GAHSAC an Alien Nation story

by

Tim Gathercole

Based on an unfilmed script by Steven Long Mitchell & Craig W. Van Sickle

Back to Index


The Newcomer's hairless head seemed to shine in the moonlight; the paleness of his skin contrasting against the dark, numbered, prison denims that he wore. As he ran desperately through the branches and brambles of the wood, his breath became laboured. It did not take a genius to deduce that the distant sound of barking dogs is unlikely to be coming from the local pound.

Jay Walker, for that was the name that had been given to our escapee Newcomer, hid behind a tree. Using a stone, he started pounding on a beeping, blinking, shackle-like bracelet attached to his wrist. By now even human ears could tell that the dogs were well on his scent.

Less than a mile behind him, the dogs were tugging violently at their leashes as the search party moved through the shadowed forest. The search party's leader held up a small electronic rod which had blinking lights and similar beeps to the escapees wrist shackle. He turned the rod through an arc, the directional finding rod beeps grew in volume as it was pointed in the direction of Walker. The leader smiled and the party head off in pursuit, their flashlight beams cutting through the darkness; the rod's increasing beeps telling them that they were upon their prey. But it was only disappointment they found when they discovered the escapee-less wrist shackle behind the tree.

The Leader stood, looking down at the Shackle, "Told you these were junk. The dogs are best." He was a prison warder of the old school.

With a smile the leader held the shackle so the dogs can get the scent. As they their barking increased in ferocity, he unleashed the salivating team and the hunt continued.

Walker ran onto a dirt road and stopped. He looked desperately up and down the road in an expectant manner. His anger, fear and disappointed began to boil to the surface, "{Dammit!}"

Behind him the barking increased in volume.

Walker look up the road yet again, "{Come on - come on - come on}"

Just then the headlights of an old Ford rounded the corner and it screeched to a halt. As Jay rushed out toward the car it, he slipped and fell over in a muddy patch of earth, his boots and backside getting covered with mud. Just then the search dogs exited the woods.

Jay scrabbled up and flung open the door. The Ford's Newcomer driver, Bill Meelator, sits nervously at the wheel. "Got hung up," he said with a nervous half smile.

Jay piled in. "Just drive, dammit, drive!"

The search team ran onto the road and let go with a volley of gunfire as the Ford squealed away to safety. The dogs chased after it for a short time, before heeding the call to return to their masters.

oOo

Morning in the Francisco home's kitchen was as hectic as ever. A hurried Susan crossed to the sink with a pot full of bubbling goo and grabbed a baby bottle. A determined Emily at her heals. "But mum..."

Susan began pouring the goo into Vessna's bottle. "Emily, you're going to bed much too early. More than five hours will fade your spots".

"But what am I supposed to do?"

"Read. Watch that Postman show..."

Emily rolled her eyes, "It's the Letterman show, mum and I thought you wanted me to stay awake".

Distracted, Susan spilled the goo all over her hands. "Oh great... I'm already late as it is". Then she turned her head and yelled upstairs, "George, hurry up!" Handing the bottle to Emily Susan continued in a more normal tone, "Here put this in the fridge."

Just then Buck entered carrying Vessna. He interrupted Emily as he handed the baby to Susan, "Vessna's cleaned and lubed."

"Good, honey. Any change in her eyes?"

Buck shook his head, "Not open yet, but they should be soon."

Emily closed the fridge with a bit of frustration. "Mum, we have to talk...".

But before she could go further George entered carrying two ties. "Susan, I can't find my purple tie."

"Try looking in your left hand."

"This isn't purple it's green."

"George, it's purple, trust me."

George squinted at it the tie, "It is not. It's lime—it's avocado—it's puce."

"When are you going to see the doctor?"

Peeved George replied, "I don't need to see the doctor."

"George, I'm worried. Yesterday you tried to adjust the colour on a black and white TV show."

George examined the tie again and then continued defensively, "Susan, if I didn't know better I'd say you're talking as if I had Polahanahama syndrome."

