the alien

Sep. 5th, 2013 11:32 am
instar: (g ~ shark)
[personal profile] instar
There are no more five-person meetings at the Swan household. They're a circle: Bella-Andi-Robin-Ethan-Trouble-Bella again. They meet in twos, threes, pass around information, get it all down in Bella's cipher in Bella's notebooks. They have a list of members of the Sharing, mostly procured by Ethan and to a lesser extent Trouble, but no safe way to learn if these people's behavior has changed; they have seen no more aliens, observed no more disintegrations, caught no one ducking into anything that is an alien hideout.

The twins try to behave normally with their father or his pod person, whichever the person who calls them is, for a value of "normally" that involves adamantly continuing to want nothing to do with the Sharing.

And sometimes crying and refusing to tell Renée what's wrong.

School proceeds. No one's grades see more than a minor downturn as a result of all the alien business.

Andi and Robin play music. Andi's getting pretty good on the drums, although her teacher moves away and she has to hunt up another one, who she sticks with for four lessons before deciding to go self-taught.

Bella tightens up her cipher. It began as a letter substitution and since then has evolved to include plenty of personal shorthand - she turns the ratio of shorthand to straightforward letters up as far as she can and still read the thing herself. She abbreviates, she leaves out spaces, she names things in roundabout ways, she refers to things many notebooks ago that she can find easily that anyone else could spend hours hunting for, if she has to record names she finds ways to describe the spelling without ever placing all of the characters in sequence. Maybe the aliens have super-cryptanalysis and super-OCR and can eat her notebooks in one bite and know everything they know; but maybe not, and maybe if she's careful enough she'll look like she's writing her paranoid diary and not like she's taking notes on the quiet invasion.

Trouble comes over a lot. He stays over a lot. Renée has a quiet conversation about him with Bella, in which Bella is vague, pretends ignorance, suggests that maybe he just likes it here, maybe his folks are allergic to gluten and won't eat his baked goods? Renée leaves it alone.

May begins.
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Date: 2013-09-05 07:37 pm (UTC)
aeskhyne: (⑦ i'll make you see)
From: [personal profile] aeskhyne
Trouble decides one day that everybody should go swimming together. He names the following Saturday and orchestrates all the arrangements; they meet; fun is had.

After everyone is out of the pool, he volunteers the location of a nearby hole-in-the-wall that serves exquisite jalapeno poppers. It's only a fifteen-minute walk. Ethan vouches that the place is divine, and Trouble leads them there, across a few streets and down a few more and through a desolate architectural graveyard where the rusting skeletons of never-finished buildings throw ominous spiky shadows along the dusty gravel.

By the time they're finished eating, the sun has set and the shadows are considerably more ominous. But they're going to have to cross if they want to catch the next bus; it's a big lot, and going around would more than double their travel time.

Date: 2013-09-05 07:38 pm (UTC)
pandion: (pearls)
From: [personal profile] pandion
"This place is spooky."

Date: 2013-09-05 07:40 pm (UTC)
aeskhyne: (① loves to light the fuse)
From: [personal profile] aeskhyne
Trouble beams.

Date: 2013-09-05 07:40 pm (UTC)
palmofyourhand: (④ in heaven hell or earth)
From: [personal profile] palmofyourhand
"Our boy Trouble is a connoiseur of the delicious yet suspicious," says Ethan.

Date: 2013-09-05 07:43 pm (UTC)
pandion: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pandion
"Ooh. But I wanna go home, I'm kind of tired. Next time Mom can give us a ride."

Date: 2013-09-05 07:47 pm (UTC)
hold_infinity: (③ took a storm before)
From: [personal profile] hold_infinity
"There should definitely be a next time," asserts Robin, hopping casually over a fallen girder.

Date: 2013-09-05 07:50 pm (UTC)
alicornucopia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alicornucopia
There are many lights overhead. It's dark; there are stars.

There's a blue-white shooting star.

That... changes speeds.

