Ned had been right about the governments new anti-alien fraud and the creation of NatAlSec (National Alien Security Agency) and its mandate to determine the origin of every individual in the country. Everyone was required to provide proof of their birth. There were schedules for everyone to appear at designated NatAlSec centers. Failure to appear or to have proof of birth location, even if one did show up, was a felony that included both an extended prison term and outrageous fine.
It was easy enough for those who were not born in the US to secure false birth certificates, and most did. Sally and I considered defying the order briefly, but knew there was no point in that so easily passed the, "NatAlSec alien screening." which is what it was called.
We assumed Dempsey could easily provide a false birth certificate, so were very surprised the day the NatAlSec agents showed up at our home one afternoon while she was visiting looking for Dempsey. It seems Dempsey had simply ignored the orders. She had arrived on her bike, as usual, and the agents had apparently followed her.
We all went to the door when the bell rang, and told Andrew, who arrived at the door first, we would handle things.
There were two agents at the door. One of them asked, "Are you Irene Dempsey?" while flashing some kind of ID.
"May I ask, why you want to know?" Irene asked politely.
"If you are Irene Dempsey, you will have to come with us for your alien screening, which you have failed to comply with."
"How do I know you are not really an alien yourself, posing as an NatAlSec agent?"
"We showed you our credentials," the agent said arrogantly.
"Here," Dempsey said reaching into her bag, "let me show you my credentials."
There was nothing in the hand that Dempsey held out to the agent, but the agent reached for the imaginary credentials. He appeared to be examining them, then looked very apologetic and embarrassed.
"I'm sorry, Miss Dempsey. I had no idea. No one informed us." There was then another little charade of him passing the papers back to Dempsey, who pantomimed putting them back into her bag.
"I would appreciate it if you would straighten out this matter at headquarters," she said firmly.
With lots of apologies, bowing, and assurances they would take care of everything, they left.
Sally and I just looked at each other.
Dempsey just looked at us. "Roger would never have done that, but I have no qualms about using the defenses available to me anywhere in the universe."
She could obviously see we really had no idea what had happened, or what she was talking about.
"Roger told you I would probably provide you a demonstration. Consider that one. Its a form of defense all non-earth humans have the ability to use. It can only be used against those who are a threat, a physical threat. The smooth talking agents would surely have used force to drag me out of here if I hadn't complied with their demands.
"In earth language it might be called, 'perceptual-deception-defense,' because it uses the brain of the one posing the threat to cause them to see, or hear, or feel something that deceives them in such a way the threat is eliminated."
"You mean the agent actually believed you handed him some kind of papers?" I asked.
"Both of them did. They are thugs who believe using force to get what they want is perfectly OK. I really do not know what papers they believe they saw, I only know they will lie about what happened here, and the lie will convince whoever sent them, and I'll hear nothing more about it."
"None of the non-earth humans have anything to fear from any earth human. That is what Ned did not understand, but Ned is quite right about the danger of the state to earth humans.
"It is one of the most frustrating things for us, I mean Roger and me, but of course it is no longer Roger's problem. It is for me. There is no danger to most humans, because they are not individualists, even those who think they are. But for the few real individualists, there is real danger—that means you, Mark, and you Sally, and Frank, Margo and Franz, and the rest. You better work with Ned on this one, and of course I'll always be available, at least for a little while longer.
"That is one reasons I used the method I did with the NatAlSec agents. What do any earth laws mean to me? I could have vaporized the two agents. I do not want there to be any real evidence of our existence, I mean non-earth humans, but wouldn't care if they suspected me. They are no danger to me, but they are to you, and if they suspected me they would suspect you. Now they won't suspect you, at least for a while. The government cannot tolerate real independent individualists.
I suspect the, "little while longer," implied that Dempsey would also be leaving sometime in the near future. "Perhaps during the next Aurora Borealis," I thought.
I also knew I had to have a longer talk with Ned. What exactly did he think the danger to us might be, and what could we do about it. That's what I was thinking, but there was one thing wrong with it. There was no "we." It is so easy to begin thinking in collective terms.