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[Alien Crash] Bk 01 V3.0 Ch 03 First Contact
Chapter Three: First Contact"It is a proud feeling to know that your students have such confidence that they are willing to put their scientific integrity on view for the entire world.
It is stunning when they recommend you for a position on the First Contact Team."
— Dr. Elwood Reyes / Professor / Cal Tech
Cal TechA group at Cal Tech set up a live stream commentary.
"Cool! Bipedal, Bilaterally symmetric. No helmet must be an oxygen breather."
"Getting great detail on the suit! Plenty of mount points for equipment, but they're all empty. I'd guess that he's come out completely unarmed."
"Maybe, or maybe just smart enough not to piss off the locals when you can't run away."
The commentary continues, including engineers, mathematicians, theoretical physics, biological majors, and anyone else who has a reasonable idea in the opinion of their mates.
White House"We're getting word from the Cybers, there's a team at Cal Tech that everyone seems to think has a lot of good ideas."
"Good, contact them and ask if they want to send a team. In the meantime, get a list of what they'd like in the way of scans, and see what we can do to get them that. No radiologicals, nothing penetrating."
Cal Tech"Guys… GUYS… HEY YOU NITWITS! Thank you. The White House is calling. They want to know what else we want in the way of scans but insist on nothing radiological or penetrating. They also want us to assemble a team to go examine in closer detail."
The room goes into riot mode.
"SIR! SIR! CAN YOU HEAR ME?! I NEED SOME HELP DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW! THEY'RE FIGHTING OVER WHO GETS TO GO! … THANK YOU, SIR! HOW LONG? … HURRY IT, THEY'VE ALREADY BUSTED HALF THE WALLS DOWN! GET OFF ME! GET OFF ME! SORRY, SIR! GOT TO GO!" The sound of a phone missing the cradle, shouting, breaking glass, and snapping wood.
White House"Um, Sir? Do you think it's a good idea? They've gone completely ape shit."
"They're motivated. Pick from the survivors with the best grades and opinions from their fellows. Don't pick any professors that don't have at least fifty recommendations from students."
Blackhawk: Recon: ICZ"That's as close as I can get, Sir!"
"Thanks! We're going in!"
Tyler and Jones are seen jumping out of the helicopter past Gilford's camera. They drop into view on the craft, from Gil's perspective. The alien is seen to move his lips, but between the noise and the distance, no one can hear it. Gil himself unstraps and jumps down, steadied by Tyler and Jones. Between the camera, the battery belt, and everything else, Gilford definitely needs that help.
As soon as they're all down, the helicopter moves off to a position were the crew can watch the action. They're not armed either, beyond handguns, but if they have to, the helicopter itself can be a weapon, or a dustoff, at a moment's notice.
"Scans, check their equipment. Any weapons?"
"Crude chemical firearms presently sealed in holsters. The large shoulder device is some sort of visual broadcast system. Assume that the device is active and transmitting. Radiation from the device is commensurate with the power supply strapped to the operator. Clothing of the operator is distinctly different from the two armed individuals. Suggest operator is essentially civilian pressed into duty. Uniformity of clothing of the armed individuals suggests military. The deference to the one on your right indicates higher rank."
"Armed… Not a good sign. Still, they're making no move to draw them. My risk. No one is to show any weapon or take any action even if they discharge a weapon."
"And if they kill you?"
"I'll be dead, and in no shape to issue orders."
Tyler's Team"He's a calm one. That's a good sign."
Jones points out a problem. "Tyler, we're still armed."
"Good point. I'm going to slowly reach for my belt, and drop the whole thing right here. Carefully. You are to take no hostile action, no matter what they do. Another team might succeed if we fail."
Gilford is a bit sour. "Thanks, Ty…"
"Don't mention it, Gil. Just keep the video running as long as you can."
"My final piece? Cool. I could live with that!"
Gil's stable now, and moves off smoothly to the alien's left, getting everyone in the view, this is a first contact, as they close up, Gil can zoom in or close manually. The shot will close in to show each of them. This is going to be so cool.
PilotStill uncertain of our genders, Pilot is using gender-neutral words. English, lacking widely accepted terms of that nature, we translate to the nearest equivalent.
