I was used to static all through the night. Sure, our satellites picked up the occasional radio signal. A local accident attorney promo here. The Santa’s Enchanted Forest jingle showing up there. So, imagine my surprise when a clear, distinct voice whispered, “Jerry.”
I admit, I’d dozed off, so I didn’t hear it at first. But soon the static turned to a fully formed voice. “Jerry. Jerry, wake up.”
My body jerked itself awake. My brain heard the whisper before my ears really registered what was happening. I didn’t even think it came from the console at first. I thought it was one of my co-workers messing with the radios again.
“What’s up?” I asked groggily.
“Jerry, we need your help.”
“Huh? Who does? Who said that?” I rubbed sleep from my eyes, yawning.
“It’s us. The ones you’ve been reaching out to.”
That’s when I finally realized where the voice came from. The STAR console right in front of me. The screen that usually showed a flat line with the occasional spike went crazy with radio waves. Sound waves that knew my name.
I leaned forward, squinting at the monitor. “What the-?”
“Jerry, we don’t have time for this. You rang. We answered. Now we need your help.”
“I don’t…Luke, is that you, man? You better not be fucking with me again.”
“Agh, Jerry. Focus.”
“Who the fuck are you?”
“The ones out there.”
“What the fuck does that mean?”
“It means you’re not alone. Will you help us?”
I put my fingers to my temples, rubbing in small circles. I had to be losing it. I had to be dreaming. None of this was possible. It was a mall cop night shift for a bunch of eggheads at some science lab.
“Jerry, we’re running out of time!”
The urgency in the voice made my decision.
“What do you need from me?”
“You see that red button on the console, the one on your right?”
I looked to see what the voice talked about. Sure enough, there it was. How the hell did this thing know about the STAR monitor?
“Uh huh. Ok.”
“Press and hold it down for five seconds.”
“What will it do?”
“Jerry please just do it.”
I went to do as the voice said, but let my finger hover. “Look, whoever you are, you can’t just tell me to do something and expect me to do it. How do I know you won’t start some weird alien apocalypse?”
“Can we honestly make things any worse on Earth than they already are?”
I stopped to think for a moment and shrugged. “I guess alien overlords isn’t the worst thing to happen in 2020.”
I took the leap and pressed and held the button like the voice asked. I let go, sat, and waited. Nothing seemed to move or make a sound. All quiet on the homefront like any other night. Maybe it had all been some elaborate prank from the guys. Maybe I’d woken from a weird dream.
No big kaboom. No flash of blinding light. No more voice. What exactly had I done?
“Thank you, Jerry.” The voice came back, relief pouring out from it, sending a chill down my spine.
“What did that do?”
“Opened the door.”