Their keepers have not returned. They are alone. They have been alone for over a week. There was no precedent. They were hungry, confused. Slowly, it was dawning on them, that their life on the mountain was about to take a drastic change. They had only lived there for the short years spent on the planet. Their keepers were still training them. There were years left before they were to be allowed to venture down among the others.
He has no name. More a color of thought that was all his own. They knew how to use words to communicate with humans; they were too slow and limited for conversations between the two.
They were thinking together, coming to the same conclusion. The keepers had run into some kind of problem. They would not leave them hungry.
"We were warned." She told him, again and again, as if the mantra could shore up their resolve to act. "We are going to have to... get some food. If they are gone... years will pass before anyone would come to contact us."
"They must have been captured or killed."
"They said ...."
"Yes, if they did not come back, it would be one or the other."
They withstand the hunger for another day before making their decision. The risk of going among humans without an intact personality was a sure path to madness. They had known as much since migrating to the planet. Reaching into their minds, and becoming whatever would best suit the situation was an easy trick for an adult. They could become the picture of a tourist if there a hiker happened upon them in the mountains.
As egg as they were, there was a danger that they would start changing without any control, becoming one figure after another as they passed the humans. Some of their kind, in the early years, the first explorers to off ship on the planet, had become so disoriented by their unconscious chameleon changes that they were unable to recover their original selves. A few had responded to treatment, other rs were too far adrift, going from personality to personality like a serial amnesiac. . . until the strain destroyed their minds.
By their egging, their kind were well aware of the problems with the indigenous population of earth. They had been raised carefully isolated, taught to resist the impulse to please... which had been glorified on their last planet, where their kind had been pleasing to one another as a norm. A piece of rock adrift in space, half as large as their planet, was coming in on a collision course and they left. There were centuries of sleep on the ships, as their automatic pilot searched the cosmos for a planet with an atmosphere that they could adapt to live within.
One has taken the female form, the other male. They were going to live together as a couple among the humans, when they were ready. To humans they appeared in their teens, though they had egged three years before.
Some humans knew of their existence. They were considered hostile by the Others, as they called themselves; two of their ships had been discovered, and many glimpsed over the years. Eight of them had been caught, and were said to still be alive. They were constantly drilled on security, self-defense, and how to expire -- one of the Others had been rescued, after various experiments by the humans... who were intent on inter-breeding human and other.
As they went over the situation together, they came to the understanding that if their keepers had been captured, leaving their mountain was the only course of action. They stood up from their seats on the floor of the cave, and walked out into the sunlight and toward the pine forest that lead to the path... they had studied human hikers on the path, all the way down to where they parked their cars. That was as far as they had been,
synopsis of what is to come... they begin to use hypnotic like illusions to make people think they are seeing a particular type of person, hiding the alien appearance of the Others. They have two at rest forms. They can either appear as they are, or appear as someone else. They make their decisions based on what they see in other peoples minds.
Immediately, this begins to cause them trouble. The girl begins to attract lust,when she discovers how to become whatever is wanted. The boy learns to appear as whatever a person fears the most, or what a woman wants.
They eventually begin to mentally unravel. They hear thoughts in humans about their purpose in life, after-life, etc.. things they have never considered. The religions and such seem like myths to them. They have been taught only one thing -- how to survive. With most of their education about themselves devoted merely in how to stay alive and mentally stable among humans.
One of them discovers how easy it is to kill a human, when she is attacked -- she becomes their most loathsome, horrible image... driving some mad, others to heart attacks.
In the end, they meet more of their own kind, and are finally told a bit more about themselves. There is a colony of them in South America, where they live in a gated community in the jungle, as many miles away from humanity as they can.
A war is being waged by humans around their encampment, and eventually the two are sent out to confuse soldiers, etc... in an attempt to stop the guerrilla war between a ruthless dictator and a guerrilla brigade. They take the side of the guerrillas, and end up almost getting bombed out of existence.... except, they mess with the minds of the pilots and make them bomb their own troops, etc...
Oh, well,... this is just something I am beginning to sketch out.
this work is protected by a commercial common use license. Feel free to spread my words...john scott ridgway