The following morning, a Friday morning in October, Glen arrived at school to find Mister David and Teacher Nancy waiting for him. The Teacher had gotten what she called a substitute to cover the class while she paced and looked terribly nervous. It was as if she was thinking that maybe what they were contemplating and what she agreed to was not such a good idea after all. David kept reassuring her that everything would be alright, but that just made her more nervous. When Glen came into the nursery building, they took him straight into the office and he did not object, almost like he expected as much. Once the door was shut, Teacher Nancy squatted down and gave Glen a big teacher hug which they could still do in those days. When she backed up a little, without letting go of Glen’s shoulders, she spoke gently.
“Glen. We need your help. We just need to ask some questions, but you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.” Teacher Nancy wanted to make that perfectly clear.
Glen looked at his teacher and then up at Mister David and nodded, but then what he said surprised them. “We need to go to the Labs.”
“What?” Teacher Nancy looked up at David, but he just smiled. She looked again at Glen. “Are you sure? You don’t have to go anywhere.”
“It’s Okay,” Glen said. “I talked with my Doctor Mishka last night and she said she would go for me.” That threw them. Neither knew what he was talking about or how to respond, so he kept talking. “She says right now we have to go outside to get away from people.” He walked to the door and wrapped his little hand around the doorknob to give it a turn. Teacher Nancy and David were slow to react, but caught up quickly enough, and Teacher Nancy took Glen’s hand as they walked out. She wanted it to look as normal as possible in order to avoid too many questions from the staff or the other children. Once outside, Teacher Nancy stopped and stopped Glen as well.
“We are outside. Now what are we doing?”
Glen shook his head and dragged them toward David’s Hudson and as far from the school as possible. Then he stopped and looked up at them, first taking in one face and then the other. He held out his two hands and Teacher Nancy was quick to take them both, but Glen pulled one hand free and David reached over and wrapped his big hand around that little paw.
“Doctor Mishka says you have to promise,” Glen said.
“Promise what, dear?” Teacher Nancy asked.
“Don’t let go, no matter what.”
“Oh, Glen. I won’t let you go.” Teacher Nancy squeezed his hand and smiled down at him with as much smile as she could muster.
“Promise,” Glen said.
“I Promise,” David responded without hesitation.
Teacher Nancy looked at David and then back at Glen before she spoke again with a more serious expression and without the smile. “I Promise,” she said, and Glen closed his eyes. It only took a second before Teacher Nancy let go and threw her hand to her mouth to stifle a scream. David was still holding on, but it looked like he was shocked motionless. Glen had vanished utterly from that place and a gull grown young woman with Glen’s hair color and Glen’s same blue eyes appeared in his place. This woman was dressed in a full length Victorian style dress and it leant some credence to what followed.
“Doctor Nadia Illiana Kolchenkov.” The woman introduced herself as she switched David’s hand from her left hand to her right so she could shake it properly. “I am sorry. I am Russian, but I died in 1953 if that helps any.” She said that because she knew her English always came with a bit of a slavic accent. She paused, put a black doctor’s bag up on the hood of the car, and began to rummage through it, and since neither David nor Nancy appeared inclined to say anything at the moment, she continued speaking. “My friends all call me Mishka. You must call me Mishka, also. There, I hope I have everything I am going to need.” She closed up her doctor’s bag. “Now you had better get in the car before you do anything rash. I will explain on the way. Shall I drive?” She said that with a smile, but her hand reached for the back door handle. That question shook the other two out of their shock long enough to move. They got into the car almost without thinking about what they were doing.
“Quite right,” Mishka added a thought. “Glen is much too young to drive.” She grinned at her own joke.
“What happened to Glen?” It was Teacher Nancy’s first words once the doors were shut. There was some panic in her voice. David backed up to the end of the drive but stopped.
“Alright, but the quick version,” Mishka said. “Glen has lived any number of lifetimes and I am his most recent previous life. I was born in St. Petersburg in 1889. I saw my city become Leningrad, but then I died in the Gulag.” The woman paused before she spoke again. “Curious, to remember your own death. I suppose it is only because from this vantage point it all happened in the past. Anyway, there are other lifetimes Glen has lived, so don’t be surprised if I call on one of them at some point.”
“Has he – has he, Glen, you – have you, Mishka, done this before?” David asked as he began to pull out very slowly into the road.
“Glen? No. This is very unusual circumstances. Usually I don’t do this until I am older, but in this case, don’t you smell it? It smells like chickenpox or maybe smallpox everywhere, and there is like a darkness all over the neighborhood. Glen, young as he is, sensed it coming from the building, what you call the Labs.”