Susan, taken aback by the thought said, "I hadn't thought of that. You REALLY ought to see a doctor."

Buck grabbed his bag and looked at his father. "It's purple dad." And turned to leave, "see you later."

"Buck, what about breakfast?", said Susan, going into concerned mum mode.

"No time, don't want to be late for first period—ciao". He grabbed an apple and exits.

George shook his head. "My son can't wait to go to school? Maybe HE should see a doctor."

Emily grabbed her books, her wheels turning. "Okay, Okay, how about a compromise, mum -- 11:00 O'clock?"

George shrugged his shoulders and started to put on the tie. "Is this about going to bed early again? I don't want to see the light in your room off before midnight, understand?"

Now it was Emily's turn to shake her head. "I should have expected this attitude from people who grew up on a spaceship."

Emily huffed out. Susan and George shared a look as she handed him the baby. "I need to get to work George." indicating with her chin, she continued, "Vessna's bottle is in the fridge."

Holding Vessna with one arm George opened the fridge and looked in. As he looked Vessna's bottle seemed to blur and then two images of the bottle formed as if seen cross-eyed. Then two bottles over that!

"George?"

"Which bottle did you want?"

"Which one? There is only one."

George looked back inside. He was still seeing two bottles...Then George got a strange, somewhat pained expression on his face. He shook it off, rubbing his temple. Susan, picking up on his confusion joined him and put her arms lovingly around his upper torso. George flinched with pain.

Susan, concerned said, "Your gleeny glands hurting again, George?"

"They're only slightly distended." He shared a look with his wife. "It's not Polahanahama disease."

Susan reached in and grabbed the bottle handing it to her slightly bewildered husband.

"I want you to go see the doctor."

"I don't need to see a doctor, I'm fine.", George reached up to open a cupboard, to get a lunch box to put Vessna's bottle in. "Ooww", cried George as a frying pan fell out of the cupboard and hit him on the head. "What's that thing doing still here?" He picked it up and dumped it unceremoniously on top of the waste bin.

Susan looked on, embarrassed. A few months ago one of her advertising clients had suggested coming over to her house to finalise details of a campaign. Wishing to be a good hostess, Susan had attempted to cook fried steak for he guest. He had liked her campaign ideas, but had hardly touched the steak; she hadn't realised it shouldn't have been black - at least not all the way through. Buck and Emily had spent the next week complaining about the lingering smell of cooked food.

Susan gave up, touched George's temple lovingly and left.

oOo

A flustered George entered the police station, holding Vessna in a child carrier. Sikes was waiting for him near the booking desk, snickering. George, brushed past him and winced at the underarm pain he was feeling from his gleeny glands. Unconsciously, George tried to ease the pain by walking with his arms out, flexed like a penguin.

Sikes still grinning, said, "So, I saw Delany pull you over on seventh. Any problem?"

In his most dignified voice George replied, "The problem is Officer Delany is blind"

"You still ran a red light."

"I did not.", George angrily retorted.

"Oh then, I guess Delany was giving you tickets to the policeman's ball."

"Ninety-eight dollars for running a red light that I did not run."

"Wrong, George, I was right behind you, that light was redder than Rudolph's nose on Christmas eve."

This made George even more indignant, "I have twenty-to-one vision, which means I can see from twenty feet what you can see from one. Eyesight better than a hog."

"It's hawk, George", then looking at the way he was holding his arms, Sikes asked, "and what's with the penguin act?"

"It's my gleeny glands, if you don't mind. Very uncomfortable."

At that moment they were interrupted by Zepeda who walked up to them, quickly, "Hey, Sikes. Don't look now but little chief Grazer's on the warpath, and his tomahawk has your name on it."

"Thanks Zep. C'mon, George, we're outta here."

"Not so fast, Sikes!", Grazer shouted across the office.

A pissed Grazer joined them holding a file and a handgun. The gun was sleek and modern-looking. Indicating to the gun Grazer said, "What's this doing in your desk?"

