the village of slippington-on-wook was a quiet one, and the news and events in the outside world, no matter how tumultuous or unexpected, rarely caused a ripple in it.
so it was with some placidity that the news of the alien landing was greeted by two of the village’s oldest inhabitants, jessica chapwood and marjorie fallington.
jessica and marjorie had both spent their lives in slippington-on-wook, and with their children grown and dispersed, and their husbands deceased, they now spent their afternoons together almost every day, rain or shine, enjoying a leisurely tea.
they often argued, but almost never so vociferously as to even hint at raising their voices.
they quickly assumed different attitudes toward the aliens, about whom few details were immediately available.
jessica took for granted that the aliens had arrived for no purpose except to enslave the inhabitants of earth, and her descriptions of the humiliations and degradations the populace, and especially the female portion of the populace, could expect at their hands, were detailed, vivid, and unsparing.
marjorie, who as a child had been exposed to the writings of mr wells and m romain rolland,
took a more sanguine view. surely, she argued in her quiet but firm way, a race which had developed a technology to traverse the stars, could have no plan for the earth but to set an example of universal peace and cooperation.
similar arguments, often considerably more heated, were taking place throughout the planet.
what jessica and marjorie and their fellow humans were to discover was, that the aliens had no interest in the planet except as a source of fuel for their ships.
the bodies of humans contained an element, unsuspected by themselves , which was used in the processing of that fuel, as did the bodies of other primates, cows, pigs, and whales.
bears, dogs, cats, wolves, horses, and sheep dd not contain the element and they were left to divide the surface of the earth among themselves, as best they might.
the molecules which had composed the bodies of jessica and marjorie were dispersed in a vapor trail between centauri b and sirius a.