Maxwell Carter is an esteemed Australian Government Investigator, who with his partner starts to unravel indisputable facts from around the world on UFO sightings and people being abducted.  

When three former university graduates become the catalysts behind the exposure of huge UFO cover-ups the fine line between fact and fiction starts to blur. 

If you want something different from the usual sci-fi or mystery stories then give yourself some ‘food for thought’  with this book which is fiction based on fact.

In Store Price: $AU28.95 
Online Price:   $AU27.95

ISBN: 978-1-921574-24-5
Format: Paperback
Number of pages:291
Genre: Fiction

Cover: Clive Dalkins - original painting by John Casey - Gold Coast Artist.



Author: John Meskell
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2009
Language: English




John Meskell is a retired Queensland Detective Inspector, residing on the Gold Coast. He was educated at the Newcastle Technical High School, in NSW, and travelled extensively throughout the world as a merchant seaman for many years. On his return from the sea, he joined the Queensland Police Force in 1957

Read a sample:


CECELIA PAXTON MOVED FASTIDIOUSLY around her house making doubly sure all doors and windows were secured and the aggressive family watchdog had plenty of water in his bowl. He was seven years old: a blue heeler-ridgeback cross, who was more reliable than any installed burglar alarm and blessed with an instant hatred for strangers.

Cecelia was looking forward to visiting a friend’s home that evening; she had known Barbara Skinner and her husband for several years after they met at a church social in Charleville, Queensland. However, Cecelia was not a very religious person and had only attended church functions for the benefit of meeting and mixing with other people; but still, she believed in God and was a strong advocate of what was right. A drive out to the Skinners’ grazing property would break the tedious monotony of her everyday routine. Her husband Bill was a sergeant of police in Charleville and always seemed to be tied up in work, which involved long and irregular hours.

At thirty-two years, Cecelia was looking good for her age, above-average height with long brown hair swept over her shoulders and fastened in a ponytail. It was a Sunday afternoon, 5th December 1999, three weeks before Christmas, and Cecelia’s twelve-year-old daughter Gail was travelling with her. She was good company on the lonely one-hundred-kilometre drive to the Skinners’ property. Her eleven-year-old son Dan had escaped the ordeal of visiting the Skinners by staying at a friend’s place in Charleville.

They turned right off the narrow, corrugated, gravel roadway across a cattle grid and began to wind their way across flat, uneven, desolate countryside. In the west, the sun was battling to stay visible through dark clouds gathering in the distance, with the clouds eventually winning. Lack of rain had turned the sparse grass brown and a trail of dust hung in the still air as they travelled along the old bush track.

‘How long are we gunna stay?’ Gail nonchalantly inquired, gazing at grazing cattle.

‘Not long,’ her mother replied. ‘We’ll have something to eat and get away about nine o’clock. How’s that suit you?’

‘Yeah, that’ll be alright I guess. Lucky they’ve got television. Do you know if Wilma will be home?’

‘I believe she will be, so you’ll have some company.’

Nothing more was said as Cecelia expertly negotiated her vehicle across a corrugated dirt bush track with small eddies of dust whirling away here and there. Eventually they arrived at the Skinners’ homestead, set back amongst trees on a slight rise. The baying of three large dogs set up an unfriendly crescendo, heralding their arrival. The front flyscreen door of the homestead opened and Ted Skinner emerged shouting obscenities at his dogs as he walked towards the car. The dogs skulked away and he opened Cecelia’s door, greeting her with a huge smile on his face.

‘Welcome, my friend, it’s lovely to have you here. Barbara’s busy in the kitchen. Hi, Gail. Wilma and Katie are inside watching television.’

‘Gee, it’s been dry,’ Cecelia remarked as she took a large sponge cake off the rear seat of her station wagon. ‘How’re you getting on for water with all your sheep and cattle?’

‘Well, it’s not too bad considering all things. We’ve got a bore pump that helps to keep our dams full, but I guess without that we’d find ourselves in a spot of bother. So far we can’t see any rainbow on the horizon, but you know the score, one day we’re desperate for rain and the next day when it does come, we get flooded.’ Ted Skinner nodded towards the dark clouds gathering in the west. ‘That looks promising but we’ve seen it before and learnt not to get too excited about those things.’

Gail ran ahead and gave a squeal of recognition, waving at Wilma Skinner as she appeared at the flyscreen door. Both girls disappeared inside the house. Ted Skinner opened the door for Cecelia and bowing courteously waved her through. As she entered the homestead, Cecelia immediately felt the air conditioning, which had recently been installed. It was incredible and certainly an improvement on the oppressive and humid conditions she had experienced on her last visit.

