A Fateful Encounter with Aliens begins
A fateful encounter
“A complete stranger has the capacity to
alter the life of another irrevocably.
This domino effect has the capacity to change
the course of an entire world. That is what life is;
a chain reaction of individuals colliding with others
and influencing their lives without realizing it.
A decision that seems miniscule to you,
may be monumental to the fate of the world.”
J.D. Stroube, Caged by Damnation
Date: February 22, 2017
Time: 1655 hours
Location: Adelaide Domestic Airport
Pre-Flight Qantas Domestic Flight QF7650
Adelaide to Sydney
The Business Class Qantas seating was absent of other notable celebrities this flight. Reflecting on a remarkable, but mostly disappointing trip to Australia, Julius Ryan found his aisle seat, stowed his carry-on-board luggage, and scanned his fellow travelers for possible interesting flight companions. Julius enjoyed flying Qantas. It’s the world’s “safest” airline, a feature that often attracts the patronage of very important and interesting people.
Unable to sleep on long-haul flights, Julius had chosen to break up the journey to his eventual destination of Chicago with much needed stopovers in Hawaii and Los Angeles. Departing Adelaide at the local time of 5.05pm, the first leg of his journey was to Sydney which should take an hour and 55 minutes. From there, he had two hours and five minutes to transfer to the Sydney International Airport. The flight from Sydney to Honolulu would take another nine hours and 55 minutes, eventually arriving in Honolulu at 11am local time, assuming that all went to plan.
The truly dedicated entrepreneurial spirit too often has little time or room for love and personal “only” relationships. Success is your love, your lover, your best friend and your life, and you crave it as much as an addict seeking his next fix. Time is always too short to waste on excursions of purely personal desires.
At 44 years of age, Julius was not only single and childless, he realized that there wasn’t a single realistic, romantic prospect currently within his sights. The failure of his Australian “mission” and the recent emptiness of the Christmas festive season had left Julius acutely aware of his relationship status. His palatial split-level Chicago penthouse would be cold and empty upon his return, with not even a pet fish to greet him. He was in no great rush.
In business, Julius easily made friends, more than often great friends. But, in his roles of entrepreneur and lateral thinking protagonist, Julius found that typically, when he moved between business ventures, he also moved between the people that were current in his life. As his business focus would change frequently, so too invariably would the people around him.
Typical of Julius, once a venture or project was off the ground and running successfully, he’d let go of control in favor of fresh, newly-recruited management talent that he’d always insist on selecting personally. They would usually thrive on taking his visions to ultimate success. Julius would always look in on his business ventures occasionally, but mostly, he liked to inspire confidence by giving an unfettered hand to the people he’d personally chosen for the top jobs.
Julius’s most recent venture launch, a new talent management and promotion company, had achieved the viral success he’d envisaged from the beginning. Exciting new talent had catapulted to fame through the advent of innovative new media that the “experts” insisted could never work. What next? Seriously, he didn’t have the faintest idea. Something would come along. It always did.
He was exceptionally skilled in the disciplines of mathematics and statistics. Fortunately, at a relatively young age, Julius learned that to work in the fields of your strengths was to also confine your potential to merely being a “cog in the machinery”. The five years he’d spent working for the nation’s treasury, Julius considered a complete waste of his time and his talents.
Only by stepping outside of your comfort zone, and away from the areas you normally excel, can you ever hope to have a truly fresh and original perspective. People would often ask Julius, “What’s the secret of your repeated success?”. The response he willingly and freely offered would seldom be understood or appreciated . . .
“Never be an expert! Never be the best! Never be really good at anything. If you are . . . STOP! You’ll not likely substantially succeed there. Try to be briefed and experienced at as wide a range of experiences and skills as possible. Get sufficient knowledge and experience only up to a point that you are able to recognize talent, then move up, or onto something new.
When you find that special something that you’re incredibly passionate about, leap forward without fear or hesitation. Trust in your own instincts, ignore and defy the experts. Strike boldly with absolute faith. Gather talent and the experts under you, but it’s you who must determine your business strategy and steer your course, not the experts. As soon as you begin to feel that you’re becoming an expert in the field of your passion, it’s time to MOVE ON! Don’t make the mistake of ending up being merely a cog in the machinery of your own creation.”
A self-made billionaire, Julius freely divulged his confidence in the use of lateral thinking for entrepreneurial success. Many listened. Few dared. Even fewer succeeded. That not everybody could successfully implement this radical type of thinking was clear.
This trip to Australia was his first real holiday in years. Julius was one of the world’s foremost “experts” on the subject of UFOs, able to readily recall most of the more credible UFO sightings throughout modern history. He’d documented, studied and even predicted the appearance of UFOs. Their appearance wasn’t random he believed. Statistics had revealed to him that certain astrological conditions often, not always, pre-empted sightings.
The circumstances had been ideal for an Australian UFO appearance in a desolate region of central Australia. This was the reason for his journey half way across the planet; to witness his predicted appearance of a UFO and establish proven links to astrological phenomenon. The most important measure of success for this adventure, was to finally prove beyond doubt, the existence of UFOs.
Even with the strength of his lateral thinking beliefs, Julius couldn’t resist the temptation to use his statistical and UFO expertise in the attempt to solve the riddles that UFOs presented. To prove his earlier point that once you become an expert, you should move on, his mission to Australia concluded with an inconclusive curiosity at best. He was close, but his thinking was still “blinkered” by his extensive knowledge and expertise on the broader UFO subject. In fact, now that he thought about it, the whole exercise had been a complete failure really. It was a rather deflating admission.
