Good morning.Welcome to this week’s edition of the Mid Week Tease. While I’m in the middle of edits for The White Lily, Book 2 of my Harvester Series, I wanted to take time to share my first unusual character with you. Thanks to Sandra Bunino who takes care of this blog, week by week.
Eloisia is a sci-fi series I’ve created for my husband. Written in episodes, it combines elements from every sci-fi story I’ve ever read or seen. One of the aspects of the genre I enjoy is contact with alien species and genetically modified humans. Scientists maintain that we all came out of the same primordial goop, and as the map the DNA genome, they discover we’re more like other species on Earth than we thought we were. So, meet Darla, a genetically enhanced human with surprising abilities. I wouldn’t mind being able to do what she can.
Let’s see how Striker reacts to her the first time he sees her.
“What’s the problem?” Striker asked as soon as he was close enough to be heard.
“Begging your pardon, Colonel, but the manifest says these two cryo units have sheep in them. I’m not a farm boy, but they don’t look like any sheep I’ve ever seen.”
Frowning, Striker stepped forward and rubbed the external frost off the cryotube’s small window. Expecting to see some sort of mutated animals, he was stunned by what was in there. A child no more than a year old slept wrapped up in a sheep skin, only his pale face proving that he wasn’t the animal they expected. Moving to the second tube, he gasped.
“You’re right, Ames. These definitely aren’t sheep.”
The body inside the second unit was that of an adult female, exquisitely proportioned and completely naked. Her hair was the lightest blonde he’d ever seen, and her skin, paler than the boy’s, almost translucent, like fine porcelain gave her a fragile look. She resembled a wax figure or an antique doll rather than a living woman. Her delicateness called to him and brought out a primitive urge to protect stronger than any he’d sensed before. He shook himself. She and the boy were stowaways. This was hardly the time to let his He-man complex take over.
“Are there any more of them?”
“Not in this bay. I had my men check all two hundred and fifty tubes, but I can’t speak for the other cargo areas.”
“Have the units taken to Sick Bay and tell Dr. Mathers to animate this one. I want to know who the hell she is and what she’s doing on my ship. Check every cryo unit in every cargo bay. Make sure we don’t have any more stowaways.”
“Contact me if you find another hitchhiker.”
His gut told him that this woman hadn’t sabotaged the ship, but someone put her there, and he wanted to know who and why.
Six hours later, Striker looked down at the woman on the bio bed—well she’d been an incredibly beautiful woman only a few hours ago. Now, she resembled a log, an old gnarled tree trunk.
“What the hell’s going on, Clint? What is she?”
“She’s having a nightmare, and judging by her heart beat and accelerated breathing, she’s scared to death. As to what she is, I’d say she’s a camoid, a genetically altered human capable of adapting to her surroundings the same way a chameleon can. I’d read in my medical texts that they’d succeeded in creating a viable prototype in the late thirtieth century, but I didn’t realize it had survived, let alone reproduced. But, that’s not all. Go have a look at the baby. I’ve moved the little guy into an incubator.”
Striker crossed the Sick Bay room to the small glass encased bed on the far side of the isolation chamber. Like the woman, the child resembled a piece of wood, but the monitors indicated he was still sound asleep.
“My guess would be that she has a strong telepathic link with the child who shares her camoid mutation. They’re related—brother and sister—and someone smuggled them aboard this ship to save them. Since it was well known that you favored allowing genetically enhanced humans the chance to survive, I’m assuming that person took you up on your position.”
“Any idea who she is?”
“She isn’t in the data banks if that’s what you’re asking. I’d say she was probably raised in the backwoods somewhere, near an old-fashioned working farm, the kind of place the IPC used to find the animals and seeds they needed for this mission. Someone saw the chance to save his kids and took it.
Fascinated by this peculiar ability, Striker moved back to the bed and watched as the girl’s breathing and heart rate slowed. If he were to come across her in the forest, he’d never know she wasn’t exactly what she appeared to be. Too curious to stop himself, he reached out to touch her, amazed when he felt as if he were indeed touching a chunk of wood.
“How does she do that? I mean camouflage is one thing, but I’d swear she was a piece of wood.”
“I don’t have the faintest idea, but I’d guess she’s able to reorganize her cells in some way. I took a blood sample before she turned into petrified wood, so you can be damn sure I intend to try and figure it out.”
“Is there something you can do to bring her back?”
“Maybe.” Clint reached for the hypo-syringe on the table and gave the log an injection. Within seconds, the tree trunk softened. “I gave her a sedative to relax her and end the nightmare. It worked earlier, but she slipped back into the deep sleep, and the dreams returned. They may be memories which is why they’re so powerful. ” He looked over at the child, now once more a baby instead of a small log.
“The little guy never seems to go as deeply under as she does.”
Striker nodded. By now, the woman had returned to her normal state—at least he hoped it was her normal state. Damn hard to have a conversation with a log.
“Try and keep her like this. Shouldn’t she be awake by now?”
“I’m doing it gradually. Since I don’t know exactly what she’s capable of, or how genetically different her body is, and bearing in mind she was in an animal carrier not a cryotube designed for humans, I don’t want to damage her.”
“Do what you have to do, but I want her and that baby to survive. She may be the key to saving all of our lives.”
So, are you still with me? Don’t forget to check out the other teasers.