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A World Chronicle Exclusive
By Wes Freewald
NEW YORK — Donald Stern has always been a Renaissance Man. As the tireless editor of the World Chronicle, he dedicates his days to bringing the truth to millions of loyal readers every week. As a part-time lawyer, he springs his reporters out of jail. And last week, when he saved a reporter from her alien captors, he added another credit to his résumé: hero.
Stern’s selfless act came after two aliens in a Manhattan community center captured Chronicle reporter Grace Hall. Armed only with his bravery and an alien ray gun, Stern stormed the center, vaporizing one alien and pulling Hall to freedom before the other alien escaped in his spaceship.
The aliens in question were known here on Earth only as “Max” and “Averill.” Max was the leader of a support group for former alien abductees, while Averill posed as a member of Max’s group. They pretended to help the real abductees recall their experiences so they could move on with their lives. But in fact, the support group was a ruse concocted by Max and Averill to find their own former abduction victims so they could do follow-up research on the long-term physiological and psychological effects of the abductions. While they gleaned much of their information simply by talking to their subjects, Max and Averill learned the most by removing each subject’s brain and spinal cord to study the ganglial fibers and neurochemical structures.
One abductee who suffered this fate was Sylvia Mackenzie, who was discovered last week de-brained and de-spined in a dumpster beneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Hall had met a distraught Mackenzie in Zahar’s 99-Cent Emporium on West 43rd Street the week before. “The woman was screaming,” said Omar Zahar, the establishment’s proprietor. “She kept saying there were aliens everywhere. She was crazy. All I have here is quality merchandise at reasonable prices.”
Trying to help Mackenzie work through her alien issues, Hall accompanied her to Max’s group. Neither Hall nor Mackenzie had any knowledge that Max and Averill intended to stimulate their memories with hallucinations of their abductions. “I should have known they were aliens, they were really weird,” Hall said. “Even among alien freaks, these guys stood out.”
Later, unaware of Mackenzie’s death, Hall found herself in Max’s office. “They said I was an ideal subject because I’ve been abducted… several times,” Hall said. “Averill injected me with a sedative, and the other was about to rip out my brain and spine when Donald came to the rescue.”
And did he ever. “Donald zapped Averill and grabbed Grace just as light was coming through cracks in the wall,” said Tucker Burns, another Chronicle reporter who was on the scene. “You could even hear an engine revving up. Then Max blasted his ship through the roof and disappeared into the sky. We got out of there just in time.”
Even after his close encounter of the potentially fatal kind, Stern is coy about his actions. “‘Hero’ is a word people toss around too often,” Stern said. “What’s important is my reporter is still alive, and the World Chronicle was able to bring the truth to our loyal readers. … That, and I kicked some alien ass.”
“Take Me Back”
Written by Naren Shankar
Directed by Krishna Rao
MIKE McCAFFERTY . . . . . . . . as Averill