"Probably fighting an old doughnut for space."

Grazer was unimpressed by Sikes' wit. "Guess it's time for a refresher course in regulations, Sikes. ALL officers must be trained and range-tested on this new service weapon. SO imagine my surprise when I found this in your drawer this morning."

"Keep your hands out of my drawers and we won't have any more surprises.", replied Sikes with a grin.

Grazer pushed the gun into Sikes' hand. "Very funny. Learn to use it, Sikes. It's for your own good."

"C'mon Bri, I've used my 38 since my first day. It feels good to me."

"I'm touched, Sikes, but that weapon has outlived its usefulness. We're getting too many reports of malfunction. End of discussion." Grazer then turned to Zepeda. "Zepeda, there was a break out from the Lasorda state pen last night. You'll be our point on this one." Turning back to George and Sikes, he continued, "And you two have a homicide in a film vault over in Culver. Bring a mop, I hear it's messy."

George, holding Vessna, and a grumbling Sikes, who was still inspecting the new weapon approached the Police day care room.

"What the hell do the department think this piece of tin can do that my 38 can't.", said the disgruntled Sikes.

George looked over at the weapon. "It's lighter, more streamlined, fifty percent more accurate at a greater distance and has a twenty-five percent better jam to fire ratio."

"Thanks, George, glad I asked.", replied an irked Sikes.

"Give it a chance, Matthew, can't hurt can it?"

George's face immediately tensed up as he entered the day care room and looked around the rows of cribs and playpens for Mrs Chernin, but she was not there. They were then joined by a kindly, older human man. A bit ragtag from his age and mileage, the new day care supervisor, Emil nonetheless always has a smile and a twinkle in his eyes. Hanging back at the door, Sikes continued to examine the new gun carefully.

Emil gave a broad smile. "You must be George Francisco and of course...", looking down into the carry cot, "...little Vessna. Even though your eyes aren't open yet, I can tell already that we're going to get along real nice."

George held Vessna's carry cot away, protectively. "Where is Mrs Chernin?"

Emil gave an apologetic shrug. "Mrs Chernin decided to change careers - she won the lottery. Name's Emil—I'll be running the precinct's day care."

George stared at him uneasily, "Yes, well aren't you a little—". George voice trailed off, unable to say it.

Emil continued to smile, "It's okay, you can say it—old. But I'm not just old I'm experienced."

George continued to stare at Emil with suspicion. "I suppose you have credentials?"

Emil's smile became even broader. "I got more than a degree—", with this Emil pulled out his wallet, unfolding many photos. "Ten grand: kids, three great grand kids."

Emil then looked down at Vessna, "Mind if we get acquainted?". Again Emil reached for the baby and Vessna began to cry. George pulled her away.

"Please, she's not comfortable around strangers.", the concerned George said, "Mrs Chernin was the only one outside the family she'd allow to pick her up."

At this Sikes stared to take an interest. "What about me?"

"Oh, and Matthew, of course." George conceded.

Emil continued to smile disarmingly. "Oh I'm sure that Emil will be on that list soon."

The baby had become irritated by all this adult talk and started voicing her protest. George looked down at Vessna. "Quiet, Neemu, I'll find your 'wiggle worm', he makes you happy."

Emil cocked his head to one side. "'Wiggle worm'—not necessary."

"I know my daughter. And the only thing that makes her happy when she's upset is playing with that worm. Now where is it?"

As George began digging around in the diaper bag, Emil took from his pocket a set of measuring spoons on a ring and handed them to Vessna.

Delighted, Vessna felt the spoons and quieted down immediately, playing happily with her new toy. George stared down at Vessna, taken aback.

Sikes laughed. "Check it out George." and then turning to Emil, said jokingly, "Know anything about guns?"

Emil chuckled with Sikes and then continued on about Vessna. "You don't want to always give them the newest toy." He looked pointedly at Sikes' gun, "It'll screw up their values down the line. Let her use her imagination." Then Emil bent over and picked up Vessna.

