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As any self-respecting Brit will tell you, there is not a lot that a cup of tea can’t fix. Rough day at work? Put the kettle on. Broken heart? Pour yourself a cuppa. Alien invasion? You’ll be ready for an apocalypse as soon as you’ve had your brew.

(From the BBC.)

Alan had just put the kettle on when the classical music was suddenly silenced.  A shocked voice came over the radio in its place.

“This just in… a… I can’t believe I’m going to say this.  An alien space ship has appeared over London.  The craft, which is the size of Hyde Park, has so far not disgorged any aliens, or done anything except circle the city.

“Residents are advised to stay indoors and not try to leave, as the roads would quickly become impassable.

“We will give you further updates as they become available, so stay tuned.”

The music started up again.  A piano concerto, Alan noticed absently.  He mechanically reached for the tea-pot.  It was a beautiful cast iron pot, with a mesh basket for the leaves; it had been a wedding present many years before.  He pulled a tin out of the cupboard and put a spoonful of tea leaves in the pot.  The kettle clicked off, so he poured boiling water over the leaves and placed the lid on top.  By the time the tea had brewed, his mind was starting to work again.

Aliens!  I wish Maria was here, she would have loved this.  I hope they’re friendly.  I wonder why they haven’t shown themselves yet.  Maybe they’re trying to figure out who is in charge.

He poured a cup of tea into his favourite mug – a gift from one of the children, with “World’s Best Dad” splashed across the side.  As he settled into the sofa and picked up his book, the music on the radio suddenly cut off once again.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the spaceship has opened.  Five… humanoid creatures, with blue skin and what are being described as “rabbit-like” ears have emerged on what appears to be a floating platform.  They are floating towards the centre of London.  Hold on… yes, it appears that their target is Buckingham Palace.  We’re going live now to our Palace correspondent, Mark Aldridge.  What can you tell us Mark?”

“Thank you.  I’m standing here in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.  The Queen has refused the requests of her security detail and is standing out here with us, watching the platform approach.  Near her I can see a butler, he is carrying a silver tray containing a tea-pot, cups and saucers.  It appears that the Queen has decided to welcome the aliens to Britain by sharing with them that quintessentially British drink.  An interesting choice.”

“Thanks Mark.  We’re already getting some comments from listeners via Twitter and email.  Suzie from South London says ‘Cuppa tea?  Is the Queen mental?’, while Ron from Berkshire asks if the aliens will understand that it’s a drink.”

Alan searched around until he found the TV remote and flicked it on.  This he had to see.  The TV was already showing BBC News 24, but he suspected it wouldn’t have mattered – this would be on every channel.  Absently he turned off the radio.  The TV cameras were pointing away from the Palace, showing the aliens approaching.  There only seemed to be one reporter; he supposed it must be the same one talking on the radio and the TV.

Slowly, the platform descended.  The aliens – blue, with rabbit ears just like the reporter had said – stepped down onto the Palace grounds.  One of them opened their mouth and emitted a string of nonsense syllables.

“Alaoosh bokdai ik thandk berko, orch ik dram!”

Alan shook his head.  Languages had never been his strong point, but that definitely wasn’t English!  Turns out that aliens can’t all learn our language from TV.  Who would have thought?

The Queen stepped forwards, closely followed by her butler and what Alan could only assume was a bodyguard.

“We welcome you to the United Kingdom.  We hope you will enjoy your time here and make many new friends.  Would you like a cup of tea?”

She gestured to the butler, and he held out the tray.  The Queen took one of the cups and held it, and the man approached the aliens.  The tray shook slightly in his grip.  The lead alien poked the cups with a long finger – it had seven of them – and eventually picked one up.  The other aliens followed the lead of their comrade.

The Queen took a sip of her own drink, and this seemed to encourage the aliens to try theirs.  One of the aliens took a long slurp.  He started making excited sounds and the others all took drinks as well.  They all gestured wildly for a few moments, chittering at each other.

Suddenly, the first alien staggered.  His long ears drooped alarmingly, and he began to tremble.  The blue of his face was slowly turning purple, his eyes bulging.  The other aliens were alarmed, but were staggering and trembling themselves before they could do anything about it.  In a matter of moments, all five of the now purple aliens were lying on the ground, completely still.

The Queen took a step backwards, her hand raised to her mouth.  The reporter was droning on in the background about the terrible smell, but Alan wasn’t listening.  Had the Queen just killed five alien emissaries with a cup of tea?  He looked at the mug in his own hand with newfound respect.

A giant flash of light lit up the TV screen, and the camera shook wildly.  When the picture cleared the camera was lying on its side.  Alan could see the reporter’s unmoving leg, the rest of his body off camera, and behind him, the Palace in ruins.  It had been completely obliterated with one blast from the alien spaceship.  More flashes of light covered the screen, the camera shaking with each new impact.

And then, quite suddenly, the picture was replaced by static.

The Author

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist who runs two Brownie packs and works full time. She somehow still finds time to write.

Her favourite genres are near-future and alternate world science fiction and fantasy.

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