Chapter One

I stepped out of the space ship. I was dressed in human clothes, a cotton shirt and blue jeans. I looked much like them. Our bodies were the same. We had two arms with hands and fingers, two legs with feet and toes. We had a head and a neck. Our bodies work quite similarly, too. The only difference that was noticeable was a small star on the back of our ears. The star symbolized our planet. It had five points symbolizing our five founders: Corlar, Adreda, Norvin, Brobin, and Vred. The five of them were humans who had acquired an amazing intelligence. They had traveled galaxies to reach our planet, Cadnor. When they finally did, they created an atmosphere much like Earth's but richer in oxygen and much healthier.

In the times of the founders, Earth's atmosphere was already deteriorating. They called it Global Warming. One day the petroleum ran out. In looking for answers, the founders went in a mission adventure, never returning. It was said here on Earth that they had died while traveling since the radio connections with Earth had died after one month of traveling. Meanwhile, scientists were looking for answers that didn't involve crossing the universe. Luckily, they had created a new form of energy. Since then, Earth and its people had been running as smoothly as if nothing had ever happened. The founders never bothered to contact Earth again and they started creating humans to form a community on Cadnor. They reproduced amongst themselves but they also created the humans out of DNA they had brought from Earth in a small laboratory. Corlar and Adreda had two female children and one male child. Mortar was a descendant from them himself. He had told me when I was younger that I had been a descendant from the first laboratory created human. The thought of it made my body get goosebumps. I never bothered to learn how the founders created the laboratory-made children. It was something that for some reason made me think as a different race, and I didn't like thinking it was true.

As soon as I got out of the space ship, I practically ran towards the registration building. The registration building was the first building we made on Earth. What was done in here was no mystery to us. Newly arrived Cadnors went inside the building to create a new human profile. The profiles included birth certificates, passports, social security numbers, and such things that gave you a human identity. As I ran towards the building, I noticed for the first time the climate on this part of Earth. It was hot and dry, I quickly remembered the name for it from when we had prepared ourselves for the voyage, it was called a desert. I theorized that we had landed in a desert too dry and hot for any human to come. We wanted our space ship well hidden, just in case. I also noticed that the air was different. It contained less oxygen than ours but it was definitely healthier than how it was back in the days of the founders, that I could tell.

I entered the tall building. It looked a lot like the human buildings with windows and marble floors. Some windows were tall enough that they ran from ceiling to floor. There was a desk a few yards in front of me with a smiling woman—one of our kind- sitting behind it. She had nice, long brown wavy hair. Her skin was slightly tanned and she wore a gray work suit. Her smile widened as I approached the desk.

"Hello," the woman said. I could now read her name tag. Her name was Vivienne. When we registered, we changed our names to more human-like names.

"Hello," I said, giving her a smile back.

"First time?" she asked. She probably hadn't attended anyone in a while since most of our kind had already left the ship.

"Yes," I said.

"Well, then let's get started. First thing's first." She ducked under the counter. She came up in no longer than a second. In her hands was a folder with a sheet of paper inside. "What's your name?" she asked.

"Jevnah," I said. Our kind had no last name. A unique name was given to every one of us when we are born. The woman nodded and continued asking me questions.

"What will your name be?"

"Sarah Heder," I said. Shortly before we arrived, I had already picked my human name.

"What will your age be?" she asked without taking her eyes off the paper.

"What age do I look like?" I asked. I was not familiar with human years. This time, she tore her eyes from the paper and looked at me. In a few seconds she said,

"Seventeen."

I nodded and she looked at the paper and wrote down two neat numbers, one and seven.

"What will your mother and father's name be?"

"Candice and James Avoy."

"What happened to them?"

"They died in an accident and I went to live with my cousin," I said, pausing. My friend and I had agreed that we were going to be cousins in this new planet. I tried to remember what her chosen human name was. Finally, I remembered. "Her human name is Margarite."

"We have the basics. Now, you will follow me and we'll take your picture for the documents and create a profile for you about your history. You will have to learn this profile in order to recount it at any given notice. We will also sign you up at a high school." She stood up and I followed her. She got in an elevator and pushed the button for the third floor and the doors closed.

When the doors opened, I saw that this floor was very similar to the one we just left. It had marble floors but no desk. Instead, it had a few little offices. I followed Vivienne into one of the offices. It was small. The walls were cream colored except one, which was white and smooth. She pointed towards a stool that rested against the wall.

