< SWITCH ME >

E&M’s new series tells the story of three aliens from outer space travelling around Europe on an Interrail ticket. In this first episode, they are stranded in Britain and find the local peculiarities most unusual.

Space is a vast and silent place. Inconceivable masses of sheer soundless nothingness interrupted only by an occasional comet, planet or star. Billions of suns, most of them too far away to ever be reached. The whole existence of everything laid out before you. In layman's terms: space is frickin’ awesome.

Through the vastness flew a little spaceship. The catalogue of the Sirapian ship merchant that sold it described it as "a dream of beautifully crafted curves, subtle colours and a functional design that is both durable and elegant". People from planet Earth would've called it "a mixture between a hamburger and the bottom part of an obese lobster". Gron didn't care what people thought about his ship. As he steered through the endless expanses of space, he remembered all the adventures the two of them had gone through, the galaxies they had travelled and the villains they had fought (at least that was what he told the ladies). It was surprising that the vessel still worked flawlessly, especially after that incident with the giant squid. He should probably get her inspected some time, but these things took time and he was a very impatient person.

More than about the ship, however, he was worried about his new crew. He had picked them up at a bar on Acrollam after his previous crew had defected and run away with a Yekrutian prostitute. He wasn't sure about these two guys. One of them, Kwaal, was a rather calm kind of person and apparently pretty clever, although he didn't seem to notice much about his surroundings. And the other guy, who was actually a girl, was probably an amazing pilot, but Gron couldn't really tell much more as he had never seen her sober during their two-day journey. Her name was Lliari. Both of them were back in their cabins, recovering from last night's ventures which had involved a significant amount of alcohol (one of the universal laws throughout the galaxy is that every great adventure starts - and ends - with significant amounts of alcohol). Gron however, still awake, sat on the bridge on his own and enjoyed the view, the vastness of space.

Suddenly he was jolted out of his thoughts by a loud and indescribably awful sound. Coming from the back of the ship, humans would have recognised it as a song: "Never gonna give you up...". To Gron it was nothing but noise. Furiously he ran to the back of the ship into Kwaal's room, the apparent source of the noise ("...never gonna make you cry...").

"What the heck" he shouted at his colleague while bursting into the room in a move that would've looked scary if his coat hadn't got stuck in the closing door so that he had to fumble it out. Kwaal was sitting in front of a complicated device that looked a bit like a jungle made of wires with a screen at the front and large boxes on the sides which Gron identified as the source of the noise. Kwaal, who had been stari ng at the screen, turned around and looked at Gron in excitement. Gron's look couldn't have been less impressed. "We were close to a planet called Earth", Kwaal explained, "and they have this amazing thing they call Yootoob or something like that. Apparently it conserves the entire knowledge and culture of their civilisation. Have a look at this!". Kwaal pressed a button and the screen started showing a cat stepping onto a cactus. "Isn't this amazing?".

Gron stared at Kwaal, at the screen (which now showed another cat doing a somersault) and back to Kwaal. In fact, he stared at him so much that his eyes popped out of his skull and started crawling up his forehead. This was a nervous twitch he had acquired many years ago and he tried to get rid of it since it scared the shit out of people. The fact that it was physically impossible only made things worse.

Suddenly, another noise appeared, coming from some speakers at the bridge. It was the ship's computer: "Alert! Entering gravitational field of planet Earth. Crash imminent. Hold on tight. Have a nice day and thank you for flying with us". Kwaal looked at Gron guiltily: "I guess I shouldn't have diverted all the energy from the engines to power this". He was pointing at the screen. He tried to appear apologetic. Gron just stared him. His mouth opened and closed again and his eyes did the scary thing. Focusing all his thoughts, he managed to say something along the lines of "Oh". Then everything turned black.

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