‘Wow, what a difference!’ she exclaimed to Barbara, who appeared in the kitchen doorway.’

‘Hi, glad you could come. Great, isn’t it?’ Barbara replied as Cecelia handed her the sponge cake she had brought. ‘Air-conditioning makes life out here worth living. Come into the kitchen. I’ve just finished putting the steak and kidney pie into the oven.’

Barbara was a petite woman in her mid-thirties, with long dark hair tied in a bun. She had brown eyes and a mischievous smile that endeared her to those who knew her. She called out to her husband in a typical West Queensland drawl, ‘Come on, Ted, pour a couple of beers and let’s blow the froth off ’em.’

‘Well, I guess I can have a couple but not too many,’ laughed Cecelia. ‘I have to drive home and I’ve got Gail with me. You can imagine the turn Bill would put on if a local copper’s wife was involved in a prang, especially if I’d had a drink or two.’

‘Yeah, well, that’s hardly likely. It’s not as if you’re driving in the main drag of Brisbane,’ Ted chuckled. ‘Any chance of running into anyone out in this part of the world is negligible to say the least.’ He handed Cecelia a glass of cold beer. ‘This is just to quench the thirst. Cheers,’ and they clinked their glasses in a mutual toast to one another.

A low rumble could be heard and Ted cocked his ear to one side. ‘Hmm, listen to that. We might get lucky after all. If that’s not thunder, I’ll eat my hat.’

‘Sounds promising,’ laughed Cecelia. ‘I hope for your sake you’re right, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.’

‘How’s Bill coping with the increase of work?’ Ted asked, swallowing a mouthful of beer.

‘Well, there seems to be plenty of it. Bill would’ve dearly loved to have been out here with us this evening, but more often than not, something’s always cropping up to ruin any plans we might make.’

‘You haven’t got that on your own, it happens all the time out here. If it’s not one thing, it’s another,’ Barbara laughed.

‘Bill manages to get time off for his golf and bowls. We’ve got pay television installed, and I don’t know what I’d do without it.’

Ted Skinner opened another bottle of home brew. He fancied himself as a brewer, and it worked out much cheaper than buying bottled beer. However, Cecelia was very wary of having too many. He topped up their glasses as they sat down around the kitchen table. They were great friends and chatted away amiably about everyday occurrences in their district till the oven timer bell shrilled into life.

Barbara rose. ‘Okay, all of you into the dining room and take a seat. We’re in business.’

The large old oak table was covered with a white tablecloth, laid out with cutlery and condiments. Barbara entered the dining room carrying a steaming steak and kidney pie on a tray. She placed it in the middle of the table and returned shortly afterwards carrying hot potatoes, pumpkin and peas on another tray.

‘Everyone help themselves to all you can eat,’ she chortled.

Cecelia thought the meal was cooked to perfection. The main course was followed by fruit salad and ice cream, and a piece of her sponge cake.

The approaching storm was suddenly upon them with rain belting down furiously on the corrugated iron roof. It was so loud that it was almost impossible to hear each other talk. Lightning flashed brightly with a resounding crack and the Skinners’ house shook as a lightning bolt made contact with some earthly matter nearby. In the twinkling of an eye it was gone. Thirty minutes was all it seemed and the storm was over.

Cecelia noticed the temperature had dropped by about ten degrees when she eventually walked outside to her car with Gail, ready to drive home. Lightning from the storm could be seen flickering in the eastern sky with a faint low rumble of thunder accompanying it. It was 10pm when she waved goodbye to her hosts, and slowly started towards home.

The clouds had disappeared and the night sky was bright with stars. In the direction she was driving, Cecelia could not see the moon but knew it was up there somewhere, because she had seen it when they left the Skinners’ homestead. They had travelled about halfway to the highway when from out of nowhere a brilliant phosphorescent light illuminated the countryside around them. It was bright as daylight and her heart began to race.

‘My God, what’s going on?’ Cecelia called out in alarm, at the same time braking sharply. Suddenly, the brilliant aurora was gone, and they were instantly in complete darkness with the exception of her car dash and headlights illuminating the bumpy, uneven path before her. With increased pressure on the accelerator, the automatic station sedan began to gain momentum, moving forward at a faster speed. Cecelia glanced at her daughter who was curled up in a deep sleep beside her. The light from nowhere had shocked her and she felt perspiration on her top lip.

Two minutes went by and suddenly bright headlights appeared behind approaching at a ferocious speed.

‘God almighty, where’d he come from?’ Cecelia exclaimed angrily.

