Chapter 1 - Part 3

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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 3 >

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Pandora Gray lived in Cuffley New Town, only a few streets away from Ish. Cuffley was the last of the new towns, built to house the ever growing population of London and the South East. Locals moaned of course, especially the residents of nearby Hatfield. Now the new expanded London was home to nineteen million people and although Cuffley New Town still got some stick in the media, it was now firmly on the map.

"Mum, it's me........... Are you home ?" She called from the door.

It was nice being able to live at home while attending medical school in Central London. The high speed underground link was still playing up, but the fares were cheap.

"I'm upstairs in my den." Called Judy Gray, her mother.

Her mother was a freelance writer in between fund raising for good causes and numerous pet projects. There had been a few well paid online magazine articles, but Judy Gray was still like most freelance writers, waiting to be discovered. Her father Karl was something in re-insurance. So boring he refused to discuss it, but it paid the bills. Pandora found her mother at her desk, tapping away at a keyboard, while watching the evening news with the sound down.

"How was your day ?" Asked her mum.

"Don't ask........ Lots of dissection."

"Ewwww, rather you than me Dora...... Hungry ?"

"You know me I'm always hungry. What are you working on ?"

"A dreadful piece about what shoes to buy for the summer...... I know Dora, I know, but it's for Zinfella Magazine and they pay well."

"Oh dear, selling out mum, I knew it."

"It keeps us fed sweetie.... I'll do one of my lasagnes for tonight. I take it Ishmael will be joining us for dinner."

"I already invited him..... He had some good news today, a second interview with Fifth West."

"Wow, that is good. What job did he go for ?"

"They don't do it like that mum. If they think you have the right creative spark, they fit you into the organisation where you'll be a good fit."

"So he might end up in sales and marketing."

"Please mum, don't say that to Ishmael. Is it alright if he stays the night ?"

She was twenty and so was Ishmael, though he was the oldest by just twenty days. There had been the usual 'while you're in our house,' conversation after her dad had caught Ishmael leaving the house at five one Saturday morning. They had both been fifteen then. So far, since she'd turned eighteen, her mum had never said no. Pandora thought that was a bit of a ploy by her mum, to stop her moving into student accommodation.

"Of course he can, but thank you for asking. We then know it's not burglars in the house."

"Sorry, has he been pacing about ? Ishmael does that when he gets a bit anxious."

"We're getting used to it sweetie."

The small screen on her mum's desk was showing the artists impression of the asteroid everyone was talking about. Her mum turned the volume up.

'..........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.'

"It won't look anything like that." Said her mum. "Remember the one five years ago ? When a Chinese probe finally reached it, it looked like a huge lump of rubble."

"I know, but still.... It's huge and seemed to deliberately head towards Earth. Some of my friends are quite worried about it."

"Trust me Dora, there are better things to worry about. This Lixputz-whatever will just turn out to be another big space rock."

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