He's moving slowly, no sudden movements, reaching for his harness. "Hold your actions. He's disarming." He watches as the leader slowly lowers his weapon harness to the deck. The native takes the same posture Pilot used when he came out, as he walks toward Pilot.
"Disarmed and peaceful posture. Do not take any action at all. Scans, Report on other activity."
"Aircraft that dropped them has moved back but is maintaining observation. Craft is essentially unarmed, although the pilots appear to have similar chemical firearms. Much activity from the impromptu base to the south, several access ways are being driven through the surrounding ground with heavy equipment. No sign of energy weapons of any sort. Many chemical firearms, some of impressive caliber. All are concentrated in the base or in a perimeter approximately five miles from our site. They appear to be primarily concerned with turning civilians away from the area.
We have cracked the broadcasts, although we do not understand the language, the visuals are clear. There is a significant portion that is behaving in what appears to be irrational anger. That is a subjective judgment. There is a smaller portion who are acting in what seems to be a reasonable manner, much vocalization over the views the operator is presently providing.
Pilot… There are also disturbing videos showing local, apparently civilian, ground craft being destroyed by the military. Those ground craft were seen to attempt to ram their way through a blockade. In more than one case, smaller representatives — possibly children — were harmed. They are treated with care and respect, but they were still harmed."
"What were the larger representatives of the ground vehicles doing?"
"Operating the vehicle in a manner that I would consider foolhardy."
"Regret for the harm to young innocents. No regret for fools."
"Understood. And agreed to."
"I'm about to make contact. Record in full detail."
Tyler's Team"Hey, Ty! My camera has just gone wonky! All I get is static!"
Scans"Pilot! My scans may be interfering with theirs! Reducing to purely visual scanning."
Tyler's Team"It's cleared up, Ty!"
"Base, this is Jones, are you receiving us again?"
A crackling radio response, there's still some residual disruption, but it's fading fast. "Nearly gave us a heart attack. The wide-band scanners went berserk for a few seconds like there were so many frequencies in use that nothing else could get through."
White House"Gahhh! I don't need more reasons for heart attacks!"
"Mr. President, commentators are suggesting that some sort of powerful scan was used, that interfered with the operation of the camera, and radios for that matter."
"Jesus. Okay… Get the inner HQ on the line. I'd appreciate it if they would send up more observers, kept at a series of distances from the craft. The idea is to first see what's going on at a wider view, and second, to try and keep visual contact with our intrepid trio."
"Mr. President, the inner HQ is already making those adjustments now."
Scans"Pilot, I am detecting more craft of the same nature as the one which dropped them off. They are taking up observation positions at increasing distances. Pilot… Some of them are definitely armed."
"Has the translation computer made any progress?"
"Limited. We have to make guesses to feed into it, along with the video and audio. There are also short segments of otherwise unrelated material that we do not understand at all."
"Continue work. I will meet the leader."
Tyler's Team"Gil? Good visuals?"
"Yes! Historical, or is that hysterical, first contact with alien species. CWO Tyler in the lead!"
Cal TechThere is a sudden pause in the free-for-all. This gives time for the police sent along with the military officials to separate the combatants.
"WHO THE HELL IS TYLER!?"
Mainstream Media"And here it is! James Tyler, Specialist Radar Operator, HEY! That can't be right! He's wearing Chief Warrant Officer rank tabs!"
Off-Screen: "Confirmed, promoted for this mission."
Cal Tech"WHY HIM?!?"
Mainstream Media"Tyler is an excellent observer, with a remarkably good assessment of the aliens. He:
Recognized that the craft was not hostile.
Recognized that they were about to accelerate and gave the order to get our aircraft out of the way, saving many brave men's lives. (Inter-cut video of Alpha flight turning away from the craft just before it accelerated.)
And provided such useful information and advice to the Alpha Flight leader, that he has had several commendations already. (Shot of Alpha Flight leader on his way into debriefing talking loudly with his second in command, "Tyler did a great job!")
A brilliant young man with a bright future ahead of him, now making First Contact with an alien species!"
Tyler's TeamTyler gives the traditional astronaut's prayer.
"Dear Lord, please don't let me screw the pooch!"
"You'd better not, and watch your language, we're on national television."
"Thanks, Gil, no stress, right?"
"None at all."
PilotThe approach continues, we are now quite close enough to see each other. From the limited visuals I have seen, this would appear to be a young … male? Yes. Male.