She braked hard and swung off to the side of the bush track, stopping to allow the vehicle to pass. Nothing happened. The lights were of a brightness she had never encountered before, and she assumed the driver of the following vehicle must have had high-powered spotlights fitted, so intense were the blinding lights. She felt rage beginning to build up in her at this idiot who was tailgating her.

As Cecelia watched the lights in her rear vision mirror they suddenly changed to a soft red glow and unexpectedly began to move vertically. It was when she saw the lights rising that she panicked, but could not understand why. She gunned the automatic so hard the rear wheels spun uncontrollably, throwing up dust and stones as she hurtled forward.

The jolt of the car woke Gail from her deep sleep. ‘What’s the matter? What’s going on?’ she whined.

‘We’ve got an idiot tailgating us,’ yelled Cecelia. ‘Can you imagine that out here in the middle of nowhere? It’s got to be one of those damn night-time kangaroo shooters your father’s been telling us about.’

‘You’ve gotta be kidding.’

‘Yeah, well, have a look behind us. What do you call that? Hallucinations?’

Gail turned and looked to the rear. She saw the red lights keeping pace with them at an even distance. She could make out the outline of whatever it was against the starry-night background. It was massively huge and she gulped.

‘Jeez, Mum, it definitely can’t be kangaroo shooters, it’s too big, bigger than our house. Stop the car, have a look for yourself.’

Gail’s description brought goose-pimples out on Cecelia. Oh God, what was happening?

‘Don’t be bloody stupid, haven’t you heard stories about people being kidnapped in lonely places like this all around the world? All sorts of experiments are supposed to have been conducted on them. Get with it, Gail, this is for real,’ shouted Cecelia, alarmed.

Gail heard the fear in her mother’s voice, and she suddenly began to take notice of what her mother was saying. It was a frightening and graphic realisation of their current situation. The station sedan was travelling at 100 kilometres per hour, pitching and jumping across small culverts at speeds the bush track was never designed for. The huge object behind them never faltered, and making no sound it kept a steady distance behind Cecelia’s car just above the height of the gum trees.

They hurtled out of the protection of the trees into an open section of the road, with flat countryside on either side of them. They had travelled just 500 metres when without warning the car engine spluttered and coughed to a standstill, at the same time as the headlights cut out. Cecelia lost her power steering and brake pedal pressure as the car slid to a halt. By this time she was in a hysterical state. Frantically she turned the ignition key in an attempt to restart the motor but nothing happened. There was no power. It was stone cold dead. Cecelia locked the car windows and opening her purse took out her mobile phone and nervously dialled 000, the emergency distress call. There was no answer. ‘This can’t be,’ Cecelia despaired. She distinctly remembered charging her mobile phone before leaving home, a practice she religiously adhered to prior to driving anywhere.

A half-choked scream of terror emanated from Gail. ‘It’s landed, it’s right behind us!’

Cecelia turned and her blood ran cold when she saw what was behind them. The craft towered a good twelve metres above the car. She saw it was larger than a football field with intermittent pulsating blue and yellow lights. As she watched, a panel slid open, and a white ramp automatically telescoped to the ground.

But what frightened her more than anything else was the sight of four humanoid figures slowly descending down the ramp. Two more bright lights suddenly appeared, lighting up the ground and leading towards her stationary vehicle. Cecelia wanted to scream out at the top of her voice, but could not utter one cry of protest at their seemingly impossible predicament. She noticed Gail was staring towards the approaching humanoids with her eyes almost popping from her head, and appeared oblivious to anything else.

Cecelia saw one of the humanoids point something at the station wagon and heard the car locks disengage with a resounding click. The car doors swung open. Horror stricken, she felt herself begin to float out of the car, completely immobilised and unable to do anything to help herself. Then she was floating gently down onto a trolley of some sort. Where it had come from she was at a loss to know.

Suddenly the phenomenon Cecelia was experiencing, the floating lifeless state of helplessness, was also happening to Gail. It was eerie, uncanny and frustrating. Cecelia was unable to communicate with her daughter. She tried to call her name, but only garbled sounds emanated from her mouth.

A hand soft as velvet brushed across her forehead. ‘Don’t be afraid, you are in good hands,’ a female voice purred to her in perfect English. ‘We do not intend to harm you in any way.’

Cecelia immediately felt a calmness descend over her body and mind. Any anxiety she felt for the safety of herself and Gail suddenly subsided as she found herself floating horizontally up in a state of weightlessness into the bowels of the spacecraft. Dozens of small red, blue, white, and what appeared to be purplish lights pulsated around the oval-shaped reception area. There were many more humanoid creatures there: tall and thin with huge oval-shaped dark eyes, short piggish noses and small mouths. Others were shorter, about the height of Gail.