George was now defensive, "Well, that's not the way Mrs Chernin did it."

"Give it a chance, George, can't hurt can it?", said Sikes with a grin as he turned around and exited the day care canter. George throw another worried look at the smiling Emil and then followed his partner.

oOo

Amidst storyboards and mock-ups Susan Francisco poured over two drawings for TENCTA JELL TOOTHPASTE. One read: GET THE BLOOD OFF, the other: FOR GUMS THAT HUM. Unable to make-up her mind she hit her intercom buzzer. "Paco, can you come in here a second."

After a short beat the slightly effeminate voice of Susan's male Newcomer assistant, Paco Belle came through the intercom, "Your wish is my command." Within a few second Paco was in Susan's office.

Susan looked once again at the pictures, "I need an opinion. Which one of these ad's would make you want to brush with Tencta jell?"

Paco regarded the two illustrations. His head on one side and right index finger pressed along his cheek, looking like a bald Larry Grayson. "Well, you're the creative genius and I'm just your lowly servant, but I'm always looking for a partner with 'gums that hum."

Susan had been working on this advertising proposal for hours and had got the point where she was starting to doubt her work, "I hope the client likes it."

Just then the phone rang, saving them from further deliberations. Paco answered it. "Susan Francisco's office - Paco's voice.", beat, "One moment, por favor."

Paco pressed the phone's silence button and looked at Susan.

"If it's the people from the Beaver commission I'm not in." said Susan, quickly.

Paco shook his head, "It's principal Fisher, from your son's high school."

A concerned Susan took the phone. "This is Susan Francisco." She listened a beat and then continued, confused "I don't understand. He's fine. Buck hasn't been in the hospital." She listened again and then said, soberly, "No, he hasn't, but I'll get to the bottom of it."

A concerned Susan hung up. Paco, picked up on her emotions. "What is it?"

Susan looked at Paco, her face etched with worry and anger. "My son hasn't been to school in three weeks."

oOo

Buck, who appeared to be almost loitering, as he looked around and then walked up the front steps of an old building with Tenctonese writing on the front of it. Buck knocked on the door and after a few moments it was opened by an elderly Newcomer, Balbalbut.

Balbalbut regarded Buck with watery eyes and adjusted his plastic framed glasses,"{You have returned}"

Buck looked squarely at the old Newcomer. "{For today and for a thousand days to follow.}" he said, with earnest.

oOo

George and Sikes looked around the film vault. Row upon row of stacks upon stacks of film cans filled the vast area, now buzzing with police activity. A preoccupied George tugged at his collar while Sikes looked at the film cans in awe. Turning to George he said "Guy outside said there's ten thousand movies in here, wonder how many I've seen."

Uncomfortable, George loosened his tie. "Hard to say"

Sikes continued, dreamily, "I bet a bunch. Hell, in high school I went to the drive-in every weekend."

George was puzzled by this. "The drive-in?"

"Yeah", Sikes warmed to the subject, "Sort of a big field with a screen. You'd park and watch." The detective's dreamy expression continued as he re-lived a fond memory, "Mostly park." Seeing George's confused look he explained, "You know, petted."

George was still confused, "You brought your pets?"

"Petted - HUMMED.", said Sikes with mild embarrassment and exasperation.

George was disgusted, "In a car?"

Sikes gave a slight smile, "I was a lot younger then.", a beat, then he continued wistfully, "All the drive-ins are gone.", then he indicated the cans "But these will never change."

George pulled at his collar again, "Unless they melt."

Sikes was taken aback by this, "Melt? It's sixty-five degrees in here." He regarded his Partner more closely, "You feeling all right?"

George waved Sikes' concern aside. "Of course. I'm fit as a riddle."

Sikes was about to correct him until a voice interrupted their conversation. "Hey, y'all, over here."

