Here's a short story I wrote in sixth grade (which would have been sometime around 1990-91). I remember having the beginning for a long time and then rushing to finish it, giving it its semi-ironic, cop-out ending. Remember, this is sixth grade, folks.
                        Contact ?

                      April 7, 2014
         CSA Headquarters in Rugby, North Dakota

    Supervisor Ed Cott looked with disgust at his assigned 
crew, all hunched over their computer screens, each one 
just like a tiger, crouching, waiting for the right moment 
to pounce on its prey.  At the slightest blip or beep, 
they would lunge at their HTs (Holographic Terminals), 
attacking the keyboard with a pummeling of fingers.
    Otherwise, they would just sit there, poised, still as 
statues, now and then tapping a few keys, but mainly they 
were still, lifeless, seemingly dead.  What a bunch of 
lowlifes, thought Cott as he strode around the rather 
large room, It's hard to believe that these people were 
alive once, not just living, but ALIVE.  Why'd those guys 
in the head offices put me in charge of these, these--
    His thoughts were interrupted by one of the crew.
    "Mr. Cott?  Sir, I think I have something here." His 
tone of voice was deadpan, as there were few ways to find 
much enthusiasm in this line of work.
    Cott looked at the man who had spoke up.  He walked 
over to him to look at his findings on the HT screen.  On 
it was a map of the United States, with a large moving red 
dot heading toward the middle of the Atlantic coast.
    "I've zoomed in on it, sir.  It's right here." He 
pointed to the rapidly moving dot.  "Right over Quadrant 
36, sir."
    At the CSA (short for Continental Security Agency) the 
whole North American continent was divided into a series 
of 369 parts, or quadrants (Rugby, North Dakota was chosen 
to be the location of their headquarters because studies 
showed that it was the exact center of North America).  Of 
these Quadrants, some enclosed entire states, some only 
parts of states, some were whole regions, and others only 
covered larger cities.  The thirty-sixth Quadrant encased 
but one city: Washington D.C.
    Oh no, not Quadrant 36, he thought.  He experienced a 
momentary burst of panic, cut short by his remembrance of   
the margin for error.  Ed was a pessimist when it came to 
computers, and had little or no optimism regarding any of 
their abilities or applications.
    "You, uh, Mitchell." One of the others looked up in 
response to Cott's command.  "Run a time lapse scan of 
Quadrants 29 to 37 respectively, over the last hours."
    "One moment, sir." There was a brief moment of tense 
silence.  "Yes, this data confirms Cunningham's findings.  
An object was present in those Quadrants over the said 
period, sir."
    Ed paused for a moment, trying to remember some of the  
procedures for use in emergency situations that he learned 
throughout his six years of vigorous training.
    He turned toward another of the crew.
    "Seiberling, file a Procedure 26, subheading 41.  Log 
onto the Network and alert the other offices of a security  
code three, and download a report of Cunningham's and your 
data.  Hower, get me online with the Pentagon.  We've got 
to act quickly with this."
    David Murphy leaned back in his chair.  He placed his 
feet on the small section of his desk that was clear.  As 
commandant of the recently established Security Corps, he 
had little spare time for relaxation so he had to take 
full advantage of all the time he had.  This new military 
organization, started in compliance to the terms of the 
Continental Alliance of 2011, was the federal government's 
complement to the CSA and its branch organizations.  He 
leaned back farther in his chair, folded his hands behind 
his head and closed his eyes.  A moment later he would've 
been asleep if it weren't for his secretary's abrupt 
    "Mr. Murphy, sir, I know you asked me to hold all your 
calls, but this one seems important.  It is Mr. Cott from 
the CSA headquarters who would like to speak with you."
    "Send him in, Arlene," he replied, groggily.
    "Excuse me, sir, but it sounded like you asked me to 
send him in.  Did you mean you wanted for me to patch him 
in to your line?"
    "Oh, yes.  Isn't that what I said?" He thought for a 
second.  "No, on second thought it wasn't." He mumbled.
