Authors: Peter David
was a ground-breaking and thought-provoking televison program that was part science fiction and part hard-hitting police drama—taking on tough social issues. Despite raves from critics as well as a loyal following,
was canceled, but not before additional scripts were created. Now, Pocket Books is proud to present the novelization of one of these never-before-seen scripts.
Matthew Sikes and his Tenctonese partner George Francisco try to unearth the truth behind the hysteria generated by the reports of the birth of the first half-human, half-Tenctonese child. Meanwhile, Sikes and his Tencotnese friend Cathy find their relationship heating up and realize they can no longer deny their feelings. They quickly learn just how dangerous human-Tenctonese love can be, and how far it can go . . .
Cathy walked over to the crib
and stared down. The child
regarded her with those calm
eyes that seemed ancient
beyond the infant’s years.
“She’s beautiful,” she whispered to Matt. She brought the baby over to the changing table so that she would have more room to examine her.
“What’s the verdict?” Grazer asked.
She didn’t reply, her attention still riveted to the baby. She was pulling a double-bellied Newcomer stethoscope out of her bag.
Sikes watched carefully. This part should have been routine. Clearly, though, it wasn’t. There was bewilderment on Cathy’s face as she moved the stethoscope around the baby’s chest. After a moment, pure shock crawled across her face.
“She . . .” Cathy looked as if she were trying to remember the words. “She has only one cardiovascular system.”
Grazer, who fancied himself an expert on the affairs of all things Tenctonese, said firmly, “That’s impossible. She’s a Newcomer.”
“Maybe she isn’t, not entirely,” said Cathy, clearly trying to sort it out as she spoke. “One heart . . . no spots. And the motor skills . . . they’re more consistent with the development of a human infant.”
She paused as if about to leap off a high dive into a pool drained of water. “I think she might be a hybrid . . .”
Alien Nation titles
#1: The Day of Descent
#2: Dark Horizon
#3: Body and Soul
Published by POCKET BOOKS
Publication of POCKET BOOKS
POCKET BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc.
Copyright © 1993 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
ALIEN NATION is a trademark of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
For information address Pocket Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
First Pocket Books printing December 1993
POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster Inc.
Printed in the U.S.A.
To Kenneth Johnson,
who pulled off the rare feat of producing a
TV show that surpassed the movie.
HE BUILDING SAT
upon a desert that was as arid and flat as any alien world . . . which, to the inhabitants of the building, it was.
The full moon had risen, hanging there like a great, pupilless eye gazing down upon the silence. Far beyond the moon the stars twinkled through the cloudless heavens. One of those stars, so very far off, beckoned to the inhabitants of the building. But that summons would remain forever unanswered. As it was, it was simply a . . . a sort of tease. Frustrating, irritating, and ultimately unsatisfying.
Then the silence of the desert was disrupted by the slow, steady grinding of a vehicle with an improperly fitted muffler. Its wide tires crunched across the road and then made a wide right turn into the little-used driveway.
There a guard was waiting for them. His gaze darted around nervously, as if apprehensive that somehow, in some insane fashion, someone would suddenly manage to pop out of hiding and surprise him.
When the truck pulled up, the headlights catching him square as if he were about to be roadkill, he squinted against it and gestured frantically for the lights to be shut off. Likewise, he made a throat-cutting motion with his other hand to indicate the motor should be cut.
The occupants’ heads were unadorned by hair . . . or, for that matter, earlobes. The passenger resembled the driver rather closely. Indeed, the main manner in which they could be distinguished one from another was that the passenger’s chin was slightly more outthrust, and their heads were splattered with large brown and black splotches in patterns that differed.
The driver opened the door and hopped out of the van. The passenger followed suit. They approached the guard slowly, their hands at their sides. Humans were jumpy enough around them, even under the most casual of circumstances. A situation like this, where a human with a guilty conscience was jumping at shadows, could suddenly become very difficult if not handled just right.
The guard looked from one to the other, squinting. “You River?” he asked the driver after a moment.
The driver shook his head. “Penn,” he said. He inclined his bald head toward the passenger. “That’s River.”
“Sorry,” murmured the guard.
“I know,” said Penn. “We all look alike.” He made no attempt to hide his sarcasm. All of his people were clearly such individuals to him, that it was an utter mystery how humans could be so brainless that they could not tell various members of his race—collectively known as the Tenctonese, although informally they were called Newcomers—apart.
“What are you doing here?” asked the one called River in annoyance. “There’s no reason for you to be here. You were paid.”
“I was . . . I was just saying good-bye to them.”
River and Penn looked at each other incredulously, and then back at the guard. “What difference does it make to you?” said Penn after a moment. “Don’t tell me you’re getting sentimental about those . . . things.”
“No,” replied the guard quickly. “But . . . well, look. Humans sometimes form attachments to stuff they become familiar with, just from the sheer repetition of it.”
“I thought familiarity bred contempt in your culture,” River pointed out, with just enough of a sneer to make his own disdain noticeable.
The guard’s lips thinned. “Depends how contemptible the thing we’re becoming familiar with is,” he said tightly.
“You didn’t tell them where they’re going,” Penn said abruptly.
where they’re going,” the guard pointed out. “I just told them they were leaving. That they were being moved. That they’d be happier because they were going to be going with some of their own people.”
River’s eyes narrowed. “You told him he was going with his own people?”
There was something about River’s tone that the guard didn’t like. “Yeah. What? Is there a problem with that?”
River started to say something, but Penn held up a long, bony finger. “No,” said Penn sharply. “No problem at all. So you’ve said your good-byes. Is there any reason for you to be hanging around here?”
“Uh . . . no,” admitted the guard. “Not really.”
“In that case . . . good-bye.”
The guard slowly bobbed his head. He took a couple of steps back, his gaze not leaving the two Newcomers.
Was he a loose end that they were now going to tie off? Would there be a sudden, silenced gunshot penetrating his forehead? Or, if he turned his back, would one of the Newcomers move with that incredible speed and strength that they commanded, and break his neck before he even knew what happened?
As casually as he could, he turned on his heel and walked with measured strides to his car. He felt the muscles around his neck bunching involuntarily, as if preparing for a sharp blow to be delivered.
There was a loud, sharp noise that sent him jumping into the air. He whirled, grabbing his car’s rear fender to stop him from falling.
River, who had not moved an inch, had coughed.
The guard tried to slow down his racing heart. River, utterly nonchalant, brought the edge of one hand under his nose and waved cheerily with the other one.
The guard waved back, and then stared at his own hand as if surprised that it existed. He reached around without looking to the door handle of his car, swung it open, and jumped in. Moments later, the car peeled out, tires screeching. He checked his rearview mirror half a dozen times, and the Newcomers were already heading for the building, giving him no thought whatsoever.
They approached the building silently, and then the back doors of the van opened. The occupant hopped out, and he did not look especially pleased. He was eminently human, with short-cropped black hair and an impatient air. “Are you guys going to screw around all night here?” he demanded.
“Suck a lemur.”
] River said.
“What?” snapped the human. “What the hell did you just say?”
“I said, ‘We’re getting right on it.’ Don’t worry, Mr. Perkins. We’ll be out of here in five minutes.”