Sophia's heart broke as she watched Thomas, Simon and the others who weren't injured walk away. But she knew they had no choice. She tried to warm her hands as she went among the others, but the night was bitter. She made a decision. "Plan Seven" she called. "Get together. Huddle together to stay warm." She helped more into a group. One was in shock and bleeding badly. "Plan seven," she called. "Do you understand." He nodded weakly.
She tried to stop bleeding using clothing for bandages. It was so frustrating. Twelve were dead already. The wounded weeped, but she had so little time to get the message through. "Plan seven."
She just hoped that they had studied their mission briefings well enough to keep the story consistent. They would be interrogated. She knew her wonderfully arrogant Thomas had refused. Why should he learn about inferiors? She could just hope. Of all their options, this contingency plan should give everyone the best chance.
Soon, an internal combustion engine airplane landed nearby on the snow. "Over here," she called, waving her arms frantically, by now not entirely for show. "Over here. Please help!"
After what seemed like an eternity later, a half dozen uniformed soldiers were pointing weapons at them. Stella was huddling over Adam, trying to keep him war. By now she was smeared in his blood. "Thank God you're here. Please. He's dying. Save him."
One soldier handed his rifle to the others and went over to Adam, looking into his face, holding down the bleeding. "Doko ga itaidesu ka?" Adam had the sense to look puzzled instead of answering back in Japanese. "Doko ga itaidesu ka?"
"Please," Stella said. "I don't understand. What do you want?"
He turned to Sophia. "Anata no namae wa nanidesu ka?" Sophia just shook her head. "I have dozens of wounded. They need immediate hospitalization. Do you have a radio in your airplane?"
"Zachem ty prishel," the soldier asked, this time in Russian, milling around the group, rolling over a body. "Kakovy vashi zakazy?" His Russian was tinged with a Ukranian accent, almost Polish.
"Please," came a hand reaching up weakly. "Doctor. I need a Doctor."
Another sat up, weakly. "Pozhaluĭsta, sladkiĭ Iisus. Nuzhno vrachu." The soldier walked over. The wounded man's eyes grew wide. "That is an American uniform. Why are you talking in Russian?"
The soldier nodded, satisfied. "They're not Japs. They got some niggers and spics, but most look white."
"Alright," said one of the the group. "Johnson, go back to the plane and call it in. Ask for air evacuation." He looked at the ship parts that were scattered about the hillside, as big as a baseball diamond. "Full security."
Early on the morning of the third of November, 1944, she was warm at least, although much of the heat was from the breath of two massive guard dogs that followed her every move. Two shotguns were pointed at her and she was hand and foot cuffed to a desk. A microphone was in front of her, tethered to a crude audio recording device. "This is ridiculous," she said to a stony faced Colonel Ryan as she tugged on her shackles. "You have guns and dogs. Are you so afraid of an old woman that you must chain her up too."
"Answer my questions. Are you the leader?"
"He's dead. I am the senior surviving officer. I must know that my people are safe and being treated before I will answer any more questions."
"I decide if they receive treatment or not. So the faster you answer the faster I'll help them. What is your real name?"
Her face sank. "You couldn't pronounce it."
"It isn't in a language from your planet."
He coughed, choking on his cigarette. "Not from my planet."
"I could try to teach it to you, but I doubt if you'd ever get it right. Sophia was the cover name I was given. It will be easier for now."
"Alright, Sophie. Do you expect me to believe you're really from Mars?"
"No. I am not from any planet in your solar system."
"Then you're from another galaxy."
"No, another planet in another system in your own galaxy. There are approximately 273 billion stars in this one galaxy. We are just from another star."
"Two hundred and … And you just happened to be in the neighborhood and dropped in for some tea."
She shook her head, clanking her chains. "We were sent here on a mission. You are in a war against a horrid evil."
"We figured that out after Pearl Harbor."
"No, greater than any evil you can imagine. In all your other wars, humanity would survive no matter which side won. But not this time. You face horrors from beyond your imagining. America stands as the difference between humanity surviving and a great abyss we don't think you'll ever recover from. You must win."
He sat on the table, sipping his coffee and smoking. "And you've come all this way just to help us?"
Sophia nodded. "We are here to give your country the technology you need so you can win this war and the next war against the communists."
His eyes brightened. "What kind of technology?"
"Colonel, your security rating isn't high enough. I need to meet with your President."
The Colonel laughed. "Someone from Mars drops in and the only thing they want is to meet with the President. Oh how convenient. How do I know you won't whip out a poison tentacle and kill him?"
"Oh Good Lord. You can examine us. We're just like you. You can strip me and lock me down and have him talk through a jail cell door, but I need to talk to the President. Or Secretary of War Henry Stimson. There is also one general who I am authorized to give information to. Leslie Groves."
"What about the Vice President?"
Sophia scowled. "Not Wallace. He's a fool. Stalin has played him like his fiddle. That is why your president was forced to replace him with Senator Truman."
He smiled, just a little bit. At least she had some common sense. "Why didn't you give it all to us at the beginning of the war? Why let this war cost tens of thousands of lives?"
"We are very far away. Your radio and television broadcasts take time to reach us. Then it took more time for full impact of your radio broadcasts to be understood. Then it took time to make the decision to send the mission and to get the specialists together and even more time to reach your planet. We came as fast as we could"
He stood, pacing nervously. "You said we are going to be going to war with the Russkies. But Uncle Joe, Churchill and Rooseveldt are all best buddies."
"An officer like yourself couldn't possibly be so naïve. That alliance will only last as long as you and the Soviet Union have a common enemy. Communist, Fascist, National Socialist. They're all the same. You must beat them and we are here to help."
"How many Martians are on Earth?"
"Only those you captured. America has big problems but it is the only country we would trust with what need to give you."
Colonel Ryan lit one cigarette from the dying embers of his previous one. "Then why do you have a Russkie?"
"Your people have a phrase. Know your enemy. We had two Russia specialists. One is dead. Many vital engineers are dead. If you don't get my people proper medical treatment you will single handedly let a century's worth of advances in your military technology bleed to death."
"We have your wounded in the base hospital. We're doing all we can."
She sighed, relieved. "Thank you. Can I go to the ladies room now?"
"Cross your legs."
"I can't. You have my feet shackled."
"Then you're going to have a mess all over your interrogation room floor. I can't hold it any more."
"Piss your panties."
Her tense face relaxed as a squirting sound and a sour smell filled the room. "Yes, Sir, Colonel."
One of the guards started laughing, then stifled it as Colonel Ryan turned, red faced. "Get someone to come and clean this up."
He saluted, then ducked outside the room, calling.
"So why are you doing this? With all these hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy, why bother to save us?"
"Colonel, in all our travels we have never seen intelligent life that looks just like us. Our God must also have made you. As we love our God and we love each other, we must also love and help you now."
Outside the interrogation room, Ryan turned to a Sargent Major with a pipe beside him. "What do you think, Bobby?"
The sargeant puffed on a curly pipe. "It's a great story."
"Too great. There's always a hidden angle."
"I'll tell you this much. That wreck was sure no DC-3. It had no wings and it was the size of a football field."
"What about the wreckage?"
"I got PBYs flying in to get all the pieces they can. It's almost cold enough for the ice highway to open up and to truck out all the big chunks."
"Are there any witnesses?"
"Just Eskimos. We tried to lean on them not divulge any information but the Eskimos didn't speak English."