"Sit there," she said. I did as I was told. Vivienne opened a little closet and took out a digital camera. "I'm going to take your picture for the passports, licenses, and such. You can smile if you want," she added. I looked at the camera and curled the edges of my lips, a bad attempt to smiling. She took the picture and the camera flashed which made my eyes water. She walked towards a table in the corner. The table had a small photo printer on top. She inserted the memory stick and pressed a few buttons. Within a minute, I had my photo printed.

"Stay here," she said without looking at me. I nodded. She went out of the office and by the sound of opening and closings of doors, I realized that she must have entered another one. I waited for ten minutes before she got back.

"Here," she said when she came back. She opened a legal folder and took out its contents. There was a passport, birth certificates, social security numbers, and other documents I couldn't make out. She searched through them until she found the one she was looking for.

"What's that?" I asked.

"Your high school application," she answered, not offering to explain.

"What high school will I be in?" I encouraged. She sat behind the little desk at the west end of the office.

"Madison West High School in Madison, Wisconsin," she said. She started scribbling some things into the application paper.

"Madison, Wisconsin." The name was unfamiliar to me, I didn't know a thing about where we were except that the planet was called Earth.

"Wisconsin is a state in this country. The country is called United States of America. Right now we're in a desert in Arizona. It's very hot and no one comes here." She took out a map and pointed her slim finger at a name. It said 'Arizona'. "That's were we are, and this...," she said, moving her smooth finger north across the map. She stopped at a place named Wisconsin, "is where you're going."

"It seems far," I commented.

"It is," she said as she put away the map.

"Your friend is also attending Madison West, her house is a couple of blocks away. We have already informed her of your arrival." She stapled some papers together.

"What grade will I be in?" I asked.

"You'll be a junior," she answered. I looked at her in confusion. I didn't know what a 'junior' was; did it have to do with high school at all? She read my expression and explained, "Schools here are very different. Our schools have three grades: Basic for the toddlers up to eight years, Intermediate for kids up until fifteen, and Advance for the teens up to eighteen. Here, grades are only one year long. Every year you will change grades. According to your age, you're supposed to be in the eleventh grade, also called The Juniors. Although you will have the intelligence of third year college students-"

"College?" I asked.

"College is a school that prepares you in a more detailed way for a professional career. As I was saying, you will have a higher intelligence than your fellow juniors but I think you'll fit right in." When she finished explaining me, she gave me a hopeful smile. I returned it with one of my own, although not as meaningful as hers. I nodded.

"Is that all?" I asked.

"No," she said, shaking her head. "We need to review your information," she concluded, looking up from her papers and at me. She took all the papers from the envelope and set them in front of her.

For some reason, I did want to review my information. I wasn't sure if I was ready enough to go out into the human world.

"Basic things first. You can't tell a human who we are and what are we doing here. Although our species is more like humans than any other species, we are molecularly different. Our neurons work in a different way than theirs. You can not tell them our purpose."

"Purpose? We have a purpose from coming here?" I asked, now extremely curious. Vivienne tried not to react to my question but her eyes widened and she made a low shriek. When her expression returned to normal, she sighed.

"Yes. Our founders never revealed their secret. They never said how did they achieve to create our species. The only details we have is that they used their own DNA to reproduce; we have nothing else. We come here to discover that secret. Our...experiment...consists of trying to perform the same procedure that the founders did in order to find our answer," she paused and sighed, "we have not been successful. We have been here nearly five months and we still can't recreate what the founders did. The building a few miles from here is a laboratory, we use it to make our experiments. It's a shame when the experiments don't work and the humans die, but it's all for the greater good," she sighed again. I could tell that this made her sad but I couldn't hold my bewilderment. They killed humans? No, they couldn't! We weren't like that! She saw my expression, much like hers when she had heard my question in the first place. I looked past her and into a mirror that hung in the wall behind her. My face looked bewildered, my green eyes were wide open. My copper colored hair somehow shone brighter.

"I know dear," she said after a minute's pause. "It's almost barbaric but we need to do it. Our species is..." she trailed off. Our species is what? I wanted to say but I couldn't get the words out of my mouth.

"What?" I croaked, choking on air. I coughed twice before she answered my question.

"Our species is slowly dying," she finally said and she started sobbing.