Her mind was in a whirl, and just where that soothing voice emanated from she was unable to decipher. The alien figures had long, straight, waist-length hair, and were wearing what appeared to be full-length white robes. Their fingers were exceptionally long, three on each hand, and they gathered around Cecelia, probing and touching her with their soft and gentle fingers.

The most striking thing was the absence of sound; everything was so still but for a faint humming noise similar to a swarm of bees. A white light of blinding intensity flicked onto her, causing her to close her eyes. The bee-like noise was a soothing gentle sound, which was the last thing she was to remember. For no apparent reason she glided into a kind of unconsciousness. Cecelia was vaguely aware she was lying horizontal, seemingly floating on air, naked, with her legs spread apart and up at an angle. She felt probes entering her body exploring her privacy, but there was no pain.


Cecelia woke with a start. Gail was sound asleep, curled up in a foetal position on the rear seat. It was the noise of someone knocking on the windscreen of her car which had woken her. Then she heard her name being called.

‘Cecelia, Cecelia, are you all right?’

It took her a few seconds to identify the voice of Ted Skinner.

‘Ted, what’re you doing here, what’s wrong?’ Cecelia anxiously gazed about, trying to work out what was happening.

‘Do you know what time it is?’

‘I left your place at 10pm, that was about half an hour ago, why? I just stopped to … What on earth’s wrong?’

‘I’ve got news for you, it’s 3.30am and Bill is frantic with worry. He thought you must’ve had a terrible smash of some sort and rang me to check our property road. What happened, why didn’t you go straight home as you said you were going to do?’

‘Three-thirty – that’s incredible! I – I remember getting very tired, but I don’t know what came over me. Gail was asleep, and I guess we must’ve pulled over for a rest after deciding it was too dangerous to try and continue.’

‘Ring Bill on your mobile phone and let him know you’re alright.’

Cecelia took the mobile from her purse. She vaguely remembered trying to use it for something but couldn’t recall exactly what it was, but knew it had been important. She dialled Bill’s number. She heard his worried voice answer. ‘Bill darling, it’s me, Cecelia. We’re okay, we got tired and I pulled up for a sleep. Ted’s just found us.’

‘Christ almighty, Cecelia, why in God’s name didn’t you ring me and tell me what you were doing? I’ve been frantic with worry. I’ve got search parties out everywhere looking for you.’

‘Darling, I’m so sorry. I just did what you always told me if I got tired. No matter where I was, to pull over and have half an hour’s snooze before we started off again. We’ve just gone off into a deep sleep. I had no idea how late the hour was. Please forgive me?’

There was a pause. ‘Yeah alright, you’re forgiven. Hurry home, I’ll call the search off and tell ’em what happened.’

Cecelia turned to Ted Skinner. ‘Thanks for everything, Ted, I’m so sorry to have been such a nuisance to everyone.’

‘No problems, Ceil, I’m just glad you’re okay and all in one piece.’

Gail left the rear seat and climbed into the front seat with Cecelia who turned the ignition key over. The motor coughed into life and began to purr as if nothing had happened. Skinner waited until Cecelia selected the automatic gear and moved away towards the main road to Charleville.

It was then Cecelia remembered why she had tried to use her mobile phone. When she attempted to call for help her mobile was useless and dead as a doornail.

No, no way! Cecelia would never believe that she had imagined everything; it had all been so real, so very real. She was a very level-headed and sensible woman who knew she had all her wits about her, but who on earth could she tell about her and Gail’s extraordinary ordeal? She had an excellent position teaching English Literature and History at the Charleville State High School, to say nothing of her husband Bill’s position; he was a well-known and respected sergeant of police in Charleville. But she made up her mind that Bill was going to hear her story no matter how crazy it may sound. Thankfully Gail was in a position to be able to support her.’

She turned to Gail. ‘Was I dreaming about our ordeal last night? Tell me I wasn’t dreaming. Do you remember what happened to us?’

‘If you’re talking about that thing, yuk,’ Gail said softly. ‘You weren’t dreaming, Mum. I was there with you and I saw what happened. It was huge, like some gigantic prehistoric monster hovering over us and waiting to pounce.’

‘I didn’t think I was going around the bend just yet,’ Cecelia exclaimed with relief. ‘I think it might be a good idea if we didn’t run off at the mouth and start telling anyone what we’ve experienced. There are some very funny people in the world who would take great delight in ridiculing us no end, if we ever tried to tell what actually happened.’