    "Pardon me, sir, What did you say?"
    "Arlene, just patch him in."
    "Yes, sir."
    He watched as an image began to form on the monitor of 
his video phone, fuzzy at first, but slowly it became 
sharper.  The blur rapidly began to take form as the face 
of a gaunt, obviously nervous man in his mid-thirties, his 
hand over his brow locked in a salute.
    "Mr. Murphy, sir." He said as he lowered his hand.
    "You requested to speak with me, Mr. Cott?" Murphy's 
voice was smooth and calm, contrasting with Cott's tense, 
worried tone.
    "Sir, at approximately 1450 hours an unidentified, as   
it remains, object was located by one of our satellites 
moving at a yet unknown speed towards the mid-Atlantic 
    "Approximately where I am now." Murphy interrupted.
    "--we are still tracking it and it is rapidly 
approaching your location, Quadrant 36."
    Murphy became tense.
    "Cott, can you give me any specifics on this object of 
yours?  Have you checked for a mistake in your system?"
    "Sir, we have our systems running at top efficiency 
and we have confirmed our findings."
    "Well, I'll see what I can do." A light on the phone's 
console began to blink.  "You'll have to wait a second, 
Cott.  I have another call on the line."
    He pushed the alternate call button on his phone.  The 
face of his receptionist came into view.
    "Sir, sorry to disturb you again but I have one of the 
space lab technicians on the line courtesy of NASA, and he 
says he needs to talk to you.  He has been calling for the 
last few hours."
    "Arlene, could you put him on hold, please.  I have a 
possible security breach here and I have no time to waste 
on listening to an astronaut's complaints." He hung up and 
got back online with Cott.
    "Mr. Murphy, we have been able to gather better 
information regarding the object from the collected data.  
According to this, the object is approximately one meter 
long and half a meter wide, and composed of known alloys.  
We'll fax you all the specifics."  Murphy watched as his 
facsimile machine came to life and spewed out several 
pages of maps and reports.
    "Have you calculated the object's touchdown time and 
its destination?"
    "We have calculated touchdown at about 1620 hours and 
in the approximate area of Arlington, Virginia.  It should 
become visible any time now."
    "Thank you, Mr. Cott.  Goodbye." He hung up.
    Near the outskirts of D.C, an object was seen by some 
tourists, who reported it.  The police, the Navy, and some 
reporters soon began appearing on the scene.  Word finally 
reached the Pentagon, and Murphy's office.  The Security 
Corps took action immediately.   They moved crews towards 
the area of the sighting.  Meanwhile, a special task force  
comprised of psychologists, biologists, and linguists was   
also being readied, in case of contact by unknown alien 
species, in a frenzied attempt.  They soon landed in their 
helicopter at the object's splashdown site.  The mob 
watched as the object landed in the river.  An LCAC was 
deployed along with several helicopters to retrieve the 
    At the same time, Murphy, in his limo, was catching up 
on the day's phone calls.  Most were solicitors, but one 
caught his attention.  He opened the transmission lines.  
He saw the face of Michael Bradshaw, one of the country's 
most renowned scientists who, with his colleagues, was 
currently in a geosynchronous orbit above the Atlantic 
Ocean in the space laboratory Alliance 3.
    "Mr. Murphy, I don't mean to disturb you but we had a 
small problem up here and I was recommended to call your 
    "Well, Bradshaw, what exactly is this problem?"
    "Well, you see, sir, at about 1:30--I mean 1330 hours 
one of our auxiliary oxygen tanks broke loose and we have 
been unable to locate it." Bradshaw was drowned out by a 
roar outside.
    "Just a moment please, there seems to be a disturbance 
outside.  Could you hang on?" He looked out his window and 
saw the crowd looking at the object.  After ordering them 
to bring it to him for inspection, he realized what the 
mysterious object was.
    It wasn't an alien spacecraft, nor was it from an 
alien civilization.  In the puzzled crewman's hands, David 
Murphy saw but only the charred and burned remains of an 
oxygen tank, the words PROPERTY OF NASA barely readable on 
its side.

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