Just what is a Maquillage?
As a member of the Alien Corps, your body's metabolism and respiratory systems will sometimes need to be modified to harmonize with an alien planet's environment and climate. The process takes place over several days in a specially equipped Maquillage chamber.
The body's external appearance can be changed to match that of a local native so that the Corps operative can more easily blend into a crowd. Sounds painful, doesn't it? Well, there are limits. You can't grow extra limbs, for example, and in fact the process only works with species that are close to human in their body structure. In the Alien Corps, Hickory, Gareth, and Jess were made to resemble Castilie people - another race on Prosperine, closely related to the Avanauri. They had all their body and facial hair removed—except for their eyebrows and a strip on the skull, which was styled to match the Ezekani (city folks) fashion. As the tech explained, “It sounds a bit strange, but we've found that the Ezekanis are more accepting of a Castilie who wears their hair in a Mohawk like they do.”
Skin can be dyed any color and is usually impregnated with a radiation screening agent and other substances to protect the individual from the harmful effects from exposure to the planet's sun. The medicos can do a lot with eyes, for example pupils can be enlarged or made small, and colored any shade desired. In Gareth's case, because he is male, his eyes were made emerald green and the ridges over his eyes were made more prominent.
Modifications to internal organs are a lot more complicated. They also take longer to synthesize, and to get used to.
The procedure is done under a general anesthetic, using a range of robots for precision and speed. You don't want to be awake when it's happening! Thank God they anesthetize us... was Hickory's last thought before undergoing the operation.
Medical bots are introduced through ear canals and immediately go into action to enable human lungs to process toxic air which would normally prove fatal to a human. The stomach can be modified to allow consumption and digestion of local food. Lastly, the body's immune systems are boosted to cater for any unwanted side-effects. When complete, the micro-machines naturally exit the body and final testing is carried out to make sure all the changes work effectively.
How Long does the Maquillage last?
After treatment, the body will have absorbed a lethal dose of radiation within thirty-four days. Implants will begin to break down and release toxins into the bloodstream after thirty-six days.
Fortunately, a booster can be given any time up to the twenty-eighth day, which will extend the life of the maquillage for another month.
If you need to stay on the planet longer than that, you'll need to be "re-humanized" on Earth before you can go through the process again.