Alien Education
Prologue and Chapter 1

It’s not easy saving the world. Or worlds. Or galaxy, when you get right down to it.

And yet, I and my nearest and dearest seem to have to do it all the time. Some people vacation in Gstaad. Some people hit the yacht club. Some go out for dinner and a movie. We get embroiled in life or death situations involving crazed megalomaniacs, slimy politicians, and aliens of all shapes and sizes.

Of course, this is all because I’m married to the Alien of Aliens. Not only is Jeff the hottest thing on two legs – or more, since now I know a lot of aliens with many more legs than two – but he’s also a born leader. Literally.

The surprises never stop coming for us. First, we got to discover that Jeff was part of the Annocusal Royal Family from the Alpha Centauri solar system, which was shocking since no one had ever shared that with him. Then we got to discover that, because he’d refused the crown on Alpha Four to return home to Earth, Alpha Four had just declared him the King Regent of Earth and called it good, again without sharing that with anyone else, like Jeff. They were kind of bossy that way.

And sandwiched in between these exciting royal facts was the “fun” of Jeff getting shoved into a political career he never wanted and then, due to those crazed megalomaniacs and slimy pols, becoming the President of the United States. And doing a bang up job with it, too, if you didn’t mind that the President was kicking butt a lot more than his predecessors had. Hey, we might have been shoved into political careers, but you couldn’t prove that any of our enemies noticed or cared.

Of course, that made me both the First Lady and the Queen Regent, and the less said about how unprepared I was and remain for both of those positions, the better. However, it came in handy when a ton of aliens were fleeing to Earth for protection and asylum. And I definitely represented, since my view of decorum is that it’s best left to others while leaving the kicking of butt to me.

Some people might be upset if the majority of the galaxy seemed to think they were The One for every girl fight around. But, as Joan Jett & The Blackhearts sang so well, neither Earth nor I care about our “Bad Reputation” throughout the planetary systems. Earth is considered the scrappy, nasty, vicious underdog you should never count out. And I’m apparently considered the go-to girl for any alien looking for someone to stare down whoever’s bullying them.

So, bring on the galaxy! We’re not afraid!

Well, um, okay. Earth and I are, admittedly, a little afraid. I mean, we’re great at the fighting. But we’re not so good at the playing nicely with others. And that appears to be what’s now expected. Save the day, instantly turn into the poster person for your planet. And Earth, as a planet made up of a fractious species that’s spent the majority of its entire existence trying to kill itself, is not, necessarily, going to represent well in Galactic Polite Society.

Jeff carries it off perfectly, though. Because he was born to it with all that royal family stuff going on and apparently the Force is strong with him on this one. I don’t. Because I was, as Motörhead so perfectly puts it, “Born To Raise Hell”.

In other words, I’m an Earth Girl, but I’ll never make it easy.

Chapter 1

“It’s another great day on Good Day USA!” the perky morning show host shared enthusiastically. “Our first hour we focused on all the new alien races we’ve gotten to know over these past few months.” The audience dutifully applauded. “This next hour is going to be even better, though, folks. We can’t wait because we’re just so excited to announce our next special guest!” More audience applause.

Didn’t share any of their enthusiasm, but then again, I was the opposite of a morning person and was still wondering why I was awake at this hour. Also could not remember the host’s name, which was because, in part, I was never up to watch these shows and, in other part, I was never up because I wasn’t a morning person and therefore wasn’t sure I currently remembered my own name.

She was pretty and Hispanic and that was all I was getting, because my brain didn’t want to do any work beyond what my eyes were sharing. Was fairly sure her name started with a K, since that appeared to be a morning show requirement. My name started with a K, too. Perhaps, in another part of the multiverse, I was a morning show anchor. Though I sincerely doubted it.

Her handsome male cohost, whose name was also escaping me, nodded equally enthusiastically. He was perky, too. Obnoxiously so. “This is a guest everyone wants, who we’re really proud to have been able to bring to our viewers first, because we go out of our way to start your days right! Don’t we, Kristie?”

Bingo, and starting with a K. Now if I could only remember his name. The dudes’ names didn’t seem to have a letter requirement. Managed to remember that he was a former baseball player, so there was that. He reminded me a lot of the late Michael Gower – big, bald, black, and beautiful, with definite charisma. The audience was clapping again. Was pretty sure there was a sign somewhere telling them to do so.

