If the title offended rather than intrigued you, stop reading. You won't like what's to follow.
This is the first draft of a book, written and published serially for NaNoWriMo.
There'll be plenty of changes and adjustments to the story during the second draft.
This is raw. This is proofread but not edited.
This is SPACE MEXICANS.
¡ Chapter Uno !
Hawaii Astronomy Institute - Keebler University
Mauna Kea Volcano
The Big Island, Hawaii
Josh was not a Jew. He made that abundantly clear to anyone brave enough to ask for clarification. His last name was Jew. He was Irish Catholic. The family surname had been Hugh back in the old country. Thanks to a speech impediment on his great-great-grandfather’s part and an Ellis Island official with a cruel sense of humor, the family name was changed to Jew. The ID badge on his lab coat read only Josh. He had covered up the last name with an Eric Cartman sticker.
Like it or not, he was a Jew. Ironically enough, he was a Jew because his mother was a Jew. He could have excused it, if his father had been a Jew. Instead, he secretly loathed his mother for not having the decency to marry his biological father and spare him a lifetime of torment. It didn’t even have to be his father, it could have been anyone. Anyone. He would have gladly been a Lee, or a Stevens, or even a Switarski. Anything but Jew. His grade school counselor had told him he was a self-hating Jew, proving that one could be right, even if their reasoning were wrong.
Secretly, he hoped that was the case with his current problem. Josh didn’t care if his reasoning was wrong, as long as he was ultimately right. He crunched the numbers again, for the fourth time that day. His shift at the observatory was long over and his presence was making the other grad students nervous.
He was sure. Beyond sure. The data bore out his suspicions. There were objects amassing on the outer rim of the Milky Way, moving objects. The measurements spit out by the computer and quadruple checked by Josh and his roommate, Warren, clearly showed detectable masses entering the galaxy from the Magellan Exo Galaxy.
The formation of stars was nothing new in the Large and Small Magellan clouds. The outer lying galaxy was a hotbed of star birth, had been since its discovery. The masses reflected in the data were anomalous for two reasons. They were smaller than the tiniest of growing stars and they were moving, fast. Six separate surveys of the same control subset tracked the movement and distance of the objects.
Most people imagine the larger observatories to be giant telescopes aimed at the skies above, constantly monitoring outer space. Some are giant telescopes. Others are made up of laser arrays, infrared technology, sonic radio monitoring, signal transmission and more. The only thing all the observatories on Mauna Kea had in common were their dwindling budgets. Technology of that magnitude was incredibly expensive to operate. Many of the leaseholders on the dormant volcano were forced to enter into multinational co-op agreements to keep the lights on and the lenses pointed upward.
The HAIKU observatory was operated by Keebler University through generous grants from the governments of Northern Ireland, Kenya, Uruguay and Morocco. The 'scope was currently sizing up a distant star in the southern hemisphere. The star was the focal point of the Sansa constellation, a constellation recently "discovered" by a Yale undergrad and named for a female character from the Game of Thrones TV show. The show, not the book, the nerdy Yalie hadn't even read the book and still felt compelled to name his "discovery" after the red-haired daughter of Eddard Stark.
Whatever happened to misanthropes attempting regicide to impress Jodie Foster? Josh refused to acknowledge the new constellation and used air quotes whenever speaking of it. Constellations were derived to segment the night sky and provide easy direction towards specific fields of view. Thanks to the internet, amateur astronomers everywhere were able to play connect the dots on GoogleSky™ and claim to have discovered a new constellation.
You can name it whatever you want, polish it however you please, a turd is still a turd. That's what Josh's grandpa would have said. Grandpa Jew never made a dime in the turd polishing business. Josh had come pretty far from his hardscrabble roots, both in education and distance. His post at Mauna Kea was 4800 miles from his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. When he made the move from University of Pennsylvania to Hawaii he traded in his blue-collar for a lab coat and a pair of flip flops.
He had been accepted into the Doctoral programs of plenty more prestigious universities but Keebler had offered him the best compensation package. Josh reasoned that the knowledge was more important than the accreditation. The one commonality between Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Jonas Salk that he could determine was no one who mattered giving a damn about their alma mater. Keebler U suited him just fine.
