A ship for every city.
An invasion force beyond our comprehension.
Max Edwards has always felt like something was wrong with the world. Like something was…off.
Like his entire life was a lie being told by the people around him.
Then, it begins. From his friend’s acreage outside Oklahoma City, he witnesses a giant saucer descend from the sky to hover over the city.
Countries all around the world report the same thing – mysterious vessels that refuse all attempts to communicate.
As the world comes apart at the seams, Max realizes everything that’s ever happened to him was leading up to this.
And as impossible as it seems, he may be the only one with the ability to save humanity.
Mere survival won't be enough. Humanity stands to lose everything.
To fight the invaders, Max must forget everything he thought he knew.
Download this gripping alien invasion book and learn humanity's fate.
Release date: November 18, 2019
Publisher: Mirth Publishing
Print pages: 470
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Mother Ship: An Alien Invasion Book
9 days to extinction
The phone’s lock screen displayed the full text of an emergency alert.
“Nation under imminent attack. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill."
Max Edwards looked from the phone he clutched in his hand to the enormous object that had appeared over distant Oklahoma City, hovering perfectly still—defying gravity. It had the shape of a discus. Or a saucer.
He looked back to the message displayed on his phone.
His mind felt like a motor turning over and over, failing to engage.
“Guessing you got the same thing I did?” His best friend Jimmy Somerton stood nearby, holding his own phone, staring at it like it had turned into a banana. He turned the device so Max could see the message there.
It was identical to the one he’d gotten.
They were standing in Jimmy’s driveway, on his father’s acreage. Seconds ago, they’d been speaking with some horse owners, who paid to keep their animals in the Somerton stables.
A couple of the horse owners had been acting strangely—very strangely. Max and Jimmy had found themselves breaking up a fist fight between them.
And now, this was happening.
“We should turn on the news,” Max said.
“Yeah,” Jimmy nodded, looking distracted. “Sorry. Aliens don’t normally invade when I invite people over.”
They went into Jimmy’s house wordlessly, Max taking an overstuffed armchair splitting at the seams while Jimmy grabbed the remote and dropped onto the couch.
The TV took a second to come on, and when it did, a black bar drew Max’s eye to near the top of the screen, where white text read “EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM.”
A woman with a grave expression sat at a desk holding a sheaf of papers. “—unsure where they came from or what they—”
Jimmy mashed the remote, flicking through the channels. Every single one had become an outlet for communicating information about whatever was happening. Some relied on text only, which scrolled by in front of colored bars. Other channels featured people speaking to the camera. But every channel bore the same black box, with the same words.
Emergency broadcast system.
Jimmy stopped at the first twenty-four hour news station he came across: CNN. Max barely ever watched TV, and he didn’t know the dark-skinned anchor sitting behind the desk, calmly telling the world about its end.
As he spoke, images from all over the world showed more ships like the one they’d seen, hovering over major cities in every country. Some of them floated in clear blue skies, like the one over Oklahoma City. Others were barely visible against the black of night. Rain battered some, and one, suspended over Mendoza, Argentina was caught in a hailstorm. None of the ships seemed affected by the weather. They all just hung there, motionless.
“So far, the objects have refused all attempts at communication. China has deployed a squadron of its Chengdu J-20 fighter jets to confront the craft that appeared over Beijing. At this time, the US has launched no attack. We will keep you updated on the result of China’s efforts.”
Max stopped listening to the words, focusing instead on the newscaster himself.
News anchors were supposed to remain calm, never letting anything get to them. Through natural disasters and terrorist attacks, they were supposed to relay everything in the same neutral, almost robotic tone.
And while the newscaster’s voice did remain steady, the paper he held shook visibly in his hands. A fat bead of sweat shone on his upper forehead for a moment, before tumbling past his nose and down his cheek, like a teardrop.
That was unsettling enough. But it didn’t prepare Max for what happened next.
As the newscaster read from the teleprompter, a wide grin broke across his face.
The ivory tips of his incisors were showing.
1 hour before
On the day aliens invaded, Max Edwards went to the Somerton acreage to watch a horse get integrated into its new herd.
Jimmy Somerton was waiting for him in the driveway as Max pulled up to the Somerton acreage in his parents’ blue Subaru. He got out to greet his old friend with a handshake and a one-armed hug, both of them slapping the other on the back.
Jimmy brushed his dirty blond hair out of his eyes and gave Max the same unrestrained grin he had on the day they’d met. “If it ain’t my friend the stick jockey. You an ace yet?”
Max shook his head. He didn’t have Jimmy’s quick wit, not when it came to making clever remarks anyway, so he couldn’t think of much to fire back. “Not after just one year at the academy.”
“Oh, the academy!” Jimmy said, holding a pinky to the corner of his mouth and speaking in a British accent. “Excuse me, good sir. I didn’t realize.”
