Mommy, Where Did I Come From?

Submitted into Contest #210 in response to: Set your story after aliens have officially arrived on Earth.... view prompt


Science Fiction

The car sped across the George and Cynthia Mitchell Memorial Causeway. The view of the Gulf of Mexico was obscured by a foggy drizzle, but from the car’s window, she could see palm trees waving ever so slightly in the humid September breeze.

The narrow causeway is the only connection between Galveston and

the Texas mainland. The car merged onto the Gulf Highway amid the early afternoon rush hour traffic.

The young physician, a specialist in her field on the

the state-of-the-art biohazardous and infectious disease biocontainment unit at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston was in a hurry.

The car wound along the Gulf Waters heading toward Clear Lake City Texas and the location of NASA and the Lyndon B Johnson Space Center.

A few days earlier Dr. Starr and her multi-discipline team were called in to consult with NASA flight surgeons from the Lyndon B. Johnson Medical Center on a case that was very possibly a viral or bacterial space-borne pathogen that killed members of the NASA Astronaut corps and the astronaut candidate training program.

Since scientists had determined early in the space exploration initiative that viruses and bacteria were not able to survive

in the vacuous state of interplanetary space, this was an alarming discovery.

It seemed reasonable to conclude that the pathogen was aboard the SpaceX Dragon Capsule returning a payload of crew members from the international space station. 

An outbreak of this magnitude at NASA would be difficult to hide from news outlets and leaks were even harder to prevent. This was true of many things related to the space administration and it would require confidentiality, and if necessary viewed only

on a ‘need to know’ basis. Eventually, the report would be deep-sixed and never avowed by the government.

The deadly contagion attacked and desiccated the bodies of not only seasoned astronauts but candidates in the two-year training program (AsCANS), and civilian employees of the space program who came

In contact with it.

From the deceased’s postmortems, the microorganism was isolated, and testing for the pathogen commenced in the hopes of finding those exposed to it before they developed symptoms. 

One astronaut canidate tested positive for the contagion but remained asymptomatic. The candidate trainee, Captain John Starr Jr., was formerly a Navy pilot and the brother of Dr. Jane Starr.  

A thorough workup ensued concentrating heavily on the autoimmune response of Dr. Starr’s brother. A myriad of diagnostic tests were ordered that included bloodwork and DNA sequencing.

From the results of his examination, it was quickly determined that he possessed a rare marker in his blood which led to DNA and RNA chromosome testing. The outcomes of the rapid sequencing confirmed one-third of his DNA to be of nonhuman origin. 

The trainee’s sister in turn had blood drawn

and needle aspiration of tissues, and her DNA sent to laboratory geneticists for rapid sequencing. Analysis of the specimens revealed the same anomalies as her brother’s.

Compliance with HIPAA privacy laws would go only so far where this type of clinical discovery was concerned and she was afraid this information wouldn't bode well for her future or that of her family.

Incidentally, at his sister’s urging, the Captain was reported to be MIA from UTMB and the AsCANS training center earlier that morning.

So now the young doctor a tall and unusually attractive woman with almond-shaped pale grey eyes was following her brother's lead. To where she didn't know and from what she could only imagine were government entities that would love to slice and dice any humans with a connection to an alien race or the.

Answers might be found in Clear Lake City Texas with Dr. Theophilus McConnell. A former air force colonel and the head of the contingent of NASA flight surgeons consulting with the Starr team at UTMB regarding the recent contagion that befell the National Space Agency.

There was an undeniable spark between Dr. Starr and her fellow epidemiologist. That spark hopefully meant that he would help her find out who she was beneath the human exterior. 

It wasn’t a good idea to call the McConnell residence because of the potential of her calls being traced by entities that kept a visual on the skies for any possible hint of alien visitors and were most likely already aware of her recent findings.

Darkness was moving in over the bay area and it created a deceptive feeling of safety hopefully camouflaging her movements

The address she sought was relatively close to NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. The car lights were turned off for the final stretch to her destination just for a little added precaution in case her moves were being watched.

The tall bearded man with a head full of thick red hair had always reminded her of the former Prince Harry who spoke in a low-pressured tone telling his visitor,

“Doctor, what I’m about to divulge here is highly sensitive information.”

The disclosure he spoke of involved an agency code-name—CATAPULT, that Dr. Theophilus McComnell was part of before joining NASA. The clandestine agency dealt intimately with alien beings. Beings who he described as,

“An integral part of Earth's population and very possibly its salvation.”