“We sure do, Adam!” Kristie said, still sounding amazingly perky. Hurray for the requirement on these shows to use your fellow hosts’ names at least once every ten minutes. “You all know her as the First Lady of the United States. Coming out right now, here’s Code Name: First Lady, Katherine Katt-Martini!”

Yes, that was me and, barring my being really lucky, I wasn’t asleep and this wasn’t a nightmare, at least, not a sleeping one. There were a lot of hells that politics had put me into, but none worse than this – being a guest on a morning talk show.

As the audience clapped themselves into a frenzy and I was gently shoved forward towards the stage by my so-called friends, I once again asked myself and the greater cosmos why anyone had thought this was a good idea. And also who hadn’t shared with Kristie and Adam that I never wanted anyone to refer to me as Code Name: First Lady. Whoever it was would be receiving a very nasty talking-to whenever I got out of here.

Wasn’t walking forward with the right amount of enthusiasm, and I knew it, since the stage manager hissed, “Move it!” to me. So much for the idea that being the FLOTUS got you any respect backstage.

Either he’d heard the stage manager or he was used to some guests not being thrilled to be on the show, because Adam jumped up out of his seat, trotted over to me, and escorted me to mine, potentially earning my lifelong love and adoration. He settled me into my so-called chair that was a lot more like a barstool with a back. I wasn’t tall, so it was a little awkward. Of course, Kristie wasn’t that tall, either, and she was making it work.

“Missus Martini,” she said, beaming and perky beyond belief, “thank you for joining us on Good Day USA!”

“Happy to be here,” I totally lied. “And please, call me Kitty.”

She and Adam exchanged thrilled glances. I sincerely doubted they were as excited as they looked. They were the top morning show in the country and they hadn’t gotten there by being dull to watch. And on the morning shows, reactions were Broadcast with a Capital B.

“Thank you…Kitty,” Kristie said, sounding as thrilled and perky as she looked. “Gosh, we have so many questions for you, don’t we, Adam?”

“We do!” Perk, perk, perk. These two were the King and Queen of Perkiness. “Kitty…gosh, I can’t believe I get to speak to you so informally, Kristie and I have been prepping questions nonstop since you agreed to come onto Good Day USA, and now that you’re here, I’m so excited that I just can’t remember half of them!”

Prayed that these two weren’t going to expect me to provide both questions and answers, because, if so, this program was about to go way down in the ratings. But a response seemed expected. “Um, that’s really sweet of you to say.”

“Isn’t she great, folks?” Kristie perked at the audience, as if I’d done an Oprah and just given everyone a car.

The audience applauded hysterically. There had to be a sign somewhere telling them to do so, but I couldn’t spot it from my vantage point of trying not to look at anyone or anything while still appearing poised and confident. Was pretty sure I was failing at all of it.

“Kitty, what’s it like to be a human and yet part of the American Centaurion population on Earth?” Adam asked, apparently having managed to remember at least one of his prepared questions. He’d traded perky for inquisitive. So at least there was that.

“It’s great. The A-Cs are wonderful people.”

“They’re stronger and faster than us, aren’t they?” Adam asked. “And better looking, too.”

“Well, yes.” The A-Cs had two hearts which meant they could move so fast a human couldn’t see them, and they were also super strong. I felt that hyperspeed was the better of the two, but I wasn’t going to complain about the extra strength, either. They also had extremely fast healing and regeneration, which was a huge bonus for those in active and dangerous roles. And, as Adam had said, they were, to a person, all gorgeous, representing every skin tone on Earth, and every body type, too, as long as the term “hardbody” was applied as well. “But I don’t think you have anything to feel inadequate about, Adam.”

This earned me wild applause from the audience and some women whooped their approval. Adam looked flattered and a little embarrassed. So, presumably I was doing okay. As long as they didn’t ask if I had any A-C bells and whistles, we were good. Because I did and no one wanted me talking about it.

Due to the mother-and-child feedback that had happened when I’d been pregnant with and given birth to our daughter, Jamie, I’d reverse inherited the A-C superstrength and hyperspeed. I’d also gotten a talent, and one that wasn’t normal for A-Cs.

