Thad was ecstatic. He had just finished his first real job as a wild animal photographer and had immediately retreated to his lab to develop the prints. The entire assignment had been a thrilling opportunity. He had always been interested in marine life but the chance to photograph whales at the Indian Ocean Wildlife Sanctuary practically fell in his lap and he jumped for it. No, he leaped for it… with both feet. So many beautiful whales and he was one of few people to capture them on film.
He was not to be disappointed. The photos were stupendous! Image after image of these beautiful creatures and each one increasing his excitement. He was finishing developing the fifty third photo when he noticed something odd in the photo. “What is that??” He had not even noticed it during the shoot which aroused his curiosity even more. He decided to reprocess it again concentrating on that area by blowing up the photo. It looked like a rocket. Noticing something near the end of the object caused him to investigate further. It was a flag bearing a large red stripe between two smaller blue ones….and in the middle was a star. At the one end it looked like a control panel. A control panel with numbers and lights. And then he saw them. There were five more behind it. He caught his breath as the full force of recognition hit him, “No!” He picked up his cell phone and dialed, “Todd? I got something I think you really need to see.”
The next morning Thad found himself the next morning facing several generals from various armed forces and the president of the United States himself. Everything felt so surreal that he thought maybe he should pinch himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. He found himself explaining how he got to be in that location and how he found them. He was glad his brother, Lieutenant Todd Wilkinson, was there as moral support. A gentleman, who introduced himself as General Brown, addressed him, “As you know this is a very important find. Our country is in your debt. You were right to bring this to our attention and, you are right. They are North Korean Warheads. We have already dispatched our people to investigate this site and report back their findings. We will need to keep all the photos with the warheads in but will return the rest of them. I’m sorry. You can not use the photos with the warheads in your shoot.”
“There were more?” Thad’s mouth fell slightly ajar.
“Yes, there were more although not as pronounced as this one. I would like to add your shots of the whales were brilliant! How long have you been doing this?” General Brown smiled.
Thad blushed, “This was my first professional shoot, sir, but I have been taking photos since I was a kid.”
General Brown held out his hand, “Excellent job! I’m sure you will go far!”
The news broke that afternoon, but Thad didn’t see it. He was already on a plane to Brazil to photograph the golden lion tamarin.