And gets closer.

Date: 2013-09-05 07:51 pm (UTC)
hold_infinity: (⑪ a new cloud coming)
From: [personal profile] hold_infinity
"...The hell is that?" says Robin, staring.

Date: 2013-09-05 07:54 pm (UTC)
hold_infinity: (⑧ here and there)
From: [personal profile] hold_infinity
"Th—holy shit," says Robin, freezing in the middle of raising her arm to point, "it's a bloody spaceship."

And indeed, the point of light is coming down fast, close enough now to be identifiable to anyone with good distance vision.

Date: 2013-09-05 07:56 pm (UTC)
pandion: (dark)
From: [personal profile] pandion
Andi dives behind a pile of sand.

Date: 2013-09-05 07:59 pm (UTC)
hold_infinity: (⑬ the battlefield)
From: [personal profile] hold_infinity
Robin ducks into the building frame next to her, just behind the ten-foot vertical slab of concrete that is its only solid wall. She drags Ethan with her.

Date: 2013-09-05 08:01 pm (UTC)
aeskhyne: (⑫ stared at the fault line)
From: [personal profile] aeskhyne
Trouble is out front of everyone else, almost halfway across the flat empty space between four skeletal buildings. He picks a direction - left - and runs, but he's not going to make it to cover before the ship lands.

Or crashes. Crashes is also looking like an option.

Date: 2013-09-05 08:05 pm (UTC)
alicornucopia: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alicornucopia
It doesn't crash.

It stops, about a hundred feet above the clearing.

It has an egg-shaped front part, a school-bus-length corridor with stubby wings aft, and a curvy scorpion tail arching up over it from the end.

It descends.

It lands.

The blue lights all over it go off, but even in the starlight it's possible to see black streaks of damage on the hull.

Date: 2013-09-05 08:14 pm (UTC)
aeskhyne: (⑩ i'll just play along)
From: [personal profile] aeskhyne
Trouble, not five steps away from a stack of enormous concrete pipes that could hide him easily, trips and falls flat on his face. He rolls to a sitting position and glances fearfully back at the ship.

His own reasoning must lead him down a similar path to Bella's, because he gets to his feet and heads for the damaged vessel, brushing clouds of chalky construction-site dust from his jeans.

Date: 2013-09-05 08:20 pm (UTC)
morphbox: (Default)
From: [personal profile] morphbox
The ship opens. The mechanism isn't clear; but a shape of light dilates until it's a full circle in the nose of the ship.

An alien steps delicately out.

He isn't the sharp kind.

Or - not the same sharp kind. The end of his tail is definitely sharp. The rest of him looks harmless, gentle, deerlike - a blue centaur, with extra eyes on stalks, extra fingers on his hands. He has no mouth, and his nose is just three vertical slits.

He's got a burn all down his right side.

Date: 2013-09-05 08:21 pm (UTC)
aeskhyne: (⑫ stared at the fault line)
From: [personal profile] aeskhyne
"That looks nasty," breathes Trouble, somewhat enviously.

Date: 2013-09-05 08:23 pm (UTC)
morphbox: (Default)
From: [personal profile] morphbox
The alien looks at Trouble, with all four eyes for a moment, and then the stalk ones go back to scanning what his main eyes don't cover.

He staggers.

<Yes. I am dying,> he replies.
Edited Date: 2013-09-05 08:24 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-05 08:25 pm (UTC)
aeskhyne: (⑥ don't know what I want)
From: [personal profile] aeskhyne
"I'm sorry," says Trouble.

Date: 2013-09-05 08:28 pm (UTC)
morphbox: (Default)
From: [personal profile] morphbox
<Will your friends come out? I will not harm them,> the alien says. <I bring a warning.>

Date: 2013-09-05 08:29 pm (UTC)
aeskhyne: (⑩ i'll just play along)
From: [personal profile] aeskhyne
...Trouble glances back at said friends. He can't see any of them.
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