Back in Scranton, the only experimenting his peers had ever done was with their sexuality on the high school’s wrestling mats. Josh was not an athlete, he was a brain, and he counted himself lucky that he’d made it through twenty plus years of schooling without ever having a sneaky digit inserted in his asshole by a steroid case in a singlet. Life on the Big Island moved a lot slower. When he wasn’t in the classroom, he spent his days in the lab and his nights pouring over data and case studies regarding differential photometry, the key practice in detecting exoplanets among the stars.
To most people, it’s incredibly boring stuff. He certainly was not a hit at parties and usually avoided them for the comfort of his own home; a home he shared with another grad student, Warren Lee. Warren was an agreeable fellow, an astrophysicist, and perhaps the only person Josh had ever met more socially awkward than himself.
Josh called Warren at home. The phone rang and rang. Where else would the young Mr. Lee be at 9pm on a Saturday night? Finally, a short-on-breath Warren answered.
“Konichiwa, Okaasan,” Warren stuttered.
“Hey, it’s not your mother, man, it’s me,” Josh said.
“Sorry, you and she are the only ones that ever call me. I figured I had a 50/50 shot.”
“It’s on, man, I’m doing it. I’m convinced. They’re real, and whatever they are, they’re moving. Towards us.”
“Josh, you have to be sure. If you’re wrong, they will boot you off campus for hijacking the ‘Scope. Even, if you’re right, they still might,” Warren cautioned.
“The light-curve graphs don’t lie. The objects are there. Offset against the Tarantula Nebula. I’ve laid the last fifteen graphs over each other. Their rate of advancement is incredible. They are coming towards Earth. These aren’t stars. They’re not planets. They’re something else.”
“I really think you need more data,” Warren argued.
“I think that we’re running out of time.”
“That galaxy is over 160,000 light years away.”
“The objects are more like 90,000,” Josh countered.
“That’s impossible,” Warren replied.
“That’s what I’m saying. I’ve got to do this and I’ve got to do it now!”
“Well, then, may the Force be with Jew,” Warren replied.
“You know that shit’s not funny,” Josh said, hitting the end call button. He tossed the phone on his desk and eyed the other grad students working in the lab suspiciously. Punching the keys on the computer in front of him, Josh brought up the schedule for the next 48 hours.
The Sansa constellation was the currently scheduled project, followed by a request from the Chileans to observe a meteor shower scheduled to pass by Uranus. The recalibration for the Chilean project would require four hours of rotation and adjustments. As soon as the current shift finished their work, and set the next parameters, Josh would make his move.
He waited impatiently. Drumming his fingers on the desk, watching as the other students worked. They in turn, watched him, wondering if he was monitoring them. Sure that he would snitch on their slightest error to the Professor on Call. They soon found themselves at a stalemate; neither side could move without drawing the attention of the other and neither side was willing to appear anything less than diligent.
Josh thought it wisest to excuse himself for the bathroom break and spend some time in solitude crushing a few candies on his phone. Whilst he was gone, the students wrapped up their work and left while he was gone. He found himself alone in the laboratory upon his return. Josh turned off the lights and badged out of the room, opening and closing the door. He waited thirty seconds for the security camera to stop auto-recording the exit and walked back to his desk in the dark. His computer terminal was linked directly to the telescope's controls. He could alter any directional settings from there with a few clicks and his supervisor's password.
As the teaching assistant with the most seniority, Josh had been given Professor Link's password the semester before. He made the necessary adjustments and used his KVM link to view the telescope's monitors at his desk. Josh's eyes had dilated in the darkness of the laboratory. If his face had been visible to the cameras, they would have recorded the absolute look of shock on his mug as his eyes widened in direct proportion to his jaw-dropping.
He was right. The activity he had detected in the light-curve graphs were not planets, or stars, or even newly forming galaxies. They were ships of some sort, space ships. Dirigibles capable of sub light speeds. The unidentified objects appeared to be made not of space age metal but stone and mortar. They appeared both alien and familiar. Josh feared for a minute that he was dreaming. The anomalies that had caught his attention appeared to be shaped like stone pyramids. Josh was no archaeologist but the vessels appeared to be lookalikes for the South American temples he had seen on the Discovery Channel more than once. The Milky Way was being visited from another galaxy by airborne Mayan Ruins, and their course appeared to be set for Earth.
