassy in Washington the Ambassador was viewing the broadcast with a guest.
“It appears that your mission may be over, Comrade Gorbachev.”
“On the contrary, Comrade Ambassador, the Star People are running out of friends here in the United States. They may have no other choice but to come to us now.”
And that statement may very have been insanely optimistic on his part, thought Gorbachev.
In a hotel room in Kansas City, Missouri, agent John Cross was also watching the evening news. He had performed several similar executions in the line of duty to the reigning monarch and country. AS he saw it there was only a short amount of time before the Uptimers would have to leave the United States. And under the circumstances they would have to be insane to refuse an offer of alliance with Her Majesty’s Government.
But then their actions on the ground couldn’t actually be described as sane.
As the Sun rose over the capitals of Europe three different men were sitting in contemplation of the morning’s news.
In Vatican City Pope Paul the Sixth read the report of the incident over his morning breakfast. Yes, William Grant was a disgusting heretic, but murder is murder. There was no question that the Mother Church would condemn the actions of the godless monsters from space. The question was how could the church use this incident to bring more Americans back into the fold.
At 10 Downing Street Prime Minister Harold Wilson at breakfast read the account printed in The Times of the event in Dallas. There was no question that William Grant was a fraud and a monster. But his very pubic execution without any resemblance of due process would clearly anger the Protestant Christian base of the Republican Party in the United States. And without that support the Uptime People would have no choice but to withdraw from America.
Without question they would have to come to Britain.
Later in the day the Prime Minister would meet with a man flown in Ceylon. As a well known author of science fiction he was expected to have insights on solving the problems presented by the Uptimers.
In the Elysee Palace outside of Paris President Georges Pompidou sat quietly and watched the 16 millimeter film. It was another copy of the film that was distributed by the United States Government to its various allies, but somehow not to France.
As had the Soviets the French intelligence service has stolen a copy and sent it to Paris. President Pompidou viewed it while listening to a translation of the soundtrack though a set of headphones.
When the screening was finished one clear question came to the president’s mind.
What about France?
Not once was his nation mentioned in the description of the future that the Uptimers came from. Not once.