The admission wasn't a total shock to Dr. Starr, given the rumors about the covert work he was linked to circulated through the hallways during his short tenure at UTMB. Nevertheless, it did tweak her interest. 

Further background detailed a hunch he had that something more was amiss with the recent outbreak at NASA and that UTMB assessment of its origin was only half of the picture, 

Microbiologists were contacted at the research department of his former employer. and their help enlisted. Help that was invaluable given their expertise in

biological warfare.

After receiving the specimens from the level-4 biosafety laboratory at UTMB Catapult’s biologists took a closer look at the collected material.

In UTMB’s summation of their findings, they noted that the pathogen used to attack the space administration had all the earmarks of germ warfare, also referred to as biological weaponry.

Perhaps, more importantly, was the aerospace medicine specialist and master flight surgeon former associate’s vast knowledge of nano-robotics and alien technology. 

Catapult’s Intel had recently picked up chatter regarding the nefarious activities of one of Catapult’s Interstellar partners.

Consequently, the forensic makeup of microorganisms from the UTMB

lab weren't completely unexpected.

The agency’s nanorobotics experts identified a self-propelled, nearly undetectable machine tightly woven into the nucleus of the eukaryotic cell found in the specimens. 

The nanobot, for many years depicted as futuristic in science fiction novals and movies, has become an integral part of our modern medical reality. The nanobot differed from the injectable nanobots Dr. Starr was familiar with, and used to target specific cancers.

Informants from the agency confided to their past associate that the nanobot they found deeply entwined in the cell was more of a heat-seeking missile. A weapon launched with a telemetry data program guiding it directly to the intended target. Further analysis of the mechanism found it was made up of a network of billions of smaller cells armed with a nanobot, ready to disburse the contagion in a time-released manner. 

The signature fingerprint on the bot was unmistakable proof that directed Catapult back to a civilization they had developed a relationship with well over a hundred years ago.

Thousands of the civilization's people had since relocated here from the icy planet Terra Stirious hidden in the Kuiper Asteroid Belt, just outside the Earth's solar system. The information brought to mind the picture on John Starr Sr.'s office wall of an asteroid belt.

Her father a renowned astronomer didn’t give the name but now his daughter wondered if it

was the Kuiper Asteroid Belt. He gave the location as being just outside Earth’s solar system and she found him often staring at it wistfully when she was a youngster.

Intrigued, Dr. Starr asked,

“Theophilus, how in the world did anyone travel from the edge of interstellar space to Earth?”

It seemed to her that he was well acquainted with Terra Stiriousan’s history as he described their mode of transportation.

“The peoples' migration to Earth took place in a vessel that was reminiscent of our tram or monorail systems.

The Terra Stiriousans designed a craft equipped to travel through a designated wormhole leading to one of several active vortexes in the US and others found off our shores.”

The one that often comes to mind is the Bermuda Triangle, although not widely recognized as a gateway between worlds. It was and continues to be the most frequently used port of entry for the planet’s expatriates. A retrieval unit working for his former employers met the Terra Stiriousans on their arrival at the portal.

More surprising to her was Dr. McConnell's history with her family’s people, a history beginning fifteen years ago through his work in an alien assistance program. 

Her parents arrived here with their closest family units and their more distant offshoots. The agency disseminated all of the famille groups throughout the country and globally.

“Doctor, Theophilus, Jane asked, how did Catapult come about in the first place?”

Referencing the archives and what he knew from his involvement in the agency, Operation Catapult was the brainchild of a collective of concerned individuals who came from around the globe as early as the mid-eighteen hundreds. Many of whom held differing views and were from an assortment of scientific communities.

However, they had the foresight to see there was trouble for our planet on the horizon, and a common goal.

That Being to make contact, collaborate and offer support to outer planetary beings who wanted to aid Earth in working toward the mutually beneficial goal of saving us from ourselves.

Concerned, Dr. Starr asked,

“What will happen now to Earth’s relationship with Terra Stirious?”

The Catapult operatives informed him that official cunniquies over the past few hours with the Terra Stiriousans suggested that the prospects for a peaceful solution looked promising. The planet’s military attachés admitted that their microbiologists and their military’s technical engineers had developed the bioweapon code-named Glacies Arma, 

“Loosely translated from their native language which is a series of clicks, clacks, and screeching, it means ice weapon,”

Dr. McConnell told her.”

“Thankfully he added, with a grin the vocal cord and inner ear implants have overcome any language barriers”

 “Why would

supposed allies of Earth turn on us,“ Jane Starr asked.