‘Oh Mum, it was terrible, simply terrible. I would never want to go through anything like that again in my life. I felt so helpless. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, and I couldn’t communicate in any way with those creatures. What did they want from us, who were they? I was so frightened, but I know they didn’t harm me in any way. I felt an eerie calmness come over me like a warm blanket,’ Gail sobbed, with tears beginning to flow uncontrollably down her cheeks. ‘I can’t remember anything that happened after we were taken into that spacecraft or whatever it was. I don’t know how long we were asleep in our car until Mr Skinner woke us.’

Cecelia put her arm around Gail and hugged her close. ‘Shhh, don’t cry, my darling, things will work out okay in the long run, just you wait and see.’

‘Oh Mum, it was so frightening. Do you think Dad will believe us?’

‘I’m sure he will when we both tell the same story. Just remember, say nothing to anyone except your father, do you promise?’

Gail sobbed and nodded. ‘Sure I promise, Mum, not to anybody but Dad.’

When they drove into the yard of their home, the house lights were on, and a happy Bill Paxton rushed out onto the high-set verandah to greet them with a huge smile. There were some other men there who Cecelia recognised as police officers.

‘Okay Bill, they’re home, we’re off,’ said one of the men.

‘Yeah, thanks, Andy, I’ll see you fellows later on today,’ a grateful Bill replied.

The three police officers left, and Bill turned to his wife and daughter. ‘Now, come on, where on earth have you been until this late hour? And why didn’t you phone me?’ There was no anger in his voice, just relief that they had been found and were apparently in good health.

‘Why don’t we tell you about it over a cup of coffee?’ Cecelia suggested.

‘Yeah, why not? Dawn’s breaking and before we know it the chooks will be crowing. It’s a waste of time going to bed now and trying to sleep,’ Bill said.

‘Do you mind if I get some sleep before I go to school?’ Gail sheepishly asked.

‘No, off to bed you go and get some rest. I’ll tell Dad what happened and you can tell him again later.’

When Gail left the kitchen, Bill looked at his wife. ‘Christ, now you’ve got me intrigued. Do you mean to say that excuse you gave me over the mobile wasn’t the real one? So, what was the delay?’

‘Sit down, darling,’ said Cecelia softly. She loved this decent sincere man deeply and there were no secrets between them. ‘What I’m about to tell you defies description. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would run into a situation like Gail and I experienced last night. I couldn’t tell you what really happened when Ted Skinner was standing there listening to what I was saying to you.’ She started to tremble and a tear rolled down her cheek. Now, belatedly, her emotions began to get the better of her. She held her hands over her face, embarrassed that uncontrolled tears had begun to flow from her eyes.

‘Jesus Christ, what on earth’s the matter? Has some bastard tried some funny business with you?’ Bill exclaimed angrily.

‘Oh no, no, nothing like that.’ She forced a silly smile on her face. ‘But what I’m about to tell you was absolutely terrifying, Bill. It just happened out of the blue.’

Cecelia went on to describe their ordeal after they left Ted Skinner’s home. As she spun her tale of wretchedness and misery, Paxton became enthralled with the story she told. Incredible as it may have sounded, he knew that Cecelia would never invent such a harrowing account, and he knew inwardly that Gail could confirm Cecelia’s perception of things.

When she finished relating her terrifying experience Paxton said nothing and stared into space, dumbfounded.

‘Jesus, Ceil, you know what a stink this’ll cause if it comes out. But I just can’t let it slide over my head as if it never happened. Common sense must prevail, and we’ll have to take a few people into our confidence. One of them will have to be the Government Medical Officer. Unfortunately, it will be necessary for him to give you and Gail a thorough medical examination, to ensure that nothing physical has happened to either of you.’

‘But why?’ Cecelia despaired inwardly. ‘Why should I have to have a medical examination?’

‘Like I said, common sense must prevail, and that would probably be one of the first questions I would be asked. “Have you had them medically examined?” I want to be in a position to show that, although you’re my wife and Gail is my daughter, special privileges were not held out to you because of that relationship.

‘Other people would be subjected to an examination as a matter of procedure. Surely you must realise matters such as this become a subject of national security. Between you and me, the powers-that-be are in a bit of a flap over recent sightings made by people with unquestionable qualifications.’ Bill sighed and paused briefly. ‘Basically, they don’t know what these things are or where they come from. Can you imagine that, with all their scientific paraphernalia available these days? Above all you must realise that by virtue of your academic qualifications you’ll be judged to be a person of impeccable qualifications. You’re a local English and History high school teacher and not some run-of-the-mill ratbag prone to making up ridiculous stories of fantasy. You’ll be looked upon as a very reputable person by virtue of that portfolio you carry.’

