Dreaming in the Real
Conversations with the General
Somewhere Near Area 51
David laid down upon a hospital bed, heavily restrained, and heavily sedated. Though even though in his stupor he can tell that his pattern shortsword is with him, and this gives him a small comfort. David’s thoughts drift to that moment, when as a child, he was restrained and made to watch as bandits killed his father and raped his mother. He could do nothing and clung helplessly to the darkness that welled around him. This was the first time he gained strength from shadow.
David looked about the room, but his head was spinning from whatever drug they had given him. Not so bad actually, like being drunk but perhaps less festive. The lights were bright in the room, which caused David’s eyes to water.
David remembered how his brothers drank from an irradiated well and had contracted radiation sickness. He watched as his brothers slowly died from their ailment. Their skin slipped off of their hands in huge glove like pieces. They didn’t scream though, the pain must have been so overwhelming as to not even register. David recalled standing there, helpless as his mother furiously tried to contain the horror. But it was no use, David could tell their souls were slipping away.
David wondered what horrors may await him here, on this planet, in this prison. He wondered too if Clement and Finn would find him in time.
In time? Time for what?
Time stood still here, or least it seemed too. Very much like drifting in shadows. David looked to the floor and saw a small shadow cast by his hospital bed. Too bad he could barely concentrate, or he would be absorbed in the shadow in less than a blink of an eye.
Just then the General walked in the room again….
“So…I would like to say a few things. First off, we are not invaders. Quite the opposite actually. But we are in conflict with another species here on your planet which happens to be in a sort of cross roads. We had a mission to retrieve an explosive device, but it looks as though my cohorts have found it. You are safe for now. We engineered your species for war, though this was a long time ago. Our old logs tell us that the best way for us to gain your to respect is through extreme violence. So my mission was 2 fold. One….cause a distraction to either force the other side to engage, or to treat with the Government of Louisianna, or New York. What ever you call your world. Looks like I was partially successful. We use human bodies because our technology works well inside them. So no need to cut me up. This body is human. So…what would you like to know?”
The General seems a little taken aback, both by your suddenly forthcoming nature and your more serious tone.
“Very well, assuming I believe this story of yours, and I’m not saying I do; what is this other species and how can we identify both it and yours? Whatever you may have engineered, or intended, you are on Earth now and you will include our governments in any further ‘missions’ you may have on this planet.”
“Well here is the trick. We don’t know. I have to be right on top of them in order to identify them. Literally they could be anyone. But don’t let that upset you too much. We are not here for your land, your food, or your women or anything like that. We have plenty of land, plenty of resources and plenty of women. We are not here to be at war with you. You are simply a road block for our missions. Many of my people don’t consider you species a valid species, hence the total disregard for your regulations, laws and customs. We can come and go as we please and have been doing so unimpeded by centuries. If you were to totally nuke this planet, we would simply not come here anymore and go to the next planet. I mean no offense by that, and I’m trying not to be callous. Now, you made a serious request and I will attempt to honor that request. But you see our culture is very different than yours. Our central government doesn’t work like yours would appear to. An individual like myself is free to explore any world and do anything literally as long as it doesn’t interfere with the designs of our own government. “
“I can take you too our world if you so desire. And I can return you to your home at your leisure. I will guarantee your safety, if you guarantee mine. On my homeworld I can request an audience with the powers that be, and we can arrange a treaty of sorts. I’m afraid I don’t have that kind of power. I’m just a messenger. If you want, you can take as many body guards as you like. Just know that they have to stick close to me in order for us to travel safely. Having one person follow me is easy to navigate. Having many people will be a difficult task for me and potentially dangerous. Our technology will be very “alien” to you. We don’t have space ships or ray blasters. But we understand how the universe is pieced together, and through this understanding we are able to fold space and time.”
“I cannot however, accomplish this while drugged. This shell is weak in this state, and I can barely look at you. You may keep my arms bound on the journey, should you feel like this would satisfy your desire for personal safety.”
“There is one thing. And please don’t take this as a threat, I have a matter of fact way of communicating that sometimes is taken the wrong way as I have since discovered. My absence from my mission will become a problem if a significant amount of time has elapsed. I will honor your request, as long as you honor mine. This would require a great leap of faith on your behalf, and I understand if you are unable to do so. What do you say?”
The customary scowl returns, this is slightly snarky dialogue he has come to expect and he feels on safer ground here.
“I have no intention of allowing you to kidnap me or any of my people. And your technology may be alien, but you under-estimate the good ol’ US of A. We will figure out your space folding, or what every you want to call it and then it may be us visiting your neighborhoods. And we’ll see how your alien masters like that. harrumph.”
He holds up a deck of your Trumps.
