A few in Margate – mainly taxi drivers and some pensioners with a lot of time on their hands and a penchant for gazing out of their bay windows – eventually noticed the absence of the unobtrusive middle aged man with his pair of Chihuahuas. Certainly the junkie living on the dole next door to the now-empty flat would remember the trio and treasure the odd memento given to him one day by ‘T’.
When asked for some money, ‘T’ had shrugged and, rummaging in the pocket of his tweed jacket, produced a transit token from the home world of the Confederation and gave it to the bemused petitioner in lieu of ‘spare change’. For his part, the dolester, who also played a kind of part-time shamanistic role among others of his kind, had a keen eye for an exotic commodity and accepted the gift with a knowing wink.
The fact-finding mission had been deemed – at least by the three embedded Ossyrian agents – as a great success. Immediately upon entering the massive ship that would ferry them across the vast gulf of space separating Earth from the planets of the Ossyrian Confederation, ‘T’ and the two Chihuahuas, Alfie and Ajax, had (almost reluctantly) reverted to their natural forms – long necks, short legs, thick waists, and large domed heads. Each now sat in expensive, hugely comfortable swivel chairs upholstered with state-of-the-art synthetic Kamu leather (hunting another creature would have been unthinkable in the Confederation), pale green flagons of lightly chilled Gola Squash raised in a triumphant toast. ‘To Earth and her intrepid inhabitants!’ the Director intoned. ‘To EARTH!!!’ echoed Droghmirrxz and Bogmerl, and each beamed with bright smiles that seemed to stretch from ear to pointed ear.
+ + +
Four and a half (terrestrial) years later the sleepy, somewhat tattered, East Kentish seaside town of Margate made world news. As talking heads jostled for perfect sound bites and the gobsmacked population of the planet looked on in unison (thanks to that technological marvel known as television), ‘first contact’ with an alien species was finally achieved as a formal Ossyrian delegation touched down in Cecil Square. Nothing would ever be the same again; certainly for the raucous, often fractious, inhabitants of Earth…but also in, perhaps, subtle but also quite powerful, ways for the Ossyrians as well.