‘Well, if I have to talk with anyone, it won’t be with any journalists. I want that clearly understood. I’m not going to have my name bandied around in this neighbourhood as some nutcase.’

‘Okay, that’s fair enough, Ceil. I’ll handle this very carefully so that the story doesn’t get out. You’re going to have to warn Gail of the dangers of a loose tongue. She has to be very careful she doesn’t mention it to anyone, no matter what she might hear later.’

‘Don’t worry, I’ll have a good talk with her and explain the serious ramifications which might eventuate. I’m sure she’ll be careful.’

‘Okay, Ceil. Look, why don’t you try and get some sleep before you go to work? You’ll be able to get a few hours in and meanwhile, I’ll report to my superiors what’s been going on in sleepy little Charleville, where nothing of importance ever seems to happen!’

Paxton laughed, relieved that his wife and daughter were safe and sound. However, he was most concerned about the encounter they had had with the strange machine and humanoid figures. He went into his office and telephoned the District Inspector, requesting to see him privately on a matter of grave importance.

‘Well, of course you can see me anytime, Bill, but what’s it all about to cause you to ring so early? It’s only just after five o’clock. Can’t it wait until I come in at eight this morning?’

‘I’m sorry, Inspector, I’d sooner not say anything over the telephone to you. You never know who may be listening and this sort of involves me personally. I just wanted to be sure you’d be there,’ said Paxton.

‘Well now, you’ve really got me intrigued, Bill, but can it wait until 8am?’

‘Yes, sir, that will be alright.’

There was no first-name basis with the Inspector like Paxton had with other Commissioned Officers. Inspector Michael Kattervich was relatively new to the District, and one of the new breed of academics that seemed to be getting a foothold in the police service. Not too bright when it came to street issues, but academically he was a hell of a smart sort of customer when it came down to problem solving and managerial matters.

Well, Paxton thought, it’s a changing society and if this is how the cookie was going to crumble, so be it. He intended to travel along with any changes taking place, and he was not going to make waves or argue about anything. He would now wait with eager anticipation to see how Kattervich would handle what he had to tell him about Cecelia’s and his daughter’s episode the previous night.


When Paxton arrived at the office at 8am he went to the Inspector’s office and quietly knocked on the door. A voice invited him to enter. Paxton found Inspector Kattervich in the process of making two cups of coffee. He smiled at Paxton and indicated a chair for him to sit on in front of his table.

‘Take a seat, Bill, and join me in a cup of coffee.’

Paxton sat down and studied his Inspector as he fussed around the two coffee mugs. Kattervich seemed to be an easygoing sort of an individual, quietly spoken, with a pleasant demeanour. He was a tall, well-built man who could be classed as handsome to the fairer sex, in his mid thirties. His dark hair was parted on the side and he appeared to be an extremely fit person. Paxton knew he was attending night classes at Charleville’s TAFE College.

Kattervich placed a steaming mug of coffee on the table in front of Paxton, and sat in the opposite chair. ‘Well, what’s so important that it could hardly wait?’ he asked, flashing Paxton a smile of perfect white, even teeth.

Paxton took a sip of coffee and placed the mug back on the table. He sat back in the swivel chair clasping his fingers together, holding his forefingers beneath his chin. ‘I don’t know where to start, so I guess I’ll commence with coming home late last night to find my wife and daughter not home, with a note advising me they had gone out to Ted Skinner’s homestead, and would home by eleven pm.’

Kattervich said nothing, and waited for Paxton to continue. His clear blue eyes never left Paxton’s face for an instant. He did not have any idea what this was all about, but sensed it had to be important for Paxton to be in his office at 8am. Paxton went on with the purpose of his visit. When he came to the part about his wife and daughter being accosted by the strange object and aliens, Kattervich realised what a serious matter it really was.

‘Jesus, Bill, do you mind if I tape what you’re telling me, for my reference in a report I’ll have to make?’

‘No, sir, go ahead.’

Kattervich opened a desk drawer and placed a micro tape into a small Sony microcassette-corder. ‘Please start again, Bill.’

Paxton went over the details again for the benefit of his conversation being taped. He had just about finished, when Kattervich’s telephone rang.

Kattervich picked up the receiver. ‘Kattervich here.’

Paxton watched him as he listened on the telephone.

‘I’m busy at the moment,’ Kattervich said. ‘I’ll get back to you shortly. In the meantime make sure the place where it occurred is preserved and not disturbed in any way. I’ll get help to you within the next half hour. Now, listen carefully to what I’m going to say. I will only say this once! On no account is anyone to say anything to the press. Do you clearly understand my instructions? Alright then, and the grazier – get on to him and make sure he tells nobody else.’