Professor Link was going to shit her britches.
¡ Chapter Dos !
Left of Jupiter
Milky Way Galaxy
The pilot of the advance recon contingent vehicle designated 9-Juan-1 squeezed out the remaining drops of his dinner onto his tongue. Or was it lunch? He had long ago lost track. Day and night refused to stay solidly anchored when the Sun was always present. All available research on his ancestral home of Earth said that there were places along the planet’s Arctic Circle that experienced this phenomenon for weeks at a time. He was currently in his fifth earth-month of the unstoppable daylight.
His early attempts at reconnaissance had revealed little to no outsider activity on Neptune, Uranus or Saturn. The denizens of earth no longer considered Pluto to be a planet, but the pilot thought that since his people had mastered interstellar travel and the earthlings hadn’t, it was up to them to decide what was and was not a planet.
The trickiest part of his trip approached. He would have to negotiate the asteroid belt separating Jupiter and Mars, and converge on his landing zone without being detected. As with any flying vehicle, take-offs and landings were the two instances most fraught with danger. To avoid detection, he’d have to double time it between Mars and Earth and come screaming into the atmosphere at speeds not recommended by the manufacturer.
Most of the data his people had gathered on their old homeworld came from drones and holographic cameras. The drones were caught on camera multiple times by the military. Yet, their existence was continuously denied by the powers that be. Drones and holograms would not be enough for the recolonization effort currently underway.
It was not an invasion they had planned but a repossession. Those left behind had come a pathetic distance in the intervening years. The recolonists would have their hands full getting them up to speed. The sad truth of the matter was that Earth was the best of all possible worlds. His people had traversed the universe over the past hundred generations and nothing came close. Sure, there were other planets in other galaxies with intelligent life, but it was not the same. Those goofy looking bastards had been at it for even longer than his people. The galaxy’s intelligent extraterrestrials were obsessed with evolution and progress and discovery, but did next to nothing with it.
The aliens catalogued for the purpose of cataloguing. They taught about species they had no interaction with. They memorized the properties of fauna they had never seen and never would see. Why? No one ever asked why. His own people had been backwater rubes when they were contacted. Soon, the best of them had enlisted, or was it conscription? No one left alive remembered. All his people had were the oral traditions of their elders.
The pilot thought the fundamental difference between humans and the Others boiled down to one people constantly searching for the answer to why, and their counterparts constantly asking what next? For all intents and purposes, the Others had discovered and diagrammed the known universe. They had gathered their data, and had nothing left to do. So their particular what next was updating their knowledge base to document recent changes since their last fact finding mission. When they were done with that, it would be time to do it again, fruitless futility, ad infinitum.
The Earth’s people were still arguing about which guy in the sky had set them forth on their path. It was an argument that would lead them nowhere since the closest possible truth was already written off as fiction. The religions of Earth had taken what they could stomach of the truth and tossed the rest away. The gods of Egypt were laughed at, but their stories co-opted. Humans could not face the fact that they were not created in their Gods’ image, that their ‘god’ looked nothing like them. Instead, they sacrificed Horus avian-like carcass on a pyre of silliness and attributed his deeds and actions to a more palatable 1st century preacher from Galilee.
The gods of Egypt were not deities, they were Others. Intelligent life of a time and technology much more advanced than the desert dwellers they made contact with. It was these Others that recruited the pilot’s own ancestors and set them on their paths, first as slaves, and then as cosmonauts. The whole ordeal seemed to be nothing more than a long-term experiment. The Others’ were obsessed with evolution, they studied their new crews and watched as generation after generation adapted ever so slightly to life among the stars.