They appear friendly, and I have given orders for no action to be taken regardless of what happens to me. Of course, if I'm dead, I'm in no shape to give any orders. What happens then? Will depend on what happened to me.
Tyler's Team"I don't know, but I think I'm getting a 'male' vibe off of 'him'. I'll go with male pronouns, for now, anyone having problems with that are welcome to make their comments… later! Obviously military for a bunch of reasons, and not just because he's on a warship. We're closing with each other, both of us have our arms outstretched."
PilotHe's obviously talking, I would suppose that the visual transmission includes audio. "Scans, include the video feed from the camera to the translation computer. We have a far better idea what's going on here than over their broadcast system."
"Agreed, and working. … We're getting better results now. … Initial comment by subordinate is a reminder to the leader that they are armed. Leader … Yes, the leader orders no action regardless of the consequences to him. … Some … badinage? … between the leader and the operator. Suggest they are known to each other before this event. Leader and subordinate have worked together, but the relationship is not as complex as that between observer and leader. Subordinate is carrying extensive communications gear, which appears to be encrypted, and frequency hopping. Definitely a military-style comms, even if it is still using (translation, the phrase is mildly derogatory) radio waves."
"Be nice, Scans, we're here for a very long time. Keep that in mind."
Tyler's Team"I'm close enough now to make out detailed features, not bad. I'm going to try lowering my arms, this is getting stiff."
Tyler slowly lowers his arms, letting them sink to a normal resting position. The alien matches his movement. They stand and stare at each other.
"Welcome to Earth."
Pilot"Pilot: seems to be opening statement inviting us to … dirt? No, Earth their planet name."
I choose to execute a slight bow. "Scans, reverse translate 'Thank you'."
Tyler's TeamA mechanical voice, "Thank you."
Tyler returns the bow, "You are welcome. You have a translator?"
Pilot"Translation, extending further welcome including concept of replying to your statement. Translator working for some degree of communication. Subsequent statement is query… uncertain of last word."
"Scans, assume that it is 'translator', opinion?"
"Dangerous, we might be agreeing to something we will regret."
HQ: ICZ"Sir! Radar is tracking light aircraft approaching alien craft from altitude! Looks like a dive bomb profile! No way is he going to pull up!"
"WARN THE TEAM! CAP! TAKE DOWN THAT AIRCRAFT!"
Rapid communications, the nearest craft that could intercept in time is one of the armed helicopters.
Tyler's TeamThe same mechanical voice, "Yes."
"TYLER! DOWN! DOWN! DOWN! INCOMING AIRCRAFT ATTACK!"
"SHIT!" I hope he understands!
Tyler is seen tackling the alien and covering him with his own body. Everyone else on the team dives behind whatever cover they think will do them any good. Gilford is crouched, scanning around the sky, looking for the incoming craft.
"PILOT! ARE YOU OKAY!"
"Affirmative! This is not an attack, they are all taking cover. Scan surrounding!"
"Scanning … Light craft approaching at high speed, estimate attack. Large quantity of chemical explosives aboard. Armed craft previously identified as observers are accelerating. Weapons going active. Scans going active. Estimate 90% defensive move. DO NOT FIRE, REPEAT DO NOT FIRE, ALLIES IN CLOSE PROXIMITY!"
The remaining gun positions on the craft could have destroyed the light aircraft, but only at the cost of extreme collateral damage. The amount of explosives on the aircraft is a danger to exposed crew, but not to the ship.
"TYLER! I CAN SEE IT! I'VE GOT IT ON CAMERA! WOAH! LOTS OF BOXES STRAPPED TO CRAFT! HELICOPTERS ARE FIRING"
These are Apache AH-64, which have been armed with a variety of weapons, including Stinger air-to-air missiles. The choice is fortunate. All fixed-wing aircraft are on search mode or guarding against larger craft at higher altitudes. The seeker is a refined passive IR system that can track targets. The gunners are fortunate. There are no larger heat sources to distract the missiles. Three missiles are fired, they hit the aircraft — or what's left of it — triggering the explosives.
They are commercial grade explosives, but the people who built this were aware of the ability to use ball bearings as fragmentation. Crude, but effective.
"PILOT! DEBRIS INCOMING!"
