"Alright, class! Turn to page 235 in your textbooks. Today we will be learning about dividing polynomials among multiple sets..." the teacher, Mrs. Heimer, spoke to her Algebra 2 class.

Along the rows and columns of desks situated in the classroom sat her students: Ava Brown, Marcos Waters, Elena Shapirov, Jered Holt, Derrick Tóth-Mlynarovič, and just next to him and Ava sat Ignacio Cortéz, one of the most extraordinary students one will find in the school of East Tyman High School, and perhaps in all of Oso Peak, California.

Why was he so extraordinary, one might ask. He was the descendant of the famous explorer Hernán Cortéz, the one who had established new land in Mexico and the Americas, who also had to invade, capture, and/or kill most of the Aztec population to do that...

Being the great-great-great-great-great grandson of such an explorer truly had its ups and downs. First off, the entire school thinks that he's the king of World History class, but actually, he wasn't. Sure, he was a B+ average student in there, but he believed that they would expect him to get A+++.

But luckily, they were in algebra class, and hopefully Cortéz has nothing to do with this...

"Ignacio, would you read Question #12 on page 236 for us?" Mrs. Heimer spoke to him diligently.

"Sure!" he replied with, but later he wished he hadn't said that.

Hernán Cortéz had two children, who in turn had twice as many children as he had cousins, except for the time of his death. At this rate, how many children did his cousins have if each cousin had 4 children every other generation and 2 children the rest? And how many times does this repeat throughout the many generations of his extended family?

Whoever wrote this textbook must be messing with Ignacio, because this is starting to get ridiculous.


When he got home that day, he was surprised to see that his parents, María Cortéz and Lawrence Fischer III, were practically glued to the TV screen. The words BREAKING NEWS spread across the screen in huge letters.

"What's going on?" he told them, inquisitive about this apparent "breaking news". Then the TV anchor spoke in his nearly monotone voice:

"An aeroplane on its way from Phoenix, Arizona to Charlotte, North Carolina has mysteriously froze in midair somewhere over Oklahoma City, then abruptly crashed in Iowa, some eyewitness reports say. Though everyone on board survived, the pilot of the plane denies any weird activity, such as engine or cockpit malfunctions, that went on, and actually doesn't remember the plane being frozen at all."

"That's unusual!" Ignacio remarked softly, still bewildered by this piece of breaking news.

"It truly is, son!" his dad told him. His mom was still speechless.

"Do you think it was some kind of extraterrestrial force?" Ignacio asked his parents, who both shushed him for some unknown reason.

"We can't make such hasty and rash conclusions like that, dear!" his mother spoke for the first time since he got home from school. "And please keep your voice down, people will think that I'm responsible for it!"

"Why you? Do you actually have something to do with this phenomena?"

"No, I don't, dear. Now go upstairs and finish your homework as soon as possible!" he told Ignacio. He ran up the stairs as quickly as he could, opened up his laptop, and pulled up Skype, where he found his best friends Ava and Jered in both of the split ends of the window.

"Hi, guys!" he told them from the confort of his bedroom.

"Hey, Ig!" Jered and Ava said in unison. "What's been happening lately?"

"I don't exactly know, some plane stopped in midair on its way to the East Coast. I'm thinking about us investigating it, see why this is happening!"

"Wait, did you say 'stopped in midair'?" Ava spoke in surprise. "I've seen this before, back in 2003 when I was barely born. A plane, apparently on its way from Mexico City to Seattle stopped in midair just outside our house. We thought it was some kind of UFO that was trying to kidnap the pilot and the passengers!

"I decided to do a bit of research on this particular subject when I saw it appear again in 2009 and 2014. It appears that when comparing the dates of these supernatural events, they all happen on the second week, or trecena, of the Aztec calendar: Ocelotl, the jaguar..."+

"Queztalcoatl" was all Ignacio could say.