“We’ve identified several of the people on these cards. At least one was witnessed travelling with you during your murder sprees although we have no records of him anywhere else. The second though, appears to be a Miss Evalyn Florimelle. This lassie has been here a long time and seems to have mysteriously disappeared. Seems like a bit of a coincidence if you ask me and now that we’re taking a closer look all sorts of interesting things are popping up.
So tell me son, what do you know about the Russian mafia?”
David can’t help but laugh at the General walking the pattern.
“It’s cute that you think you can use our technology, but I should apologize for laughing as clearly it is I that am captive here. To answer your question, I don’t know what a Rushing Mafia is. Do they run quickly? Or are they shapeshifters? Have you encountered shape shifters before? That would indeed not be good news. Oh god! They weren’t wearing white ceramic armour were they? HOLY HELL please tell me they don’t!!”
David breathes a little to gather himself.
“Evalyn is one of us, and has been here for about a hundred of your earth years as I recall. I don’t know. They got to her before we could rescue her. Are you saying that this Rushing Mafia has taken her? How can we find them? If you help me get her, I can destroy the entire Rushings for you. If they want her ….”
“Well General, I can’t give you a treaty that you want. Wish I could. I can take you to those who can, and I can return you safely. I’m not in the business of kidnapping. Sorry to disappoint. I am however, a man of my word. You can keep me chained to this bed if you want. Hell you can even keep me drugged a bit. But I’ll just need a little less of it, so I can help us get to going where we need to go.”
He watches you closely as you speak, possibly trying to read your reactions, but doesn’t seemed pleased with his ability to do so.
“White ceramic armor?” he turns to the scientist “He’s babbling, do we have to keep him drugged this heavily?”
The scientist takes him over to a table with an array of machines on it, lights blink and various charts and strange designs are displayed on screens. The scientist taps keys and the displays change in sequence as he has a hushed conversation with the general. After a few moments he returns.
“So you’ve been trying to use your alien super powers, by all means boy, keep it up, it’s getting us a lot closer in figuring out how they work.” He laughs, low and a little mean “You and your alien freaks have been running around here way too long and did you really think we wouldn’t notice? We’ve been watching, a lot longer than you think. So you just keep it up with your cute stories and tryin to escape, your games on this world are about to come to an end and I intend to be here to personally hand you people the smack down.”
He stomps out of the room as the scientist watch nervously.
“Good luck General.” David says as he leaves.
David turns to the scientists just wanting to have an audience at this point. “He never did answer my question about the Rushings. But Damn that is a nice uniform! I can’t wait to have Bandy make me something like that in his shop. Do you think I would look ok in that? I’m not sure I could produce the same scowl that the general has on his face. I’m not a shifter. The last shifter I knew turned zombie on us and moved to Chaos! Ha! Poor guy. I miss Sugar, and all his crazy antics. He should never have braved that pattern. Does the General always stomp out like that? Is it customary? I wish I could just take him with me, it would explain so much and he and I would have a beer at my favorite pub and Melissa can come out and chat us up. He’d be all like, ‘Wow David this is exactly opposite of what I expected! Can I stay just a little longer?’ And I would be all like hell yeah, I live in the god damn palace!”
David tried to focus, and wondered if the scientist guys were looking at him or not. “Dude, these drugs are great! I really hope they don’t blow up your country. My apologies now if they do. They get real angry over these sorts of things. It would be better if I didn’t die, but I guess everybody’s gotta die sometime right? Ah well.”
The scientist are clearly trying to ignore you, but it is the nature of their profession to be curious and you are reasonably certain they are listening. You certainly seem to make them nervous, although whether it’s the implied threats in your dialogue or just the alien stream of consciousness experience, you’re not entirely sure.
Well as long as David has a captive audience, he’ll continue to babble
“Why do you guys wear white lab coats anyway? Do they bestow special powers? Or are they a uniform identifying you of your station? Or maybe a bit of both? You know, I think the most fun I had on this trip thus far was going for a ride in one of your cars. I didn’t drive of course, but watching from the passenger side was pretty fantastic. I feel badly for what happened to the cab driver. That wasn’t the intention at all, I guess he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
David clears his throat. “So what will it take for the General to trust me? A night on the town? Haha! Where I am from, the gift of earth is presented as a sign of peace. It symbolizes many things, but most importantly food is grown from the earth. I’m afraid I didn’t bring any dirt with me, though I do have a trinket made of dirt. It was a round stone that I was carrying. Do you think the General would accept such a gift? Or would he prefer an actual gift of earth? I wish I had studied more of your customs before going here, it would have made this all easier. Our one other link to this world chose a strange path, and he since left our group. Sad really. He could conjure a whole set of clothes by barfing it up. Gave me a T shirt and Jeans in this method. I didn’t wear them mind you, I found it unsettling to wear clothes that someone conjured. I guess it doesn’t transfer over well to other worlds either. Poof! All your clothes gone the second you step to the next world. Hah!”
“So what’s for dinner?”