George and Sikes crossed to the talkative Bert Tanaka, a southern-drawled, oriental SID expert who was lifting prints with an infrared electronic device.

A surprised Sikes asked, "Bert, what're you doing here?"

Bert shook his head, "Sikes, I feel so low I could jump off a dime. City's doing some restructuring - they got us SID folks and the coroner's office eating from the same trough now." He nodded over at Lois Allen, "And I don't think Miss Coroner likes sharing her feed."

Sikes looked around the crime scene, "What do we got?"

Bert continued shaking his head, "This whole thing is twelve cookies short of a dozen."

George looked around, "Cookies?"

Sikes raised his eyes to heaven. "Forget it, George.", then to Bert, "So, What's so strange, Bert?"

"Perpetrators kills a film librarian with a knife and steals a flick."

"What's so crazy?", asked George.

Bert gave a quizzical smile, "The stolen movie was Cinderfella. Jerry Lewis is a funny ol' boy, but not worth killing over. Sides, you can rent it."

George did not share Bert and Sikes' grins. "If you ask me, something smells fishy."

"You can say that again." agreed Bert.

George looked at Bert with a fixed gaze. "No, I mean something REALLY smells fishy...", he bent down and sniffed a piece of dried mud. "It's this mud."

Bert, nodded his head again. "Looks like the perp tracked it in. Yeah, it's everywhere."

Sikes thought to himself how Bert's' habit of nodding at everything you said to him had always annoyed him.

Bert then looked more closely at George, who had begun fanning himself. "You got a fever detective? Your eyes look like a couple cherries bobbin' around in a bowl of buttermilk."

At this George let fly with a sneeze. "I'm fine, thank you." George indicated to Bert's' device, "Any prints?"

"Some, mostly the same, my bet they belong to the victim. I think we got two perpetrators. I found a smig of Newcomer spot tissue where the broken window musta bumped his noggin, you know, and there's tissue under the victim's fingernail, just sittin' there like a toad on a shovel ---". Bert cast a look over at Lois, "But Miss Pris Coroner lady won't let me touch 'her body'"

Lois and Bert shared a look as he went back to work and she crossed over to the group.

Lois continued to look after Bert, then said Sarcastically, "Funny little man."

Sikes tried to calm the situation. "It's a funny business."

Lois looked at Sikes coolly, "Easy for you to say, Sikes—you're not stuck with Tennessee Ernie Wong." Suddenly Lois was all business again, "The victim must have surprised her assailants. Based on her bruises, I'd say there was a short struggle before she was stabbed."

George let go with a few more sneezes. Then unconsciously began rubbing his arms in an attempt to warm-up. Sikes looked over at him. "Excuse me a moment Lois" and walked over to his partner.

"You all right George?"

George stood there, shivering. "Yes, just - I don't understand but I'm just suddenly very cold."

Sikes looked at George sideways, "Cold, you were hot just a second ago." He regarded the Newcomer a beat, then asked "You're not pregnant again are you?", with dead pan humour.

George was starting to get woozy, "NO.", he looked down at his arm, "Look, my arms are covered with Krontle Kraw." Sikes looked at him uncomprehendingly. "Like your duck lumps."

"It's goose bumps. Look why don't you sit down, I'll finish up here.", said Sikes.

"No, Matthew I'm—", George, obviously weak and wobbly took a step, but had to be caught by Sikes.

"Perhaps you're right. Maybe I could sit down."

Sikes helped George to a chair.

"Sikes, over here.", called Bert.

Sikes looked at George once more, with concern, then walked over to Bert, "What do you got?"

The SID man was pleased with himself, "Well, snap my garters, maybe the killer wasn't after Cinderfella after all." From underneath some of the turned over film cans Bert pulled a couple of old twenty dollar bills.

Sikes called over to his partner, "George, look at this."

Sikes turned to George, who was rocking back and fourth like a roly-poly. Sikes' concern mounted, "George?" But before Sikes could do anything, George fell back out of the chair, fainting dead away.

Gahsac Part 2