Kattervich hung up the telephone and looked intently at Paxton. ‘Well, I can tell you this, Bill. Your wife and daughter are not crazy, and are certainly not on their own. I’m satisfied that what you’ve told me did happen, and now it’s been confirmed even more. That was Bob Bently, the constable at Morven. He’s just come back from interviewing a grazier at a property at Alice Downs. The grazier has told a similar story to your wife and daughter. He was a mile away from his home yesterday afternoon just on dusk. He could see a storm brewing west of Charleville. As he looked around to search for clouds, he saw this gigantic object leave the ground, making no sound whatsoever, and slowly take off over his fence in a paddock. It lifted up over some trees before disappearing at an incredible speed in an easterly direction. It was glowing with pulsating lights and making no sound whatsoever as it sped away.’

‘I heard you ask him about the grazier, was it Jake Benjamin? I know him.’

‘Yes, that was his name,’ said Kattervich. ‘According to Constable Bently he doesn’t want any publicity about this, and only reported it because he felt he should do so.’

‘Yeah, well, that’s how Jake would operate. He’s not a front-runner and keeps to himself. I could guarantee without any doubt whatsoever, he’s not a person prone to exaggerating anything; nor is he a publicity seeker. Anything he says would be the truth and nothing but the truth.’

‘So, who else have you told about your wife’s adventure?’ Kattervich inquired.

‘Nobody, sir, not a single soul.’

‘What’s your next move going to be?’

‘I do believe the first thing to be done is to have my wife and daughter examined by the Government Medical Officer to ensure there has been no harm done to them.’

‘Yes, I agree. In the meantime I’ll get in touch with the Assistant Commissioner for our district and let him know what’s been happening. He’ll know what to do. I know there’s a certain protocol to follow, but what it is exactly I don’t know. I’m aware it is of paramount importance that secrecy prevails at all times, and on no account whatsoever are the media to be made aware of these incidents.’

Paxton felt comfortable with Kattervich. He was not a know-all nor did he panic, and he seemed to be in control of his faculties. ‘Yeah, well, I agree, Inspector, otherwise we’ll be driven mad by journalists all over Australia, to say nothing of our own local fellows snooping around. This is probably sensational stuff to say the least.’

‘That’s right.’ Kattervich sighed heavily. ‘How well do you know the man Skinner, who found your wife?’

‘Very well, he’s a very good friend of mine.’

‘Well, I want you to make all inquiries in our district relating to these mysterious happenings. You’ll have to take Skinner into strict confidence. The place where this machine landed will have to be properly secured until Government scientists have thoroughly tested the area.’

‘Will that include our scientific men?’

‘I don’t think so.’ Kattervich tapped a pencil on his desk and looked intently at Paxton. ‘From what I do recall about any protocol that’s to be exercised, it will be a Federal matter. Everything is to be one hundred percent hushed up, if you get what I mean.’

‘Do you want me to have a talk with Ted Skinner?’

‘Yes I do. I want you to continue on with these inquiries, but please remember, above anything else, secrecy is to be strictly maintained. Do I make myself absolutely clear on that?’

‘Sure, but what about my senior sergeant? He’s gunna get awfully peeved with me if I tell him what I’m doing is strictly secret.’

‘I’ll attend to that. All you have to say is you’re doing an inquiry for me and you’re not permitted to say what it is to anyone,’ said Kattervich.

Paxton left his Inspector’s office and made arrangements for the GMO to examine his wife and daughter for any injuries. He did not tell him the reason for the examination at that stage.

The next thing Paxton did was phone Ted Skinner, and arranged to meet him at his property that morning.

When Paxton arrived at the homestead Ted Skinner and his wife walked over to his car. ‘Hi, Bill, did Cecelia get home alright?’ Skinner asked. ‘You were sure worried about her.’

‘Yeah, well, apparently she and Gail had a bit of an unusual experience after they left your place to drive home last night.’

‘What on earth do you mean?’ asked a concerned Barbara.

‘Is there anyone else inside except you two?’ Paxton asked, indicating the homestead.

‘No, come on in. Why, what seems to be the trouble?’ asked Skinner.

‘Let’s go inside and sit down. I have to have a serious talk with you both so we may as well do it in comfort.’

‘I’ll put on a cup of tea and some cream scones, how about that?’ suggested Barbara.

‘That sounds like a good idea to me,’ said Paxton, and they walked back inside the air-conditioned homestead.

Bill Paxton waited until Barbara poured their tea and put a plate of scones onto the kitchen table. Paxton selected a scone, and taking a bite, swallowed a mouthful of tea. ‘Ah, that’s good. Do you know that’s the first bite I’ve had to eat for quite a few hours.’

