This is the sequel to "Letters From the Front" below.
The sonic attack caught me completely off-guard. Every nerve cluster in my body vibrated in agony; I was unable to move or even to think. I couldn’t even rotate an eye around to see the source.
It lasted perhaps ten seconds then stopped. A few seconds later I was able to move voluntarily again. I rotated an eye toward the source and reached toward my weapon.
The human (that’s what it was) spoke. “Don’t move or I’ll scream again.”
It didn’t take a Chief Scientist to figure that one out. I stopped, but kept one eye on the gun and the other on the human.
It was slightly smaller than average and thin, like it had been deprived of fluid. Even with the skin I could infer where certain portions of its endoskeleton were. It was wrapped in distressed fabric with many holes.
“You can understand me, then. Can you talk, Blobby?”
“My name is Oromagra.”
“Maggy, then. I’m called Jane. What are you doing here?”
“No, I mean here. In this hotel room.”
I thought about this. We had been warned about how dangerous humans were, and I’d felt it myself. But this one seemed more interested in communication than in splitting my membranes and absorbing my vital fluids. I took the risk.
“I seek to understand your people.”
“You have a funny way of showing it. What are these?”
“Communication records. All appear to be about war and friendship.”
“You can read these?”
“My translator can. Can you not decipher them? Are they in code?”
“No, I just don’t read German, or Greek, or whatever this one is.”
“Would you like me to translate them for you?” It was an odd gesture, but perhaps this human could be a source of insight.
It paused. “All right, but if you try anything I’ll scream.”
Warning taken. I read several of the letters to it; from its nods and vocalizations it clearly understood them better than I. It stopped me partway through number 1c.
“Maggy, do you feel fear?”
“I know the emotion. It is unpleasant.”
“That’s what these are; the writers are afraid, so they communicate with people they care for. That’s what these letters are about.”
“Does it help?”
“Sometimes. The thing about these letters is that the senders died before the letters got sent. Otherwise we wouldn’t have them.”
“So by killing humans I have made some of these letters.” Maybe humans weren’t that different from people after all. I wanted to crawl into a pool of mud and dissociate.
Then the strangest thing happened. The human started producing a sonic attack, but this one was soft and low, and the words reminded me of distant Garrida.
There’ll be bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see…
Perhaps it is not an attack at all, or maybe it is an attack on the desire to go to war. If so, it is working.