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29 May 2016 @ 05:31 am
_Aliens and Shifters_ part 3  

"So, Da . . . Father. Why _did_ you leave me behind fifteen years ago. I keep having nightmares about falling off a cliff into the ocean. I always think you are in there somewhere, but I never actually see you. The dream keeps changing."

"You've got, we've both got very, very small factories implanted into our arms. They were tracing them. Water hides the emissions///what were they calling radiation?///."


"My . . . friends, fellow workers and my superior officers. My whole government." He grimaced apologetically at her. "I'd gone native, you see? Married a native, even. I was supposed to just study the lifeforms here, scanning for . . . a germ///check state of medical knowledge of bacteria and virii///. It's a very small germ which lives in outer space. It, oh, I don't have the vocabulary to tell you about it. Your science isn't advanced enough, yet."

"You were looking for a disease?"

"Yes. But it only affected a small number of people and animals. On those rare instances it did manage to catch, it produced some odd effects. It scavenges information from different species, adding some and taking some, mixing things up and leaving a little bit of itself. Your Mother had a lot of the germ in her, so I was studying her." He fell silent for a long moment, then resumed in a quieter tone. "She was so brilliant. Creative. My people aren't like that. We take thousands of years to make new things. Yours does it in an eye blink."

"Mine? For a minute there I thought you were going to tell me I wasn't all human."

"Well, you're mostly human. The germ took some of my information and used it in making you, but where most people are half their father's information and half their mother's, you're about 95% your mother's." He shrugged. "It still gave the mid-wife an awful turn. Fortunately she went home and got drunk and forgot it all."

"Forgot what?" Uma snapped. "I look like everyone else."

"I very quickly . . . taught some . . . little . . . machines to change the things that looked like me, the scales and the tail, so you looked human."

"Are you saying you look human because of your little machines?"

"Yes . . . Umm, where is this Metz?" He pointed out the window. "I've been going east, but we've passed the Front, so perhaps some more detailed . . . "

"What?" Uma plastered herself to the window, then taking a careful grip, opened the door and looked down. There was no Moon, but the sky was clear so there was some reflection off water to mark the rivers and streams. The Front wasn't visible from here. Both sides kept strict blackout conditions, to make aerial targeting more difficult.

"Metz is north east, but we're looking for the Army Camp which will be between there and the Front."

"How about that." He pointed ahead. Faint in the moonlight she could see tents, wooden buildings, parked vehicles.

"That could be it. But how do we know? How do we find out where they are?"

"It looks temporary, so their prison should be in the most solid buildings." He pointed, "Shall we check there?"

"No, that's an ammo bunker.' Uma considered the largest of the buildings, it looked like an old mansion. "They were making a big show of it, so may be . . . " The two posts in the middle of what looked like a parade ground knotted her guts. The dirt around their base was pale in the moonlight, fresh, as if they'd just been planted there. "Let's try there." She jabbed a finger at a small sturdy building with a guard.

"Good. Let's park, hmm, maybe we'd better park in this line of trucks and walk over."

"Oh, of course." And as they sank low over the camp, "what if they see us?"

"I have the . . . light pass on. We'll wear cloaks too. Even in daylight they are hard to see."

Uma opened her mouth and then shut it. Hard to argue when in a flying truck.

The truck landed lightly, next to a /// find German WWI truck types and paints///.

"I'll just take a minute to change our colors to match, and zap up some cloaks." Father slipped back into the back and started tapping away at something that looked like it might be related to a typewriter. The symbols on the keys were odd, but she thought she ought to remember them.

"Can you hide these mechanisms? They are pretty scary, and I don't know how Mark and Sir Trent will react.

"No problem, I'll put it all away in a minute, but it occurs to me that we can do a heat search." He tapped one of the rectangles to draw her attention to it. "This is that building you thought we should check. There's no one inside." He tapped and Uma swayed reflexively as the view slid sideways. "That big building. People here and there. How about these two guys in the basement? They're laying down."

"That one," Uma tapped an angled reddish ghost, "is sitting in a chair. Like a guard. That looks likely."

Her father slid the view over the other buildings of the camp, but those two sleepers remained the most prisoner-looking ghosts.

"Well, let's go see." He tapped again and all the desks disappeared. He continued tapping on thin air, and two cots with blankets appeared, and a large box in the official white with red cross ///is this current?/// of medical equipment. A tall locker appeared against one side.

"Turn every thing green, dark green." Uma suggested. The dull black vanished. "Not the cots and blankets and medical stuff," she sighed. They returned to what she suddenly realized were the colors in the Army medical hospital./// find this out/// She swallowed nervously. "That looks good."

Her father stood up and opened the door of the locker. He pulled out a handful of…night and green walls, a faint shimmer, like a ruffled reflection on a pond. "Put this on, pull up the hood and just leave a slit to look through."

She took the patch of nothing. It was slick and cold to her hands, but she slung it around her and pulled it shut. She felt slits in the side and slid her hands out to feel for the hood and arrange it, pulled the collar higher, over her mouth and nose. She could see her father doing the same, disappearing into a faint mirage, a shadowed eye slit floating in air. The back of the truck suddenly opened, and the distortion in the air jumped out.

She followed it.

They walked down the line of trucks and around the first building. Straight into a guard. Uma staggered, and the man collapsed at a shrill whistle from her father.

