Master Sergeant Wendy Hallowell stood at attention in the back of the room. Four other people stood around the table in the center. Two Sergeants First Class, another Master Sergeant, and a Captain. Reclining in a chair at the far end was a man in a black suit. He sneered at the assembled military standing before him, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses.
"Upon your most recent promotions, you indicated you were interested in...special...assignments. That's what this is. I'm here to tell you everything you need to know about this mission. From this point on, you cannot back out, you cannot ask questions, and you cannot speak about anything that you are going to see or do for the next twenty-four hours."
The man in black slowly turned his head, regarding each member in turn. He paused as he turned toward Wendy, the only woman present, his lip twitching slightly before his face straightened into a mask of blank stone.
"Should any of you say anything about what I am about to tell you, or anything that you see. You will immediately be dishonorably discharged, charged with treason, and incarcerated as an enemy combatant."
He leaned forward onto the table, setting down his elbows and slowly, deliberately, interlocking his fingers.
"I hope I've made myself clear."
His head subtly shifted towards Wendy again.
"What we have going on is a Class One incursion. This is a planned event, with some visitors that we have an agreement with. They are coming to pick up some cargo, science equipment. Your mission is simple. You meet the cargo when it arrives, and safeguard it until they pick it up. Once delivery is complete and the visitors have departed, you are to return to your quarters and proceed with your next day as usual. Nobody will ask any questions about where you were."
All the military personnel continued standing at attention. The man in black sat back in his chair, his lips twisting into a smirk.
"Captain Gordon Talassy here will have the details of when and where and will be in touch. Until then, return to your quarters and wait."
Captain Talassy, a taller man who's hair was already thickly grey above his ears despite an otherwise youthful face, turned towards the rest of them and nodded, his hands clasped behind his back. A signal for the rest of them that they were dismissed.
Wendy kept her back straight as she turned and stroke out the door. As she stepped out into the hallway, she felt the lifting of an oppressive weight that she hadn't even noticed had been on her shoulders. The air in the hallway smelled cleaner as well.
The other three men filed out behind her, nobody saying a word as they each turned and went a different way. As she watched the door close behind the last one, she could almost imagine a slight, green fog rolling out of the room and across the carpet. This was not the kind of situation she had imagined when she had checked the box declaring interest in 'special' assignments.