PROLOGUE

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July 1947

The night they arrived was one of the darkest. Untouched by moonlight, with stars hiding behind gray clouds, the duskiness of the night made the bright lights of the vessels even the more noticeable.

They saw them come. Saw the two rectangular objects falling out of the sky, one landing successfully while the other impacted roughly with the cooled off sandy desert ground. Watching from the shadows, the witnesses were hesitant to make themselves known. They had grown accustomed to a life of mere observation and preferred to remain inconspicuous, though their reason for keeping a low profile on this night had more to do with their history than their chosen way of life. The ships having come down on Earthen soil in front of their worried eyes were not from this Earth. The last time ships of that type had landed on Earth, genocide amongst the watchers had ensued, even though the visitors had been of the same breed as the watchers. Thus, this time, they were wary of making contact. This time, they were cautious.

The night had grown silent after the loud impact with the ground. The sand that had been pushed up into the air from the sudden weight of the aircrafts was already settling by the time the first traveler stumbled out of his wrecked transport medium. The watchers were surprised to find that the first survivor was not a man of arms, but a child. That first passenger was followed by another child. And another. Disoriented, the youngsters tripped over dry desert shrubs and dunes of sand, taking in their new foreign surroundings while passively seeking out their fellow passengers. The observers soon realized that the ships were occupied only by children. No adults. No supervisors. No armed force. Solely lost children of various ages.

The decision to help did not need to be spoken out loud in the small group of onlookers. One of the crafts had suffered a bad crash and it was obvious that many of its occupants were hurt if not dead. As the observers stepped out of the shadows to offer their assistance, the immigrants defended themselves the only way they knew how; with directed energy and shimmering protective energy fields. But the watchers were prepared, deflecting, and assuring. It was clear from the travelers' knee-jerk reaction that the children needed help. They needed to learn how to hide who they were and shield what they could do. They needed help to bury their dead, because the color of their skin, the size of their bodies and the gills on their faces were unnatural amongst the human population and would not go unnoticed. They needed to learn how to hide their true selves and adopt the appearance of homo sapiens. They needed to learn the American language and have a cover story to their sudden existence. Not until the illegal immigrants had been smoothly integrated into the New Mexican human population could the observers retreat back into the shadows.

But they never stopped observing. They never stopped expecting the darkness to return and strike again. Because their ancestors had once fled the destruction that had forced those children through space alone several centuries later. The wise watchers knew that the war on their planet was not yet over, and the threat to Earth was instead very present.

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