Max laughed. He knew not to take Jimmy seriously—at least, he knew now. They’d met at the end of freshman year, when Max had been fourteen and socially inept enough to take everything to heart. That had almost put an end to their new friendship, but Jimmy hadn’t given up on him.
“So, your folks let you take out their baby?” his friend said, glancing at the freshly waxed blue car. “Surprised they trusted you with it in rough country like this.”
“They’re on a work trip, getting back soon. They said they’ll grab an Uber from the airport, but they still want the car back by tonight. I’ll need to leave in a few hours.”
“Work trip.” Jimmy’s eyes all but sparkled as he repeated the words. “To where?”
Max sighed, overselling it a little. “New Mexico.”
“They didn’t tell me where in New Mexico, Jimmy.” Max knew this was why Jimmy had befriended him in the first place. In high school, Jimmy had been one of the ‘cool kids’—the kind who would never hang out with an outcast nerd like Max. Except, Jimmy was also a huge alien conspiracy theorist, and when he’d heard that Max’s parents worked on some secret government project, with frequent trips to New Mexico, he’d zeroed in on Max like a fly drawn to honey. Convinced that Peter and Cynthia Edwards were part of the massive government cover-up people like Jimmy usually believed in.
Plenty of times, Max had brought up the fact that, if his parents were in on some alien cover-up, shouldn’t they be visiting Nevada, and not New Mexico? Nevada was where Area 51 was—the place where all the secret experiments involving aliens were supposed to be going on. Even if aliens really had crashed at Roswell, why would the government bother hanging around there after whisking away their craft?
But that hadn’t deterred Jimmy. New Mexico was close enough, apparently.
Max had never figured out why being a UFO nut didn’t disqualify Jimmy from the cool kids’ club, while playing D&D and Magic: the Gathering kept Max out, and he’d given up trying well before they’d graduated together last year. But he didn’t hold it against Jimmy, just like he didn’t resent the reason they’d become friends in the first place. What counted was that they’d stayed friends, during a time when Max hadn’t had anyone else.
“It’s alien stuff,” Jimmy said. “And don’t try to tell me it isn’t.”
“They’re biotechnicians, Jimmy.”
“Sure. And they study alien biology. It fits. I bet they were poking and prodding the little gray bastards just this morning.”
Max could only laugh. He wished he knew enough about what his parents did to prove Jimmy wrong—but then, if he could have done that, they probably never would have started hanging out in the first place. Either way, that was the nature of his parents’ work. “Top Secret” didn’t mean “it’s okay to tell your kid.”
“When do I get to watch this horse get introduced?” he asked, attempting a change of topic.
“Oh. Right now.” He motioned for Max to follow, and together they passed into the pasture using the triangular walk-through gate, which was big enough for people but not horses. “The boarders are separating out a couple more horses as we speak. This is gonna be something to see, Max. I’ve seen plenty of herd integrations, but never a situation like this one.”
Max nodded, looking past Jimmy at the red roan that stood in the center of the field, ignoring the hay Jimmy had put down in the hopes it would distract the creatures from beating the crap out of each other. The great beast seemed to be looking right at Max, but he knew that wasn’t true. Horses could only see to the side, not straight ahead.
“Did I tell you we already tried integrating them once, last week?”
Max smiled. Jimmy’s memory is as bad as ever, he reflected. His friend had told him about last week’s attempt over the phone, all in a breathless rush. How the new horse had clashed with the herd’s current alpha, Bert, and the two had savagely bitten and kicked each other. Their owners rushed out, yelling and waving their hands, somehow managing to separate their animals without getting stampeded. “You said it was a mistake to try him with the whole herd, all at once.”
“Sure was. There’s not a gelding in the county more dominant than Bert. Except maybe that one.” Jimmy jerked his thumb toward the roan. The new horse.
All seven horses would need to learn to live together, but only two of them would decide what that would look like: Bert, the herd’s current alpha horse, and Yago, the newcomer.
“I tried to tell them we needed to introduce the other horses to Yago instead, a couple at a time. Let those horses warm up to him a little, then let in a couple more. But they wanted to do it all at once.” Jimmy lowered his voice. “Yago’s owner, Cal, he’s some tech star in Oklahoma City, and Bert’s owner is a big oil exec. Neither of them has time to do things properly, see.”
“Hmm.” Max understood having no time, but he was also used to doing things well in spite of it. His first year at the US Air Force Academy had taught him that.
As for the horses, they knew nothing of busy schedules or work demands. Their lives were determined by their owners, and Max didn’t have much sympathy for a horse owner who didn’t properly take responsibility for that.
