ALIENS ABROAD – Chapter 1
“Huh?” I’d been having a really great dream, where my husband and I were in Cabo San Lucas without our kids, our family or friends, anyone political, any press, any aliens from any planet, or any paparazzi. We were having sex on the beach, and it was great, and no one was bothering us. At least until someone asked for help.
“Help me. I’m an alien and need your assistance.”
Well, that left a wide-open field. My husband was an alien—an A-C from Alpha Four in the Alpha Centauri system. His en¬tire huge extended family had been exiled to Earth before Jeff was born and they’d been here for decades. All of them were American citizens, though A-Cs were all over the world. But the voice didn’t sound like any of them.
Recent events had brought more aliens to Earth, though. We had representatives from every inhabited world in the Alpha Centauri system—and there were a lot of those—here, as well as residents from other solar systems both nearby, galactically speaking, and as far away as the Galactic Core.
They, too, were scattered all over Earth and the Solaris system—alien relocation for immigrating aliens having been going smoothly, as had terraforming of some of the planets and various-races-forming of the others—because we had all those extra planets and moons we weren’t using and most of these aliens were refugees from some really horrible galactic wars. So Earth was no longer a lonely inhabited planet of one with a single race of aliens living on it in secret, but part of a bustling, expanding planetary system with many different types of aliens hanging out. And more coming by to visit or apply to move in every day. Though not, normally, via my dreams. And the voice didn’t sound like any of them, either.
That all of this New Age of Intergalactic Harmony stuff had happened in the less than year and a half since Operation Fund¬raiser had ended in a truly dramatic Zamboni drag race, so to speak, had much more to do with the fact that all the aliens from various solar systems were helping out than that Earth had sud¬denly leapt into the far Star Trek future on our own. We were still number one with a bullet when it came to being nasty and warlike, but we were definitely reaping the benefits of having made some swell new friends. I just wasn’t in the dream mood to make another new one.
“I really can’t help you. We have an office of Intergalactic Immigration you might want to apply to. I’m sure they’ll be as excited to talk to you in their dreams as I am.”
“No. I’m an alien to you but like you.”
Nice, but the speaker wasn’t saying anything exciting be¬cause I’d discovered that people—be they the best-looking hu¬manoids around who happened to have two hearts, superstrength, and hyperspeed, be they giant humanoid slugs or honeybees, be they ethereal cloudlike manta rays or gigantic Cthulhu Monsters from Space, or be they anything and everything in between—were basically people, no matter where they were from, what they looked like, what planet they called home, or who or what they considered God.
“I doubt it. And I don’t care.” My dream was getting hazy. Did my best to concentrate on Jeff and the beach and the sex.
“Help me. You’re my only hope.” The voice sounded female, maybe, and alien, most likely. Most humans couldn’t get that kind of reverberation going without the use of electronic equip¬ment.
And, just like the voice, the reverberation wasn’t familiar, so, again, not an alien race I’d already met, at least, unlikely. My dreams, they were really the best.
“Um, I wasn’t really trying to add Princess Leia or Obi-Wan Kenobi into this dream. If that’s okay and all that. Especially not Old Obi-Wan. Young Obi-Wan, yeah, maybe.”
I could, quite frankly, find it in my libido to add Ewan Mc¬Gregor into many things. Then again, Jeff was the strongest em¬path in, most likely, the galaxy—because A-Cs also had a variety of psychic talents that showed up pretty often—and he was also easily the most jealous man in it, too, under the right circum¬stances. Me fantasizing about Ewan McGregor was likely to spark some jealousy, especially since I’d seen The Pillow Book. Twice. And the second time was not for the story.
Not that Jeff had anything to worry about. He was the classic—tall, with dark brown wavy hair, dreamy light brown eyes, built like a brick house, and definitely the handsomest man in the universe. And that wasn’t me being biased. Well, maybe biased, but only a little. The A-Cs were, to human eyes, the most beautiful things around. They came in all shapes, sizes, colors, and builds, just like humans did, as long as you included “hard¬body” in their definition.
Humans had lucked out, though. In addition to the fact that A-Cs and humans could and did create healthy hybrid offspring— with the external favoring the human parent and the internal fa¬voring the A-C—the A-Cs thought humans were great. Well, most of them thought that.
The female A-Cs, whom I called the Dazzlers, at least to myself, were sapiosexual, didn’t care what someone looked like, and they felt that humans had more brains and brain capacity than their own people did. I didn’t necessarily agree with this theory, though I got where it came from—I’d never met a dumb Dazzler because even those considered idiots by their peers were genius-level for humans, but I had hit a couple of not-so-bright male A-Cs, though they were few and far between.
The male A-Cs just liked people who made them feel smarter than the female A-Cs did, meaning humans were really scoring the excellent mating opportunities. And I wasn’t going to argue with the situation either, since, by now, we had a lot of really happy humans married to equally happy A-Cs, and I was all for couples’ harmony. Particularly my own.
“I need the greatest warrior in the galaxy.” Despite my focus on Jeff’s hotness, the beach was starting to fade away. Did my best to hold onto the dream and, if not the dream, at least Jeff’s naked body.
“And you’re talking to me why?”
“Because your reputation precedes you.”