Such thinking made the pilot hungry again. He would have to be careful he did not over consume his rations. His ship was outfitted with enough foodstuffs to last his mission, he could not eat his feelings away. He took a quick inventory of his provisions. He had enough tubes to last three more earth-days. Had the food been made on Earth, it would have had some catchy name like TastyPaste, instead it was only labelled with graphic depictions of its contents: cacao beans, honey, and chili peppers. The ingredients were ground into a paste his forebears had called xocolatl. The xocoalatl could be washed down with a liquid equal parts alkali and ethanol. The alkali infused drink would bring out the vitamin B in the xocolatl. It made for a quick meal, and produced very little waste.
Bodily functions were the enemy of a cosmonaut. Whether the maker is Human, hybrid or Other, piss and shit all have to go the same place. Space. The pilot wore an undergarment made of moisture-wicking material, woven together and used for the sole purpose of absorbing and gathering urine and feces in a zero-gravity environment, in short, a space diaper. Those that chose to forego the space diaper could use the airlock, but the most minor of malfunctions might cost the unfortunate cosmonaut dearly, at best his equipment and at worst, his life.
Vessels travelling in formation would occasionally find themselves with frozen chunks of space waste crashing into their cockpit viewports. Such incidents could be a major inconvenience as interstellar dirigibles did not come with windshield wipers. The pilot decided to skirt the asteroid belt and forego his scheduled exploration of Mars. Being so close to his final destination was kick starting his adrenaline. Life on Mars was long gone. The best he could hope to find there were scouts from the Others and the worst would be a probe from Earth itself.
The plan for the repatriation of the Earth was not a complex one, nor would it be bloody. His people had done their research. The largest contingent would infiltrate and integrate. They were to lay the groundwork for the arrival of the rest of his kind. Those were his orders: Infiltrate. Integrate. Wait for the motherships to initiate. The pilot was to set his craft down near Baldwin Lake, California, and destroy it. There would be no turning back. Once planet side, he would be terrestrial for the duration. If for some reason the mission was called off. He was on his own. For this reason, the landing zones had been chosen for the presence of Alkali lakes.
Should the worst happen, his kind could do quite well for himself in such a location. Not only would he have nourishment but he would be 2 hours from Los Angeles and 3 hours from Tijuana. He would blend in. Unlike the Others, the pilot had human roots. To the outside observer, he would appear to be nothing more than your average everyday Mexican. The pilot was short, stout and had a magnificent mustache. Nothing to see here, folks, just an undocumented worker looking to forge a better life in a better place. The US Government even had a name for people like him. They called them illegal aliens. They had no idea how right they were.
The pilot hoped to find others of his kind already on the ground. He would intermarry as the Ruling Council had decreed, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t find himself a little heina on the side. After all, there ain’t no Mexican lovin’ like Space Mexican lovin’, and he had been by himself a long time.
Mid-daydream about all the sweet, sweet Space Mexican lovin’ he was going to soak up in his new home, klaxons began sounding within the cockpit of the vessel. His programmed course had been overridden and the ship was correcting itself back into the asteroid belt. It appeared his superiors had built-in measures against course deviation. Thanks to them, the entire mission, at least the pilot’s part in it, was in serious jeopardy.
He managed to switch the ship over to manual control in time to avoid the first asteroid, but a second smaller meteoroid careened off the hull. Then another hit, and another. His ship was being pelted from all sides. The last meteoroid had badly damaged his sensor array. He was flying blind.
Glad he was wearing his space diaper, the pilot pushed downwards on the controls, sending the ship into a vector tail spin straight down. There were as many meteoroids and asteroids below him as there were above and in front, but at least he was doing something. He felt alive for the first time in weeks. Executing several dips, swings and rolls he managed to extricate himself from the asteroid belt. Relief was short lived as he had to immediately course correct to avoid the gravity well of the Planet Mars.
Without his sensors, he had no hope of navigating to the Landing Zone accurately. He would have to wing it. The pilot prayed silently that the Counter Gravity equipment still worked, and went full throttle towards the big blue planet. The closest the two planets could possibly be to each other was about 3.5 million miles away which meant he was going to have to manually pilot the vehicle for the next 17 hours straight. He tried to remember the last time he’d slept. Did I just eat dinner or breakfast? Was it lunch? I hope it was breakfast, he thought.