“Bell Labs,” David confirmed with a nod.
“Da-yes. Little children are sometimes very sensitive to such things.” Mishka took in Teacher Nancy’s eyes. The teacher was turned completely around in the front seat and was staring at her. “Don’t worry. Glen will come home once this is settled, only keep in mind, he probably will not remember any of this, so it would be best if you did not discuss it in his presence.”
Teacher Nancy broke eye contact and shook herself like a person waking from a dream. “But what is it?” She paused briefly to get her bearings. “I have to admit that I have been feeling edgy for a week, like I was sensing something, but I thought it was just – you know.”
“Women stuff?” Mishka laughed. “No Teacher Nancy, and you can trust me. I am a doctor.”
“University of Paris. A surgeon, actually, but I got my first real experience on the Russian Front in the World War.”
“Really?” David perked up a little. “Were you at Stalingrad?”
“Yes, but I was referring to the First World War.”
“Oh.” David swallowed. “Of course.”
“Wait. We are getting off subject.” Teacher Nancy got David to drive to the side of the road before they went up to the gate. “So what is this we are dealing with?”
“Yes,” David said, and he actually turned off the car so he could turn around in his seat as well. “Glen said the word Reichgo and I thought nothing of it until yesterday when I overheard two of the government men use the word.”
“What is a Reichgo?” Teacher Nancy asked.
“Who.” David and Doctor Mishka spoke together, and David quieted so the Doctor could speak.
“Extraterrestrials.” She began to explain, but she changed her description when she saw that Teacher Nancy did not know the word. “Space Aliens. Little green men, and I am guessing they want their toys back. After all, this is only 1957 and Roswell is not big business yet.” Mishka amused herself with that thought. “I am also guessing that is why those toys were sent back East, so maybe the government could claim they were lost or destroyed in the crash and then maybe learn something valuable through reverse engineering, as your Perkins called it.”
“Pickard.” David corrected her. “And you assume pretty good.”
“But how did you know? How could little Glen know about the Reichgo?”
“Bobby Thompson,” Mishka said.
“Ohhh!” Teacher Nancy’s eyes got big as she drew out the word and David turned to face her so she could explain. “Measles. But it did happen very fast. In one day he had breakouts everywhere.”
“Doctor Thompson’s kid.” David put two and two together and then added a note for Mishka. “Dick Thompson is the Director overseeing the crash project.” Mishka merely nodded before speaking.
“Glen took a sample and I analyzed it. It is not the measles. It is not from this earth. I know something of the history of this time, so it was not hard to piece things together and figure out where it came from. Now, roll up your sleeves so I can give you your immunization shots. The disease is not spread easily, but this is a precaution.”
David, who had his arm draped over the back of the seat in order to turn a bit further into the conversation, pulled his arm back. “Will it hurt?” He asked while Mishka opened her black bag.
“Oh, you big baby,” Teacher Nancy said. She already had her sweater sleeve pushed up. Doctor Mishka pulled out something that looked like a small pistol, or maybe a glue gun. She turned Teacher Nancy’s arm, not interested in the shoulder, and began to rub around the inside of her elbow. When she found the vein, she touched it with the gun tip and pulled the trigger. “That’s it?” Teacher Nancy was surprised. She felt nothing.
“Come,” Mishka said, and David extended his arm for the treatment, but he kept a watchful eye on the Doctor in case she pulled a fast one. Mishka touched the gun, which made a click-click sound, and then she shot David’s arm and it was over.
“So how long before it takes effect?” Teacher Nancy asked, thinking that vaccinations usually took seven to ten days at the least.
“Immediate,” Doctor Mishka said as she put the gun back in her bag.
“It seems these Reichgo are not the only ones with advanced technology,” David said.
Mishka nodded. “So, did you hear the early morning airplanes spraying the neighborhood this past week?”
David and Nancy looked at each other. “I thought it was for worms or caterpillars of some kind,” David said.
Mishka shook her head. “A counter agent. This alien disease will not spread but it is imperative that I locate the source and neutralize it.”
“I see.” Teacher Nancy turned to face the front of the car. “God, I can’t imagine if an alien disease got loose in the world.” She was thinking a worst case scenario, but Mishka reassured her.
“All pox is originally alien in origin, and mostly not Reichgo in origin. Some pox, as I am sure you know from your history, is very virulent and has gotten loose in the world, but fortunately, this particular infection is like the Reichgo version of the common cold and it does not appear to be deadly. There are spots and a high fever for a couple of days and that is it. Shall we drive?”
David jolted. “Oh, yeah. Right.” He started the car again and brought them to the gate.