Gilford, covered by a fortunate piece of gear extending from the surface of the alien craft is unharmed, as is Jones. Tyler is less fortunate.
"Huh! I'm hit? Yes, I'm hit. Ooooh, not good."
Pilot"Scans! Any impacts? I felt the one on top of me jerk!"
"Confirm impacts! Native covering you is definitely injured. Body fluid leaking. No other significant impacts. Native aircraft destroyed. Gunships are hovering, facing away from us, they've taken up close guard positions."
"Prep the medbay! I'm going to bring the wounded one with me, as well as the other two, we need to get under cover." Heaving up, he quickly starts dragging Tyler into the craft, "Translate! FOLLOW ME!"
Tyler's Team"Hey! He's taking Tyler inside!"
The mechanical voice, "COME ME!"
"HQ! We've been invited in! May lose contact, will attempt to contact every 15 minutes. No guarantees. Per Tyler's directive, TAKE NO HOSTILE ACTION! Gilford! Follow Me!"
"Hot Damn! Inside views! Recording!"
As they run to the entry, Jones takes up more of Tyler's weight, moving everyone faster into the alien craft. Once inside, the alien shifts grip on Tyler, bringing him into a more workable position for navigating the craft. Fortunately, there is an aid station near the cargo area. As they enter, they see many pallets of equipment. Mostly unknown. Gilford is sweeping everything in rapid arcs, trying to stay up with the others, and still get good video. The further in they go, the worse the signal becomes. More crew are seen, some with arms, some without, and one with a larger belt pack that he is taking various items out of.
"I think this one is a medic! Hope they don't kill him by accident!"
The 'medic' has taken out a small device and runs it quickly over Tyler's body.
"Sufficient similarity for basic procedures to work. Bring him to aide station, will attempt control of bleeding and bandage wounds. Suggest contact natives for extraction to their medical facilities."
As all of this has been going on, Scans has chosen to open the translator for free flow. The results are not always what was intended.
"… station … blood … removal …"
"Jones? JONES! They're going to bleed him!"
"Tyler's orders! No offensive action regardless of consequences. Continue recording. Besides, I think that translator of theirs stinks."
Of course, that works in the other direction.
" … order … attack … offensive …"
PilotThe armed crew are reacting to the suggestion of an attack. Pilot is screaming.
"NEGATIVE! DO NOT ATTACK! DO NOT ATTACK! THEY ARE UNARMED!"
Several armed crew already have their weapons out, but others move to knock the weapons aside. Some energy bolts are fired but hit only the interior of the craft. The energy bloom is something else.
Tyler's TeamJones is too close to one of the beams, the energy bloom burns him across the back, causing him to drop Tyler, and fall to the deck himself. Gilford is only lightly touched but yells loudly anyway.
"STOP SHOOTING STOP SHOOTING!"
The only word that comes through is fortunate.
" … stop … stop … "
As with all good camera operators, Gilford continues operating his camera. Other crew come forward to assist carrying Tyler and Jones to the aid station. Gilford follows, uncertain if his broadcast is being seen or not.
Apache / HQ: ICZThe specialist monitoring the video broadcast. "Shots fired! Shots fired!"
The Apache swivels in place, bringing it's sensors to bear. "HQ, thermal systems show increased temperature in multiple locations of the alien craft's surface."
Major Coyle makes a critical decision.
"NO OFFENSIVE ACTION! ALERT DUSTOFF! EXTRACTION, ALIEN CRAFT. ALL HUMANS TO BE REMOVED FROM ALIEN CRAFT. NO OFFENSIVE ACTION! ENSURE OBSERVER IS PRESENT!"
It is most definitely the best decision he could have made.
Alien Craft"THIS IS SCANS! SINGLE CRAFT APPROACHING AT SPEED. NOT HOSTILE. NOT HOSTILE. UNARMED!"
Unfortunately, there is always someone who doesn't get the word.
A junior gunner, the sole survivor of his close-in defense gun team. "Tracking… Tracking… CLEAN SHOT!"
The declaration of not hostile did not reach him. One of the earlier wild shots took out his communications and has not yet been noticed. Fortunately for everyone, Dustoff zigged when the gunner zagged.
DustoffCopilot, "SHIT! THEY JUST SHOT AT US!"
Pilot, "I KNOW! STILL GOING IN!"