Talents didn’t go to every A-C, but they got talents far more frequently than would seem statistically normal. Jeff was an empath – in fact, due to being given Surcenthumain, aka the Superpowers Drug, by some of our enemies, he was likely the strongest empath in the galaxy. Empaths felt emotions, everyone’s emotions, all the time. They had ways to block the emotions, but still, they were walking lie-detectors among other things.

Imageers had been more powerful before our enemies had introduced a virus that successfully muted their powers. Done, most likely, to prevent Jeff’s cousin, Christopher White, from discovering who our late, great enemy, the Mastermind, had really been. Before that, though, imageers could not only manipulate any image but they could read them, too, the pictures making a copy of mind and soul as well as the body, at least as Christopher had explained it.

There were also dream and memory readers, but that talent was extremely rare. The third most common power, however, was also the one that got the least amount of respect – troubadours. This power was all in the voice, expressions, and body language. In other words, perfect for actors and politicians, which was why it was looked down upon by most of the A-C population. Of course, what most of that population hadn’t realized was that it made troubadours incredibly powerful and totally stealth.

However, my talent was none of these. My talent was being Dr. Doolittle. Thankfully there wasn’t supposed to be an animal segment on today’s show, because the chances of me having a chat with said animal would be high. I couldn’t help it – animals liked to talk to me.

“What’s it like to be married to an A-C?” Kristie asked, bringing perky back.

Well, at least these were softball questions, so I had that going for me, though I’d have rather been listening to Justin Timberlake bringing “SexyBack”. But what I wanted and what I got were not always one and the same.

Of course, had to make sure I censored my reply, because, as far as I was concerned, the number one best part of being married to my husband was Jeff’s bedroom prowess and regenerative abilities, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that no one wanted me sharing that with anyone, let alone the largest morning show viewership in the world.

“Wonderful. Jeff is a wonderful husband and father, just like he’s a wonderful leader.” I was using the word “wonderful” too much. But this wasn’t my element and six in the morning really wasn’t my time zone, and despite everything I was still having trouble focusing. “I’m always proud of him because he always does what’s best for his people.”

“Do you mean that as for American Centaurion, for Centaurion Division, for the American people, or for the world at large?” Kristie asked, sadly trading perky for this show’s version of hard-hitting. “He is the King Regent of Earth for the Annocusal Royal Family, who control all of the Alpha Centauri system, isn’t that right?”

“That’s right. And I mean for all of them. Jeff’s always been focused on protecting the people of Earth when he was in and then the head of Centaurion Division, even before he became a Representative, let alone the Vice President or President.”

Managed not to say more about the whole King Regent thing, in part because that made me the Queen Regent and in other part because Jeff was working really hard to ensure that the Earth governments remained at least somewhat stable. It was a very interesting time to be on Earth, but I didn’t want to share that with the cast, crew, and viewership of Good Day USA if I could possibly help it.

“What’s it like being Queen Regent?” Adam asked, destroying my hopes of the conversation going elsewhere.

“It’s fine. I’m more focused on the duties of the Office of the First Lady and my family.” Thanked Jeff’s Chief of Staff, Rajnish Singh, for drilling that line into me. Of course, Raj had been the one who’d arranged this little shindig, so my mental thanks were only halfhearted. Raj was a troubadour, so to him, this wasn’t a Stress Test of Horror, it was just a great way to keep Jeff’s approval rating high.

Kristie and Adam both looked at me expectantly. Apparently more of a response was expected. “Um, sorry, but honestly, I’m a little nervous. This is my first time on TV.”

This earned me huge belly laughs from Kristie, Adam, and the studio audience. “Oh, isn’t our First Lady just a hoot and a half?” Adam asked the crowd.

I’d been told there were two large TV screens where the audience could see them, and also there was a smaller one in front of the stage, where the hosts and guests could watch whatever footage the show was airing, so that actors would know for sure what scene from their latest movie or TV show was being touted and therefore react accordingly. Hadn’t spotted this before, but Adam and Kristie stopped grinning like the Joker and Harley Quinn and both looked ahead and sort of down.

Followed their lead, found the screen, and saw that it had images on it. Images of me.

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