Julius was certain of one thing; a logical and credible explanation for the UFO phenomenon was plainly within view. The task at hand was to break the shackles of his expertise and what he already knew. An easier prospect than to have to face his abysmal romantic prospects. Maybe the seat next to him would be the future Mrs. Julius Ryan? There was almost certainly greater probability that the seat was assigned to an alien in disguise he mused.
Domestic business class in Qantas occasionally offers internet access. Julius rescued his laptop and settled in for the initial Sydney leg of his journey. Time to update and respond to the mountain of email and social media contact needing to be considered. They’d be a welcome distraction from his current mind-set.
Julius Caesar Ryan
The voice accompanied a kind, weathered face belonging to an elderly, but ruggedly handsome gentleman, not too well you’d assume by his very pale appearance. He gestured towards the seat next to Julius.
‘I have the window seat.’
Julius politely stood up to allow him to take his seat.
‘My name is Evan,’ said the man extending a strong hand once they’d both been seated.
Evan Armstrong displayed a solid frame. A little taller and broader than Julius, he’d once been an athlete, but with the ravages of time, he now struggled with his size. His heart must also struggle thought Julius as he considered Evan’s appearance more closely.
Evan looked to be well into his eighties, yet still had the charisma and presence to charm the female flight attendants. They fussed over him, assisted him into his seat, and cheerfully stowed his overhead baggage for him.
‘Julius,’ said Julius accepting Evan’s handshake. ‘Pleased to meet you. You’re American.’
More of a statement than a question.
‘Yes. Pleased to meet you too.’
Evan fumbled awkwardly with his seat belt even though it’d be quite some time before it’d be required.
‘We’ve spoken before Julius, sort of. I emailed you several times some years ago.’
Julius was quite taken aback by the sudden realization that he was at a complete disadvantage. This person knew him.
‘What were the emails about?’ probed Julius cautiously.
‘The last email I sent you had a subject heading “I have known them”. You commented that I created quite a stir amongst your inner sanctum of UFO conspirators,’ said Evan, finally managing to secure his seatbelt. ‘Evan Armstrong.’
A short period of silence as Julius thought back to that exchange. He vaguely recalled the subject and contents but decided he’d politely lie.
‘Yes, yes! I remember well. It’s a real pleasure to meet you in the flesh Evan,’ said Julius with seemingly genuine enthusiasm. ‘I can’t say that I ever turned up anything to support your story or your theories, but they were facinating. What brings you to this vast land down under?’
‘A visit with family,’ said Evan wistfully. ‘A last visit with family almost certainly. Doctors have advised me not to travel any more. What do you do? Shut down? Give up? Damn them! Without your family, what do you really have left? Doctors would have me as good as dead if I listened and obeyed.’
Julius’s thoughts drifted to his own family-less state. Parents long dead, no siblings, no children, he was very much alone in this world.
‘It was a great visit,’ continued Evan after a short pause to reflect. ‘We all had a wonderful time getting reaquainted. Now it’s time to clear up some difficult but necessary tasks that need to be done . . . time to “drain the swamp” so to speak.’
‘Good to hear,’ said Julius unconvincingly. He wondered who would really care when it was his time to pass. Julius wasn’t aware of a single living relative. Rich with lifetime friendships, Julius’s life was void of truly intimate relationships at all levels.
He was lonely of course, something Julius could barely admit even to himself. How is it that someone who’s so successful on a professional level, can at the same time be such an utter failure when it came to intimate interactions with other human beings?
‘Quite a coincidence,’ said Julius, forcing himself away from unpleasant thoughts. ‘You and I running into each other like this half way across the world I mean. Don’t you think?’
‘Some say there are no such things as coincidences Julius,’ said Evan with a mischievous grin. ‘By chance I’ve been following you on Facebook. I read your posts about your experiences here. I’d be interested to hear how everything went if you’ve the time and inclination.’
Julius enthusiastically welcomed the distraction.
‘Not too much to get excited about I’m afraid, but I’d enjoy your perspective on events,’ replied Julius truthfully. Julius found himself warming to the trip and the chance to relate his experiences.
‘I’m off track somewhere,’ continued Julius. ‘I don’t have a clue where to turn to next. If my memory serves me correctly, I recall that you have some rather alternative and creative thinking on the subject of aliens. Maybe you can provide the jolt I need to remove me from my current mind-set?’
Curious running into Evan like this. And how did he know who Julius was straight away? Recent photos of the famous business entrepreneur Julius Ryan were rare. He shunned media attention, trying as much as possible to keep his life private from public scrutiny and only reveal that which yielded a return in some tangible way. When he was brought to the attention of the paparazzi media, typically, Julius would heavily disguise his appearance. Cap, dark glasses and very unshaven was the image that usually came to mind for anyone who didn’t know him personally.
‘How’d you recognize who I was so quickly?’ asked the now clean-shaven Julius.
‘I once attended a highly-spirited lecture you gave at the Chicago School of Economics,’ replied Evan. ‘I, like you, have long been a huge fan of laissez-faire economics and the philosophies of Adam Smith. We’ve very similar beliefs and interests in that field. I recognized you immediately, even with a little grey added to your profile since then.’
That lecture had been almost 12 years ago. Julius’s appearance had changed considerably since that time. He’d put on more than a few pounds, had laser eye surgery to remove his need for glasses, and his short back and sides hair style was in stark contrast to the ponytail he displayed back then.
Silent alarm bells triggered somewhere deep in Julius’s subconscious. Something wasn’t right. There were several seats still vacant in Business; should he request a change of seat?
‘Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of . . .’ Qantas domestic flight QF7650 was ready to depart for Sydney.
Too late! Julius decided he could always change seats during the flight if he felt the need.