Green Saliva Blues

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  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 1999-02-01
  • Publisher: Spectra
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In a universe full of scum, their job has just begun. They are all that stands between us and the terrifying truth. They are the men--and women--of a supersecret organization formed to police, monitor, and conceal alien life on Earth. But first and foremost their job is to protect our planet from the scum of the universe. Unfortunately, it's a big universe. The Zahurians are telepathic, highly mobile, and love meat. They also resemblePrunus americana,the beautiful flowering plum tree. They came to Earth expecting a primitive Eden with plenty of fresh protein--including humans. What they didn't count on were the MiB. Agent Jay, a former NYPD detective, and his new partner, Agent Elle, never expected to play Earth's landscapers. But now it's up to them to track down and destroy the roving band of carnivorous--and very hungry--trees. It won't be easy. The Zahurians can plant themselves just about anywhere: forests, parks, backyards, flower shops. . . shopping malls. And everywhere they go someone ends up plant food. If that's not bad enough, Agent Jay and Agent Elle learn that a host of alien races are orbiting above, just itching to torch the entire planet to rid the galaxy of the hated Zahurians. Time is running out. If MiB doesn't succeed, the human race has two possible fates: ashes or fertilizer.


Wearing black, patent-leather shoes, a black suit, and a black tie was just fine for New York City, but not for climbing through Idaho forests on a hot spring day.

"We've got to talk to Zed about black tennis shoes as part of this uniform," Elle said, easing herself over a log and making sure her slick-bottomed shoe was secure in the snow before putting her weight on it.

"Already did," Jay said. "Months ago. Hated the idea."

"Too bad," Elle said as she slipped. She caught herself before she fell.

Jay stood behind her, shaking his head. He could climb through windows, run down a subway, and scale fire escapes faster than any cop in New York. But tracking a bunch of runaway trees through an Idaho forest wasn't on his list of top one thousand things to do. Not even close.

"This is stupid," Jay said, sitting on the fallen tree and swinging his legs over. On the other side, he slid for a few feet in the wet snow before he regained his balance. He was carrying Beauty, but he had the power set low and had been using it more for balance than anything else.

"So what do we do?" Elle asked.

Jay glanced up the trail they had just slipped down. The Pseudolarix ship and MiB containment crew were still visible through the trees. It had seemed like forever, but they hadn't gone two city blocks yet. In slick shoes, it was amazing they had gotten even this far. It was clear that they weren't going to catch anything like this.

The path the escaped Zahurians had taken was clear. It seemed they moved by dragging themselves along on their roots. Forty or so of them, in soft dirt and snow, left a trail wider than most roads and scored deeply into the ground. It was an easy trail to follow. With the proper footwear.

Jay and Elle had ordered containment crews to set up blockades along the road in the valley. There was no way of knowing how fast the trees could move, and someone had to follow the trail to see when, and if, the trees split up, and where they went. Elle had decided that "someone" should be them.

Jay glanced back at Elle, then pulled out his phone. "Three?" Jay said, addressing the chopper still holding position high over the Pseudos' ship.

"Containment Three. Go ahead."

"Drop two pairs of hiking boots to our location. Size fourteen wide and--" he glanced at Elle.

"Eight narrow," she said.

"--eight narrow," Jay repeated into the phone. "Also, bring us a forest-service ranger."

"Ranger?" the voice from Containment Three asked.

"Yeah," Jay said. "You know the big green building outside Pineville? Go there and bring us someone who knows these forests. And be quick, my man."

Jay flipped the phone closed and pointed down the hill along the trail the plants had taken. There was an opening a hundred paces ahead in the trees, wide and flat enough for a chopper to land. They would wait there until help arrived.

Elle nodded and smiled. "Race ya."

"On our butts," Jay said.

"It would be easier than walking," Elle said.

They ended up barely making it to the meadow by the time the chopper dropped in carrying their boots and a female forest-service ranger.

Jay and Elle both sat silently on a log, putting on their boots while the forest ranger stepped slowly away from the idling chopper. She looked stunned.

Elle got her new boots on first and stood, testing them as if she were in a shoe store. "Surprisingly good," she said, stomping around without slipping.

"Fashionable," Jay said, nodding at Elle's brown hiking boots under the black suit pants.

Jay tested his, also surprised at the snug fit. He'd been wearing nothing but the patent-leather dress shoes for awhile now, and he'd forgotten how good other shoes could feel. It really made him miss his tennis shoes.

Elle moved over to the ranger and extended her hand. "Thanks for coming."

"Didn't have much of a choice," the ranger said, shaking Elle's hand.

As Jay tossed their shoes back in the chopper and waved it off, Elle asked the ranger, "What did they tell you?"

"That Federal agents needed immediate help. Nothing more. And trust me, I asked."

"Well," Elle said, "I'm agent Hellen Paterson, and that's agent Jayson Richards." Those were the two names Elle normally gave to strangers. Jay liked to do what Kay had done to him: give a different name every time. Elle hated it, which, he had to admit, was why he did it.

"Bonnie Ann White," the ranger said. She was in her late twenties, with short brown hair and deep brown eyes. She seemed to be in great shape under the green slacks and brownish Forest Service uniform shirt.

As Jay moved a little closer, the ranger pointed at the Phaser slung over his shoulder like a deer rifle. "That rifle is not federal issue."

"Experimental," Jay said.

"Yeah," Bonnie said, almost snorting. "Like the silent helicopter, right?"

"Ranger Rick with attitude," Jay muttered. "Wonderful."

"Remember we need her help," Elle said.

"Can you track shit?" Jay asked, pointing at the trail the Zahurians had made near one side of the open area.

"If I step in it," Bonnie said.

Elle laughed as Bonnie took ten long strides and stood over the Zahurian trail. After a moment she turned back to Elle. "You want to tell me what made those marks? They're nothing I've ever seen before."

"You'll see soon enough," Elle said. "But I can tell you they mere made by about forty creatures. We need to make sure none of them break off and leave the main group."

Bonnie nodded. "Should be easy enough, from the looks of it." Without another word she turned and headed downhill along the trail, taking sure strides in the snow and mud.

"Hang on there a minute," Elle said as she and Jay scrambled after her. "There's one more thing you need to know about what we're tracking."

Ranger Bonnie turned to face the two agents. "Yeah?"

"They eat people." Jay tapped the Phaser rifle on his shoulder and smiled. He managed not to laugh at the way her tanned face suddenly went pale.

Excerpted from The Green Saliva Blues by Dean Wesley Smith
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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