Initially undetected by any of the billion-dollar warning systems put in place by the major world powers, the mass entered the atmosphere somewhere above Tokyo. Its great silver shell was soon visible to the naked eye as it crossed into Russia, slowing to Mach 3.
The gradual reduction in height, occasional course changes and constant speed adjustments, indicated intelligent control. Those in charge of the ‘Star Wars’ weapons, designed to preserve the Earth from extinction due to asteroid impacts, breathed a collective sigh of blame-free relief.
Once it became clear that a landing would occur somewhere in London, it was determined that with just three minutes to impact there was no point in causing unnecessary panic by advising people to shelter under the stairs, in cellars or on Underground station platforms. Those in authority continued to monitor the situation from the nuclear shelters below Downing Street and the Home Counties. The Royal Family were safely in the air on their way to Canada.
The Prime Minister watched a wall-sized LCD screen view of the intruder from the nose-mounted camera of a Eurofighter shadowing the approach across the Channel.
“Bloody big and bloody fast,” he said. “Any response to our attempts to communicate?”
“Nothing at all, sir,” the Head of the Air Force said.
“Any point in blowing it out of the sky?” the Head of the Army mused.
“Assuming we could shoot it down, it would create what the PM’s advisors consider an ‘unacceptable loss of human life’, an election no-no,” the Home Secretary sighed.
“Always left to Tommy to save the bacon, what!” the Head of the Army laughed, nervously polishing his monocle and thinking apprehensively of The War of the Worlds.
“And where’s it expected to land?” said the Prime Minister.
“Well, sir, in less than a minute we expect touchdown near the Thames, in the City.”
Across London, all eyes turned skyward.
Grazing the office blocks as it descended, the sex-starved space limpet was about to discover that the swollen Baroque dome was not a sign that Saint Paul’s Cathederal was pleased to see her.
Mark Dalligan lives in the tiny village of Steeple in Essex, England. Determined to earn his living writing, he majored in American Literature at Sussex University in the mid-late 70s. Something went wrong and one morning a City banker stared back at him from the shaving mirror. A short while ago he began letting the writer out again on parole. So far this arrangement is working quite well, with work taken by a number of on-line publications including Boston Literary Magazine, LitBits, Apollo’s Lyre, Bewildering Stories and Clockwise Cat.