‘Okay, Bill, you’re not out here at this time of the day for nothing, so pray tell us, to what do we owe this pleasure of your visit. You sounded very mysterious over the telephone,’ said Skinner.

‘I’m compelled to take you both into my confidence,’ explained Paxton as he took another sip of tea. Both Ted and Barbara Skinner watched him intently, never taking their eyes off him.

‘You’re going to be invaded by Federal Government scientists in the very near future. It’s all to do with a frightening experience Cecelia and Gail went through last night after they left your home. I’m compelled to swear you both to the strictest secrecy before I tell you anything. That secrecy involves not on any account telling a living soul what I’m about to reveal to you.’

Paxton went on to tell them of Cecelia and Gail’s account of what happened the previous night and how the matter was now under intense investigation by not only the State police, but would also be by Federal agencies when they became aware of the circumstances.

When he finished Paxton said, ‘Now you can see why a thing like this has to be treated with such total suppression. It’s all occurred on your property. You would be driven mad by media outlets from all over Australia, to say nothing of other organisations clamouring for details throughout the world.

‘Our first task is to secure the particular place where this incident allegedly occurred for a physical scientific examination of the area. Don’t ask me what they’ll be looking for. I really don’t know, but it’s common sense to do it as general procedure when matters such as this are reported.’

‘Why do you say “allegedly”? Have you got some reason not to believe Cecelia and Gail’s story?’ Barbara asked dubiously.

‘I believe every word Cecelia has told me. Why on earth would they want to conjure up a story like that, if it didn’t happen?’

Barbara and Ted Skinner looked sheepishly at one another and Barbara, smiling, nodded at her husband.

Ted Skinner cleared his throat, ‘Well, seeing how all this secrecy seems to be an important matter, let me assure you I’m satisfied that what she told you happened alright, make no mistake about that.’

‘Why do you say that, Ted?’

‘Go on, tell him,’ Barbara said. ‘You’ve been busting a gut to do so.’

‘Tell me what?’ exclaimed Paxton. He knew by their fiddling attitude they were hiding something important.

‘It was after you rang me and I went looking for her, when I saw that thing – space ship or whatever you want to call it – take off about three hundred yards from me, near where I found Cecelia and Gail asleep in their station wagon. I saw it float up and zoom away at an incredible speed,’ he exclaimed. ‘It was out of sight in seconds.’

‘Was there anything else you can tell me about it?’ Paxton queried.

‘It was dark in colour with pulsating lights all around it, red, white and purplish. I couldn’t tell you anymore than that, because it all happened so quickly.’

‘What about its outline – any wings, fins or anything like that?’

‘No, Bill, I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that. It was dark except for a brilliant starlit sky. I could only make out the outline of it, but it was of colossal proportions in size. That’s all I can tell you, I’m afraid.’

‘How big do you reckon it was?’

‘Without any doubt bigger than my barn, and that’s a big two-storey timber building. I was really afraid for the safety of Cecelia and Gail when I saw it. I was certainly relieved when I saw them both in the station wagon and I was able to speak with Cecelia.’

‘Out of curiosity, why didn’t you tell Cecelia what you saw?’

‘I wasn’t about to tell her what I saw, because I really believed she would have thought I was inventing things as a lesson to frighten her. Anyhow, I told Barbara what I saw when I got home, and I swore her to secrecy. I had made up my mind to say nothing to anyone. Anyhow, who on earth would have believed me?’

‘Yeah, unfortunately I know what you mean. Is it okay to tell Cecelia what you saw? She won’t say anything to anyone, that I guarantee, and it’ll sort of relieve her mind somewhat if she knows you also witnessed this space machine.’

‘Sure, tell her by all means. Who else has to know?’

‘Nobody. The fewer who know the better at this point in time. Will you take me back to where you saw this craft take off, and where Cecelia was parked?’

Ted Skinner nodded. ‘With pleasure.’ It was obvious he was happy to have been able to relate what he saw and support his good friend.

They drove to where Skinner had seen the craft lift up off the ground. An examination of the ground showed large indentations in crusty soil about twenty metres off the rough bush roadway.

Skinner indicated the indentations. ‘There, that’s where it was resting on the ground. I tell you, Bill, it was huge.’

‘Okay, I’m going to hammer in some stakes and run some tape around the area. On no account walk into the space I’ll stake out. Tell nobody about this, and I’ll phone you later and let you know what’s happening.’

When Paxton returned to his office, he received a telephone call from the Government Medical Officer to inform him that his examination of his wife and daughter proved negative. He could not detect any injuries.

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