Things had been relatively quiet on the Political Crap front, even quieter on the Evil Megalomaniac front, and the Maraud¬ing Aliens front had been blissfully silent. Apparently this last one was silent no longer, though.
Visions of Jeff’s naked body washed fully away. I was now officially bitter. “Super. As dreams go, this one stinks. Just sayin’.”
“My mind has traveled through the DreamScape in order to find you.”
“Whee. I think you got lost somewhere along the way.”
Really wondered if I’d eaten something that was causing this kind of bizarreness. But we hadn’t had a state dinner, I hadn’t snuck in a huge amount of junk food, and the White House chef wasn’t prone to making anything bad. Chef was far healthier in what he prepared than I’d ever been. And I’d only had two of his chocolate mousses for dessert, so it couldn’t be that.
“No, I’ve worked my way through the DreamScape to find you. I need your help.”
This dream wasn’t going away. Tried to wake up. Failed. “So you said. And I ask again—why me? And what the heck is the DreamScape, anyway? That sounds like an old Dennis Quaid movie.” I could find it in my libido to add in Dennis Quaid too. Dennis Quaid, Ewan McGregor, and Jeff would be a combina¬tion I could enjoy for a really long time. In another dream. One not being constantly interrupted by an alien I didn’t know and didn’t want to know. Had to wonder if other people had dreams like this. Probably not. I was “lucky” this way.
“Why you is because you always manage to win. The Dream¬Scape is the realm that connects us all. And I have no idea who Dennis Quaid is or what a movie is, either.”
“Uh huh, right, pull the other one. It has uninterested bells on and all that jazz.”
“The fate of my world depends upon you.”
“Doubt it. Sincerely doubt it. I officially want to tell myself that this kind of dream is not on my particular Netflix queue and I don’t want anything similar to it suggested, either.”
“I don’t understand you.”
“So few ever do. Look, good luck with whatever you’ve got going on wherever in my subconscious you happen to be. But I’m not your girl.”
“I’m not in your subconscious.”
“But that’s what my wily subconscious would say, now, wouldn’t it?”
“I don’t know.” The voice sounded desperate. “My name is Ixtha. Please help me.”
“Well, that’s different. What’s my name, then?” I mean, my subconscious certainly knew my name.
“I only know you as the Warrior Queen.”
“Right. Not as the First Lady of the United States, not as the Queen Regent of Earth for the Annocusal Royal Family of Al¬pha Four, and not as Earth’s Galactic Representative to the Ga¬lactic Council. But as the Warrior Queen. Gotcha. I think you were looking for Queen Renata of the Free Women of Beta Twelve, but you do you and all that.”
“I have no idea who those people are or what those titles mean.” Ixtha sounded serious. Which was odd, because my sub¬conscious certainly knew all the various and current roles I was stuck doing whether I liked them or not.
Figured I’d try one last title. “What about Shealla? Do you know her?” That was my God Name on Beta Eight.
“Yes! Shealla is the Warrior Queen. You are Shealla?”
“If you already knew, why’d you ask?”
“I don’t . . . what? What do you mean? I don’t understand you.”
“I thought you said you didn’t know my name.” Well, my Beta Eight name, but still it was a name I answered to. Though Shealla was supposed to be the Queen of the Gods and the Giver of Names, not the Warrior Queen. “Then again, my wily subcon¬scious also knows that name.”
“I am not in your subconscious! I am in your dream, via the DreamScape. I have searched for you for so long, Shealla. I need your help, my people need your help. You who have saved so many, why will you not hear my plea?”
“Because I think you’re a figment of my vivid and over¬worked imagination. Though Ixtha is a cool name I haven’t heard before, so go team in terms of my creativity.”
“I am real, Shealla. As real as you are.”
“Yeah? Figure out what my real name is, and then visit me again. Or don’t. Really, you disturbed a great dream and I’m still bitter about it.”
“The longer we speak the better my connection is to you, and I can search your mind for clues. Please give me that time, Shealla. I will do as you ask, discover your true name, and then you will help me and my people, yes?”
“Sure, I guess. Why not, right?” Was going to add a really witty and sarcastic comment, but the sounds of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Universally Speaking” came on and thankfully dragged me into consciousness and away from the “DreamScape.”
The little joys of greeting the dawn, especially after this Dream O’ Weirdness, were without number.
Excerpt posted in coordination with Penguin Random House.
Available February 6, 2018!
by Gini Koch
Released: February 6 2018
Series: Katherine "Kitty" Katt #16
Published by Daw Books
With the human population growing and alien refugees pouring in from around the galaxy, Earth is becoming too overcrowded to sustain itself--and the solar system is filling up with the alien overflow. Advanced technology from the Alpha Centauri and Vatusan systems offers one possible solution. It's time to explore new planets and see if any uninhabited ones can be claimed. The President and First Lady, aka Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini, aren't supposed to be on this mission, but what looks like a snafu during a political photo op on the newly christened Distant Voyager spaceship turns out to be a call for help from a planet that might be Earth's salvation...or its destruction. The discovery of a world at the opposite end of the galaxy that seems like it could be a twin to Earth creates the usual issues for Kitty & Company. It also raises questions of Z'porrah and Ancient influence--not to mention cloning, the multiverse, and, scariest of all, whether or not the Black Hole Universe Police are starting to take too much of an interest in this particular universe.
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