The pilot is well known for bravery bordering on insanity. His copilot has been with him for a long time but really doubts his judgment right now. The energy bolt cooked one side of the craft, and there are equipment warnings… It is a twin-engine craft, but they're about to lose one of those engines. Assuming it doesn't just catastrophically fail.
Copilot, "Losing left engine!"
Pilot, "cut it now and foam it!"
The engine is shut off, and the fire suppressant is activated. Fortunate for the crew, since the compressor disks would have explosively shattered within seconds. While still spinning, the reduction in stress and heat prevents catastrophic failure.
The crew is in a real pucker factor situation, the craft is wounded, the side of the helicopter they'd normally exit on is melted together, and some of the crew were slightly burned on that side. Not debilitating, but rather like getting a severe sunburn in seconds.
Pilot, "Un-ass on the right side when we're down! I'll rotate to put that side towards the opening. Don't waste time! We're going to have trouble if you do!"
"SIR! SIR! DO WE RETURN FIRE?!"
White House"They shot at an evac helicopter?!?"
Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Jackson. "Mr. President, I have seen panic reactions before. It always happens that someone doesn't get the word, and a shot is made that shouldn't have been. You will notice that there has been no second shot."
Alien CraftPilot is now screaming, "GET THAT BASTARD OUT OF HIS BLISTER AND SHOOT HIM! ON THE TOP! OPENLY!"
The older crewman is a little more cool-headed. He leads the team to open the blister, and drags the misfortunate gunner out.
"Did you hear the non-hostile declaration?"
"You'd better hope that I find out your comms were down because if they aren't, you're dead."
Checking the comms, he confirms that they were out. It doesn't make up for the shot, but it does buy the gunner a chance.
"Gunner! You're going to be put under restraints and sent out to the locals. You will cooperate with them to the very best of your ability. If they shoot you, we will consider it a justified execution. If they don't, you might get to live when you get back on board."
The gunner is now terrified, but obedient. The alternative is immediate execution. He is placed in improvised restraints, the usual restraints being unavailable, stripped of all arms, and marched up to the surface.
DustoffThe medical crew has jumped out with commendable speed, taking three baskets with them. As they enter on the run, the gunner is marched out, and presented at the helicopter. The Dustoff observer is covering the entire action.
"What the heck are we supposed to do with this guy?"
HQ: ICZ"That must be the poor sucker who didn't get the word."
"Yes, Specialist, it probably is. I think they're making a peace offering. The one who screwed up to save the ship.
Send to Dustoff: Take prisoner on board, strap him down in a basket, and bring him out with the others. Try to be gentle, but if he resists, get him in that basket however you have to."
Dustoff"Prisoner? Okay, let's see if we can get him in a basket. No place else for him."
Repeated pantomime finally gets the point across. Reluctantly, the prisoner lies in one of the baskets. When he panics at being strapped in. He's held down and strapped in any way. He continues to struggle against the straps.
Alien CraftThe Dustoff team comes running in with their stretchers. That same older crewman looks at them, and the baskets, and points to the aid station. The team lead salutes and moves on through.
The older crewman asks a question. "Scans? Purpose of arm gesture?"
"Not sure. Acknowledgment of order or indication of respect?"
In the aid station, the team is amazed to see the bleeding stopped, and the bandages holding. Knowing that Tyler has sustained blood loss, they insert an IV for normal saline. That brings the blood volume back up to something the heart can pump effectively, and Tyler's color improves. Monitoring heart rate, pressure, and other factors, they determine that the internal bleeding must have already been stopped. The team lead smiles (fortunately closed-mouthed) and nods at the medical tech who has been hovering around scanning pretty much everyone and everything in sight.
"Sodium chloride solution 9%, blood volume expander. Presumed normal being scanned, assume normal values. Compare against other scans, establish ranges. Multiple blood types, some interactions potentially severe. Decline direct transfusion without exact match. Patient one showing increased vitals, not normal, but better. Patient two is … experiencing pain? … but is relatively normal. Observer, unusual chemicals in bloodstream. Possibly fight/flight mechanism. (Nearest translation, although they have a similar mechanism, it doesn't operate quite the same way) Computer, synthesize and generate treatment for blood loss and stabilization."
