Chapter 1 - Part 2

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Ishmael

Chapter 1 – Fifth West Corporation

"The first contact had been decades before, but everyone had ignored it. An object which had speeded up and changed course to come closer to planet Earth obviously wasn't just another passing asteroid. The public thought it was nothing more than a passing anomaly. Later it became obvious that something had found us............"

< Part 2 >

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Inka Malovic worked part time as a receptionist for a dental practise in Stourbridge near Birmingham. There are those who claim that all our lives are linked in some way, there's even a name for it, Synchronicity. Inka wouldn't have recognised Ishmael McGrath if she'd passed him in the street, yet there was a connection. Her brother Ivan had died at the exact same moment as Ian McGrath, Ishmael's father. They'd both been on the same London to Belgrade flight, as it had crashed due to a technical fault, killing everyone onboard.

"What do you pair want for dinner ?" She asked.

"Anything." Said Antun.

"I'm not that hungry." Said Kata.

It was the same every evening and from what her friends told her, all mums went through the same hell every meal time. Kata was sixteen and already far too keen on trying to keep a trim figure. As for her thirteen year old son Antun ? He was a dustbin who'd eat just about anything, though he preferred junk food. Their father had gone to see his family in Croatia two summers before and hadn't bothered coming back. Probably for the best, he'd been a complete bastard. Inka opened the freezer and went through the usual routine.

"There's mini Kievs ?..... Or the hot and spicy chicken you like ?"

"Yeah alright." Said Antun, with no enthusiasm.

"Can I go to Gemma's mum ?" Asked Kata.

It was a weeknight and the family finances were far from brilliant, but there was one thing guaranteed to keep her kids happy. Even her daughter forgot about excess calories when it came to a certain type of food.

"I could order pizza ?"

"Brilliant." Said Kata.

No need for Antun to say anything, the grin on his face said it all. Her kids were addicted to thin and crispy pizza, though they were fussy about their toppings. There was the standard Malovic family order under a fridge magnet. Inka phoned in her order and joined her kid in the lounge to watch the early evening news. There was a large tear dropped shaped rock on the screen.

"What's that ?" She asked.

"Oh mum, it's the asteroid..... You must have heard about it." Said Kata.

Her teenage daughter had actually sighed at her, sadly not for the first time. There was a woman talking about the asteroid, stating that the picture was just an artist's impression.

'.......... As with asteroid Mictlantecuhtli five years ago, our current celestial visitor increased speed as it headed towards the inner planets.......'

Why did they always give these things such weird unpronounceable names ? It appeared that the asteroid was the size of an aircraft carrier and had changed course slightly, bringing it within fifty thousand miles of Earth.

'Almost in our backyard.' Said the quirky science guy on C28 News.

"It has obviously come here deliberately." Said Inka. "Why aren't the military..... Doing something ?"

"Oh mum.....Mr Mateer at school explained it at assembly." Said Kata.

"He's really clever, better than the TV guy." Added Antun.

Great, her daughter sighing at her ignorance and even her thirteen year old seemed to know more about the alien space..... Thing, than she did. Inka settled back in her chair and let her daughter explain what Mr Mateer had told all the kids at school.

"It's the heat of the sun mum, it causes gases to boil out of Lixpuzteque."

Great, they'd called this one after yet another weird Aztec God with a tongue twister name.

"The closer it comes to the sun, the hotter it gets." Said Kata. "The gas comes out as jets, which act like rocket engines, speeding it up and changing its course. Relax mum, there are no little green men inside it."

It sounded logical, but the woman was back on the TV, pointing at a map of the asteroid's journey through our solar system. It did seem to have changed course a lot of times for a lifeless lump of rock.

'..........The European Space Agency are diverting the Juno probe currently on its way to Ganymede........ It should reach Lixpuzteque in a little under six months.'

"Six months." Said Inka. "Supposing it's dangerous ?"

"Oh mum..........."

Inka didn't want to hear another sigh from her daughter and anyway, the pizza delivery guy was rattling the letterbox. Everyone had to rattle their letterbox lid or thump on the door, the doorbell had packed up during the winter. The delivery guy looked about eighteen and actually flirted with her a little, which compensated for her daughter talking to her as though she was ancient and out of touch.

"What do you think of this asteroid ?" She asked him, as he handed over two pizza boxes.

"Aliens lady...... My dad thinks I'm crazy..... But I think they're looking us over."

"I don't think you're crazy."

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