Cera chewed on her lower lip as her mind swirled with questions of her own. She didn’t want to freely offer the information to him. The spot the images were captured at was a spot that held deep significance to her. What if they swarmed the area or claimed the spot as Government property? She wouldn’t be able to photograph from that area again. But wait, Cera thought, there’s something more interesting here: Mr. Law should already know the exact coordinates of where the images were captured based upon the location of the stars in view of the camera.
She released her lip from her bite. If she lied, would he know? And if he did know, would he call her out? Should she risk the lie in hopes that he really didn’t know or tell the truth and hope that he’s satisfied with simply knowing? Her response faltered as she considered which route to take and this hesitation did not go unnoticed by Mr. Law.
“Miss Collins, may I remind you that we work for the Government and your cooperation is expected. If you prefer, we can make this interview more official by taking you to the interrogation room of our headquarters.” Mr. Law’s threat pushed Cera to decide on her course.
“Yes, perhaps a proper interview at your headquarters would be best but unless you have a lawful reason for detaining me---your invitation will have to wait until I’m available for voluntary questioning. Unfortunately, I have work in an hour and I must rush to get ready now.” Cera played with the napkin across her lap, her eyes fixated on the cloth as she waited to see if the law portrayed in her favorite true crime shows was legitimate or fake.
An amused grin crept across Mr. Law’s face, his eyes narrowed in on Cera’s flushed face and quivering jawline. Her fearful expression made his chest puff up with pride as he counted her fear as his win.
“Sir,” interjected Mrs. Renbaugher, “she’s right. We cannot lawfully detain her at this moment. She’ll be heading to her job at Xenia Corp and we don’t want too many eyes aware of our interest in Ms. Collins. It would be best to wait for the proper channels to open up.”
His grin changed to a grimace as he stood from the kitchen table. “Very well, we’ll do this one by the book. We’ll be in touch shortly. Oh, and just a friendly pointer, don’t try to leave the county any time soon. We’re watching you.” With a smooth twist on his heels, he turned to leave. Mrs. Renbaugher gathered her notes and followed him.
Cera sat at her table, the only proof of the aggressive agent having been there was a dirty plate and an empty coffee cup. She sighed deeply as she rubbed her temples in disbelief. How long have they been watching her? Since her picture went viral, at least. That’s only been a week, but they’ve definitely done their research on her. They knew enough to make her feel exceptionally uneasy about being alone. Surely they wouldn’t harm her---but then again, this is a military organization spearheaded by the government so who knows?
Her morning alarm rang from her bedroom jolting her out of her rampant thoughts. “Oh, right. Work.”
Cera just wanted to share her latest astrophotography with a small group of fellow night sky enthusiasts, but when her images go viral for exposing alien life she becomes the interest of both her government and the Judger of Worlds. Cera has spent her life hiding under the darkness of night skies and she absolutely does not like having the limelight shining on her. The light exposes too much and with it, she learns that the Galatic "Good Guys" maintain interstellar peace through the destruction of all advanced and aggressive civilizations. Earth will soon be advanced enough to join the rest of the universe, but are they peaceful enough to dodge the "Delete All" button of the Judger of Worlds? Probably not, but Cera might be able to convince the Judge to bend the rules. Well, maybe.