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Two aliens have wandered Earth for centuries. The Changeling has survived by adapting the forms of many different organisms. The Chameleon destroys anything or anyone that threatens it.
Now, a sunken relic that holds the key to their origins calls to them to take them home—but the Chameleon has decided there's only room for one.
Massachusetts, majoring in oceanography. Woods Hole did take graduate students from there as summer interns, and that was its eventual plan. Its academic performance was predictably irregular; it aced anything that had to do with logic or memorization, but didn’t do well in courses like literature or philosophy. It saw that many other students were that way, and most of them were shy loners, too. After part of one semester of dormitory life, it moved out and got an apartment in town. That
of towns along the inhabitable coast, and didn’t want more. Besides, most Samoans were deeply religious and somewhat fatalistic. If God chose to take them, He would. And it would be disrespectful to the point of sacrilege to leave their homes, with generations of ancestors buried in the front yards. Pollsters said that even if the United States completely paid for relocation, they’d only move about 20 percent of the population. Samoans pointed out that it would be a lot simpler to move the
you say, Russ, maybe it’s asleep or in some dormant mode. Maybe if we reproduce its home planet’s conditions, it will be more inclined to talk.” Jan winced as a shift of wind sent a fine spray over them. “Waiter,” Jack said, standing and pointing to a table just inside. He carried Jan’s coffee flask in, and while a woman lit candles, the waiter appeared with a bottle and three glasses. “I’m willing to be patient,” Jack said, going through the tasting ritual. “It’s not a matter of patience.”
twenty away. He came back with no change, a warm bottle of Bud, and a tumbler that had been rinsed but not cleaned. He poured a generous inch of liquor into it from a bottle without a label. “Are those gentlemen twinking?” the chameleon asked. “Tweaking? I guess.” American Samoa’s drug of choice was methamphetamine, ice. People coming off it get into a dark mood, sometimes argumentative and combative, “tweaking.” It could lead to violence. The chameleon drank the whisky in two gulps and slid
sulfur, and nitrogen to have come from the amino acids that make up human (or animal) protein, but their chemistry was not human. It was not even organic chemistry. The thing it came from had not been alive, in the sense that a human is alive. The tests proved that every member of the American intelligence community was human, at least in a nominal sense, and so were all prominent politicians, including the president, which surprised a few people. - 44 - apia, samoa, 22 july 2021