The med-tech, seeing the native nod, nods back. Despite the apparent high-tech nature of the craft, the internals of the medbay are understandable. There are tables/beds to hold the patients at a height convenient for the medic. Mobile lights overhead. What might be some sort of X-Ray or fluoroscope? And a large selection of cabinetry on the walls, holding who knows what.
Dustoff"Okay, we've got this one stabilized, how's the other one doing?"
"Pain, shock, can't tell what the burns are like the bandage gets in the way. We'll have to take him … Hey!"
Alien MedicAh, they need to see the wound. "Move scanner into place, display visual below bandage." The scanner moves gently into place, nudging the human tech out of the way. The display comes on. The medic moves to the scanner, demonstrates how to view deeper, and how to narrow the view for magnification.
Dustoff"Holy… We have GOT to get one of these!" A very emphatic nod to the alien medic, who smiles back, closed mouth, and nods in return. "I've got second and possibly third-degree burns. Observer! Get over here and record this monitor." Gilford moves to record the image. The scanner is adjusted to show the full depth of the injury, and certain portions are enlarged for a detailed view.
Walter Reed / John Hopkins / Mayo Clinic"We absolutely have to have that technology."
UTA Biomedical Engineering (University of Texas / Austin)"How the heck did they…?"
"Improvement on the terahertz imaging systems?"
"Let's see if we can…"
"Hold up there! That's expensive..!" CRACK "Aw, shit. How are we going to explain this to the professor?"
"What do you mean? He's the one that cracked it!"
Walter Reed"They have what? … Fine, I'll send a team down to look over their shoulders. We need that ASAP."
Replay for every significant medical institute and university in the U.S. Shortly reprised by every such institute in the world.
White HouseThe Secretary of Health and Human Services is having a very loud conversation with multiple other Cabinet members. "No! We are not going to restrict access to critical medical advances! Even to the Chinese! What we will do is establish a nearby center where they can observe and advise without getting in the way of the engineers." You might even call it an argument.
The President finally puts an end to it by slamming his hand down on the table.
"Gentle beings, and I use that term loosely for some of you. We are not going to hold medical technology derived from the alien's hostage to political issues. She's right. See to establishing the center. Do not interfere with their communication home. If one of them turns out to be interested in more than just medical research, gently — I say again gently — send them home; with a polite suggestion that the replacement concentrate on medical research."
DustoffThe human team lead, having saluted the alien medic, directs the team to evacuate to the helicopter for a return to the HQ CSH. Gilford follows the team back out of the ship, covering the evacuation from the rear. The observer who came with the helicopter shooting the same scene from the front. In an unplanned but seeming synchronized move, Gilford sweeps to the side opposite the Dustoff observer, getting a cross view of the loading. Just two good cameramen making sure they get the best view of the operation.
"Hey? What's this guy doing in here?"
"Prisoner? He was turned over to us tied up. We got him in the basket, then had to keep him down while we strapped him in. He's been fighting the straps … he stopped!"
"Must have seen we brought our own out in these. I think I can understand a bit of fear in an unfamiliar environment." The lead pats the alien on the shoulder and smiles. They've been watching the aliens smile, and they have all been closed mouth. Good observation on their part. The alien relaxes a bit, and carefully smiles back.
The Dustoff observer climbs back into the helicopter.
"Med Team! Is everyone aboard?"
"Good to go, Pilot!"
"Including the observer?"
"We're OUT'A here!"
D&D Meetup: Duluth, Minnesota"Uh, guys? Did you get a good look at those aliens?"
"Who cares… We're at the boss fight, you in or out?"
"He looks like an elf."
A moment of quietness, followed by a stampede for the big monitor sometimes used for large scale multi-person gaming.
"Has anyone else posted that?"
"Not that we can see!"
White House"Mr. President, this just came in from the cyber team. A group in Duluth, Minnesota, commented that the aliens look rather like elves. The consensus is that they're correct. The images match the most common descriptions of elves. Some are arguing for Vulcans, but they're in the minority, these people do not show the characteristics for blue blood or desert adaptation."
"You don't think… "
"Mr. President, at this point, I am NOT thinking. There's too much coming in too fast. I'm just trying to keep up with the flow and bring you the tidbits that seem most important or interesting.
Mr. President, do you have any orders considering the alien prisoner?"