"Sorry," he said, "Should have given you one of these." His arm appeared in mid shimmer, an odd pistol in it. "Stun gun."

"It's awfully loud." She protested, taking it anyway. "Point and . . . push this button?" she guessed.

"Right. And it's not loud to humans, the whistle is required by law, but it's up out of their hearing range."

"Like a silent dog whistle?" she asked dryly, hearing what could only be the eager scrabble of claws coming their way.

"Oh. Whoops. Yes, very much like that." He grabbed the guard and pulled him up against the building, a black lump against the black building.

The pair of snarling muscular creatures ///Boxers, german shepherds and dobermans are mentioned more often than rottweilers/// fairly dragged their trotting guard around the corner.

Uma fumbled her pistol around and shot one dog, two more shrieks from her father's area and the guard and other dog collapsed in a heap.

"Those are huge animals!" her father sounded indignant. "Don't they know how dangerous dogs that big could be?"

Uma snorted in amusement. Her father stared down at the dogs. "I think I am having a brilliant idea."

"Get the uniforms off the guards, we might need disguises. I'll be right back." The shimmer in the air attacked one of the dogs, and dragged it away.

She first dragged the dog handler over against the building, then stripped off his jacket, boots and pants. She bunched up her skirt, and pulled on the pants. Even with the thickness of the skirt under them, they were falling down. The uniform jacket was equally too large, the boots fit _over_ her sensible nurses shoes.

She turned to the second body and stripped him as well.

With a flutter of air, her father returned. His arms appeared to roll the second dog over, and float him on thin air. "Much better than carrying him." Her father sounded _cheerful_. "Be right back."

It was a double shimmer that returned. "you've got one uniform on?" the shimmer asked.

"Yes." She handed the other to the tall shimmer. After some flaps and mutters, they set out again.

"What if they're not there?" she whispered.

"Then we'll wake up a guard and ask about them. We don't actually know if we're even in the right camp, do we?"

"Thanks, Dad, that makes me really happy."

The door to the large building swung open as they approached. Uma dodged, not wanting to get run into again, and nearly tripped over whatever her father was pulling. She could see his shimmer beside the door, which stayed open, as if stuck. The man striding out didn't seem to notice, and the shimmers slipped inside. Uma followed quickly, letting the door close behind her.

There was a guard post, a table with paper work, an armed private sitting behind it. He looked up when the door closed, and rubbed his eyes a bit. The tall shimmer in front of her moved quickly down the hall. She followed. The guard frowned and peered over his table at the floor. The boots. She was clumping. She hesitated, then moved carefully, one foot at a time, tiny steps that wouldn't poke a toe out from under the cloak. He was rubbing his eyes again, and she eased further away. Another step. He dropped his gaze back to his paper work, squirmed in his chair, and finally got up to walk around the table. She timed her steps to his, and slipped away, leaving him shaking his head.

Stairs down. She needed stairs down. A door was standing open, showing stairs leading both ways.

"This should be what we need." Her father's voice spoke from thin air.

"Right." She headed down, and the door closed behind her.

"The heat scan showed only three people down here, so let's just stun the guard and check the prisoners as fast as we can."

"We're running out of time, aren't we?" she whispered, turning the knob slowly.

"Yes. Firing squad at dawn and all that."
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on May 29th, 2016 06:22 pm (UTC)
Dog Breed.

German Shepherd should do well enough, though Uma may not have seen any in the US.

/// find German WWI truck types and paints///.

Perhaps Motor Ambulances ?

Recall that horse drawn transport was in use by the Wehrmacht even in WW2 and trucks were very small 2-4 tons cargo
matapampamuphoff on May 29th, 2016 07:57 pm (UTC)
I needed pretty large, heavy dogs for this. Dobermans, Rottweilers, and various types of German Sheep herding dogs were all pretty common. But what would an American girl call them?

And this is why I don't write historicals. I dislike taking the time away from the story to try and find out what Germns army vehicles looked like. It breaks the flow of the writing and is hard to recover. Which is why there are so many notes to myself.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on May 30th, 2016 01:28 am (UTC)
For a breed that she hadn't see before she would ask, probably a local.

She might get it a bit wrong but that doesn't matter.

If the 'Liberty Cabbage' effect was in operation her informant might use 'Alsatian dog' as the Brits did in 1919.

Shall I post your WWI German Army vehicles question on I Love Lucy ?

It seems a likely one for war gamers.

matapampamuphoff on May 30th, 2016 04:01 am (UTC)
No, if I get around to this--and I really do want to run it by Sarah, but she's always so busy--I'll research the bits I need to.

The dog type, she's not where she can say "Oh, by the way what do you call those dogs I just stunned with this alien tech pistol?" So all I need is her instant reaction to them, not a name. And since I need something that massed as much as a man, "some sort of huge muscular beasts, did they call them rot something? Or maybe a mastiff?" is really all I need.
ekuah on May 31st, 2016 06:33 pm (UTC)
You could use a "Daimler Marienfelde" as German WWI truck.
And a Giant Schnauzer as a large schutzhund breed. (up to 90 pounds and 27 inch shoulder height)
(Sometimes it can be handy to be German)

Oh, and for cigarettes you could use Murad The Turkish Cigarette.

Edited at 2016-05-31 06:52 pm (UTC)