Turtledove
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Mort Pfeiffer
Fictional Character
"They'd Never--"
Science Fiction
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Species: Human
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: Mid 20th century
Occupation: Tabloid journalist
Affiliations: Weekly Intelligencer

Mort Pfeiffer was a journalist.[1] After four different newspapers he'd worked out went out of business in the course of three years, Pfeiffer got a job with the Weekly Intelligencer, a particularly trashy tabloid publication. While he was grateful for the paycheck, after working there for five years, he was unable to secure employment with a more respectable publication.[2] Consequently, he spent most of his days writing stories that claimed transdermal nicotine patches caused AIDS-like syndromes (a smoker himself, he used the patches himself in the office).[3] He'd also developed what he thought was an unrequited crush on his editor, Katie Nelligan.[4]

One day, he and the Intelligencer staff found themselves inside one of their own stories. As he was completing a story, the lights in the building went out. As the staff looked for the emergency kit, four aliens appeared in the office. Initially, everyone thought it was a prank, as the aliens looked pretty much like the fictional ones the Intelligencer wrote about. Pfeiffer began thinking of them as John, Paul, George, and Ringo almost immediately. The amused mood of the room changed when the alien Pfeiffer had dubbed George started walking up towards the ceiling in defiance of gravity. Then George made Katie Nelligan float towards the ceiling as well. Pfeiffer tried to bring her back down, but instead joined Nelligan on the ceiling. Despite the shock, Pfeiffer had the presence of mind to tell his co-workers to take pictures; Nelligan approved.[5]

Oddly, the aliens didn't seem to mind having their pictures taken, but they did use some unknown force to keep anyone from else from helping Pfeiffer and Nelligan.[6] The alien George brought Pfeiffer and Nelligan closer, and then began removing and copying their memories. There was a backwash effect; Pfeiffer's memories came out, but he also had glimpses of Nelligan's memories. He also had impressions from George, and realized that the aliens didn't think much of humans. To Pfeiffer's understanding, they viewed humans in much the same way British imperialists viewed the peoples they'd colonized. When George was done, Pfeiffer suddenly saw one of his thoughts. George concluded that this location had been perfect for their survey. His lost thought They'd never--, was never completed, much to Pfeiffer's consternation. Then George set Pfeiffer and Nelligan down, and the aliens left.[7] After the lights came back on, Nelligan ordered the pictures be developed immediately, and Pfeiffer and Nelligan began writing their respective stories. Nelligan also thanked Pfeiffer for trying to help her.[8]

At first, the story seemed perfect. The pictures of the aliens and the reporters floating came out perfectly. That night, Pfeiffer and Nelligan collaborated on the final story over dinner at a restaurant called Napoli, and then went back to the office to finish it. The next morning, Nelligan took the story to the publisher, Mr. Comstock. Comstock gave the greenlight to publish, but made it clear he didn't believe it had happened, even claiming to see wires holding Pfeiffer and Nelligan up in the air in the photographs. Nelligan was angry, but she did run the story.[9]

Pfeiffer offered to take Nelligan to dinner at Napoli again. Nelligan agreed. After they'd eaten, Nelligan asked about the backwash of memories, and admitted that she now knew how Pfeiffer felt about her, and that the feeling was mutual. They went back to his apartment that night.[10]

The story was published, but no one believed it. Pfeiffer wasn't surprised as he finally puzzled out what George had been thinking: They'd never believe in aliens. In the meantime, Pfeiffer and Nelligan began planning their wedding.[11]

References[]

  1. Alien Pregnant by Elvis, pg. 213, mmp.
  2. Ibid., pg. 215.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 213-215.
  4. Ibid., pg. 214.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 215-218.
  6. Ibid., pgs. 218.
  7. Ibid, pgs. 219-221.
  8. Ibid., pg. 222.
  9. Ibid., pgs. 224-225.
  10. Ibid., pg. 226.
  11. Ibid.
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