"First, tell the doctors to keep their fucking hands off. No intrusive procedures, not even a thermometer. You can tell he's scared out of his mind. Second, although his movement is restricted, he is not to be treated harshly. He's not your typical prisoner. Third, see if there's some way we can get him communications with the ship. At a minimum, he needs to be able to talk with higher. Ideally, he's connected to their translator, so we can start working on language. Fourth, while we suspect that he was the individual who fired the shot at the dustoff, we do not have proof that he did so; only guesses that could be wildly inaccurate. Fifth, even if he did fire the shot (a) he did not fire a second shot, and (b) there is always someone who doesn't get the word. Like that idiot with the light aircraft who caused the whole medical problem and may have poisoned the well.
He's scared. He's afraid he's going to be executed, possibly in a very unpleasant manner. He also appeared, to me, to be relatively young. Consider him a Private who's made a really, really, stupid mistake, not an enemy combatant."
"Mr. President, I will relay those orders. You know some people are going to be stupid about this too."
"If they do, you are to strip them of rank and privilege, and put them in cells where the alien can see them. His quarters will be in the same block when he is not needed elsewhere. Every time they get stupid again, … I dunno, fire hose them? Something appropriate, whatever it is."
"Mr. President? I'm trying to decide if that's genius or a recipe for disaster."
"CaSH": HQ: ICZThe Combat Surgical Hospital has been up for a short while, already seeing injuries from inside the zone. Fortunately, none of them are severe enough to require surgery.
"Dustoff is here! Are we all prepped?"
The Dustoff observer jumps out first, clearing the way and swinging around to cover the unloading. He follows the team in as far as he can.
"Okay, gunshot to bay one. Burn to bay two. Alien? What the hell do we do with an alien?!?"
"You'd better have been joking. Stash him in bay three with a guard. A friendly guard."
The comment about dissecting the alien turns into one of the most controversial topics on every social internet site. Fortunately for the joker, he wasn't in view of the coverage, and no one was willing to step on the landmine by naming him. His punishment was already assigned, bedpan duty for the next month.
Alien ShipGilford, covering the evacuation, continues filming the takeoff and speed run back to HQ. When they are out of sight, he looks around. There is no one left on the top deck except some aliens, and himself.
"Aw, Shit. I'm so dead."
Placing his video camera on top of some convenient outcropping of metal, he walks in front of it. "Excuse me, but I've been left behind on the alien craft. Could someone please pick me up before I get shot for leaving Tyler? It wasn't my choice."
HQ: ICZ"That went out live, didn't it."
"Per orders, Sir!"
Sigh "Get another dustoff out there to pick that poor sucker up. Even if we don't kill him, higher might."
ReactionThe public, in general, is laughing their heads off.
The political scene is the usual circus.
The legal scene is filing lawsuits all over the place for illegal detainment, threats of violence, and other abuses of civil rights. The court cases are going to go on forever. In some legal jurisdictions, Gilford is known entirely too well. Warrants for his arrest, seizure of his vehicle and property, and past-due bills of immense size are winging their way to the Inner Control Zone Headquarters.
White Housesigh "William? Will you please find out what orders were actually given?"
"CaSH": HQ: ICZ"That alien doc did good work. Tyler is not bleeding internally, and the transfusions are bringing his blood volume back to normal. He may need some rehab, but he's going to live."
That little announcement makes the rounds VERY fast. Jones, on the other hand, "Hey, Doc? Can I get out of here?"
"What? You've got second and third-degree burns! Get back in that bed!"
"I feel fine. The bandage even fell off on its own."
"IT WHAT! BAY TWO! STAT!"
The medical team is … puzzled. Jones' burns have been … reduced … not eliminated. The dead skin has been debrided and covered with what appears to be some sort of transparent artificial skin. Not wishing to disturb it, they put Jones into the observation ward, and insist that he remain while they examine the healing process. There are no orders regarding him and intrusive tests. It's a very uncomfortable stay.
UTAThe original bandage, very carefully packaged, is sent to UTA's medical engineering facility by a special courier. A full military escort takes over Rte 87 and runs to Great Falls international airport. There the courier and package are placed in an F-15E Strike Eagle. With a pre-cleared flight path and no speed restrictions, it can make the flight in less than an hour. It gets there well under an hour. Everyone is suggesting tests, examinations, and anything else they can come up with to get an idea of how it works.
"We've got to get this, TOO!"
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