“When were those two introduced to him?” he asked, gesturing toward the dark bay and the chestnut munching on hay beside Yago. As Max spoke, the bay started toward the fence where most of her old herd waited—all four of them lined up, staring in at the horses feeding inside the pasture.
Yago whinnied sharply, then veered in front of her, cutting her off. The bay screamed, then wheeled back.
“Couple days ago. Yago’s developed a pretty unhealthy relationship with one of the mares—the dark bay, there. He’s been totally dominating her. I don’t think her boyfriend’s very happy about it, either. Can you tell which one’s her boyfriend?”
Max studied the four horses lined up at the fence. One of them stood more rigid than the others, ears pinned back flat against his head. “The gray?”
“Yep. Ollie’s his name.” Jimmy chuckled. “He’s eighteen too, just like Yago. Pretty old, for horses as spiteful as they are. Daisy likes the older men—that’s the bay’s name.”
“Do you think the boyfriend will give Yago trouble?”
The left side of Jimmy’s mouth quirked toward his ear. “Nah.”
With that, Jimmy went to help the horse owners divide the four waiting horses in half, and they introduced the boyfriend next, along with a docile pinto who kept to one side as Yago met his new romantic competition. The humans retreated to the outside of the pasture, near Max, where they would monitor things over the fence.
Every time the gray tried to get close to his old lover, Yago would intervene, turning on a dime to aim his legs at Ollie. Knowing a kick was coming, Ollie backed off each time, trotting around for a better angle.
“Yago has some energy,” Jimmy said, peering down the fence at Cal.
The man Jimmy had said was a tech star nodded. “I forgot to tell him he’s getting old.”
That brought a chuckle from everyone except Rita, the oil exec who owned Bert. She stood near the fence with her husband, on the opposite side of Max and Jimmy, seeming to keep her distance from Cal.
Ollie made a dash for his love—and this time he overextended himself. Yago spun, hooves flashing out to connect squarely with the gray’s chest. He shrieked, then scampered away, making no more attempts to get past the roan.
On Max’s right, Rita exchanged glances with her husband. “Should we bring Bert in?”
Jimmy frowned. “Ideally, we’d give them a few days to settle like this.”
“Bring him in now.” Cal’s smile had taken on an unusual cast, to Max’s eye. “Let’s get this over with.”
Rita nodded. “Yeah. Okay.” She and her husband crossed the pasture to let in the final two horses.
“They own Bert and the other one, Brandy,” Jimmy said. “Those two have been together almost since they were foals. That’s one reason Bert always fights so hard to remain the alpha—if he has control of the herd, then he’s able to protect Brandy. Not so much, if another horse is in charge.”
Cal shifted his stance against the fence as he stared at Bert, who almost seemed to vibrate with pent-up energy. “He’s a beautiful horse, there’s no doubt about that. All muscle. But Yago’s going to take him apart.”
Jimmy’s frown returned. “Hopefully, neither of them gets taken apart.”
The tech worker shrugged. “They would, if they were alpha stallions fighting in the wild. They wouldn’t stop until one of them was dead.”
“Well, they’re geldings, and this isn’t the wild. They’ll figure it out.”
Cal just smiled.
The gate opened, and Bert charged straight for the other horses as his owners jogged back toward Max, Jimmy, and Cal. Yago aimed his hindquarters at the oncoming alpha, but Bert veered around, sinking his teeth into the roan’s neck. Yago shrieked, pulling away. Bert followed.
Max heard Cal cursing under his breath.
By the time Rita and her husband took their positions against the fence, Bert had Yago fully on the run. But Bert wasn’t chasing. Instead, he herded the other horses together in the center of the pasture, keeping himself between them and Yago. As for Yago, he loped in a wide circle around the herd, occasionally making a try for his favorite mare, only to be repelled by Bert.
“He’s beating himself out,” Rita’s husband said. He smiled at his wife. “Bert’s holding strong. It’ll be over soon.”
Max didn’t know how well horses understood tactics—maybe they understood them better than most humans. Either way, Bert was being smart by conserving his energy, keeping Yago running while staying put and locking down his herd. If it came down to another clash of biting and kicking like the one Jimmy had described from before, it was clear which horse would be freshest for it.
“Why do you keep running?” Cal said through gritted teeth. “You’re smarter than this.”
Rita stared down the fence at him. “Hey. The main thing is they sort this out without injury, right?”
Cal stared back at her, lips a thin line. “Yago’s the alpha. He’s always been the alpha. He’s not going to accept a lower spot.”
“Sure looks like it,” Rita’s husband said. “He’s charging less and less.”
It was true. Sweat gleamed on Yago’s dappled, dark-brown coat, and his breathing came in snorts and gasps. At last, he slowed to a trot, then stopped altogether. He began to graze.
“Good.” Rita let out a relieved-sounding sigh. “It’s over.”
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