“Because, Dr. McConnell answered, from the planet’s governing body’s viewpoint, the work the Terra Stiriousan volunteers came here to accomplish lagged far behind their expectations, as evidenced by continued conflicts between our world governments and the growing climate crisis,”

The aforementioned ranked at the top of the government leader's list of Earth's egregious failings. They feared Earth's problems would impact their planet and other solar systems negatively, provoking the attack on the on our aeronautics and space program using their advanced germ warfare. Germ warfare they knew beforehand would not affect the former inhabitants of their planet as evidenced by

Captain Starr’s resistance.

The civilization’s people came here to implement a change of direction, hoping to divert Earth from its steady path of self-destruction. It looked to the civilization’s leadership as though things were getting worse. The bioweapon was a warning shot over the bow for an Earth-running amuck. The returning capsule was in a handy location. It provided a cover, disguising it as an organism that just happened along from outer space and hitched a ride on the SpaceX shuttle.

During special satellite transmissions over the past day or so with the planet's officials, all indications pointed toward the diplomatic channels opening so that negotiations could begin.

According to Dr. McConnell’s contacts, the Terra Stiriousans signaled they desperately wanted a truce. The agency felt strongly that the leaders realized they had made a terrible error in judgment.

“Dare I asked what

was the process of developing what can only be described as highbred humans,”

she quipped, but eyed him anxiously for an answer because it was obvious

that’s what the

Starr siblings were, hybreds with a price on their heads.

Theophilus McConnell

wasn’t involved in the agency’s operations that far back. Nonetheless, he was aware of a more recent person to lend his expertise to the covert operation. That being someone familiar to

Dr. Starr. Dr. Melvin Louis, a reproductive endocrinologist, and his assistant Charlotte Fabian. Both had come to work forty some years ago for Catapult to take over an underground fertility laboratory that was set up before the turn of the century. Its purpose was to facilitate the fusion of DNA between the Terra Stiriousans and humans. 

“Yes, of course, Dr. Starr turned to look at him as she spoke, I recognize the names as our doctor and his nurse from when my brother and I were children. They always made house calls and it was all very hush-hush.”

“House calls, yes, it would make sense to limit the chance of exposing your innate differences from that of humans to the anyone else in the medical field,”

he told Jane as he reached out and stroked her cheek.

In hindsight, it did seem that her medical files and those of her brother over the years showed nothing relevant to and certainly not to their ancestry. In fact they were sketchy at best, void any actual details and now there was an answer.

There was no firsthand knowledge of the program for Theophilus to refer to,

only the files he had accessed before. In the Starr’s case, as in most instances her father's genetic material and that of a human donor, which comprised more than half of the sperm donation, were conjoined by a process perfected by Terra Stiriousans scientists. The human DNA made up more of the genetic offering because, early in the planning stage of the genetic manipulation objective, the program's architects believed it would limit the need for extensive augmentation of the more obvious physical dissimilarities in future offspring. 

Fertilization proceeded using the sperm from the two separate donors and the component developed by their scientists to bind the two donor's chromosomes together to fertilize the ovum as one. Implanting of the resulting embryos took place in her mother's uterus because the extraction of the ova originally came from her Fallopian Tubes. After implantation occurred Mary Starr carried Jane and Captain Starr in her womb for the remainder of each one’s gestational period.  

The idea that there were secret fertility labs at work genetically engineering a new race of people in the late eighteen hundreds was ironic in Jane's opinion, and she reminded him of that sad fact rather indignantly,

“Women in this country didn't have the right to vote, never mind any reproductive autonomy,” 

Theophilus McConnell stepped towards Jane, encircling her in his arms, and he whispered

“Jane, listen to me, I believe you’re safe for the moment, but I think it best we get out of here.”

“What about my parents and John?" she asked, her voice trailing off.

They are safe under Catapult’s protection and the same is true for you and me.

Please trust me, Dr. Starr, I’ve been in love with you from the first day I stepped onto the UTMB helipad after the flight from the Johnson Medical Center. Before he could finished their lips came together and the realization that she wanted more than was possible at the moment set a shiver through her body.

“I promise you, he murmured against her soft short brown hair, we will return to work in a medical capacity for Catapult.

“Your family will join us to continue their work to better our world. 

“But first,” he added with a smile, we’ll need to disappear for a while. That will allow time for us to become better acquainted.”

She inhaled deeply and uttered a simple, 


August 11, 2023 03:27

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